Darling Duds: My favorite sources for cute kids clothes

How I've missed you, friend. I've been trying to write this post for over a month! This last trimester of pregnancy has felt like an exhausting and exhilarating uphill climb, packed with preparations like dusting off the infant car seat and washing the sweetest little onesies (neutral since we have no clue what our baby's gender is. Read more about how we do that on the blog next week). 

Finding uninterrupted time to write is definitely an Easter egg hunt right now, and most days I'm so excited about Baby that I catch myself walking in circles, burning nervous energy without actually accomplishing a whole lot apart from chewing off my fingernails. BUT, on the positive side, I have my hospital bag packed, the diaper caddie stocked, and the first week's dinners tucked in the freezer. And, I've already purchased the bulk of Iris's clothes for the spring/summer season so her clothing needs won't get neglected in the flurry of new Baby's arrival. 

Can you believe this sweet girl is turning two this week?  Iris was overjoyed to wear her new dress for her birthday dinner over the weekend. Dressing her is getting more fun all the time as she develops an interest in learning to dress herself and appreciates when I get her new clothes. This morning she proudly waved her newest Osh Kosh dress around on its hanger and let her church friends know she just got it and had a headband to match. 

If you're a new mom or just looking for some ideas of where to find cute clothes for your cuddle bugs, I've put together my list of favorites. You probably know many of them already but hopefully you'll find a new gem or two on this list to add to your shopping faves. 

I'm always looking for new brands to try out too so be sure to share your faves with me.  

Best Bold Yet Simple Styles:  Primary 
Primary is a fantastic source for basics for baby and kids, boys and girls alike, in mix and match pieces. Everyone doesn't love a unicorn graphic tee or bodysuit, and Primary answers the need for cool solids with a stunning array of shades to pick from. Their price point is under $25 with free shipping all the time, so it's pretty affordable too. 

Primary offers cardigans, dresses, onesies, shorts, skirts, pajamas, and swimwear in a literal rainbow of colors from pastels to brights. Their sale section is good too and sometimes you'll find cute stripes in their mix. Primary also offers a lower price when you purchase 3 or more of an item PLUS 20% off your first order and free returns. 

The brainchild of two mamas who couldn't find what they were looking for so they made it happen themselves, Primary states its goal isn't to get your children dressed for the runway but to get them out the door. Cheers to keeping it simple. 

Primary is also perfect when you don't know what your baby's gender is. Just pick onesies in your favorite colors and you can be well-stocked in essentials that you can clip the tags off of before baby arrives. 

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For Iris's second birthday I got her a Primary dress that is reversible. One side is hot pink and the other is red so we really have two dresses in one (in this case we can be Red Minnie or Pink Minnie with a simple flip!). With 20% off my first order and free shipping, the dress was just $18. 


Best Quality and Global Styling: Tea Collection
Tea Collection is a brand that I became acquainted with through resale and hand me down items, and once I saw how well-made the items were, I happily shopped both their sale and retail offerings for Iris and Baby #2. Does it get any more fun than a tee shirt dress dappled with bananas? No, no it doesn't. :) 

Tea Collection has a fun global heartbeat, celebrating a variety of places around the world through well-made clothing in bold prints and rich colors for boys, girls, and baby. 

Their retail price point is higher than I like to spend (think $35+ for a dress and $25 for leggings, plus some pieces are just plain out of my budgetary reach), so I generally shop the sale tab of the site (leggings for $9-14 and dresses from $14). However, I was willing to pay full price for Iris's rash guard (pictured below with fish on it) because it was only around $5 more than what I paid for her Roxy one last summer and we will definitely get our family dollar's worth out of it. With a 20% off code, I was really comfortable with the price given how much time Iris spends in a bathing suit during the spring and summer. 


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I shopped Tea Collection's sale section last month for Baby #2 and lucked out with an additional 40% off sale promo, so I snagged very high-quality onesies and sleepers for Baby for just $6 each (pictured below beside the striped dress). Iris's striped dress was on sale for $14, and it will last for such a long time, going from dress to tunic paired with leggings. A smart choice for sure.



This rashguard was $35 and has built-in UPF. I did use my 20% first order discount as well so it was $28. Swim bottom was $19 less 20% so $14 and change. We usually add a second swimsuit option at a lower price from Target, Walmart or Old Navy so we can allow a suit to dry without missing a beach day. 

The colorful dress on the right is Tea Collection that I got at resale from my favorite high-end resale shop Fancy Sprouts, and this dress is in it for the long haul, first as a dress and later a tunic top. With its easy swingy cut, it will probably still fit until Iris turns 4. Crazy good and so worth it.  

Something else I love about Tea Collection is that their orders arrive with oversized coloring and activity pages included. I don't know who enjoys them more, me or Iris, but I think they are the cat's pajamas. A touch of something extra like that really makes my day. 

Best High Quality and Super Sweet Styles for the Girls: Matilda Jane Clothing 
I have a confession to make: I used to turn up my nose at Matilda Jane. The ruffled pants (pictured above with the rainbow Tea Collection dress) turned me off in a big way.  I am saltier than I am sweet and not much for rows of ruffles unless they are understated. But alas, I started softening up a little when our favorite designer/decorator Joanna Gaines designed a capsule collection for Matilda Jane. I like Jo's aesthetic and she doesn't seem super frilly, so I gave the line another looksee and found that I liked a lot of the styles. Even some of the darn ruffles.


Matilda Jane is big into pattern mixing, which is something I LOVE to do with my own wardrobe so I realized that it was time for me to stop resisting and get on board with the brand whose mission is to let little girls be little girls versus letting them be mini-me's of trendy adult styles that are too mature for their years. Jojo puts her girls in MJC and they are straight up adorable.

Last fall Iris and I partnered with our local MJC rep, Jamie Dalton, who was kind enough to ask us to serve as brand ambassadors for a quarter. During this time we got really well acquainted with the brand through clothes that we received for free and clothes that we paid half-price for and some that we paid full-price for. I'm pretty critical of anything I receive, free or otherwise, so I spent a lot of time analyzing the items for quality and style, and I'm a loyal devotee of Matilda Jane at this point. So far all of their products wash and wear really well. 

Matilda Jane offers new releases each month so I generally wait until a couple of trunk releases have happened in a season before I make any selections since as a SAHM I watch my clothing spend very carefully. I have to pick and choose rather than say, "I"ll take it all!" and this way I don't pick an early item only to fall harder for the next month's release but not really have the budget for it. Following your MJC rep on social media generally helps you know if any item is getting low in stock so you can decide to place an order sooner rather than later.


Speaking of budgeting, with MJC, I carve out space in my budget to shop their big discount sales, called Good Luck Trunk sales that happen in July and January when you will find items up to 70% off. I also plan for a couple of full-price items during the season. So far we have enjoyed mostly dresses but also a couple pairs of leggings, a tunic, and accessories like lunch boxes and backpacks. I like to get dresses knowing that we wear them gently, and since they stay in excellent condition, they can be passed down to Baby #2 or I can resale them at a very good price to fund my shopping budget for the next sizes we need. 

By the way, Matilda Jane isn't just for little girls. They offer women and plus, tween, girls, and baby, as well as home decor and accessories, so all the ladies of the house are covered by their offerings. There's separates, great dresses, and even swimwear. Last Christmas you may have seen that I decked my halls in Matilda Jane stockings, which are the perfect size and so cute. They retailed for $28 and the stockings were half price in January so it isn't a bad idea to order after Christmas for the coming year. 




So as for those precious ruffled pants I mentioned that kept me away from MJC for so long...

I've only dabbled in one pair of them, called Bennys. When Iris put them on at Jamie's house, I couldn't help but think they looked cute and fun and decided why not give them a whirl? I'm actually eyeing another pair of Benny's this season. A coral stripe pair to layer under the cutest little peony dress ever.   



Best Source for Everyday Clothes:  Carters / Osh Kosh

Carters will always be my boo when it comes to affordable everyday items. Even so, there's a strategy to my shopping.   

One thing I highly recommend is creating a rewards account with Carters/OshKosh, and then sharing the login info with your mom or mother in law so you can both shop under the same account and accumulate rewards points more quickly. With the Rewarding Moments program, you earn $10 for every $100 you spend, and often you'll find sales where you will earn double the points, making it easier to get those rewards dollars. 

My strategy for shopping Carters/Osh Kosh is the keep an eye to their promo emails for the best sales and always have a list of my favorite items saved or sitting in my online shopping cart. And I don't pay full retail price for anything. 

One example I mentioned in a recent blog post was last summer when my mom and I were discussing some adorable strawberry embroidered overalls for Iris. When I first spotted them, they were touted as being a sneak peek for the upcoming season and listed at $36. My mom was willing to pay full price for them, but I told her there was no need to do that because soon enough they would be half off. The current retail climate is all about variable prices and perceived sales/value. Within a week and a half the overalls were on special at half off the MSRP, so we got two pairs for the price of one. Will some people pay full price for the items? Sure. I consider it if I have a feeling that the item may sell out, ie this season's 4-piece flamingo pajamas, which sold out in their first run but are now restocked and on sale for $13.97 with an extra 20% off, making them just $11.88. Why buy one pair of pjs for $34 when you can get 3 sets for the same price? Thankfully I didn't buy the flamingo pjs yet so I can take advantage of the better pricepoint.   

It also pays to compare the math. BOGO sounds like a bigger savings than an extra 25% off given that BOGO means 50% off and 50 is greater than 25, but you really do want to compare the details. 


Recently Carter's offered a sale that was an extra 25% off a purchase of $40 or more. Before that sale was even over, I received a mailer for the next sale beginning a week later, which indicated that shoes were buy one, get one free. Fine print said that the full-price pair was at MSRP. Looking at the shoes I wanted, I could get two pairs of shoes for $34 on BOGO the following week, BUT the extra 25% off sale currently happening turned out to be better because the shoes were marked $19 and the extra sale took them down to $14.25 each instead of $17 each. That's the stuff I pay attention to these days. #shopsmarter #everydollarcounts    

Another way that I shop smarter is to create mini capsules of clothes that mix and match well together. It takes a little thought on my part, but it's so worth it when I can make 22 outfits from 9 items, shoes included. Here are a few I made from our spring clothes. 




Where do you like to shop? Where do you find the best deals? Drop a comment and tell me your favorite place to shop for kiddos. 

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