I have a five year old daughter named Isabel who has three passions in life: swimming, having kiddie pool parties, and dressing up (in that order). We live in a Fremont home that has a pool, and our little girl is learning how to swim and already has several bathing suits to her name. As for the dressing up part…well, let’s just say she’s already practicing her independence by choosing her preschool outfits every morning. It’s cute to see her trotting about everyday in her favorite bubblegum pink Barbie tutu coupled with rainbow striped socks and (goodness gracious) my pale pink peep toe heels. This has prompted my husband John to express concern over his little girl being mistaken for a miniature bag lady.
I had to gently explain to Isabel that while her ensemble is nice, it’s considered special- occasion clothing and not for everyday wear. Afterwards, I came up with a list of the five most versatile outfits for Isabel (whom we still consider a toddler because she’s quite small for her age), which we can mix and match with her favorite accessories and footwear on a daily basis.
1. Plain baby tees in as many colors as we can get our hands on Adults love T-shirts for their comfort and versatility, plus the fact that statement tees can get certain bold messages across without us having to utter a single word. In the case of little girls, baby tees are perhaps the best clothes for everyday casual wear because they allow for lots of flexibility. Up until the time that Isabel goes to a big-kids school with a uniform, her daily outfit almost always includes a T-shirt. We love plain ones in different colors or with cartoony designs to go with jeans, shorts, and skirts, but she has currently been enamored with the sparkly shimmering T-shirt trend. We’ve conceded, though the rule of thumb is nothing with huge rhinestones or embellishments which can get caught on things and cause injury…or else make her look like a small Joan Collins circa Dynasty era.
2. Comfortable machine washable bottoms in neutral colors I know what you’re thinking: little girls and neutrals don’t mix. While we acknowledge that being a five year old girl does allow for much frills and frou-frou (and lots of pink), we always think of comfort and flexibility for our active daughter above all else in the clothing department. She loves romping about in her school’s playground, so we have her wear something that can withstand dirt, stain, and possible wear and tear during play time. Neutral colored bottoms are best for pairing with T-shirts no matter what their designs may be. Along with several jeans, Isabel has cotton leggings, shorts, and kiddie slacks that don’t require special care for washing and are made of sturdy fabric.
3. Skirts in an array of designs Even toddlers like being dressed up in frilly clothes to feel like fairy tale princesses once in a while (okay, in the case of Isabel, it’s not so much once in a while as all the time). Aside from the pink Barbie tutu, our daughter’s wardrobe holds skirts in different styles that range from casual to special-occasion designs. When Isabel is feeling particularly feminine on a school day, we allow her to wear a short skirt atop a pair of leggings or tights. The result is adorable yet practical at the same time because she can still move around in her clothes. As an added bonus, little girls can get away with wearing the poufiest skirts with T-shirts and not make it to any Worst Dressed list (if I were only so lucky!).
4. Frocks and dresses appropriate for casual to semi-formal occasions A definite nod to girlhood, dresses and frocks always make it to the versatility list even if they are sometimes a pain to clean (especially velvet, which I do not like at all but which older relatives insist on giving Isabel). I always aim to buy dresses that have classic designs and are adaptable for casual to semi-formal occasions with just a bit of accessorizing. Our goal when shopping is to go for stylish but not ostentatious, and definitely age-appropriate dresses. Simple floral prints or subdued patterns that look good with cardigans or tights are what I particularly like for my daughter. Knit shirt dresses are also cute and timeless as well as comfy.
5. Playsuits made with stretchy fabric Playsuits are one-piece clothes for kids made of stretchy fabric and are sometimes called rompers. I consider them the toddler version of the onesies, which I also found cute on Isabel when she was younger. We have several playsuit pieces for her which button at the front. They are great for active play times and are durable enough to be washed over and over.
Comfortably stylish with a classic look and feel is what we want for our daughter, and we found it with the top five outfits we’ve listed above. Now, my husband has little to no apprehension about what his daughter will be wearing to school in the morning…until she hits puberty, that is.
This guest blog post was written by proud WAHM (work at home mom) Kristen Swope, who does freelance writing about everything from swimming pools to home lighting. She devotes most of her quality time to taking care of her five-year-old daughter Isabel, and being a loving companion to husband John. She lives in Fremont, California in a house with a kidney-shaped swimming pool.
Thank you very much for the great tips Kristen!