However. Hazel starts school next week. Real school. Kindergarten. With wood chips on the playground. And that is a new realm of wardrobe we haven't encountered before. She will need clothes that are versatile and comfortable but also look nice. Luckily, with the coming of school is the coming of fall catalogs in the mail and there have been some fine ones lately.
A word about priorities. Sometimes I look at someone else's children and I think, "What was that Mom thinking?" The kid probably looks cute. But there are 100 buttons up the back of that shirt! Or she is wearing glittery ballet flats and it's raining outside! Or is that sweater cashmere...and they're painting at school today? Whatever. I keep it to myself because different people have different priorities when it comes to clothes and fashion. Here are mine:
1. Comfortable - I don't like to be uncomfortable, and I don't want my kids to be. I don't sacrifice comfort for fashion, at least not in everyday wear. That means sweaters can't be scratchy. Waistbands can't pinch. And movement can't be too restricted.
2. Practical, Functional, and Quality - MUST be machine-washable. Must cover all important body parts, especially butt cracks. Must be able to move in it, and it can't have dangly sleeves or whatever else might get in a kid's way. And I have a problem with glitter, beads and sequins because they fall off during play and wash and then the piece looks bad, like it's falling apart.
3. Style and Design - We get a lot of functional pieces like plain leggings and t-shirts but for anything else it has to have a cool element: fabric, cut, drape, or some kind of detail that appeals to me. Now that we have three girls and I know clothes will be passed down for years, I am trying more and more not to settle on this point. I have to love it. It has to be interesting. It has to be worth the money we spend and the space it takes up.
4. Price - How much would I spend on it and does that match the price tag? I am trying to not get sucked in by clearance prices as much, and get dumb clothes just because they are cheap. There's a balance; it's hard to pass up a low price. But it has to pass the other filters as well. On the other hand, even the most perfect and beautiful piece is simply out of range if the price is too high. I have to always keep in mind the greater family budget, and the possibility that any piece of children's clothing could get ruined, so not to spend too much on any one thing, no matter how cute.
So here are a few things I've liked online and in catalogs. Don't be surprised if you see Hazel wearing some of these this year. Not all of them - the rest of us have to eat this fall - but some nice things for kindergarten, and that can be passed down if they survive, are called for.
Something I've noticed this year is the emergence of jeans leggings (Old Navy has even calls them "jeggings") and knit jeans. This trend solves a monumental problem for us, which is that my girls think jeans are uncomfortable. Hazel has a round waist; jeans pinch her when she sits and slide down when she stands. Ginger thinks denim is a "hard" fabric and doesn't like how it feels. These "jeggings" from Old Navy and knit skinny jeans from Tea Collection below might be a fashionable answer for us and would look awesome with tunics, dresses or long sweaters like the purple one below from Gap Kids.
DRESSES We have chosen this little Hanna Andersson number in pink for Hazel's first-day-of-school outfit...if it comes in time:
Metallic is so cute but honestly impractical because when it scuffs, like in the first two seconds of wear, it's scuffed for good. Which is why I am picturing these here but probably not getting them.