Help me be an awesome auntie and buy good clothes for my nieces.
March 5, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I want to get some skirts and tops for my nieces but I don't know where to start. What size would a very tall seven year old wear? How about an average five year old? What are some brands that are not all about princess crap and have some actual color/style? Can I find something that runs, what, about $20 for a skirt? Cool weather stuff and natural fabrics are best; if I can shop easily online, so much the better.
posted by Specklet to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It would probably be best to ask their parents about their sizes. Otherwise, you'd have to go with averages and anecdotes, which can be off by quite a bit.
posted by Houstonian at 2:11 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I lead a Girl Scout troop of 5-9 year olds. Currently, scented t-shirts are all the rage. I know--sounds totally gross. But they have t-shirts that smell like brownies or cotton candy or fruit, and by god, those things actually smell like the things they say they smell like.

Something to keep in mind, perhaps, if you want to be the cool aunt.

I also hear Justice clothing recommended a lot on here for being girly without being stupid and one-note sparklepink.
posted by phunniemee at 2:16 PM on March 5, 2013

I can't speak to sizes, but Boden has cute clothing without forcing girls to conform to the tyranny of pink & purple. Prices might be a little high (their skirts appear to run in the $28-50 range, for example), but they do have good sales.
posted by scody at 2:20 PM on March 5, 2013

Best answer: They're pricey, but I love Tea Collection clothes for girls. Bright, fun colors, not too heavy on the pink, fun and practical styles. Check out the sale page; better deals sometimes pop up there. I'd check with the girls' parents to find out size preferences, if I were you.
posted by Spinneret at 2:23 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I recently subscribed to's email list -- they're a discount clothing aggregator, and they have a lot of cute stuff for kids from different brands at pretty steep discounts. I am, thus far, resisting the urge to buy my adorable niece ALL THE THINGS. But barely.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:31 PM on March 5, 2013

For stuff that is more kids-kids I would recommend Boden and Hannah Anderson (HA is awesome, quality-wise). Uniqulo also has nice fashionable stuff that's not too pink. More grown-up: Zara and H&M.
posted by The Toad at 2:33 PM on March 5, 2013

Justice is huge with my 8 year old and her cohort.
posted by agentwills at 2:39 PM on March 5, 2013

My 8 year old loves Justice, too. Although anything pink and/or sparkly gets a thumbs up. I agree that it is best to just ask about sizes, but my daughter is tall (90-95th percentile on the CDC growth charts) and wears 7-8 in most things. Look closely when things come in S-M-L; the letters translate into different sizes for different brands. Finally, when in doubt, go a little big. At that age they will grow into it soon enough.
posted by TedW at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2013

Decent Exposures makes tops, pants and skirts in kids' sizes.
posted by brujita at 3:08 PM on March 5, 2013

Justice, as mentioned. I love Hanna Andersson but it's pricey, and a little cutesy once you're past toddler age. If either of them fit a size 5 or 8, this skirt is on sale and cute, at Gap kids.

For inexpensive, old navy sometimes has cute things as well, if you hunt, I like this but your mileage may vary. What are their styles? Do they LIKE pink and glittery, or are they sporty, trendy, etc?
posted by celtalitha at 3:11 PM on March 5, 2013

I also love Tea Collection - fyi, the "deals" are usually for an extra 25% off sale prices. I usually pick up dresses for between $12-20, about one season behind. They occasionally show up on deal sites as well. I think every new piece that's caught my eye has eventually become available in that price range someplace. Local boutiques that carry them also usually have the same markdowns and promos. The trick is to not get sucked into the new stuff- I can't imagine paying full price. I also love their leggings, which tend to combine super well with the dresses and tops, and usually pay between $9-14. They last forever, as do their other clothes. No idea style wise, definitely good for a 5 year old, I could see it working for a more artsy/funky 8 year old (it's how _I_ would want to dress if I were thrust back into elementary school, which is maybe not a good sign).
posted by pekala at 3:13 PM on March 5, 2013

Ask their parents for their measurements, not sizes. Stuff is all over the place, and so are kids. My very tall 9 year old daughter is wearing size 12 and 14, but is still wedging herself into some size 8 tees she can't bear to let go of because they're so comfortable. It's easier to check the clothing when I know that the soles of her feet are 9 1/2 inches long, and her waist is 23 inches.

My kiddo loves Boden, H&M, Zara and the Gap if we're shopping new. We have been finding items new with tags from the Cynthia Rowley Dreampop collection at JCP (like these black and silver skinny jeans, which I see are now sold out), and some of that stuff is so cute we ordered a few things for spring.

I'll recommend Lands' End skorts - they helped my daughter to earn the title of "Most Fashionable Rock Climber."

I also shop J.Crew's sale section frequently - there are always online coupons and offers for free shipping (ha! And as I was just poking around and answering this, my daughter spotted this tee and loves it.) In fact, she's a huge fan of their collectible tees, which we find on the sale rack. Despite being fancy, they wash and wear wonderfully.

We like Old Navy, and what she loves most there are usually the glittery shoes. They're fine for as long as they'll fit her, and they make her so happy. I see at school that lots of girls like fancy shoes, whether they're sneakers or flats.

She also received some things from Justice for her birthday last week, and after one wash a jacket looks tired and rhinestones fell off and the skirt has threads dangling. She loved that they were garish and glitzy, but everything fit small and she's not going to get much wear out of that outfit. The fibres were decidedly not natural, either. But kids love Justice, and as much as you might like certain things for them, kids have definite opinions of what they will and won't wear. I feel lucky to have an adventurous one - but my friend's daughter is very specific about dressing like all her friends do. It's part of their social standing, I guess.

Whatever you give, please include the gift receipt and don't be crushed if it doesn't meet the exacting standards of little girls who might make decisions based on which side of the bed they woke up on; the phase of the moon; what they got teased about two years ago; what suddenly feels "too strangly" or whatever is the opposite of what you like, just because.
posted by peagood at 3:26 PM on March 5, 2013

For sizing/measurements, ask their parents.
posted by radioamy at 3:52 PM on March 5, 2013

Response by poster: Please give me some size estimates; my sister-in-law hasn't gotten back to me on sizes and time is running out. Thanks!
posted by Specklet at 3:55 PM on March 5, 2013

My girl 5yo is avarage in height and size 5. For spring and summer clothes I will buy her size 6.

My 7yo girl is short, so she is wearing pretty much the same as her younger sister. Her friends tend to be in 6/7.

If I were buying clothes for kids I didn't know I would avoid long sleeves or long pants, since kids tend to get longer in the arms/legs first. If you buy them spring/summer clothes, one size up (so, size 6 & 8) you are probably safe. They can always layer a dress over a tshirt or leggings to make it usable while it's still slightly too big.
posted by Abbril at 4:03 PM on March 5, 2013

Since you want to be cool weather friendly, pick out something summery and add matching leggings and a sweatshirt or sweater.
posted by Abbril at 4:06 PM on March 5, 2013

Some more fun things (hey, I'm bored, I could do this all day)

Long Sleeve T-shirt, cardigan, basic knit dress, skort.
Angora mix sweater.
tee, various colors.
Mini Boden tee $20
origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=0">Simple black "twirling" skirt
Mini boden denim skirt
Owls! $12!

The five year old is probably size 5-ish or so. A tall 7 year old is going to wear at LEAST a size up depending on the item. My friend's 9 year old is tall and skinny, the poor thing basically can not wear pants and just wears dresses (now in a size 12 I think - when she was 7, it was more like 8-10) with leggings, which come out to capris on her (luckily we live in a warm climate). Keep an eye on lengths of skirts... shirts should be safe to just get a bit large.
posted by celtalitha at 4:14 PM on March 5, 2013

Oops. Link for skirt
posted by celtalitha at 4:16 PM on March 5, 2013

Just got back from a trip to Buenos Aires where we were specifically commissioned to spend many dollars on girl clothes from owoko by her mother (fiance's cousin) who thinks they are more fun and less princessy than anything here in the States.
So we did. And there were a lot of cute things including a shirt that had a flower that opened up to have more flowers on strings inside it.
So... I guess if you know someone going to Argentina?
posted by rmless at 4:19 PM on March 5, 2013

Best answer: For my average/small 5-year-old I usually buy size 6-8 tops & size 6/6X pants. Basically, the smallest girls' sizes, rather than the largest toddler sizes.

Naartjie Kids has some cute stuff.
This skirt could work for the 5-year-old.
posted by belladonna at 4:28 PM on March 5, 2013

Justice is definitely the hot thing, but also look at PS, the kids' spinoff from Aeropostale. It tends to not be quite as aggressively music-video-trendy as Justice.
posted by Andrhia at 4:33 PM on March 5, 2013

If you have to guess, I'd go with 6 for the 5-year-old --- she might fit a 5, but get the 6: she'll just grow into it, right? And for the 7-year-old, try an 8 or maybe even a 9.
posted by easily confused at 4:35 PM on March 5, 2013

My eleven year old is five foot four, so I have experience in shopping for tall children. She wears a 14 slim. For the tall seven year old, assuming a normal heighted kid would wear a 7/8, I would get a 9/10. Justice is the it thing right now, and you can easily shop online, but don't buy anything unless there is a 40% off sale, otherwise it's pricy. They seem to have 40% off sales every other day, though.
posted by Ruki at 4:42 PM on March 5, 2013

I have 8 and 10 year old girls. From around the age of 4 or 5, kids generally start wearing a size up from their age. So for the 5 year old, i'd buy size 6/7, and for the 7 year old, size 9/10 (because you said she's very tall). My just turned 10 year old (average height) wears 10/12.

For stores, I'd suggest H&M; I love their kids' stuff. Old Navy and The Childrens Place also have cute, non-princessy styles.
posted by yawper at 9:02 AM on March 6, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!

I loved the Tea Collection stuff, but it was a bit pricey. Naartjie was exactly what I was looking for, and I got everything on sale! Now the trick is to not start looking at things for my own child...
posted by Specklet at 3:08 PM on March 6, 2013

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