If your child is totally obsessed with the wonderful and wacky world of toddler clothes, you’re not alone. Just take it from one mother, profiled in Parents, who was concerned her 3-year-old might forever dress like she’s headlining a cabaret with her undying adoration of ruffled tutus.
Well, we say don’t fight it. Instead, embrace your toddler’s signature style as a tastemaker-in-training in this $10 billion clothing industry. But you can certainly help along the little fashionista in your life by building a wardrobe that’s both stylish and sensible. The sky’s the limit with looks ranging from precious ruffles to dinosaur dynamo, and from amazing winged shoes to mermaid-inspired swimsuits.
Overwhelmed with choices? Here are our picks for 8 wardrobe essentials every toddler must have.
Classic Dress or Suit
Every toddler needs a dressy outfit for family gatherings that announces you have complete control and order over your home. No one has to know you actually put that outfit on them the moment before the event started, and that your toddler rode over in just a diaper.
Flowing princess dresses are all the rage, but for a real style-stealer, try a Sleeveless A-Line Evening Dress in red for style-discerning little girls. It’s a gorgeous look for the sophisticated 3-year old. Or for more of a “Madeline meets Eloise” look, a Girl’s Ruffle Trimmed Long-Sleeve Dress in black paired with knee socks screams for a day exploring the city.
Suits and baby ties are always a crowd-pleaser, but they don’t have to require five adults to get your child safely inside his new outfit. The Baby’s Cotton Sapphire Tie Gentleman Suits Pants Bodysuit is perfect for little boys up to 24 months, is 100% cotton and works as a bodysuit that you can easily slip on and off – well, as easily as it is to dress a feral toddler on any given day.
Formal Play Wear
Formal wear can also translate into playtime without missing a beat. Get the party started with a Fancy High and Elastic Waist Yarn Tutu Skirt in hot pink. Just slide it over a pair of leggings and top with a colorful shirt. It’s easy to remove the tutu for playtime, and then whip it back on when grandma comes to visit. Bonus points if you grab a matching colored shirt with sequins or sparkles.
Meanwhile, toddlers and bigger boys can get ready for a day of romping with friends in a Little Sportsman Shirt and Shorts Set. They’ll look like they’re ready for an afternoon on the polo course, but still stay comfortable enough to run wild.
Casual clothes don’t have to come packaged as static one-colored ensembles or blasted with generic appliques announcing their birthright as Daddy’s Little Girl. Instead, grab colorful shirts with fun graphic designs and patterns for everyday play. This Cool Raccoon Graphic Tee and patterned pants set is perfect for active little toddlers ready to take on the world. Music lovers can show off their little man’s style with this classic Beatles ensemble.
For girls, a Pretty Girl Tee & Bow-Accent Skirt transitions easily from playtime to dinner out (and, of course, that means they get to drive parents crazy simultaneously screaming for crayons and French fries). Toddler jeans are also a must-have for any pint-sized stylish wardrobe. These Toddler Girl’s Bowknot-Accent Rabbit Denim Pants feature a super soft lining, trendsetting jean style and rabbit accents.
Comfortable Dress Shoes
Dress shoes can embody that classic black patent leather look or take a step into trendy style with tassels, cowboy-inspired boots and runway-worthy looks. For either boys or girls, try these Winter Waterproof Plush Lined Boots in Solid Black. You can also cheat this patently precious look and choose black, soft baby shoes instead. The lovely texture and bows mimic that classic black look with gracious style.
Meanwhile, Trendy Pink Fringed Cotton Soft Boots are perfect for a day at the grocery store, Mommy and Me music class or for a visit to Grandma and Grandpa. Little boys obsessed with diggers and trucks can slip their chubby little feet into these Kid’s Cute Cars Patterned Canvas Soft Anti-Skid Shoes. They may be sneakers ready for play, but their design style tells a bigger story.
Durable Sneakers and Play Shoes
Toddlers grow lightning fast, and their shoes must be durable enough to hold-up to wear and tear on the playground and backyard. Try Khaki Canvas Plaid Soft Anti-skid Shoes for a classic sneaker masquerading as an uber sophisticated shoe. But for over the top style, these Baby’s Gold Wings Decorated Soft Antiskid Toddler shoes in Pink will stop people in their tracks to get a second look. They’re that amazing.
Don’t worry, there’s also an equally spectacular winged shoe for the little boys in your life. These toddler’s Gold Wings Decorated Soft Antiskid Toddler Shoes in Black feature stylish gold wings and laces that commands respect on the playground and leaves kids feeling like they’re ready to fly off in superhero fashion.
The best part about a trendy jacket that evokes “oohs” and “ahhs” is its ability to cover up the dried yogurt stains on your kids’ clothes. Kids look like pint-sized adults ready for the ski lodge in these Glacial Fleece Half-Zip Jackets.
But for something a little more snuggly bunny than ski bunny, grab this precious Animal Ears Hooded Jacket in pink for a fashion-forward look that feels more like a soft sweatshirt. A slight flair at the bottom turns your little one into a ballerina as she twirls. And for 3-year-olds on up, try a more formal look with this floral-accent jacket in red. It’s a seriously fun look that announces her credibility at both the art table and snack table.
Little boys always look adorable in woodland creature wear, but we’re here to up the game. A Cotton Top Color-Contrasting Jacket in red transforms them into the star ball player at school while still complimenting their spirited personality. This look is also unisex, meaning that it can be passed down to brothers or sisters who want to keep the athletic legacy in the family.
Every kid needs some snuggly sweatshirts in their wardrobe repertoire, but that doesn’t have to mean leaving your style sense falling flat. A Cotton Coat with 3D Dino Horns in green turns your little tot into the playground dinosaur. Or, if your kid is the one who always strips down the moment he gets anywhere, skip the zip-up sweatshirts and head straight for an Organic Cotton Basic Cable Knit Pullover Sweater in Navy instead. Just slide it over a lightweight t-shirt, and they’re ready for their next play date.
Meanwhile, girls can drape on this gorgeous Girl’s 3D Rabbit Detailed Knit Cape in pink that turns the idea of an everyday sweatshirt on its head. She’ll love demanding that people treat her as the adorable bunny she is while hopping her way across the preschool courtyard.
You can’t make it through summer or a road trip to the beach without an adorable swimsuit designed for spirited and stylish toddlers in mind.
Little girls can embrace their inner Ariel with a Mermaid Princess Colorful Hot Pink and Green Swim Suit. This 3-piece set comes with a fashionable seashell inspired top and shiny green bottoms. When your daughter is ready to show her magic, she can shimmy into the mermaid tail that matches the bottoms. Bring your camera; this look is photo-worthy and ready to be plastered on your next holiday card.
Boys don’t quite get the same fanfare in swimwear fashion as their mermaid-loving sisters, but there are still fun and stylish options. This rockin’ Flaming Feathers Swim Diaper is ready for the serious fashionista. And if your little guy needs something a little calmer on the deep blue sea, try the Ocean Theme Swim Diaper in blue.
Remember that at the end of the day, stylish toddler wardrobe essentials should complement their unique personalities, whether as artists-in-training or rough and tumblers. But you should love them too. When else will your kids let you dress them exactly the way you want? For now, parents’ style still reigns supreme.
What wardrobe essentials do you have for your trendsetting toddler? Let us know by leaving a comment below: