The summer that I was seven years old my favourite outfit was a white polo shirt and a pair of khaki shorts.
The shorts had deep pockets and were ever so slightly too big, meaning they had to be held up with a stripy belt. Every time I wore those shorts, I pretended I was one of the Famous Five, on some amazing adventure or other.
Today, I look at my eight-year-old niece, in her sparkly ballet slippers, trendy jeans and bolero jackets and think she probably pretends she’s one of JLS’s back-up dancers when she gets dressed in the morning.
My niece always looks beautiful (of course) but at the risk of sounding hopelessly middle-aged, it does seem like such a short period of time these days that children actually dress like children, and not mini teenagers.
I’m horribly aware of this when I’m buying clothes for Flea, and there are stores I just don’t bother looking in for clothes any more, including Next, M&S and H&M. I even stopped shopping in Gap Kids when they stopped selling regular fit jeans for girls and decided to ONLY sell boot-cut and skinny fit jeans. For five-year-olds.
Seriously, Gap, that’s just stupid. How are kids supposed to scale a climbing frame in jeans so tight they can hardly bend over?
These days, I have a small number of stores where I buy clothes I know I can trust to be appropriate, good quality and not to advertise this or that cartoon character. Most of Flea’s clothes come from Joules, Mini Boden or John Lewis. They’re a little more expensive but mostly, we get two years’ wear out of these items so the cost-per-wear is pretty good, I think.
Anyway, this year we were given the opportunity to try out some clothes from Vertbaudet, which was a new brand to me, and not one we’d tried before.
I liked that the clothing was age-appropriate and colourful and I have to say, I noticed it was quite a bit cheaper than the usual things we’d buy for Flea. Having had a look around, many of the girls options were probably a bit TOO girlie for Flea, but we settled on a denim jacket and a pair of denim shorts, which came in at under £30 for the pair.
As it turned out the jacket was completely unsuitable – although we’d opted for an age 6/7, the jacket was too narrow across the shoulders and way too short for Flea, being one of those jackets designed to sit just above the waist – a style perhaps better suited to older girls, in my book. We passed it on to a very slight seven-year-old, who loved it, so I think like M&S, Vertbaudet cuts its tops on the slender side.
The shorts, which Flea is modelling at the top of this post, were lovely. The denim was thick and the stitching well done, and I particularly liked the fact that the shorts were just a little longer than many of the girls’ styles I see – personally I don’t like to see hot-pants on a five-year-old. These have been worn and washed two or three times now, and still look like new. The fastening is a press-stud, so Flea can manage them easily on her own – all in all a really successful buy.
I would certainly recommend Vertbaudet as a good source of inexpensive items, and there were lots of things I could see being perfect for summer holidays. What I most appreciated, though, was finding another store that realises not all parents want their kids to advertise a TV network, or look like one of the High School Musical cast.
What do you think? How do you choose your kids’ clothes? Does it bother you when stores sell mini versions of adults' clothes for children?
[Disclosure: We were given two items of children's clothing and some wall stickers from Vertbaudet for the purposes of this review.]