When I was young, my mom tried so hard to dress my sister and I in matching clothes. She tried even harder to Laura-Ashley all three of us. I adamantly refused, and as a mother now, I have no idea how she let me get away with it. Clearly I was very aware of my personal style from a young age; I remember putting outfits together before school when I was 9, 10, and 11 and trying to preserve my tomboy status while simultaneously pleasing my mother. Rolled up colored jeans shorts and band tees dominated the summers and turtlenecks, jeans and loafers with socks in the cooler months. Growing up in a smallish town in the Mid-West, my mom understood how clothes could make a person feel. She fully accepted my refusal to dress like her or my sister and let me do my own thing, no matter how sad it made her. What can I say? A drop waist, floral corduroy Laura Ashley dress was so not my style.
Fast forward twenty years and here I am with a new daughter and I find myself imposing my style onto her. I think it’s only natural to extend one’s personal style to their kids. Especially at such a young age; she has no choice to wear what I buy and dress her in. Same for my son – which I have heard is not the norm. He’s three and loves the offbeat brands and harem pants he wears instead of Paw Patrol t-shirts and Nike shorts all of his peers pal around in. It’s not so intentional as it seems, I guess I just approach shopping for them the same way I shop for myself. Contemporary and timeless brands exist now for kids. They’re simple and casual with the chic, unfussy details that truly set them apart. Also, comfort is a huge factor for me when I purchase for my kids. Especially my son as he’s so active he doesn’t need to be running around in restrictive jeans and button down shirts.
As you know, I’m very particular about what I buy for myself. I value quality and really appreciate transparency and the sustainable efforts designers make to keep it real. And honestly if I’m this conscious about my own clothing why wouldn’t I expect the same from my kids’ stuff? Right now here are a few of my favorites:
Mabo Kids – This Salt Lake City-based brand uses only natural fibers for their collections (girl and boy) and everything is sustainably produced in the US. Linen pants and cotton tanks dominate their summer collection and I can tell you from experience the pieces wear well. And Mabo is not a one-stop shop; their website has a Women and Home offering and features many of our favorite designers: Caron Callahan, Bensimon, and Hansel from Basel. While the grown up options are not exact replicas of the childrenswear, the aesthetic is very consistent and will totally fulfill the desire to dress alike.
Yoli & Otis – The founders, Lena and Carlo, started the brand when they had their first child and began making organic cotton baby carriers. Eventually they added more products, made in India with all-natural dyes from botanical sources such as turmeric, henna, aloe vera and indigo. The collection feels very of-the-earth. The brand is a recent discovery for me. I have followed this adorable and very picturesque family on Instagram for awhile, and when I had my girl in June, finally had a reason to explore the website. I found much more than I expected. The clothes, modeled on the designer’s own kids, are basically unisex and the Australia-based brand is almost always sold out everywhere. And there is a womenswear collection! It’s more extensive than the kids, a (I highly recommend pre-ordering the fall collection from their site.) The founders, Lena and Carlo, started the brand when they had their first child and began making organic cotton baby carriers. Eventually they added more products, made in India with all-natural dyes from botanical sources such as turmeric, henna, aloe vera and indigo. The collection feels very of-the-earth. I placed an order a couple of weeks ago for myself and my son. Stay tuned…
Nobonu – Samia Krajewska is the Libyan-born, Poland-residing designer behind Nobonu, a brand for women and children. This brand I discovered on one of my favorite childrenswear sites, Over The Ocean, Birgit, the founder, has really great taste and Nobonu is gorgeous. This is the brand to wear if you want to match your child exactly! The line is comprised of a variety of linen dresses, tunics, tops, and bottoms all ethically produced in a small factory in Poland. The long linen dress are elegant and casual – a word pairing I would never use for Laura Ashley!
One thing (among many) these brands have in common is that the collections are extensions of the women who created them. They all have kids so they are creating something out of identifying a void as well. This authenticity lends itself to successful branding and available content for Instagram marketing. Children’s brands have come a long way since I was young. Maybe it’s not too late for my mom and I to start dressing alike…