In light of recent press about the poor clothing options available out there for young girls aged between 7 and 14, I thought I'd share some budget options for 'appropriate' little girl's clothes. If you can sew, bonus. There's some really easy patterns for dresses and skirts online. If you can't sew, no problem. Here's how I'm tackling this year's wardrobe for my soon to be 8 year old daughter. These things can stay on the racks.
I bought my daughter's entire summer wardrobe from thrift stores last year. Beautiful summer dresses, probably years old, back in a time when the only options were pretty floral fabrics made into flowing, frilly dresses and skirts. T-shirts were plain, gelati colours with curly edges or a cute motif with something like a teddy bear or a princess on the front. These are still available at most thrift stores. Expect the stores to be stocking up shortly.
ONLINE (ie EBAY, FACEBOOK GROUPS, GUMTREE, FREECYCLE)
Ebay still has quite a few sellers even though many of us are opting for 'no fee' selling options like Facebook selling groups, Gumtree or Freecycle. I picked up quite a few items for my daughter from a girlfriend of mine selling her daughter's clothes on Facebook. Many were designer US items.
EASY NO SEW PATTERNS
Even if you can't sew, there are many 'no sew' products available in stores like Spotlight and Lincraft (Australia's equivalent to Joanns and Michaels). Here are a few ideas that you can quite easily sew or use a 'no sew' product. There are so many lovely fabrics at these stores (or online). You'll want to sew your daughter's dresses and skirts in coordinating colours, patterns, spots and gingham checks. I know I do. There'll be a time soon enough when she'll have outgrown all of these designs.
Easy Sew Bandana Dress
Add frills to a tank top
Or frills to a polo top
Dress made from a pillow case
A friend of mine only told me yesterday how a friend of hers buys boy's clothes for their young daughter. Admittedly, she is a bit of a tomboy but when I bought a couple pairs of shorts for my son at one of the cheap department stores just recently, I thought a couple colours weren't really appropriate for him like light blue or green. They would be perfect for a little girl, teamed with a colour coordinated plain t-shirt which has been embellished with frills, fabric flowers, an iron on transfer (you can do them at home on your home printer and the transfer paper is easily available). Even upcycling long leggings into shorts is a great idea.
Upcycled leggings with frills
Embellished t-shirts (these can be adhered using 'no sew' product)
With warm temperatures forecast from now until March (yes, the media is already putting the fear of God into us saying it's going to be the hottest summer on record - like they do every year) so I'm sorting out the kid's summer wardrobes this weekend and will be checking that I have enough. I'm always on the scrounge at the thrift stores though. Don't forget about hand-me-downs from friends and neighbours. Offer to take the outgrown clothes from neighbours with older children than yours, in return for cash or a favour. I'm sure they'll be glad for the opportunity to declutter.
I do hope that these larger department stores finally get the message and start making and selling age appropriate clothing for our little girls. They grow up soon enough.