Beyond 5T

I've been thinking about clothes lately. Not my own, of course, given that I hate to shop and have very little fashion sense. This post is about Isabella's clothes. I'll devote a separate one to Nicholas'.

Isabella currently wears clothes in size 5T. For my international friends, this is basically the biggest clothing size in baby and toddler lines. Most 5Ts are a little big for her and some of her 4T wardrobe still fits her (depending on the brand), but 5T is the size I'm currently buying, since they'll last longer.

In less than a year, she'll be moving up to the "big girls" clothing sizes.

I am not pleased.

I'm finding a huge difference in style, cut, and patterns between the "toddler" sizes and the "big girl" sizes. It's not a change for the better.

I read recently (can't remember where) that clothing designers make the same clothes for girls just out of the 5T size that they do for tweens and even teens. Because tweens and teens do not want to wear the styles and colors that the little ones wear lest they appear too babyish, companies design "up," meaning, the clothes are much more suited to an older girl than they are to the pre-schooler or Kindergartner who just moved into the big girl sizes.

Here's an example.

I mainly shop at Target, Old Navy, Carter's, and The Children's Place for Isabella's clothes. Most of the time I shop online because I am not masochistic enough to haul the Triple Threat into stores on my own. But I had to return an outfit that Isabella received for her birthday to one of the stores listed above, and in looking around for a replacement outfit, I was at a loss to find something - anything- age-appropriate for her to wear, since this store's little kids' line stops at size 4T.

Here's what I found available in her size:

Ultra short skirts in animal print, and pleated, with a zipper down the center. I really don't want my four-year-old resembling a groupie at a Kid Rock show.

Glittery shirts, adorned with peace symbols, rhinestone butterflies, or tie-dyed hearts. They had sayings on them like "Love, Peace, and Harmony" and "Totally Awesome."

Ripped jeans. Lots and lots of "distressed" (read: shredded) jeans.

For my four-year-old.

I'm hardly old-fashioned, but perhaps my sense of style is. I'm already missing the adorable polka dot shirts and tights, striped leggings, and long peasant dresses Isabella will soon outgrow. "Big kids" clothing for girls does not look well made in these stores, nor does it look appropriate for a preschooler. And while I know there are more expensive stores whose clothing for girls does not look like what I just described, I can't afford to shop there.

Apparently, I am stuck with what's available in these stores.

If you have girls who have outgrown the toddler sizes, please tell me where you find cute, age-appropriate, and not-too-expensive clothing!


And speaking of scary, there's a new PSA inferring that feeding kids junk food is the same as giving them heroin. It's designed to address the skyrocketing rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. Check out my post on my health and wellness blog and let me know what you think about it.

16 Responses to “Beyond 5T”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    I have news for you, it gets no better. :( Julianna's now outgrowing the 4-6x and it's horrible in the next sizes. They're way too old and inappropriate. I think I hate Justice.

    Lands' End (lots of coupons out there), Hanna Andersson (on sale), Tea & Co. (I haven't tried them yet, still just drooling), Garnet Hill (on sale), they may cost more, but the little girl styles are worth it. I don't want my 14 year old looking trampy, let alone my 7 year old.  

  2. # Blogger Rachel

    I couldn't agree more. My best friend is abroad at the moment so I like to look for cute clothes for her little girl and some stuff is just awful. While we pass on a lot of the fusspot's clothes, there's a whole category that I send straight to goodwill because I couldn't with a straight face pass it on to my friends (and that's in sizes up to 2T). Of course, my husband's response was a little accidental spilling of the bleach on the 5th onesie with some variation of "little diva" which we received.

    My vote is for high end clothes from ebay. I'd say 20% of what you get will be damaged/not as listed but the rest will be fine. We use it a lot for toddler clothes.  

  3. # Blogger Melissa

    Just wait until she is a tween and her opinions about clothes clash with yours! Clothes shopping with my 11-yr-old gives me a huge headache.

    I vote Land's End and LL Bean for most tasteful selections. Maybe Gymboree? There's always going to be a difference in opinion about what parents consider appropriate or inappropriate. I have no problem letting my girls wear rhinestone butterflies on the front of their shirts, but that's me. I stop at "Princess" emblazoned on the butt, though! I buy the clothes I deem appropriate and pass by the ones I don't.  

  4. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I work in the children's clothing industry and there are a number of smaller brands popping up that do offer age-appropriate clothing. It's a bit of a backlash. The problem is that they are often manufactured in small batches and are, therefore, a little pricier. Ebay, LoobaLee, etc. are great places to look for gently used clothes from these types of designers that are a little more affordable.  

  5. # Anonymous Christine

    No kids and no advice, but I liked the ebay suggestion. I think that you could also try consignment shops (I don't know how yours are up there, but we have some good ones in Philly).

    I was just on the Old Navy website, and while the jeans were awful, there were some cute short sleeve and tank dresses that would be appropriate over a tee or long tee shirt. I think they were in the "cute and classic" section or some such nonsense. I think it's just going to be a lot of mix and matching...unfortunately.

    Good luck!  

  6. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I vote for LL Bean--all the way. Always admire their cute and age appropriate styles for girls. Free shipping if you have their credit card and lots of coupons when you use the credit card as well. KB  

  7. # Blogger Sunny

    This is why I only have boys.

    Maybe you can convince Isabella to be a tomboy? My SIL wore baggy boys clothes FOREVER. I recently saw her in skinny jeans (she's 19) and I almost died of shock.  

  8. # Blogger In Due Time

    Laura Ashley and LLBean have cute modest clothes. Check eBay.

    I'll tell you what I'm doing right now. A is in the 5-6-7 sizes. I've loaded up on tights, leggings, and basic short/long sleeved shirts in a rainbow of colors. Then, I pair these up with a dress or bigger size shirt.

    It sounds sloppy or something, but it's not.

    I've paired a small dress that fits in the chest, but too short lengthwise with leggings or tights/jean skirt and it turns it into a different outfit. Or, sometimes I'm lucky to find a beauitful floral/design shirt at Walmart or Target that's a size 7-8, but the way it's cut, it can be worn with tights like a dress for her. Maybe I'll get around this weekend and post some examples on my blog.  

  9. # Anonymous Kell

    UGH this is such a pet peeve for me. I like some of the cute glittery skirts (provided they are long enough). But I cannot in good conscience dress my little girl like Madonna circa Desperately Seeking Susan.... I am cheap too. I have had good luck at BJ's of all places, and on ebay. My daughter also prefers to wear dresses and I can only get her in pants for PE class at school or a trip to the farm on a cold day. I miss those 5T clothes where she just looked like a little girl, which she is!  

  10. # Blogger Kristi

    Thank you SO much for all these suggestions. I'm so thankful I have friends who know way more about kids' clothing and where to find nice stuff than I do.

    @IDT: I would love to see photos on your blog. Let me know if you post them.  

  11. # Anonymous Christina @ Spoonfed

    Totally with you on this. The first time I looked for clothes beyond 5T at Old Navy, I stood there in disbelief, sure I'd somehow missed an entire section of girls' clothing between baby bottoms and butt cracks. But no. They really did expect my almost 6-year-old to wear skin-tight, barely there clothes with inappropriate slogans.

    Last time I was in Old Navy, though, about a month ago, the selection was better than before. So maybe they got some feedback on that? We also still have decent luck with Target, too, and Gap has great sales. (And I personally don't mind rhinestones or peace signs.) H&M used to have cute kid stuff, but I haven't been there in awhile.

    There's also a new store at Eastview called Naartjie that has really cute and reasonably priced clothes for older girls. Some of the stuff is too frou-frou-frilly for my tastes, but a lot of it is adorable. I'd purchased Naartjie stuff on eBay in the past, so it was a nice surprise to see them at the mall.

    Love Tea, which you often can find on the sale racks at the Black Sheep in Pittsford Village. The Rugged Bear in Pittsford Plaza has cute, age-appropriate clothing from a variety of brands. Their regular prices are expensive, but they have sales all the time.

    Online, Garnet Hill and Boden are totally adorable, though pricey.  

  12. # Blogger In Due Time

    I forgot, Lands End, too!

    I'll get a post together this week. Midterm tomorrow. UGH. xo  

  13. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Well, we get hand me downs and go to clothing sales for all of Corinne's clothing so we get what we get. That said, my daughter has ALWAYS been on the opposite side of the fence when it comes to fashion. I was against it, pre-daughter, until I read something somewhere which made me rethink fashion as something evil. For some, it truly is another form of art and expression. And I'm ok with Corinne expressing herself through clothing.

    THAT SAID: I have donated hand me downs straight into Goodwill because of inappropriate slogans or questionable cuts. But I am totally ok with tie dye and sparkles. I don't prefer them for myself, but I really don't see girls older than 11 or 12 wearing anything bedazzled anyway. Isn't sparkly kind of a little kid thing and not teenagerish?

    The Children's Place carries boy clothing up to size 14, so I'm assuming they carry girl stuff that big, too.

    Be creative! There are a lot of places online with younger looking clothing. Googles words like "girl clothing, modest, modesty first, age appropriate, etc."  

  14. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    Oh, man. I don't envy you. That is one thing I am thankful for in having boys. I have to tell you, though, when I look at the next sizes up for my preschooler and see T-shirts with skulls or other grotesque images or sarcastic sayings on them, I think about getting out my old sewing machine....

    Have you looked at the Hanna Anderson catalog? The Tea Collection is nice, but kind of pricey -- maybe from eBay?  

  15. # Blogger Jesser

    I apologize if I double-comment - blogger ate my first comment, I think.

    I agree ... and it is difficult, there is LOTS of crap out there, even for LITTLE KIDS. But there is some good stuff and we just sort through it and pick it out. We shop mostly at Old Navy, Target, Kohl's (love their mix 'n' match Jumping Beans line) and Carter's Outlet ... occasionally Gymboree if it's a HUGE SALE.

    I just focus on basics: pants, jeans, t shirts. We do skirts mostly with leggings, and now that it's getting cooler, we'll do dresses with them too. We did lots of sundresses this summer.

    One place you might look is Etsy ... I don't know how price effective it would be, but you could look. Lots of good people making cute clothes on there.

    Good luck ... isn't it fun trying to keep your kid a kid?  

  16. # Blogger Mary Finucane

    And so it begins: So Sexy So Soon.

    Etsy: though I usually think of it for arts and design, they sell some really solid and affordable kids clothes. Just depends on the seller.  

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