My two littles are just shy of 4 and 2 years old. It’s a golden age for adorable, trendy toddler clothes. My kids will let me put them in anything, and it’s hard to say who’s a bigger fan of twirly dresses: my four-year-old daughter or me.
While I frequently find hip, fashionable clothes at Target or on Amazon, I have a penchant for ultramodern children’s clothing in minimalist styles. With the exception of twirly dresses, I look for looks that mirror what I love (wearing), and in a color palette that’s more sandalwood and bergamot and less Barbie pink.
I’ve discovered some really playful and beautiful brands, like Fin & Vince, Gus + Steel, Figge, Arlo + Pine, Childhoods Clothing, L’ovedbaby, Nadadelazos, Birinit Petit, and Wynken. And to my surprise, I discovered H&M, Zara, and Old Navy have a lot of beautiful on-trend staples from muslin twirly dresses to cashmere rompers.
With the preface that I’m a non-coastal, Midwestern mom, so my style inclinations could be already dépassé, here are contemporary, toddler clothing trends that I’m loving.
CHECK OUT THESE TOP 9 TODDLER CLOTHING TRENDS NOW
1 | EARTH SHADES AND NEUTRAL TONES
It’s all about the earth shades, baby. Think terracotta, clay, sage, soft black, wheat, and honey. Even super rainbow colorful brands, like Hanna Andersson, have embraced this trend. (Without tossing their bright primary colors out the window, they’ve added more subtle shades like watermelon, lime, mint, balsam, and chestnut brown.)
You don’t have to keep it all monochrome either. Mixing and matching neutral tones with bold prints and colors is huge. You can pair wheat color knits with checked prints, gingham, vintage floral, and brilliant lush emeralds, cobalts, tangerines, and blood orange.
2 | GENDER-FLUID OR GENDER NEUTRAL
Going for unisex baby clothes and toddler clothes keeps with the gender fluid trend that fashion is embracing. Core unisex pieces for babies and kids include joggers and hoodies, oversized knits and cardigans, boxy tees, earth-colored muslin tops and bottoms, bold prints, and non gender-specific colors.
Toddler girl clothes and toddler boy clothes are not going anywhere. There are plenty of gender specific choices for babies, kids, and adults. But there is a trend with brands offering more clothing choices for children that is more unisex.
3 | OVERSIZED
Everything oversized is in. On runways and TikTok reels, you see oversized blazers, baggy jeans, and uber-loose and flowy maxi dresses.
It’s prevalent in fashion for kids and toddlers and babies. It’s translated into oversized cardigans and sweatshirts, cropped boxy tees, loose fitting rompers and union suits, chunky sweaters, oversized bib overalls, baggy harem pants, maxi skirts and dresses, and paperbag waistlines.
To keep things balanced (and safe for play), you can balance oversized with undersized or more fitted looks. Like wearing an oversized cardigan with a fitted or cropped muscle tee and shorts.
4 | LAYERING
Layering is a big trend, and it’s more than just a classic fitting cardigan over an A-line dress. Combine multiple layers of different textures and fabric thicknesses together. Think collared shirts worn under an oversized sweatshirt. Long sleeve sweatshirts or tees underneath short-sleeve T-shirts. Or a chunky knit cardigan worn over bib overalls.
5 | CHUNKY KNITS
Chunky knit sweaters, in a loose or oversized fit, are popular. You can find them in more nature inspired hues on sites like Jamie Kay or Fin & Vince. Chevron prints, bright colors, and whimsical-yet-loud prints.
6 | QUILTED JACKETS
Quilted jackets, and quilted vests and quilted tops and other quilted garments, are in. It’s a fun way to add some dimension to kids’ clothing that comes in cleaner lines and more sedate colors. And the trend isn’t just for little girls – it’s for babes and kids of all ages and genders.
7 | MINIMALIST
Clean, simple lines are in. Minimalism has always been an adult aesthetic, but now there are lots of pared down options for toddler girls and boys too. Plain simple cuts in neutral tones. Without loud colors or prints, or embellishments like lace and sequin, the emphasis is on quality, structure, and silhouette with exceptional tailoring or stitching.
Minimalist clothing can be a bit harder to keep clean (a solid milky white tee shows everything), but they are far more versatile. A simple, clean yet elegant A-line peach cotton dress can be worn anywhere. A lacy little girl dress, with tulle or crinoline, an underskirt, sash, and fussy buttons isn’t going to get much wear.
Where to Shop: Gray Label, Millk, Goumi Kids, Colored Organics, Childhoods, Illoura the Label, Beya Made
8 | TEXTURED
With cute toddler clothes and kid clothes getting more basic in structure and colors shifting to a more monochrome palette, texture is big. Texture is a way to add depth, interest, and a lot of fun to an otherwise somber ensemble.
Trending textures to explore include linen, ribbed, waffle, quilted, crocheted, chunky knit, terrycloth, or muslin.
9 | ECO-CONSCIOUS OR ORGANIC
More and more consumers care about where and how their clothing is made. They’re valuing slower fashion, if not the slow fashion movement. There’s a growing preference for heirloom quality fashion that can be passed down. Many brands, including Alice & Ames and Polarn O. Pyret, will offer you gift cards and incentives to re-sell your used wears on resale apps like Kidizen or ThredUp. They know their clothing is built to last, and offering perks is an attractive value-add. Even fast fashion children’s clothing behemoth, Carter’s, has a spendier organic line called Little Planet.
SAVING MONEY AND GETTING THE BEST DEAL ON TRENDY TODDLER CLOTHES
You can find great deals on stylish toddler and children’s clothing from the niche and well-known brands that I’ve shared in this post.
Many of these brands have very few sales. Their clothing is priced higher because they are ethically made, heirloom quality goods. And they want to encourage more mindful shopping, with shoppers buying fewer pieces that can withstand generations of wear.
Beya Made, for example, makes quality pieces that can be worn by the same child for 3 years. Pieces are designed with features that allow the garment to grow with the child.
Frankly, a $168 girl’s dress is not in my family’s budget. No matter how many wears I can get out of it. Even if I can resell it on a BST group or on Poshmark for $50 or more, that price point is just not affordable.
You can still buy quality clothing, swimwear, and accessories at great prices for your little ones.
Wait for the Best Clearance Markdowns and Sales
You’ll need to be really patient. While it feels like sales are a dime a dozen (and they are for many brands), boutique brands like Fin & Vince or Jamie Kay don’t have as many as Old Navy or the GAP. Once or twice a year, you can score some really great deals like $7 sweaters or $7 rompers. Wait for these brands to have an online “outlet” selection of goods. If you don’t know when the lowest prices will happen, email the store and ask.
Shop Mystery Box Sales
For some brands, these will happen 2 to 3 times a year. Or even less frequently. You can indicate gender and size, and you’ll be sent a certain number of pieces. You can save 30% to 60% off full retail price. But all sales are final. These mystery boxes can sell out quickly. Follow a brand’s Instagram or Facebook page, or email the brand and ask.
Facebook BST Groups
Facebook BST Groups (or Buy Sell Trade Groups) are a good place to find deals on kids’ clothing of all brands and all conditions. For higher-end brands, you’ll find very dedicated shoppers. You can find a number of groups themed around selling, buying, and discussing specific labels like Hanna Andersson, Mini Boden, Well Dressed Wolf, and hundreds more.
>>> Read more about Buy Sell Trade Groups (and all the deals you’ve been missing)!
You can find Instagram accounts set up for people (mostly moms) re-selling their kids used (or not even worn) kids’ clothing. As with Facebook, higher-end brands and boutique labels are the most popular ones.
Rummage Sales and Garage Sales
Look for local, multi-family sales and make a point to be there at the start of the sale. You can find these advertised in Facebook Marketplace and Facebook garage sale groups. Look for ones where they advertise what sorts of brands will be there. Oftentimes, you can find popular labels at half the price or less of what they would go for in BST groups or resale apps.
Once Upon A Child
Once Upon A Child can be a major treasure trove of trendy clothes from coveted, popular labels. Target, Walmart, GAP, and Old Navy are by far the most popular brands I’ve seen carried there. But I’ve found lots of other brands there, including Zara, Quincy Mae, Rylee + Cru, Hanna Andersson, Mini Boden, L’ovedbaby, KicKee Pants, Rags, Tea Collection, UGG, Nike, L.L. Bean, Land’s End, Matilda Jane, and Jamie Kay.
Shop early morning during the week to find your best assortment of clothing and shoes. If you wait until Saturday mid-morning or later, the best items will be picked over. For a full range of choice, go mid-week. If you have to go on the weekend, try to be there first thing in the morning.
>>> Related: Check out these 5 tips you didn’t know to get top dollar when selling at Once Upon A Child
Plan Your Purchase More Strategically
I said earlier that $168 is just not in the budget for a girl’s dress. When I see prices like $10 to $20 or less everywhere I go, slow fashion price tags can make your head spin.
But when I buy something for my kids, I tell myself it has to pass the 14-wear rule. My child has to be able to wear that item at least 14 times. Doing that has helped dramatically curb my purchases and edit my child’s wardrobe. I’m pickier about what I buy. It has to “go” with everything in their wardrobe, and with my family’s lifestyle.
Are you willing to spend $38 on a kid’s T-shirt from Oeuf? At first blush, probably not. Now imagine that you are going to buy only 2 or 3 tees for your kids – tees that are going to be washed and re-washed all summer long. You may want to buy a dozen T-shirts at JCPenney, because you want the variety and the fun character prints. And I understand the upside of this approach. But if you want quality, less is more.
I’ve purchased a couple of really high-quality $40 T-shirts for my daughter. I bought them one size up so she can get 2 years wear. And they will be washed and re-washed ad nauseam, before being passed down to her younger brother. And then sold on Kidizen or Mercari.