As a woman, I know how hard it is to find (and decide) on the perfect outfit for that Christmas party, and as both a child and fashion photographer, I know how it’s even harder to find that perfect little dress and perfect little jacket for your little girl. So after almost 3 years of Christmas photo sessions, I came up with a guide to help you figure out an outfit both you and your little love will adore.
Make Sure it’s Comfortable
I’m saying this first not because you should be searching for only “ultra ultra cloud/chinchilla soft Christmas clothes,” but because if you have your child wear something that is semi or all-out uncomfortable for more than 10 minutes, they are going to spend the whole event fidgeting or complaining. And as we know from wearing SPANX and 5” sparkly heels to these same events, you get fidgety real fast.
There are some brands that specialize in super soft and sensory-friendly children’s clothes (https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2013/01/21/8-online-stores-to-purchase-sensory-friendly-clothing/ and https://www.buttersupersoft.com I hear are great places to look) which would be lifesavers for some, but now that brands are focusing more on the child, you can find comfortable clothing almost anywhere you look.
Don’t Forget the Details
While uber simplistic children’s clothes are becoming popular, your child may not appreciate the trend. Every time I have a fashion shoot that has dresses with lots of beading/sparkles/lace/tulle, the girls can’t stop staring down and brushing the detailing. But make sure it’s about the child, not the dress, and that intricate designs don’t scratch your little one.
Some Holiday 2018 Trends
Though I don’t spend every minute keeping up to date on children’s fashion trends, I do spend a fair amount of time so I can give you insights. So without further ado, Here are the main trends I’m noticing this year and what they are:
* A sheath dress is basically a dress (typically just above the knee) that doesn’t have a waistline. It creates a 1920s glamorous and fun look. They’re also uber comfortable and cute! (See the GAP, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom for examples).
* While more casual dresses are taking on simplistic deign, more high-end designers are taking full advantage of luxury-looking fabrics or intricate patterns/detailing (See Tutu du Monde, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom especially).
Drop Waist Dresses
* This means exactly what it sounds like. These lowered waistlines typically sit mid-hip and were (and are) a highly used style in high-end couture clothing. (See Janie and Jack, the Gap, and Nordstrom for examples).
In my opinion, this high end but still comfortable children’s brand shines most in their holiday collections. This is the brand for you if you love bold colors and patterns, premium fabrics and timeless details. Imagine this sweater dress paired with some black or white tights and tiny red shoes, these bow tights with (let’s be honest) anything you can get your hands on, this drop waist rose gold party dress with a plush white fur shrug. Your child can wear any of these pieces to multiple occasions, which is a big money saver and cuteness raiser!
This is the stunning company that most often shows up in my shoots with their petite tulle skirts and intricate beading. They go up to size children’s size 16, so I’ve actually worn one for a ballet self-portrait session, and the dress was quite comfortable, so I definitely recommend it to any little who needs a bit more comfort while maintaining an old-world magical French style. A bit of sizing advice, they tend to run a bit big (especially the under 2, 7/8, and 14/16) so size down if your child is on the petite side. And if you are only looking to get an outfit for one event, you can go to Rainey’s Closet or The Borrowed Boutique (get 15% your rental using this link) and rent for 4 or 8 days for up to a third of the price. Though I do highly recommend adding them to your permanent wardrobe, even if it’s only or your next photo session with me or a ballet performance.
If your child is more of the spunky, sassy kind of girl, GAP is perfect for them. And they tend to have a lower cost as well, so you won’t have to worry about how your kid’s next growth spurt affects the next Christmas’ outfits.
The Plaid Dress is more of a campfire kind of dress rather than a party one but paired some kitten heels, fur, cute tights, and a hair bow, it can transform into a feminine tomboy mix outfit, which seems to describe so many littles. Oh and those velvet flats. Goodness those are pretty, am I right? And they’ll stay on better because of the ankle strap (that they likely won’t even feel)! And we both know how much kids of all ages love those “flip up” materials. You know, all the pillows at Hobby Lobby that they make you wait at so they can play with them. So the Star Sequin Dress is the please-all for cute party dresses. Just beware that the excess of sequin might bother more sensitive ones.
I’m so impressed with Dillard’s holiday collections this year! I feel like so many of their $100 dresses could walk the red carpet and if you didn’t check the materials, no one would notice any difference! I chose more “dressier” dresses for them because it’s often so rare to find a quality, elegant but fun gown for little girls, especially under $3000 (if you want my favorites for those, take a look at Mischka Aoiki ).
Shorter dresses and children’s versions of designer outfits are very trendy at Nordstrom girls this holiday season. But unlike traditional Nordstrom, I found that most of their girl’s special occasion dresses lean more toward the causal-side for little girls. The big girls (sizes 7-16) are quite fantastically fancy. I am absolutely in love with their use of textures and patterns that are subtle but increasingly elegant. The Embroidered Sheath Dress by Tadashi Shoji is the perfect understated sheath dress. Perfect for parties, portraits, even church! You can accessorize extravagantly or leave it as it is and it will be wonderful. But my personal recommendation for the perfect Nordstrom party dress is the Metallic Flower Jacquard Drop Waist Dress. While flowers aren’t typically part of most holiday collections, this dress by Oscar de la Renta incorporates them seamlessly. Plus, metallic is super on-trend right now, especially with younger audiences. And last but not least, this Embroidered Tulle Dress would be the perfect fit for your fashion-obsessed girl. Reminiscent of renaissance royal fashions mixed with the Russian ballet, it is such an elegant choice from Nordstrom.
Honestly, whatever you choose is going to be perfect. Because you’re their mom and you are a pro at picking out exactly what you both love. Hopefully, this guide will help you get through those holiday parties a bit easier. Oh and be sure to share this with your crazy friends too.
So happy holidays and Merry Christmas from Anne Bertelson Photography! I would love to hear which dresses you pick for your parties and events! And don’t forget to take a look at ABP’s Black Friday deals for Black Friday AND Small Business Saturday.