You only have to look at the number of flourishing designer kids’ boutiques and doggy parlours to know that, even in a bad economy, people love spending money on their children and pets. And there is something irresistible about those über-tasteful French clothing companies like Caramel and Bonton. But my God, the prices! Yes, I love that little check shirt, but am I really going to spend 90 quid on it? I think not. Here’s how to dress your child nicely without horrifying your bank manager.
Junior Style’s three-day sales, held near Old Street roundabout, have been attracting North London yummy mummies since 2004. And with children’s entertainers, a baby/toddler playpen and Baby Björn carriers available to borrow, this is one sample sale you can bring your kids to. Non-Londoners needn’t feel left out as the company now holds online flash sales, which offer up to 75% off brands such as Emma Levine, Christa Davis and Little Legends.
Caramel – the beautiful, if heart-stoppingly expensive brand of choice for the young and immaculately dressed – has occasional sample sales worth seeking out, with beautifully made pieces going for as little as a fiver. Held alternatively in church halls in Balham and Islington, check the website or Daily Candy for details of the next one. Chelsea Town Hall plays host to a number of kids’ sample sales throughout the year. Keep abreast of these here.
Discount sites and outlets
Half-Pint Chic negotiates big-brand discounts on designer kids’ clothes. Sign up and you’ll receive weekly emails announcing the start of each sale. These last 72 hours and offer 70% off, so stock shifts pretty fast.
Bicester Village, the Oxfordshire retail village, has outposts of those Sloaney favourites, Petit Bateau, Marie-Chantal and Bonpoint, which Kate Moss’s little bridesmaids wore so sweetly. Expect discounts of up to 60%.
Online sale sites
Green Baby sells great knockabout kids’ clothes that boast organic and fair-trade credentials. Its website has a permanent sale section – current bargains include boys’ shorts for £4.50. Mini Boden usually has items on sale, while at the All Saints Archive store, you’ll find past seasons’ kids’ clothes with 60% off.
Those chichi children’s boutiques often have online sale sections worth a look. Check out Alex and Alexa and Olive Loves Alfie, the award-winning ‘family lifestyle store’ in Stoke Newington, which sells toys, books and home décor, alongside trendy clothing. Deluna Kids, one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourites, is currently doing 40% discounts online, while Primrose Hill shop Elias and Grace has an impressive 70% off.
The French don’t have the monopoly on making stylish kids’ clothes – the Scandinavians are doing a pretty good job, too. Check out the half-price sale section at Scandinavian Minimall, where you’ll find the likes of Mini Rodini, Cheap Monday and Swedish Hasbeens.
La Fille Unique offers high-end children’s clothes from brands such as Little Paul and Joe, Emile et Rose and Kenzo Kids. A lot of it is nutso expensive, but there are often discounts available and you can search by price, making it easy to navigate the cheap stuff.
eBay has a wealth of gorgeous baby clothes, but you need to know where to look or you risk ending up with a bundle of someone else’s manky polyester. Search for the high-end brands – Bobo Choses, Bonton, Tartine et Chocolat, Osh Kosh (for its classic dungarees) and you’ll often be rewarded with low, low prices. While you’re at it, why not search for Chloe, Marni and Stella McCartney, all of which do kids’ ranges?
Any other cheap designer destinations for kids’ clothes I should know about? I’d love to hear from you!