November has proven to be an unusually expensive month for dressing our 16-month-old daughter. She did some growing and transitioned out of 18-month-old clothes and into the 24-month size. With the arrival of winter weather and the holidays just around the corner, I also invested in appropriate clothing for the weather and season. When you factor in all those changes to our toddler's winter wardrobe, it's no wonder that our spending increased this month. Fortunately, I purchased most of the clothes on sale (and saved a small fortune along the way).
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Dessa's wardrobe includes a few splurges (like the investment in high-quality shoes), but for the most part, her clothes are purchased sensibly. We keep Dessa's wardrobe relatively small because we want to maximize the use she will get out of each item in her closet. Dessa's holiday dresses are perfect examples.
Dessa's Thanksgiving Outfit
We didn't purchase a new dress (or cute little turkey outfit) for Dessa to wear at Thanksgiving this year. Instead, she will wear the same adorable Matilda Jane jumper that she's been wearing to every special occasion this fall. We were generously gifted with several Matilda Jane pieces last year and I fell in love with the quality and unique style of the clothes. I wanted Dessa to have one special MJ item in her closet this fall, so we splurged on the cutest little jumper and she has already gotten enough wear from the outfit that I'm glad we purchased it and I'm happy to dress her in it once again this Thanksgiving. Dessa doesn't need a brand new outfit for the occasion – I just want her to wear something that feels seasonally special. The colors and style compliment the holiday well.
Dress – Little Jumper Dress from Matilda Jane Clothing
Shirt – size down to layer under a jumper or overalls
Tights – love the thickness and warm off-white color of this pair
Shoes – she's been wearing these nearly every day since the summer
Bow – her ZoZu baby bow is out of stock, but this one on Etsy is cheaper
Dessa's Christmas Outfit
Much like Dessa's Thanksgiving outfit, I wanted to select a Christmas dress that was sensible, comfortable, and could be worn often. Michigan temperatures can be frigid and we don't see the sense in dressing a baby in short sleeves for the holiday. A comfortable toddler is a happy toddler, so I searched high and low for a simple dress made from comfortable fabrics that she would happily wear all day throughout the winter. When I finally found this ruffled plaid dress at Gap Kids, I knew it was perfect! We already wore the dress to visit Santa last week and it was exactly the look I wanted.
Dress – love how comfortable and versatile the plaid is
Shoes – a splurge, but also versatile enough to be worn often this winter
Tights – this crisp white pair helps to brighten up the dress
Bow – still waiting on hers to arrive, but this one on Etsy is cheaper
Dessa's plaid dress and jumper are the only two dresses in her closet this season. She doesn't often have a need to dress up, so most of her wardrobe consists of basic clothes for play that easily mix and match for maximum use throughout the winter.
Clothes for Fun Events with Friends
When we have plans to leave the house and visit with friends or family, I try to dress Dessa in nicer clothes than what she wears to run around the house. All of these items are comfortable and they are great basic items that she will wear on repeat. I also love that the red and pink pieces will look good any day, but will serve double duty as festive attire for Christmas and Valentine's Day. I waited for a sale to purchase all of the tops and bottoms, and the savings really added up. The shoes are investment items, but quality shoes are so important for Dessa's development right now and I love that Mary Janes serve double duty as play shoes and dress up shoes during the winter months. She will outgrow her silver shoes soon, so I sized up when I purchased the black patent leather pair. Click any image below for easy shopping links.
1. Red and White Striped Peplum top – I love that Dessa looks like a cute little candy cane when she wears this top. The poplin ruffle along the bottom makes this super-simple shirt feel like a special occasion top. It looks adorable with her ruffle butt jeggings, white socks, and black Mary Janes!
2. White Hi-Low Essential Tee – These tops are my absolute favorite pieces from Carters. They are super-basic, but the gathered fabric at the neckline adds a little pop to the shirt and the hi-lo style provides extra coverage in the back so her diaper doesn't show when Dessa bends over. Size down for a perfectly snug layer under a jumper or overalls (we size up when Dessa wears a hi-low top with leggings for playing around the house).
3. OshKosh B'Gosh Heart Overalls – Rob's mom bought these adorable pink overalls as a birthday gift for Dessa and they are absolutely precious! I think every toddler needs to have a pair of overalls in the rotation and I love the soft pink color and heart pocket detail of this pair. They look adorable with Dessa's silver shoes!
4. Pink and White Stripe Peter Pan Collar Shirt – All it takes is a rounded Peter Pan collar to make a basic striped top extra sweet. I love the easy-going, preppy style of this shirt. It looks adorable with jeggings, silver shoes and a white bow!
5 – 7. Black, White, and Red Bows – I love how sweet a bow looks in Dessa's hair, but I don't have the budget to purchase a separate coordinating bow for all of her outfits. I also don't want to have 50 bows all over the house. She already owns a white bow that matches 90% of the clothes in her closet and I recently ordered a solid black and a solid red bow for Dessa's winter wardrobe. Dessa's next bows will be ordered from Blakely and Rose on Etsy. The store seems to have affordable bows in lots of basic colors with a quick shipping turnover (which is more than I can say about the two bows I just ordered).
8. Car Peplum Legging Set – As much as I love versatile clothes that can be worn beyond Christmas, I couldn't resist buying this little peplum outfit for Dessa. It will be a great casual outfit for some of our holiday functions and playgroups this season.
9. Ruffle Trip Denim Leggings – These are without a doubt, the most versatile item in Dessa's closet. The denim coordinates with all of her tops, the leggings are comfortable for my little mover, and the ruffles are too cute for words. Old Navy baby leggings have been my very favorite ever since Dessa was a newborn and now that she currently wears the largest size, I'm sad that this will be her last season with a ruffle butt!
10 – 11. Leather Mary Jane Velco Shoes – Dessa has had her silver pair of See Kai Run leather Mary Janes since the summer and she has gotten so much use out of them. I wouldn't have paid full price for the shoes out of pocket, but we had a Nordstrom gift card that covered most of the cost. Dessa has walked for miles indoors and outside and the shoes have held up remarkably well. She also gets compliments on her shoes every single time she wears them out of the house. I know that she will soon outgrow the silver shoes and I've been on the lookout for a replacement pair. We went back to Nordstrom last week and bought a black patent leather pair (also from See Kai Run) at full price. These were the shoes that pushed us over budget for the month. We decided to keep the shoes and I'm so glad we did. While technically a dress shoe, the black Mary Janes work perfectly with a pair of denim leggings and a nice top and I'm certain we will get plenty of use out of them this winter.
Everyday Clothes to Wear at Home
As much as I adore the winter clothes I bought for Dessa to wear when we are visiting with family and friends, she also has several carefree, low-maintenance items in her closet that she wears around the house. I shop sales at Carters and got most of the shirts for about $5 each. (Click on any picture below for easy shopping links.)
1 -3. Graphic Print Long Sleeve T-Shirts – I don't generally care for children's graphic print t-shirts. Most of them are too busy for my taste and filled with cartoon characters. As much as I adore Carters clothes, most of their graphic print shirts are too much for me as well. I found a few shirts this season that are relatively low-key and I knew would make Dessa happy. The Auntie's Bestie Forever shirt is a bit of an inside joke. Rob's sister bought a 3-month size bodysuit with this design for Dessa when she was born. I know how much Aunt Krissy adores Dessa, so I keep sizing up the shirt every time Dessa outgrows it. Dessa loves dogs and she has a cute little pair of plastic glasses that she enjoys playing with at home, so the Pugs and Kisses shirt was too cute to pass up. Plus I love the ruffle detail on the sleeves. The Best Day Ever shirt has sequins all over the heart design – which Dessa can't get enough of!
5. Silver Mary Jane Shoes – These were such a great summer splurge and they go with just about every item in her closet. The shoes are from See Kai Run and they are super-durable, comfortable and give her great support. Dessa will keep on wearing these silver shoes until they no longer fit.
6-7. Hi-Low Essential Tees – I adore these solid color shirts for Dessa. She has owned several hi-low tees in multiple sizes and colors. Right now she just has gray and white in her closet because they match anything and layer easily under a vest.
8. Long-Sleeve Printed Bodysuits – Dessa rarely wears bodysuits anymore, but sometimes I want her to make sure her tummy stays covered when we go outside. Carter's always has the best deals on their bodysuit multi-packs and this was no exception. I'm also so sad that this will be her last season in bodysuits! Next time she sizes up, my little one will officially be wearing toddler clothes.
9. Casual Glitter Sneakers – As much as I love the silver Mary Janes, it's super-helpful to have a more casual shoe option for Dessa. These navy blue glitter sneakers are made by Carter's and they're more budget-friendly than the See Kai Run shoes, but they still offer decent support for my little walker.
10. Fleece Vest – There's no doubt that Dessa is a warm-blooded child and she easily overheats in too many cozy layers. But it's nice to have a convenient layer that gives her body a little help staying warm if she's just wearing a long-sleeve shirt. This fleece vest was actually part of a three-piece set. She may not wear the pants or top very often, but the vest gets plenty of use – especially in our older, drafty house.
11. Old Navy Ruffle Denim Leggings – I cannot say enough good things about these denim leggings. They are the very best pants in Dessa's closet. They fit great, are comfortable, wash up nice no matter how much food she drops on them, and they go with all of her tops. If you have a baby girl, you need these jeggings!
Outerwear for Winter Adventures
As much as I would like to wish the cold weather away, I know that it will be around for several months and my little peanut is going to need to dress appropriately outside. She has a few different outerwear options, depending on the weather and the temperature. (Click any image below for easy shopping links)
1. Zip-Up Quilted Heather Jacket – We bought this quilted jacket earlier this past September on our way to Mackinac Island and it has gotten plenty of use! The temperature outside is getting a little too cold for such a light layer, but it's perfect for trips in the car or a poorly heated Christmas event.
2. Black Waterproof Rain Boot – I love any opportunity to coordinate Dessa's outfit with what I'm wearing and lately I've been wearing my tall glossy black Hunter boots a lot. It was one thing to invest in a high-quality pair of shoes that Dessa will wear often, but I didn't see the sense in purchasing matching toddler Hunter boots for her. Luckily, I found this adorable pair of glossy black Western Chief boots on Amazon. They coordinate great with my Hunter boots and Dessa is obsessed with her black boots. She digs them out of her closet and insists on wearing them around the house every day.
3. White Sherpa Hat & Mitten Set – Like the quilted zip up jacket, this hat & mitten set was also purchased back in September and they are still used every single time we go outside. The super-soft sherpa keeps Dessa's hands and head extra warm and she rarely complains about having to wear the hat or gloves.
4. Polka Dot Snow Boots – As much as I adore those little black rain boots, I know they just won't cut it when the heavy snow arrives. I've been searching for an affordable pair of snow boots to match her winter coat and this gray polka dot pair is perfect!
5. Hooded Frost-Free Long Jacket – speaking of coats, I recently picked up this adorable blush pink winter coat for Dessa at Old Navy. The pale pink color is just our style and she loves the fur trim around the hood.
Dessa has a few other tops and bottoms in her wardrobe that she wears occasionally, but the items featured in this post make up 95% of what she wears on a regular basis. We always try to purchase versatile pieces that mix, match and can be worn often throughout a season to get the most out of our budget. Dessa always looks put together and it doesn't break the bank!