Whether you can’t coax your toddler out of their tutu or your tween will only wear crop tops, finding clothes that make you and them happy can be a challenge. Add in shopping-induced tantrums, unexpected growth spurts and the need to be as practical as possible and it can be hard to know where to start.
It’s also worth considering shopping more sustainably by choosing responsible or organic brands or even buying better quality items that can be passed down to siblings or friends in future.
From big name high street stores to smaller British designers, we’ve chosen our favourite childrenswear brands to suit every age, budget and style so you know where to head if you need PJs or party dresses.
Best for: Designer clothes without the price tag
Ages: 0 – 14
Though you might not have considered pre-loved clothes for your children before, this brilliant online store will definitely make you rethink. Established in 2018, it aims to extend the lifespan of luxury clothes and cut waste, offering designer kids’ fashion at up to 80 per cent off the original retail prices.
Clothes are sourced from the private collections of popular influencers including Hannah Stafford Taylor and The Fashion Bug Blog plus celebrities such as Pearl Lowe and Mary McCartney. Many clothes listed have also been used by stylists on photoshoots so are barely worn yet can no longer be sold as new so the site includes immaculate pieces from the likes of Dior, Stella McCartney and Gucci.
We tried a striped Burberry t-shirt that looked as good as new on arrival yet cost less than half the original retail price, which immediately sent us scrolling to pick up even more bargains. Want to try before you buy? The store has a concession in Selfridges Oxford Street and regular pop ups in locations including Fenwick Brent Cross and Bentalls in Kingston.
Polarn O. Pyret
Best for: Clothes made to last
Ages: 0 – 12
Swedish brand Polarn O. Pyret have been producing high quality, organic clothes for babies and children for over 45 years. They’re most famous for their unisex collections, classic stripes and Scandi prints and promise every garment should last through at least three children, making their clothes fantastic investments for future siblings. Their commitment to sustainability also means they’ll fix zips and broken poppers on any PO. P coat no matter when it was bought.
We love the fact their website isn’t split into boys’ and girls’ sections but divided into ages instead and we couldn’t get enough of their organic t-shirts, cute printed pyjamas and quirky sweatshirts. The coats are the stars of the show though, made to withstand all-day play in even torrential rain and snow yet so soft and breathable even our fussy mini tester didn’t moan about wearing one.
Best for: Italian flair
Ages: 0 – 14
Ever wondered how Italian children appear so damn stylish while yours always look like they’ve scrambled up a tree and slept in their clothes afterwards? Il Gufo is their secret weapon. Started in 1980 as a small family business, the brand focus on top quality materials and exquisite craftsmanship to produce classic clothes that don’t date. They now have a store in South Kensington and a concession in Harrods and recently hit the headlines when Prince George wore one of their checked shirts at Sandringham. Follow the royal lead and invest in sumptuous separates including pristine – though unfussy – dresses, go-with-anything trousers and simple plain sweatshirts elevated by tiny details such as balloon sleeves, lurex yarn or hand embroidery.
Best for: Fashion-conscious teens
Ages: 9 – 15
Buying clothes for your children once the teenage years approach is a whole new challenge. Suddenly they have very strong opinions on what they will – and crucially won’t – wear, are hyper-conscious of what their friends think and won’t be seen dead in that unicorn t-shirt/dinosaur jumper they used to love. With so many brands still only offering teens bigger versions of clothes designed for young children, New Look is a godsend. Their 915 range bridges the gap between kiddie fashion and adult’s style brilliantly, with accurate sizes that work on growing bodies and youthful touches so clothes don’t seem overly grown-up. Their new autumn/winter seasons even features popular teen influencers Grace Conder and Amelie Hobson alongside 10-year-old Ava, who contacted New Look to explain she felt under-represented in stores and on social media. Clothes-wise, expect well-priced basics including cropped, pastel-coloured cardigans, ripped jeans, knit hoodies and sweatshirts and joggers your teen will live in all winter.
Best for: Organic clothes
Ages: 0 – 10
With their sunny prints, playful details and bright colours, Frugi’s clothes are certain to make you smile. You can feel good about buying from this Cornish brand too as the company uses 100 per cent GOTS certified organic cotton for 90 per cent of their clothing. The remaining 10 per cent is made from old polyethylene plastic bottles spun into yarn to produce a durable water-proof fabric for outwear, swimwear and accessories including wellies and lunch bags.
Parents will love the thoughtful practicality of pieces with reversible styles and adjustable waistbands, while the everyday cuffed leggings we tested had useful reinforced knees but still felt blissfully soft to wear. Decorated in fun prints including rockets, camper vans, stars and animals, their pyjamas will make even the tiniest terror look utterly irresistible at bedtime too.
Best for: Traditional luxury
Ages: 0 – 14
British designer Rachel Riley is the name-to-know for royal children watchers, with the Kensington children often snapped in her cute but traditional clothes. Most recently, Princess Charlotte wore a Rachel Riley floral dress for the official photo released to mark her sixth birthday, while Prince George has worn the brand several times including to Charlotte’s christening and on his first trip to Australia. Other famous offspring who love Riley’s luxurious, classic designs include Sarah Jessica Parker’s children, Suri Cruise and Harper Beckham.
We especially like Riley’s divine vintage-style party dresses. The heritage collection of cashmere cardigans and cord shorts and shirt sets are beyond-adorable, while the red unisex snowflake sweater in a cosy wool and cashmere mix is the Christmas jumper of dreams.
Best for: No hassle shopping
Ages: 0 - 15
No time to traipse round shops looking for the perfect outfit for that last-minute party or outing? F&F Clothing from Tesco means you can pick up exactly what you need while you’re doing your weekly shop, a lifesaver for busy parents juggling a million things at once. Think brilliantly-priced basics like soft jogger sets, padded coats, jeans and zip-through hoodies, but also branded items your kids will love from Xbox, Nerf, Minions, Marvel and Peppa Pig.
It’s also great for affordable, nice-to-have items that won’t be worn much such as novelty Halloween-themed t-shirts or sparkly party wear. The full range is in store at Tesco but selected items are now also available from Next online if you prefer to shop from your sofa.
Jojo Maman Bébé
Best for: The early years
Ages: 0 – 6
Jojo Maman Bébé is already an established go-to name for maternity outfits, nursery equipment and the most covetable babywear - and there’s no need to look elsewhere once your tot heads to school. The brand’s extensive children’s collection suits boys and girls up to the age of six and includes pretty dungarees, reversible hoodies, Breton tops and Fair Isle cardigans, all in stunning autumnal shades of mustard, navy and rose. We particularly loved the glow-in-the-dark pyjamas printed with unicorns, dinosaurs or spacedogs that our mini-tester couldn’t wait to wear - and didn’t want to be parted from, even when they had to go in the wash.
Best for: Brightly-coloured quality
Ages: 0 – 14
Boden has long been the star of British school gates, dressing yummy mummies in elegant tailoring, bold prints and practical, top-quality pieces that don’t slavishly follow fashion but always look good. Their childrenswear range, Mini Boden, is equally timeless and made for children to have adventures in with hard-wearing fabrics, vibrant don’t-show-the-stains colours and materials that can be washed again and again without fading or bobbling.
They’re already a favourite with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who dressed baby Archie in a grey cashmere jumper from Mini Boden on his first royal Christmas card.
Try them for snug padded jackets in winter-brightening shades, jersey dresses made for slinging on over leggings and essentials like hoodies, woolly hats and fleeces with child-friendly extras like woodland animal prints, reinforced knees, Borg lining and comfy waistbands.
Best for: Hard-wearing outdoor clothes ready for anything
Ages: 0 - 16
For outdoor wear that means business, there is no one better than Isbjörn, a Swedish brand established in 2005 by two mums looking to keep their children safe and warm during harsh Stockholm winters.
They now use only top-notch technical and environmentally friendly materials that will see your child through anything the weather can throw at them, whether they’re walking to school or scaling the ski slopes. Highlights include the brand’s trademark Penguin Winter Playsuit and the Husky Base Layer range made with sustainably sourced natural bamboo fibres and merino wool. Even our fashion-conscious teen tester was excited to wear the Carving Winter Jacket on an upcoming ski trip while we were impressed by its protective taped seams, extendable cuffs and warm but slimline PrimaLoft padding.
Best for: Everyday essentials and trends
Ages: 0 – 14+
Whether you’re looking for hardwearing jogging bottoms, holiday swimwear or school coats, high street favourite H&M is a one-stop shop to cover all bases. Trendy enough for the most eye-rolling teen, reasonably-priced clothes are good quality and wash well, while younger children will love their range of fancy dress and items branded with Ninjago, Harry Potter, Marvel and more.
Standout pieces include denim in every colour, slogan sweatshirts, soft cotton t-shirts and an oversized twill shirt jacket our hard-to-please teen was smitten with. We were also impressed by the vast selection of accessories available including everything from water-repellent gloves to scrunchies while the brand new Functional Outdoors collection due in stores in October includes ski jackets, cosy fleeces, bobble hats and sturdy snow boots made entirely from sustainable fabrics.
Vild House of Little
Best for: Basics that last
Ages: 0 – 6
If you prefer minimalist chic and simple tailoring, Vild House of Little are the ultimate fuss-free childrenswear solution. The Swedish brand focuses on eco materials and hard-wearing clothes, and often collaborates with the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Shoreditch Studios. Charity work is essential to the company’s ethos too with regular limited edition prints and one-off events to raise money for the likes of mothers2mothers and Synchronicity Earth.
Collections include limited edition prints, organic cotton and sleek Scandinavian designs that will always look stylish. We’re particularly taken by their velvet dresses in simple block colours, soft sweaters and hoodies dyed with eco-friendly beetroot residue and undyed organic cotton bodysuits for babies that any new parent will love.