Ask Design Mom: Holiday Dresses

October 19, 2006

Shannan from Michigan writes: I am looking for fairly inexpensive, cute matching Holiday Dresses for my daughters. I have one that is a princess and one that’s a tom-boy but too young to know, so I want something a little “foofy”, as my oldest, Abbigail would say. Any suggestions?

Thanks Shannan for the excellent question:
For fairly inexpensive dresses for baby to 4T (
the big girl options aren’t as cute), I think Children’s Place is carrying some good looking “foofy” options this year. They are in the $40 range, but if $40 is more than you want to spend, you’re in luck, because they markdown every couple of weeks. I like this red velvet ribbon dress paired with this crisp white collared shirt and I really, really like this satin and lace dress in winter white.

Note: Sometimes Children’s Place doesn’t know when to stop — think Angela’s rosettes on Project Runway. I’d have to see it in person, but I’d be tempted to remove the bow on the velvet ribbon dress.

Gymboree also has some way cute and “foofy” options this year in sizes for baby through 12 years. And Gymboree has recently become more aggressive with markdowns, so watch for sales on these as well. I love the Red Tulle Twirl Dress and the Plaid Dress and the (decidely unfoofy but still wonderful) Houndstooth Jumper. They carry coordinating shirts for the sleeveless dresses.

With pretty much all of these dresses I would finish with white tights and black patent-leather shoes. (I find my daughter’s holiday shoes and tights at Target.)

Other places I can usually find fairly inexpensive holiday dresses are TJ Maxx and Costco. Both stores sometimes carry Laura Ashley dresses for girls that are gorgeous. The versions at TJ Maxx will be better quality and more expensive, but then again, how often is this dress going to be worn? Does it need to be the best quality? Also, if you have one in Michigan, I found holiday dresses one year at H&M; that I loved, loved. So far, I haven’t seen anything at Gap or Old Navy that is impressing me for the Holidays — maybe they haven’t put everything out yet.

Pretty much everything else I’ve seen is in the $80 range, which I don’t call fairly inexpensive for a little girl’s dress. Has anyone else out there spotted a fabulous dress for the holidays? Josh, I certainly hope you’ll chime in.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy October 19, 2006 at 10:50 am

Target always has cute little girl dresses for cheap. But the cutest ones go first, so you have to keep your eye out.


2 Josh October 19, 2006 at 11:47 am

Your wish is my command, Design Mom. I manage and OshKosh store, and we have some cute options. Our dresses only go up to a 4T (We have a red and a red and navy plaid.) We carry girls sizes up to a 16, and even though the dresses stop at a 4T the collection (It’s called Rustic Charm) would have coordinating pieces for the older girls. So maybe the youngest wears the red and navy dress and the older girl wears our red and navy plaid kilt with a red turtleneck sweater. Our prices can’t be beat either. Nothing is more than $40 and all of the Rustic Charm collection is currently 25% off. Unfortunately our website doesn’t show our clothinng, but find the store nearest you at


3 Shannan October 19, 2006 at 12:10 pm

Thanks, Design Mom! What is funny is that I am an assistant manager at Gymboree. I guess I just tire of the same ol, same ol. I think I may try the winter white dress from Childrens place. I think it’s darling, and really different from other things. I appreciate the help, and the other great things I take with me from your blog!


4 Anonymous October 19, 2006 at 12:57 pm

I want that houndstooth jumper for myself!


5 Design Mom October 19, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Shannan, so funny you work at Gymboree. I should have suggested some harder-to-find stuff, but the hard-to-find stuff is generally so pricey.

Have you heard of They carry a ton of stuff. It’s mostly lame, but their Ralph Lauren stuff is pretty. I have no idea if and when they have sales.

Janie and Jack (isn’t that the same parent company as Gymboree?) has a floral silk dupioni dress that’s beautiful for $68.

Hanna Andersson has some good options in the $38 & $48 range.

Josh, thanks for the suggestions. I’m going to check out the Rustic Charm collection.

Amy, thanks for remembering the never-fail Target.


6 Design Mom October 19, 2006 at 1:22 pm

So I just did any Ebay search: “holiday dress girl 3″. (I don’t know what size your girls are, but 3 seemed pretty neutral.) 323 things came up. I only looked at the 1st page but I saw a handful of good-looking options, lots were new.

Good luck.


7 Kacy October 19, 2006 at 1:52 pm

There is a pretty plaid, old-fashioned, smocked corduroy dress at Landsend for $47 (size 2t-8). I’m thinking it will look good with plaid ties for the boys.


8 Bek October 19, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Have you seen Hanna Anderson? They have really pretty plum colored dresses for 50$ and several really pretty blue (bright blue…not dk blue) and silver/white options. Most people don’t think of Hanna!! They are great.


9 Design Mom November 5, 2006 at 9:33 pm

Kacy, just saw the Land’s End dresses. Very cute. Their plaid option is also very pretty. I think Gap is doing something similar in baby sizes.

Costco update. I was there yesterday (November 4th) and there were several Laura Ashley options for $30 in little girl sizes. Lots of navy and cream.


10 Alexis December 28, 2006 at 1:42 am

I really love Old navy for some cute girls dresses. But, I my favorite has always been the Biscotti Dresses. I Look for sales and I can get them at a discount!


11 Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 2:52 am

Nice dresses…..


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