Polarn O. Pyret

May 25, 2011

We talked about Sweden yesterday and how serious the Swedes are about their outdoor gear (loving all the fantastic comments, by the way!). Today, let’s talk more about the gear itself. How they layer, what pieces they invest in, and how they get their money’s worth.

From what I understand, it’s a layering process. A specific one. You start with a first layer of 100% wool, or a synthetic material that will wick away moisture from the skin.

Next up, you add a warming layer, like fleece. And finally, you add weatherproof outerwear.

That’s it in a nutshell, but there’s a really helpful layering guide if you have a million questions and want more details (I did!).

Once they are properly layered, you send your kids off to school. When they get to school, if they’re going to be indoors, they take off the outer layers and spend their indoor time in that first wool/synthetic layer. They basically walk around school in their long underwear! I love that!! (Apparently, when they get older, they bring jeans to change into. : )

During my visit, I had a shift in thinking. I had been classifying Polarn O. Pyret’s outerwear as ski wear — pieces that will be worn for a couple of ski weekends and a snow day here and there. But the Swedes are thinking of them as everyday play wear. Sure they’re great for skiing and ice skating. But they’re also good for running, crawling in snow forts and playing tag. They’re warm and sturdy, but they’re made to move in.

Two examples. 1) We were examining a coat and they pointed out that the hood snaps off. And I was wondering why. They said, “You know, in case your child’s hood gets caught on a tree branch.” And I’m thinking whaaa? And then I remembered, that Swedish kids really do PLAY outside all winter long — including climbing trees. 2) Their outerwear comes with reflective sections. Again, I wondered why. They explained that it gets dark so early during Swedish winters, that kids end up playing outside when the sun is down. The reflective sections help ensure parents can spot their kids who are playing in the dark!

So, yes, the clothes are made to move in, and they’re also made to last.

When we were out to dinner, I spoke with some local moms and found out that Polarn O. Pyret is THE kids brand in Sweden. In fact, it’s such a big deal in Sweden, that there’s a huge second hand market for PO.P clothes.

Apparently, Swedish parents don’t think of it as a high price brand for two reasons: 1) They can resell the clothes easily — even after using them extensively. 2) The clothes are made well and many are intentionally designed in unisex colors. So big sister can hand her red parka down to little brother. Or vice versa.

So interesting to me!

But enough about the clothes, I want to tell you about our visit:

-The tour was of the headquarters was just what I love — visiting the design department, getting to peek at fabric samples and seeing how they handle color matching.

-We heard from their eco department. They take their social and environmental responsibilities very seriously. For example, they refuse to use feather down because it’s harvested cruelly.

- We saw a cute fashion show of adorable kids modeling the fall line.

- We were joined by Laura, one of Finland’s top bloggers, and met a famous Swedish blogger named Hannah. Both are models in real life. Of course they are.

- We got to visit a Polarn O. Pyret store. (Right now, there is only one brick and mortar store in the US. It’s in Greenwich CT. But you can shop online.) The store was so cute! They set it up by age. And within each age range they make 30% of the items for girls, 30% for boys and the rest is unisex. Pieces like their stripey tees can be worn by either girls or boys — they don’t add scalloped edges for the girls or truck motifs for the boys.

And they make the fixtures fun for kids to play in!

- After our tour, we went to dinner. Pictured below: Me on the left doing something weird with my eyes. Gina, a Design Mom reader who met us for dinner. She’s an American who has raised her family in Sweden for the last eight years. She’s fabulous! Linda, the amazing PO.P rep from the US who organized this whole trip. Kaisa, the PO.P rep from Finland who was super-friendly and has me thinking I need to visit Finland. And Laura — the top Finnish blogger who’s also game enough to crawl through store fixtures. : ) Jordan is taking the photo.

That was a long report. If you managed to make it to the end, I’d love your thoughts on investing in outerwear. Does $150+ seem reasonable for a parka your child will wear everyday (and that you might resell at some point)? What are your thoughts on hanging out in long-underwear at school?

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skye May 25, 2011 at 4:41 am

Those clothes are so nice. I am off to the online shop to see if they ship to Australia!

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2 Astrantia May 25, 2011 at 5:20 am

Welcome to Finland!

I have two children and I always get them Polarn O. Pyret (POP) outerwear, for winter and a lighter jacket and trousers for spring and fall. I don’t mind the price because the quality is good and I always re-sell the outerwear for about one third of the price I paid. In Scandinavia there is really good market for used POP clothes. And I love their striped t-shirts!

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3 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 5:50 am

I agree! The stripes are what made me first become a fan.

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4 Paula May 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Exactly! The clothes ARE expensive, but as you really, really need good outwear here, and you use them daily for most of the year, you pay for quality. A child needs a proper overall for the winter, and another for spring/autumn. Adding some layers depending on the weather and you’re good to go!

I mentioned that I’m a big fan of wool, which is why I’m so happy to see the comeback of traditional felt boots for both children AND adults. With woolly socks they are the warmest footwear I have ever had, and I think they are cute as well. Our whole family uses them when it’s cold and we want to play outdoors in the snow. Or what do you think:
http://www.lahtiset.fi/en/mallisto/original-by-lahtiset.html

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5 From Belgium May 25, 2011 at 5:27 am

I’m coveting those Wellingtons

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6 Heather May 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

Sounds like really smart design to me! I love the fact they added safety features to the clothes. I like to dress my 3-year-old son in bright colored coats so I can always spot him on the playground. It seems crazy to me that most of the boy clothes are navy and brown. They just blend in to the background, and my son at this age prefers bright colors anyway (the pinker the better!)

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7 angie May 25, 2011 at 5:52 am

I am loving this post! My boyfriend’s livelihood completely depends on the sales of outerwear! He has opened several of The North Face stores (which is what took us to Denver from KC and now, NYC). I actually worked there myself for a year and it was a great learning experience. I always had this annoyed perception about the absurd cost of high end gear, but after working there and living and playing in many different “pieces” in Denver myself, my view has changed. I think that it’s definitely worth spending good money on items that are made to last and that serve major purposes of warmth/dryness/durability. Especially if the company has a lifetime warranty, like TNF. Luke’s customer’s in White Plains consist mostly of parents shopping for their kids. They love the quality and are willing to pay high dollar, feeling assured that they will be warm and can play comfortably in the harsh, northeast winters and the sopping wet springs.

As for the long underwear at school? I figure as long as they are learning, having fun and feeling comfortable (not revealing too much) that I wouldn’t mind if my kids (when i have them someday) wore them indoors at their school! :)

How fun that you got to experience something like this!

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8 stacia May 25, 2011 at 6:00 am

I worked in an outdoor outfitter store for years and know all about the layering (and how fun it is to PLAY in the snow). So I get so frustrated looking for quality outerwear for my boy. I mostly insist on unisex clothes (especially investment pieces) knowing that whoever his sibling is is going to be wearing it too. even LLBEAN has gotten out of the unisex clothes thing. You can’t even buy a red coat anymore, and the girls jackets are tapered. Why does a kid need a tapered curvy jacket? I live in New England. We had a hard snowy winter. Our family rule was to spend at least an hour outside every day.Many people thought we were crazy. My 2.5 year old loved it and 1 hour often stretched into many. This company sounds awesome. And having some Scandinavian in me, all the calls to nature and design in their lifestyle speak to me deeply.

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9 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 6:11 am

I agree. The unisex thing is so handy — especially for investment pieces like outerwear. When Ralph was born, we were given a unisex red bunting and every one of my babies wore it. So great to be able to hand it down from boy to girl (to girl to boy to girl to girl : ).

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10 Denise Laborde May 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Sorry, just had to “hahaha” at Gabby’s last sentence on this comment…from boy to girl to girl to …

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11 Lee May 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I have tiny kids so only buy tapered curvy jackets. In fact, I’ll buy my son the girl tapered version in a masculine color.

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12 rhonda May 25, 2011 at 6:13 am

I live in the Deep South, so heavy outerwear isn’t that necessary. :)

However, I do purchase the lighterweight jackets/coats from reputable companies knowing that since the quality is better- it will last longer/wear better. Off to check out Polarn O. Pyret online store!

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13 Kady May 25, 2011 at 6:21 am

I think children in long underwear is adorable.

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14 senja May 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

I really love Polarn och Pyret. And yes, you are totally right, they are the trendiest and best kids brand in Sweden. You can also tell really easy if the clothing is P&P.

They have a smaller maternity line which is also really great. I bought a long nightgown in red and white stripes (although I’m not pregnant :)) and just love it as lounge wear. :)

I will definitely invest in some P&P (outer)wear for my future kids. BTW also grown ups dress in layers. It’s too cold in the winter not to :)

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15 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 8:27 am

Grab the maternity pieces while you can. A little birdie told me the maternity line would be phased out soon. : (

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16 senja May 26, 2011 at 4:18 am

oh really? that’s good to know, thanks!

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17 Angela May 25, 2011 at 7:53 am

Having lived in both Boston & Minneapolis, I am definitely a fan of layering! I wonder, is this brand significantly better/longer-lasting (to justify the higher cost) than LLBean or Land’s End? (or other similar American brands) I have found (esp since Sears started carrying Land’s End) that those can be bought for much, much less than the $150 parka you mention…just wondering.

Also, at this point I purchase unisex ONLY. (even though I have one that is super-princessy) Families with both (especially multiples of both) need the hand-me-downedness. :>

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18 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

Here’s my take, Angela. I’m a Lands’ End fan and carry their canvas totes regularly. Plus, both Maude and Olive wear Lands’ End parkas and they’ve been good. One downside: neither coat came in a cut or color that I could hand down to Oscar. The other downside, the Lands’ End coats don’t have as many features or details (like snap off hoods) as the PO.P coats.

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19 Julie May 25, 2011 at 9:12 am

wait! my kid’s navy blue lands end coat has a snap off hood. and I used it for a boy and girl. but it started as a hand me down and may be an older model.

I dont think the snap off hood is unique to this brand. We have several coats that have them. I’ve never liked them bcs we tend to snap them off in the Spring and then I can’t find them again the next winter. They end in the odd mitten drawer limbo I guess

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20 Sarah May 25, 2011 at 11:13 am

I read this post on my phone and got on my computer just to post a similar comment that Land’s End and LL Bean in the US seem similar. I just got a two layer parka for my son in orange (which seems really unisex) with a snap off hood and a zip out fleece liner with a water proof shell. I’m sure there are reflective logos on it. Heck my orange Land’s End parka with a snap off hood has reflectors on it.

I love European design too, but some US companies do try to meet these same needs for their customers.

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21 Angela May 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I confess that I have never had a snap-off hood, although Julie & Sarah below have had those… I am just such a fan b/c at the birth of my eldest, Lands’ End was the ONLY parka I could find that would allow him to be buckled into his carseat and not become a little red bubble about to burst. :> I love the totes, too.

I am posting again to say, I was struck by your punctuation of Lands’ End (the apostrophe). (Yes, I am an English teacher and I just.cannot.help.myself.) I went to their website, and voila, Design Mom’s is correct. I ADORE that they state on their website, “A lot of people ask why the apostrophe in Lands’ End is in the wrong place. There have been some silly explanations along the way, but the truth is, it was a mistake. It was a typo in our first printed piece, and we couldn’t afford to reprint and correct it.”

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22 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:04 am

I love that you took the time to look up info about the apostrophe!

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23 Allison May 25, 2011 at 8:10 am

Why, oh why are those red striped boots not available in adult sizes! I would wear them with such joy.

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24 Polarn O. Pyret--Linda May 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

Those boots will be available in adult sizes this fall!

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25 Lee May 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Awesome! I had the exact same thought.

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26 Denise Laborde May 25, 2011 at 8:21 am

I’ve never bought anything from PO.P but thank you for the introduction. (I had bookmarked the site when you mentioned what Santa brought a few months back.)

I have three sons and the two younger ones wear hand-me-downs galore. So, yes, 150euro for a parka is reasonable to when I consider it will be worn six years. Most time a parka makes it though two winters in our house.)

Through trial and error, I ve learned that the investment is worth it for clothes that seem expensive at the cash register but get worn a lot.

Bises
D

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27 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

I need to be better at thinking about purchases that way. Sometimes I just see the price tag and flinch. : )

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28 Kate May 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

If the quality is there, $150 isn’t too much. I live in the South, but we ski each year and we’ve had pretty cold winters the past three years. My daughter’s school still goes outside each day, so she needs good jackets. There is nothing worse than being cold, IMO, so I make sure she has a great warm jacket, hat, gloves, etc. Off to look at the POP website.

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29 Nicole May 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

Another funny thing about Swedish clothing is the sizing. I am quite petite and when I lived in Sweden I had to go shopping in the 10 year old section! Lucky for me they had nice clothing for children. I remember most that I bought a wonderful warm bathrobe that lasted about 15 years — it easily could have had a much longer life, but I was sick of it by then!

I love the unisex approach. Most of my daughter’s favorite things are her brother’s hand-me-downs (her “boyfriend” jeans) and hand me downs from a friend’s daughter in France — wonderfully girly in yellows, creams, reds and NO PINK. Im much more likely to spend money on something if it gets used every day or by more than one child. We’re lucky in SF, a light jacket works all year round (especially summer!).

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30 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:38 am

I’m always jealous of the weather in California. : )

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31 steph t. May 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

oooh… i love this!
i love all the unisex clothing.
not sure if my girls would be into it since they’re already so obsessed with pink/purple.
and i love the idea of wearing long underwear all day.
i could definitely get used to that!
ha ha!
and i don’t think $150 is too much for a parka since i live in the cold north either.

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32 Carla May 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

The clothing reminds me to Mountain Equipment Co-op here in Canada http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp Clothing that can be layered for all weather and activities, and it lasts! I bought my niece a fleece suit (jacket and pants) when she was a toddler 13 years ago. She wore it, my nephew wore it, then it came back to me and my sons both wore it and then my daughter. 5 kids over a 13 year span and then I sold it at Recycled Kids – pretty good for a $150 investment I would say. I have no trouble spending $15o on a quality jacket that will last through all my kids and then I just re-sell it.

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33 Emily May 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

I LOVE POP!! They are my favourite kids’ brand — my son especially loves his beluga whale wellies. The fact that they don’t embrace the pink/blue divide, and the good quality of their clothes and fab prints, makes them tops in my book!

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34 Emily May 25, 2011 at 8:45 am

p.s. I should also say that in Ireland, where I live, they do carry POP in the department stores… and it’s one of the few brands that have as much stuff for boys as girls (a real bugbear of mine!!)

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35 Elena May 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

I am in Montreal, Canada with four girls so spending the winter outside and paying a few hundred dollars for a winter gear ensemble is normal. It gets worn every day for six month, then again the next winter and then it is passed down to a younger sister. I love the PoP bathing suits for my girls! Unfortunately I love the clothes more then they do, they are not excessively feminine but they feel better with slender fitting clothes.

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36 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

It would be interesting to hear what a “normal” budget for outerwear is in a place like Arizona vs. Montreal. : )

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37 Margaret May 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Here’s someone from Arizona! We don’t really need a winter outerwear budget at all. My daughter (age 2) got through our ‘winter’ just fine with some cheapie fleece pullovers, long sleeved shirts, and one rain jacket. Our costs are more for summer: long sleeved bathing suits to cut down on UV exposure, sun hats, pool shoes, and then money to get out of southern AZ for at least a little bit so we can actually go outside. Most of our outside play time in June and July tends to be between 3-7 pm (in the water) or 7-9 pm (not in water). In the mornings and early afternoons it’s just too hot (115 F sometimes) and the sun is too blazing to go outside at all. :-(

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38 The Prudent Homemaker May 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I live in Las Vegas. You can find my children playing outside in their bare feet in the middle of winter :) I have to remind the children that it would be a good idea to wear some socks and shoes.

We wear light sweaters and jackets in the winter here. A long-sleeved cotton flannel shirt over a short-sleeved cotton shirt is sufficient for those who don’t get cold as easily. I have a thin woll-blend coat, and over a thin cotton sweater on the coldest days, that is sufficent. I am easily cold, so I’ll wear that while my husband wears short-sleeves :)

I buy used outerwear for most of my children, though I did make the last coat that myoldest daughter wore (materials were $45). I have a friend who visits in the Pacific Northwest all sumer, and she takes my list and buys my boys clothes for about $60-$80 for two of them for the year (not counting socks, underwear, or shoes) at garage sales. She bought my boys a Land’s End coat for $4; it was wonderful, and extra warm for here.

We have 5 months of above 90º temperatures. My first year here, it was 126º in the middle of September. One night last summer, I was getting into my car at the store. A little girl was getting out of the car next to mine, and she told her dad that it was hot. He sweetly informed her that “this isn’t hot”. It was 8 p.m. I got into my car, and checked the thermostat. It was 111º outside (a pretty normal evening temperature). Here, the children play in the dark in the summer, after 8, so that they don’t get burned on the playground equipment. Daytime play is simply too hot for half of the year.

Though my children go barefoot most of the year, they do wear sandals from May-September, so that they don’t get burned on the concrete patio (second-degree burns are possible). We wear thin clothing (cotton and linen are my favorites; I live in cotton blouses and linen skirts in the summer; my girls wear dresses every day).

My children loved hearing about the layers and the long underwear at school. Layers are so foreign to them, so it was a lot of fun to show them what the children wear in a cold climate.

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39 sarah May 25, 2011 at 8:45 am

i’m loving the po.p stuff, but haven’t purchased anything yet. i think that part of our issue is that my son is 14 months old, and since babies grow so quickly nothing (no matter how well made) lasts long simply because he outgrows it. thankfully i think that he is beginning to enter a phase of being one size for slightly longer, so it might be time to start looking at some pieces as investments. the tricky part will be convincing my husband, who is definitely a ‘price tag flincher.’ he refuses to spend more than $30 on his own jeans, even if he plans on wearing them for years and years :P

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40 Mai Weston May 25, 2011 at 9:15 am

I’ve bought quite a few pieces from Polarn O Pyret for my 2 year old son. The quality is really unparallelled. I bought several pants that cuff under with elastic and can be taken in at the waist with elastic. That way you get 2-3 sizes out of one pair of pants! I also bought the ski jacket shown in your 3rd photo. It’s the best. The quality is so great it can be handed down to more than one sibling!

The price factor is not too bad if you buy stuff on sale. They do a BIG online sale for off-season clothes a couple times a year. That’s when I buy.

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41 Monica May 25, 2011 at 9:16 am

I think the key is the resell market. I would absolutely buy something that high-quality if I knew it would resell no problem; or that I could buy something used that still looked/felt practically new. It’s what I do with my kid’s Keen sandals every year: buy them at the $40-50+ price tag knowing I can turn them around and sell them for about half that next summer or find them used (and still looking new) for around $15-20 bucks. It all evens out in the end.

Living in CO, I’m going to start looking into POP for their outerwear especially the unisex stuff that can be passed down from my daughter to my son.

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42 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:45 am

I’m awful about reselling, but I have friends that are genius at it!

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43 Julie May 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

I wouldnt’ spend that much for a new coat since I’ve never had a winter coat that wore out per se. In fact, my kids wear coats that my mother made for me/my siblings — and they have no features at all — other than being darling!

I would think about looking into the aftermarket tho!

The one thing that made me really want my kids to go to the school they go to here in NYC is they have a lovely 2-acre playground (in manhattan!) and they play in it before, during, and after school every school day, rain or shine, cold or hot. It was the number one selling point for me. Even more than the excellent teachers

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44 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:47 am

Two acres in Manhattan? That’s fabulous!

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45 Kathleen May 25, 2011 at 9:22 am

Julie – could you let me know the name of that school in NYC? I would love for my little niece to find out about it.

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46 Julie May 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

St Lukes. It’s a lovely school but I should say that like all private schools in NY — and elsewhere, I’m sure — the tuition is very high. We’re very lucky that we’re able to swing it. And really, just barely.

I would never in one million years spend $150 for a winter coat for a kid, but we do pay for school. Kind of nuts, right?

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47 betsy May 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

I am a big fan of POP! love the idea of layering!

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48 christy May 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

I would normally not consider anything over $100 (or over $50 truthfully) for one of my kids, but since I’m now pregnant with my third, and want to spend much time outside, I would consider purchasing a $150 unisex jacket for my oldest, so that it could be worn by all three kids. I love unisex clothing for kids in general and am a huge fan of Hanna Anderssen – which has a similar aesthetic, I think.

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49 Pamela May 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

So glad for this post. I really wanted to know exactly how they dressed their kiddos, and here it is! I was checking out POP’s site last night. Even though where I live summer is just beginning, I’m already planning for next winter!

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50 Anne May 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

Love to hand-me-down coats and boots between kids. However, I do pause because it really hurts if a son loses that $100 coat or the expensive Patagonia fleece that I was planning to hand-down. It doesn’t happened much, but I still mourn for that hoody…

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51 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

That’s true for me too! Ralph lost a really good fleece at Scout camp once and I remember felling bummed about it.

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52 deborah@applesinwonderland May 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

my 100% swedish grandpa used to say that his mom would sew them into their long underwear for the winter. i really thought she took a needle and thread to him for the longest time.
spending a little on outwear has never worked for my kids–one year i bought one child 3 winter coats. i ended up spending WAY more for the cheap 3 than i would have for 1 quality coat. now, i spend more but it lasts–our youngest wore for the second year, one that i bought our oldest three years ago. i wise investment. i will give it to charity when he outgrows it–as it STILL is in great shape.

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53 Inka May 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

I’m half Finnish and buy lots of POP clothes because I know that i can sell them in finland after 2-3 years of wear :) Love that most of it is unisex and the quality is really good.

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54 Rena May 25, 2011 at 10:24 am

Love It! Buying the rain boots today!

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55 Beth May 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

I love their layering and the usefulness of adorable unisex clothes! And I was beginning to think I was the only mom left to let her kids play outside in all sorts of weather. Yay Swedes! I only wish the resale was as great here in the states.

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56 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

It will be interesting to see if more and more PO.P shows up in places like eBay and ThredUp as the brand grows in the U.S.

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57 Michelle May 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

I wish more US companies would follow suit with how they approach unisex options (love the 30/30/60 idea)!

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58 Megan May 25, 2011 at 11:22 am

I LOVE PO.P! I found out about them right when they launched online in the US about 2 years ago. Now it’s to the point where my kids are practically head-to-toe every day. The clothes are a little pricier than say, the Gap, but when you wash them you see why–they hold up amazingly well and also have all these great little features that make them easy to grow into. I have things both kids have worn (I have a boy and a girl) that still look off-the-rack brand new. They also have great boys’ clothing that doesn’t look like you went into a frat house and shrunk all the clothes! (Hard to find in the US!) I can’t say enough good things about them. Luckily I live not too far from the store in Greenwich.

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59 theScandinavianmum May 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

Outerwear that can resist wind and rain is essentials in this house.
We live in the UK where the weather changes all the time. If you’re really lucky you can get 4 seasons in one day! With POP outerwear you simply adjust what you are wearing underneath accorading to the temperature and your child will always stay warm, dry and comfortable. It looks sporty and cool too.
And what more can we ask from a parka?
For 2 layer shell parka that’s well made with lot’s of practical details -and that still looks like new a year after lots of use is a great buy in my view.

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60 Anna Lewis May 25, 2011 at 11:44 am

I might feel differently if we lived in an area where something like a parka would be worn for half the year, but in Dallas (even with the colder-than-usual winters the last few years) it just doesn’t seem practical. I think we use ‘jackets’ much more than coats of any kind. In general, a sweater with a fleece over it, maybe a hat is about all we need. Now, is there anyone with solutions to the 105+ heat? THAT is something I would pay extra for! :)

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61 Linda @ PO.P May 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Anna, we actually have a great item that is perfect for our Texas customers. It’s one of the top two selling pieces–our Shell Jacket. It’s in the second photo Gabby posted (above) in the green. It’s great for rain year round and actually layers beautifully over a fleece. Our WindFleece Jackets are the other top seller that can be worn as a winter coat most days in Texas winters and the Shell makes it perfect for the 1 week a year in Dallas it gets “Texas cold.” (I’m a native Texan myself!) No solution for the 105+ heat other than lemonade and the pool.

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62 Becca May 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

Great recommendation! I think we need to make a quick trip down to Greenwich and check it out!

I stopped by Finland last year and it blew my mind. While walking through the shopping district in Helsinki, I was overwhelmed by the excellent fashion choices–especially for kids. I nearly fainted when walking through the Merrimekko flagship store. Ah, to die for (if only I could have afforded anything!). Finland is worth the trip!

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63 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:06 am

I think a trip to Finland is in order, if only to see the Merrimekko Flagship!

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64 Lyndall May 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Oh I am so excited – we are off to the Kalahari in June/July and last time we were there we froze! Even the olive oil froze solid! I am going online now to see if I can get some clothing online delivered to South Africa! Thank u – love following your blog…

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65 jennifer c May 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

i hadn’t heard of p o p before – the website is adorable. i have quite a few patagonia hand-me-downs that are now on the third child. i think paying for quality (and ethical business dealings) makes sense.

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66 Brittany May 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I’m with @Astrantia – in Finland, they layer their kids up the same way, the kids PLAY OUTSIDE IN THE FROZEN WINTER AND LOVE IT (yes, I’m from a tropical climate and can’t imagine “playing” outside in anything less than 40 degrees F haha :D), and the Finnish kids also wear wool base layers, including their famous little Finnish wool socks, which are uber adorable. I’m not sure how cold it gets in France, but for the Finnish (and Swedish!) kids who live smack against the Arctic Circle, their parents seem to think it worth the $$$, so I’m guessing that it must be so. ;) Thanks for sharing your beautiful pix and experiences, once more!

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67 Evelyn May 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

We noticed locals dressing their children much the same when we were in Kazakhstan. Another option was the big coat, normal clothes, then a set of long johns or tights underneath. Either way, the kids were practically never cold! =)

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68 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:08 am

Kazakhstan? That sounds like it was an exotic trip!

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69 Sarah H May 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I think that I would be one of the ones looking for the resale deals. Love it, but not usually willing to spend that much (although I might if I lived in Denmark and not Santa Monica).

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70 Grania May 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hi from Germany (nr. Hamburg) A lot what you have written about Kids / Outdoor Wear and Play relates to Germany as well. Here you can also find preschools which take place exclusively outdoors (mostly in woods). In “normal” kindergartens and After School Clubs /Childcare the kids are required to have Snowsuits / Skipants etc. on site in winter as outdoor play is an enormous feature –
Most people have one set for Kindergarten/etc. and one set for home. The layer look (called Zwiebel (“Onion”) look here is also firmly established. One popular outdoor wear brand here in Germany is finkid, another is jako-o.

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71 Amber May 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I live in the Pacific Northwest where all season can be chilly and wet. Our warm season seem to be nonexistent the last few years. I was a preschool teacher and we NEVER cancelled recess. Going outside was a must. Rainboots, umbrella, flannel lined pants and a parka are a must. When my baby gets older and my husband finishes his MBA prorgram I would happily invest PO.P for my children. For the budget we are currently in, absolutely not.

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72 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:09 am

I imagine if I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I’d have a big learning curve on how to dress to keep dry.

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73 Heidi May 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

So interesting! Maybe I should start layering like this so I can actually be warm in the winter! I think it’s so funny that the kids walk around in long underwear at school but I suppose it’s quite ordinary to them!
I can’t imagine paying so much for kids outerwear but I do certainly appreciate well-made clothing! I would probably be a frequent shopper wherever the second-hand items were sold!

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74 Dee May 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I totally love this brand to bits…I brought this little number for my little girl today http://bit.ly/jbWSpQ. Too cute : D

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75 Kathryn May 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm

We have been to our local waldorf school for classes (which we LOVE) and they always talk about how important it is to keep your babies warm! The wool first layer is so important…it helps babies grow!

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76 Trish May 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I love these clothes. We live in the Midwest so it gets cold. My 9 year old has the wool long under layer and lives in them in the winter. Also, I ordered on line but was concerned about size and color (the red says poppy so I wanted to make sure it was not a little pink. It us n9t). So i called the store and they were so nice and helpful. Customer service was closed so that is why I called the store as I needed to get my order submitted in time for Christmas shipping. Love this stuff.

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77 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:11 am

I’ve never invested in good long underwear for my kids, but I think it’s time. Here in France, they have outside time no matter the weather.

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78 Margie May 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

In Canada i shop at a store called Mountain Equipment Co-op (mec) for my Children’s gear and i always buy unisex colours. I see so many parents buy ‘fashionable’ winter gear and the children are shivering in the cold. I drop the cash for good gear and about the hanging out in long underwear … why not!

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79 Amy K May 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I lived in Finland for 8 months and really came to appreciate the time the kids spent outside. (like your previous entry) But they could only do this because they had the right gear. I had sticker shock at first but I soon realized that she could wear the clothes more than one season. I also bought a lot of her clothes at resell stores.

The brand that was the most popular was Reima. http://www.reima.fi/en/

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80 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:13 am

I’ve never heard of Reima, Amy. Thanks for the link!

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81 Laura May 26, 2011 at 6:18 am

American company Riverside just bought Reima.

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82 This girl loves to Talk May 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I could never afford it nor would buy it, but I found this really interesting about how to layer clothes cause believe it or not many people are COLD in winter here in australia (when the weather is bright and sunny and would be considered a summers day in other countries)

that said I have met american’s or others who agree that it is cold because our houses are often not insulated (mine is FREEZING in winter and BOILING in summer) and obviously after reading this our clothes are not done right! We dont dress appropriately. On missionary here (who was from a place that snowed and had negative degree weather said ‘he had never been so cold in his life’ till one night spent in Australia in poor housing with poor blanketing situation!!

We lament here that the sun sets at 5pm in winter and I have all my kids inside because its COLD. I laugh at myself now reading about these parents in Sweden and other scandinavian countries – they would think me a big baby!!

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83 Lee May 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Bought my first piece, a tunic dress for my daughter, on eBay tonight. I’m also going to check out the shell jacket mentioned above as we’re Texans as well. A jacket over a fleece sounds like a much better option than a traditional winter coat.

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84 renee May 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I was introduced to the POP line from a Swedish friend while we were both living in Sudan. With the terribly hot and dusty climate the POP clothes held up long after other cotton clothes I had brought from the States (from quality clothing lines) had literally fallen apart. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the styles and simplicity. This is a brand I always love having my kids dressed in! I was thrilled to see you visited and wrote about them – thanks so much!

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85 Traveling Mama May 26, 2011 at 2:26 am

I love this brand so, so much and was introduced to it after we moved here to Denmark. It’s a staple here and it really withstands the elements, which is especially handy if, like us, you bike your kids to school every day- rain, snow, or the occasional sunshine!

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86 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:31 am

How neat that you bike your kids to school each day. In Denmark, do they use the bucket bikes that I saw in Amsterdam?

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87 Kiasa May 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

The large price tag is a bit hard to swallow, but I completely agree. Buy quality and use it over and over again. We almost always buy used, anyway, so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for some POP at the consignment shops or craigslist here in NYC. And, if you were wondering, my name came from one of my Swedish ancestors and was originally spelt “Kaisa”, but my mom thought she’d change it to work for English grammar (first vowel is long, second is silent). But that didn’t work.

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88 Katie May 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

Okay, my goal for next winter is to be a better layer-er myself included so that we don’t get too much cabin fever. It’s worth it.

Growing up in Canada, we had boots, jackets (with removable hoods), and all the other gear every year. I’ve skimped even though Denver can get cold and snowy because I just don’t want to put the effort into it. But I can and I will!

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89 bdaiss May 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I wish more US based companies would take note of their unisex styling. I work hard not to dress my kids in overly motif-ed clothes. It’s nearly impossible! All the girls stuff has flowers, bows, hearts, what have you. Not to mention the gagging amount of pink… And the boys with trucks/dinosaurs/etc. I’ll pay more for a good brand that keeps it simple. But yeah, unfortunately I find it hard to justify spending too much when my kids out grow things in 3-6 months. I do splurge on a few things I know can be worn by both or will last longer. I may have to keep my eye out for POP!

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90 Emily May 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Yup, those sales are pretty fabulous. I’ve waited until things look like a price I won’t swallow so hard at, and then buy (little whale-printed rainboots, plaid zipper mittens, hats for 6$!) And now I’m just sad that my big clever off-season coat purchase was from landsend, not PoP, since I didn’t find out about them on time. BUT. Next year’s coat, for sure, will be PoP, from a sale: you can get them for about what you pay for LandsEnd overstocks anyway.

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91 DC37 May 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

When my daughter was born 5 years ago some Swedish relatives sent a p o p onesie that we adored. At the time i couldn’t find a place to buy it in the U.S. this week we are visiting CT to see my mom and were so excited to see there was a store in Greenwich. We checked it out and bought some great shirts and jackets. Love love love the store and the product and wish we had one near us.

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92 Brooke R. May 26, 2011 at 8:53 pm

They are one of my favorite companies for kids clothing! I love the quality and fit and they have some really great sales. :)

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93 LP May 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm

We live in Canada and it gets cold here in winter. I have no problems spending loads of money on a snowsuit. We spent $300 on my daughter’s suit, but we are certain she will get three winters out of it because it so well constructed and it has an i-grow system inside which allows parents to snip some threads and add a few inches. Well worth the big bucks because we know she will be warm, fashionable and she won’t look like the other kids! I have seen cheap outwear and it’s not worth it.

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94 Kate May 27, 2011 at 6:38 am

I made my first PoP purchase this winter and have been very, very pleased – although the sizing seemed to run a bit large to me. I live in northern Michigan with two outdoor loving little boys and know the importance of quality gear. I would also like to give a shout out to a favorite American brand – Patagonia. I have had some of their fleece items for my boys. They are warm, tough, and can be resold on ebay, although I’m saving mine for future nieces & nephews. . .or babies of my own, if I can talk my husband into it :)

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95 Miriam May 27, 2011 at 10:04 am

i’m so jealous! i adore polarn o. pyret! and Sweden just sounds dreamy :)

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96 Jen May 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

I too spend top dollar on ‘outside’ clothes. One of my biggest bugbears is the sale of ‘fashion’ coats (to girls and boys), which do absolutely nothing to protect children from the elements. NOT waterproof, NOT warm, but at an attractive price in this economic climate. [how can you seriously think that you can buy a $5 coat in a supermarket and expect it to behave like a proper coat, or last more than 1 torrential downpour?!]

My husband took a long time to come round of my way of thinking, purely from the economics of fast-growing children. ‘Surely they’ll grow out of it too fast?’.

But fit-for-purpose outerwear is my ‘thing’. I don’t care that my daughter has to wear navy and red instead of pink and purple, just because it is handed down from her big brother. Harsh, maybe. Economically and ecologically so much more responsible. P.O.P. gets it so right, with their unisex colours and branding.

My sneaky trick for outerwear here in the UK is TKMaxx (our equivalent of TJMaxx). Every spring (March/April), as the snow/ski season comes to a close (it was 30C in April this year, so it is weather dependent!), I head down to the nearest store and stock up on next winter’s coat. High quality snowboarding jackets down from £60+ to £15, less if they are on the discount rail. Proper windproof, waterproof and snowproof fit-for-purpose jackets (and snow-trousers) for a fraction of the price. I’ll aim for red or navy, as they work for both my kids. If they are on clearance, I may even splash out and buy my daughter a ‘cuter’ coat – this year I picked up a £60 jacket for £5 on clearance, in a beautiful pale turquoise!

And again, the resale value. We have NCT sales all over the UK (National Childbirth Trust), where we get to sell new or nearly new stuff with a 25% sellers fee. Last year, I sold my son’s summer and winter jackets for as much as I bought them, and felt so fine, that I bought my daughter an almost-new pink snowjacket for last winter.

My kids have been through a -14C winter this year (it didn’t get above -9 for a week, that’s pretty extreme for our part of the country), without once whinging they were cold.

I will be putting P.O.P. in my diary for our US visit next year. My husband is afraid. VERY afraid ;)

(re. underwear as outerwear – my daughter is so skinny, she gets away with wearing that kind of clothing as a matter of course, even leggings can be too baggy for her! The downside of the skinnyness is she is perpetually cold, so she has to wear warm layers even in summer. Oh to have that sort of figure ;) )

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97 Marianne May 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I live in Norway and daycare is pretty much as you describe. My daughter has taken all her naps outside ever since she was born……down to 10 degrees celsius below zero bundles in wool and lambskin or down sleeping bags (!) and spends most of the day, every day outside at daycare. I think also Scandinavia is a bit different in the way that at ages 1-5 our daycare/preschool is less about ‘school’….more play, more nature. My daughters daycare has a small forest and tons of rocks and they climb tress (and fall down…) and play in the mud daily. Bruises and scraped knees are part of every day but they love it :)

I love Polarn O.P, but one tip to ‘mastering’ the layering is to use mostly natural fibers underneath the waterproof layer (wool, silk etc) as it breathes and is excellent at keeping the kids (and grownups) dry. Fleece, which you find as mid-layer in most P.O.P wear is tricky if it’s not mid-winter as the kids can get really sweaty and feel wet. In mid-winter it is great though but so is several layers of wool.

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98 fernando senra June 28, 2011 at 1:31 am

Acho tudo made in china

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99 Alison in Vermont August 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

Hi – I am so envious of your trip to POP HQ! I wanted to point out to you that in their POPup store at the moment (Aug 10 11) they have the adult nightgown for 50% off ($28!) They are awesome.
I am enjoying your blog

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