What to Wear to 6th Grade – Euro Edition

September 12, 2012

Hey there! It’s time for some What to Wear to School posts. Let’s start with Olive Jean Blair. She just turned 11 and started 6th grade here in France. Fun fact: because of different age enrollment guidelines, in Colorado she would be starting 5th grade.

In this first outfit, Olive is wearing pale-pink sequin capris we found at a Next outlet near Dover, England. Her pink layering tee is from Carrefour (a Target-like French grocery store chain) and the dark brown oxfords are too. The grey wool v-neck sweater used to belong to Ralph, but it was accidentally washed and now has a cropped, shrunken, felted (but still cute) look. The necklace is by Truebirds.


For years, bright green was Olive’s favorite color, but recently she’s had a change of opinion and currently there isn’t a bit of green in her wardrobe.

Outfit number 2 is made up of turquoise skinny jeans from a grocery store in Bern, Switzerland. The grey layering tee and rose ballet flats are from Carrefour. (Man, we get a lot of clothes from grocery stores.) The stripey cardigan is by Abercrombie. The bracelets are borrowed from her big sister.

One side note: in the States, my kids preferred not to wear Abercrombie because they felt like it somehow stereotyped them in a certain. But the brand was just introduced in France since we moved here, and it’s quite coveted among their French schoolmates. So my kids have had a change of heart.

It’s been interesting for them to see what brands mean in different places.


You may recognize outfit #3 from the French Bakery episode of Olive Us. The boat-neck sweater and stripey skort are from Olive Juice Kids (a fitting line for our Olive : ).


The patterned shirt worn beneath the sweater is a lovely hand-me-down from the owners of La Cressonnière. (Did I ever tell you they left a box of darling clothes for us that their children had outgrown?)

The shoes are from the Payless boys department. I like the plaid tongues.

Outfit #4 was another find on the clearance rack of the Next Outlet. The skirt is actually attached to the heather-grey tee to make a dress. Olive added a cardigan that she already owned. And the flats are a pair that Maude grew out of.



Outfit #5 is a straight up hand-me-down from Maude. In fact, you see the same outfit on Maude in last year’s shoot. : )


Outfit #6 has some old and new. A pair of cable knit knee socks from Children’s Place. A pleated skirt Olive wore on the first day of school last year. And a plaid blouse that’s been in the family for years now. (The sneakers were already mentioned above.)


Last but not least, we wanted a particularly comfy, cozy outfit because winters here are chilly. And even while lounging around the house, it’s nice to have on layers. So outfit #7 has a focus on comfort. The silvery-grey leggings are from Carrefour. The turtleneck was already in Olive’s closet (purchased for her school ski trip). And the purple cardigan is one Maude grew out of, originally from Zara (I think).

And that’s the whole What to Wear to 6th Grade tour. I hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be posting more What to Wear posts soon. If you’d like to see Olive grow up before your eyes, here are two of her earlier What to Wear posts: 2011 and 2009.

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 annabelvita September 12, 2012 at 8:04 am

So cute! My boyfriend and I love Carrefour. French supermarkets are great and that’s the best one!

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2 Design Mom September 12, 2012 at 9:02 am

Agreed! We only have a small Carrefore in our town, but we make sure to stop in at one of the big ones whenever we happen to be in Caen.

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3 Rachel Schindler September 12, 2012 at 8:13 am

You and your family have the best style.

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4 Gina @ Oaxacaborn September 12, 2012 at 8:33 am

What a pretty wardrobe! I’d quite like to share a closet with her :)

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5 Azra September 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

She looks adorable! Great taste in clothing.

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6 Robin September 12, 2012 at 8:51 am

Love these! I just thought I’d mention also how I went to elementary (primary) school in Europe and when I came back to the US I went into 5th grade instead of the intended 6th. My parents thought it’d be a smoother transition plus I had a cut off birthday. I’m really glad they did! I wonder if you’ll experience any of that next year?

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7 Design Mom September 12, 2012 at 9:01 am

That is definitely on our mind, Robin. I think a lot will depend on the school and school district we end up in, but the possibility of putting Olive in 6th grade again when we move back is for sure on the table for discussion at our house.

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8 Lena December 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Or you don’t have to move back at all:)

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9 Erika September 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

I love all these outfits! There is definitely a French/European flair to her clothes. They are totally appropriate for an 11-year old, but also could work for an adult with a few minor adjustments. Thanks for giving me some fall inspiration!

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10 Tan September 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

My goodness you have one stylish 11 year old! I teach this age group and let me tell ya, it’s all jeans and t-shirts over here.
I love all the outfits but I have to say the first is my favourite. Partly because it is so adorable, soft and feminine, yet an outfit only an 11 year old can get away with successfully while looking girly yet sophisticated.

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11 Workingberlinmum September 12, 2012 at 9:41 am

I love those shorts! I’d dig a pair myself!

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12 KelliK September 12, 2012 at 9:41 am

You mentioned purchasing clothes in grocery stores even on your travels- like Switzerland. Do you often stop by to do such shopping on your trips? Do you often take time when you happen upon such great finds at turquoise jeans? Lately, my mom and sisters will check out the thriftstores in destination towns and bring home good things. There may be something about purchasing clothing from outside your home town that makes it more exciting.

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13 Design Mom September 12, 2012 at 10:02 am

I do love checking out grocery stores in every country we visit. I feel like walking the aisles of a grocery store is a big window on what it would be like to live there. And I definitely check out the clothing and office supplies. I’m always on the lookout for anything well-designed — no matter what the store.

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14 Anna September 12, 2012 at 9:48 am

She looks lovely!

Isn’t the chain called Carrefour not fore?

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15 Design Mom September 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

Oops! My bad. Spellings fixed. Thanks for the heads up, Anna.

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16 The New Diplomats Wife September 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

love those sequined capris – she’s got such great style! and it’s too funny about abercrombie – the children of our austrian friends are way into it as well so periodically i have to brave the cologne misters to go in there for gifts!

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17 Jenna at Homeslice September 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

She’s adorable! These pictures are such treasures.

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18 Michelle September 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

Olive’s wardrobe looks fantastic! I love the way things work together so well and can see that even more outfits can be made from these seven. So happy that you’ve continued the tradition — As I was getting my own back-to-school wardrobe together, I kept thinking of last year’s posts :). Thanks for the inspiration!

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19 Maria September 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

I loved Carrefour when I was there!! Oh how I miss it!

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20 Barchbo September 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

It’s like looking at a catalog! And Olive has the sweetest countenance not to mention great style – I can’t wait to see future posts from this series.

PS: I love to visit grocery stores when I travel for the same reason – it helps me to imagine what it would be like to live there!

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21 Carly September 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I love all these clothes! We had a Carrefore near us when we lived in Taiwan, and I’m afraid they never had cute clothes like this. Maybe I was too distracted by the groceries to notice, or maybe there wasn’t a market for it in Taiwan? I need to find a way for my husband to study Chinese in France. They have way cooler grocery stores there! Thanks for the inspiration.

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22 Robin k September 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Beautiful Olive, beautiful clothes.

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23 Lena September 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

How do you pass clothes down through so many children? Mine are quite young (1 and 3) and they are so hard on their clothes that it’s hard to see them surviving more than two kids, and being a bit shabby for the second. Maybe some of it is the brand (I know my 3-year-olds preschool clothes get beat up so I go the Old Navy, Target, cheap route there) but do you have any tips?

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24 Geneva September 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Oh she is so lovely! The picture just after the one with the teal scarf makes her look like a 21 year old model. What a lovely girl!

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25 Ashley Burnham September 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Did you paint the dresser she’s sitting on? I have a pine dresser I bought from Pier 1 years ago and have been thinking about painting it. Any tips?

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26 Design Mom September 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hi Ashley. The beautiful dresser was here when we moved in (I’m not sure if I mentioned this is a furnished rental), so I don’t have any info on the paint job. But if it helps, not long before we moved, I painted our piano grass green!

Here’s a peek: http://www.designmom.com/2009/05/painted-piano/

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27 melissa September 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm

so cute. Love to see a little girl looking girlish and playful and – how refreshing- age appropriate! Not a tart-y outfit in sight. The styling is awesome and Olive is darling.

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28 melissa September 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm

p.s. could you send Olive on assignment to style some of my outfits, please?

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29 Ana September 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Wonderful outfits. She’s adorable!

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30 Andrea September 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Adorable! I’ll have to share this post with my 11-year-old daughter.

(By the way, we love the Daring Book for Girls, but we didn’t know there was a new edition! We’ll have to check out the Double Daring Book.)

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31 Corrie Anne September 12, 2012 at 2:36 pm

How sweet!! I was in overalls all the time at that age!! Haha.

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32 Jill September 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm

She is adorable, I love that you have these photo-shoots each year for them. The sequin capri outfit is my favorite, the shoes, the whole bit!

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33 how2home September 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

This is so adorable! All the outfits are perfect for a 6th grader! What a fashionista :)

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34 Martina September 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Can a 28 year old copy the style of an 11 year old? Because I’m feeling very inspired! Great outfits, Olive and Mom!

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35 Angela September 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Absolutely adorable! Love all of the ensembles! :)

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36 mandi@herbanhomestead September 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Lovely! I have always loved your back to school posts!

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37 Jody September 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

She’s so lovely! :)

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38 sofija September 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I had to chuckle when I read about the sweater that shrunk! My husband is convinced that I shrink his sweaters so I get to wear them…:) Love your post, I have been waiting for it, and it turned out great. Olive did a great job being natural in front of the camera. My favorite outfit has got to be Maude’s hand-me-downs. And the sequin capris with the Oxford shoes, perfect!

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39 Amanda September 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

She is so beautiful and chic! I need to take notes from her.

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40 Katherine September 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm

My son also just started Sixieme! Gosh – it’s a big transition isn’t it? Learning how to manage his time and his work – which books to take home and leave in his locker – the curse of heavy French school bags. I have to admit, I was a bit heartbroken to see him go to Sixieme – he’s my first baby – and suddenly, he’s not a baby anymore.

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41 Lisa Fyfe September 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Just beautiful! Your daughter has such great style (and she is just lovely). I want to wear those outfits! That pink skirt and those sequined capris are amazing!

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42 teresa September 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm

What adorable outfits….I think I need her to be my stylist =)
I’m sure that’s that last thing she would like to do…help a grammer type with clothes. =)
Thanks for sharing

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43 Jasmine Koh September 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm

I really enjoyed this post – the range of outfits inspired me to be more thoughtful about my style. Haha!

Now I don’t have girls but I was wondering, at what age would you introduce fashion accessories and are they allowed at school?

I mentioned it cos I saw this and thought it would be cool for a pre-teen/teenage girl? What do you think?
http://www.etsy.com/listing/104421546/neon-bolts-necklace-3-color-choices

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44 Meagan September 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm

She looks very grown up! I think I would wear most of these outfits… the last one is my favorite.

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45 Amanda September 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm

That’s interesting that Abercrombie was recently introduced there. Is there advertising there similar to what it is in the US? The reason I ask is because they are one of the worst offenders when it comes to disturbing objectification of women–similar to what was discussed on the Jean Kilborne (“Killing Us Softly”) link that you had on your blog a few months ago.

I used to do research on the subject of media’s (and particularly the advertising industry’s) negative portrayal of women, and its influence of women. Abercrombie is by FAR one of the most problematic examples of this problem. The U.S. ads are so offensive to me as a mother I can’t bring myself to buy anything from them . . . Especially when they’re known for occassionally doing things as repulsive as selling thong underwear for young girls, (i.e. size 6)! I’m curious as to whether their approach in Europe is any different.

Honestly, I think some of their clothes are cute, (such as Olive’s sweater). I just have a hard time swallowing the way they choose to sell their clothing, and how it psychologically affects impressionable girls–including my own daughters.

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46 Giselle September 13, 2012 at 7:11 am

This is interesting Amanda. I have an 11 year old that chooses to buy most of her clothes at Abercrombie, I like their classic styles and quality. Most of her friends buy their clothes there except for one girl whose parents feel the way you do. Recently I went to the mall with all these girls and when we went into the store none of the girls noticed or mentioned the ads except for the girl whose parents object to their ads. The only reason my daughter has mentioned their advertising is because her friend has discussed it with them.

I find its a tricky situation, sometimes by objecting certain things we call more attention to things that may go unnoticed by our children.

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47 Amanda September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

I can totally see your point, Giselle, and I have wondered the same thing. However, the research would suggest otherwise. The subconscious messages these types of images convey to our youth are subtle, and yet much more powerful than anything we would initially guess–even if someone doesn’t bring volitional attention to it. Part of how it becomes dangerous it that we become numb to the images being thrown at us. I’ll provide an example:

A year and a half ago I was in my son’s kindergarten class while he was giving his farm report. Another mother and father were there supporting their daughter in the same endeavor, and had brought along their supplies in a bag–one from Abercrombie, actually. If the bag had just the name of the store on it, I wouldn’t have been bothered at all. However, what it did have was a huge black & white picture of a man’s bare chest–no face, no eyes, just a large, sweaty chest. It was an extremely sexual image, and one that had nothing to do with displaying an article of clothing, because there was literally none pictured.

For the record, cutting off the face, and particularly the eyes in any photograph is a frequent tactic the fashion industry uses to objectify a person. It separates the presence of a person’s soul from their body. Typically this is done with women’s bodies, however, in this case I was shocked to see that Abercrombie was now also doing it with men.

When this little girl went to the front of this kindergarten class with her bag, it was terribly distracting, and I was deeply troubled that my son was trapped looking at this man’s chest, (he was sitting ground level in front of it), rather than getting to really see this child’s presentation on corn. I
then looked over at the parents of this little girl who brought the bag with them, and could not understand how they didn’t see a problem with this at all, and truth be told–they were completely nonplussed. I don’t think it even occurred to them at all that the picture was completely inappropriate–particularly in that setting.

At that point I realized just how acclimated our society is becoming to these types of images that degrade a person’s body into sexual objects meant to sell. We parade them now in front of our children, thinking it will have no effect. However, as the research demonstrates (you ought to watch more from Jean Kilbourne or view the documentary “Miss Representation”), it is taking a destructive toll on the self-worth of our children, which begins to manifest itself as they grow into adolescence and then later in adulthood.

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48 CMN September 13, 2012 at 12:11 am

Dear Olive,
I loved seeing the results of your photo shoot, and your latest “Olive Us” adventure! Thanks for being such a willing and cheerful co-conspirator with all these adventures. You make everything look like such fun. I’m certain that must be part of your charm! Here’s wishing you a wonderful start to 6th Grade a la francais!

with best regards,
Your friend

Dear Gabby,
I love that you capture these moments. How would we all love to look back at our school days’ fashion? I remember my favorite outfit for starting 5th grade (or was it 6th grade?)… Red trousers with a metallic blue pin stripe on the leg seam, a matching red t-shirt, and a belt. I was SO Excited to wear that outfit. I’m sure I must have looked… stunning. LOL

Grocery stores in foreign countries are the absolute best. I always make time — which can be tricky on business trips. But it’s so worth it. This week I’m in India and I went to the local Big Bazaar grocery store. School supplies included a lot of character pencil boxes and binders. I went for the art supplies — colored pencils and watercolour paints. Indian chewing gum and chocolate for my Sunday School class? check. Vacuum-sealed bags of powdered spices for friends? double check! I didn’t buy dishes, or clothes, or luggage, but maybe I thought about it. And wondered how to fit it into my luggage. Along with the 5 foot tall Elephant carving that I bypassed at the market on Saturday. It must have weighed 300 lbs, but it would have looked spectacular standing sentry at my apartment. Spectacular, I say! LOL!

Oh yes! Before I sign off… would anyone in your household care for a postcard from India? Shoot me an email and I’ll dash one off. I’m posting a whole stack to neices and nephews on Friday. (That’s part of the Aunt’s Job Description, right?)

Wishing you a wonderful day,
- C

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49 Beth September 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I would love to have that purple sweater in my size! Sweet outfits – she looks stylish yet age appropriate.

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50 Sarah W September 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I’m from Canada originally and there is a grocery store chain there that has THE BEST clothes! It’s amazing what you can get at the grocery store! :)

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51 Amy3 September 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Olive and my daughter are the same age (turning 11 in 3 weeks) and grade (just started 6th). I’ll have to show her the photos. Love the outfits!

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52 Mary J September 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I’d love to know how she tied the teal scarf.

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53 Alix September 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

What a little fashion plate!!!! She looks fabulous. Just like her big sister, so confident and pretty—simultaneously hip but classic! I’m dying over the sequin Capris. Bravo mama for encouraging your girls to enjoy and play around with fashion, but also keep them age-appropriate.

Olive is a little star. I love her smile and sparklin’ eyes.
: )

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54 Corinne December 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Gabby, I don’t know if you’ll even see this, as this is an older post (I loved all your “what to wear posts” by the way), but they just did a story on NPR about why Abercrombie is such a coveted brand in Europe. Link here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/11/166745239/mystery-on-fifth-avenue-a-constant-line-outside-abercrombie-fitch

Enjoy!

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55 Alexa February 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I just loved the outfit with the leggings and the shorts. I even tried it on myself. Everyone at my school loved it. They kept asking me, “Oh my gosh, how did you come up with cute outfit!” The outfit with the blue jeans and the sweater is so chic. I loved it and so did all my friends. I love how you can mix some outfits and make it into one really cute outfit. I always come on this website because I never know what to wear, but when i see the first outfit, i fall in love with it. KEEP ON POSTING CUTE PICS OF OUTFITS!!!!! :):):)

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