The Spring/Summer ’11 Collection

Flea

The summer that I was seven years old my favourite outfit was a white polo shirt and a pair of khaki shorts.

The shorts had deep pockets and were ever so slightly too big, meaning they had to be held up with a stripy belt. Every time I wore those shorts, I pretended I was one of the Famous Five, on some amazing adventure or other.

Today, I look at my eight-year-old niece, in her sparkly ballet slippers, trendy jeans and bolero jackets and think she probably pretends she’s one of JLS’s back-up dancers when she gets dressed in the morning.

My niece always looks beautiful (of course) but at the risk of sounding hopelessly middle-aged, it does seem like such a short period of time these days that children actually dress like children, and not mini teenagers.

I’m horribly aware of this when I’m buying clothes for Flea, and there are stores I just don’t bother looking in for clothes any more, including Next, M&S and H&M. I even stopped shopping in Gap Kids when they stopped selling regular fit jeans for girls and decided to ONLY sell boot-cut and skinny fit jeans. For five-year-olds.

Seriously, Gap, that’s just stupid.  How are kids supposed to scale a climbing frame in jeans so tight they can hardly bend over?

These days, I have a small number of stores where I buy clothes I know I can trust to be appropriate, good quality and not to advertise this or that cartoon character. Most of Flea’s clothes come from Joules, Mini Boden or John Lewis. They’re a little more expensive but mostly, we get two years’ wear out of these items so the cost-per-wear is pretty good, I think.

Anyway, this year we were given the opportunity to try out some clothes from Vertbaudet, which was a new brand to me, and not one we’d tried before.

I liked that the clothing was age-appropriate and colourful and I have to say, I noticed it was quite a bit cheaper than the usual things we’d buy for Flea. Having had a look around, many of the girls options were probably a bit TOO girlie for Flea, but we settled on a denim jacket and a pair of denim shorts, which came in at under £30 for the pair.

As it turned out the jacket was completely unsuitable – although we’d opted for an age 6/7, the jacket was too narrow across the shoulders and way too short for Flea, being one of those jackets designed to sit just above the waist – a style perhaps better suited to older girls, in my book. We passed it on to a very slight seven-year-old, who loved it, so I think like M&S, Vertbaudet cuts its tops on the slender side.

The shorts, which Flea is modelling at the top of this post, were lovely. The denim was thick and the stitching well done, and I particularly liked the fact that the shorts were just a little longer than many of the girls’ styles I see – personally I don’t like to see hot-pants on a five-year-old. These have been worn and washed two or three times now, and still look like new.  The fastening is a press-stud, so Flea can manage them easily on her own – all in all a really successful buy.

I would certainly recommend Vertbaudet as a good source of inexpensive items, and there were lots of things I could see being perfect for summer holidays. What I most appreciated, though, was finding another store that realises not all parents want their kids to advertise a TV network, or look like one of the High School Musical cast.  

What do you think? How do you choose your kids’ clothes? Does it bother you when stores sell mini versions of adults' clothes for children? 

[Disclosure: We were given two items of children's clothing and some wall stickers from Vertbaudet for the purposes of this review.] 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

8 Comments

  1. Nikki
    6th May 2011 / 9:13 am

    Most of our daughter’s (and son’s) clothes come from Next – the more girlie ranges, not the trashy/tarty stuff, M&S – although we always go a size bigger as you say, they cut the t-shirts on the short side, and also surprisingly Sainsbury’s – they have a great TU range and for summer dresses, it’s just perfect and really really cheap so it doesn’t matter too much if they get ruined/exercised out!
    For special occasions like weddings I look in the Monsoon sale – but wouldn’t pay full price!
    I guess it depends on what shops are local to you – our town has a very limited range and I don’t like to buy clothes online as sizes vary considerably and I can’t be bothered to do returns if they’re incorrect. I’m pretty lucky that Jenni wears most things, esp girly – no jeans or trousers at all though – has to be a short or dress!

  2. 6th May 2011 / 7:01 pm

    We used to buy Vertbaudet quite a bit and liked it, but the sizing was bonkers – you never knew what would fit – and their ordering system meant that things came after ages and ages (weeks, sometimes), and then when it did come the skirt that went with the top was out of stock so you were left with a top in an odd size that matched nothing at all and had to go back.
    I like Gap because of their their adjustable waists mainly – despite my own frame I have produced two stick-thin children who never grow into the width of most brands. And their flared jeans are the only pair of jeans we’ve found that a child who wears knee-length foot splints can wear over them and still look cool.
    Mainly, though, we’re charity shoppers. Joules and Boden are well out of our league.

  3. 6th May 2011 / 8:17 pm

    I love their stuff,good quality. Have only bought from NCT’s nearly new sales though and didn’t have a problem abot sizes or ordering 🙂

  4. S.
    6th May 2011 / 8:27 pm

    I bought some Verbaudet stuff when Una was a baby. They were really lovely bright colours and nice bold patterns that stood them out from other baby clothes. They were very small tho and she outgrew them quickly which I was upset about. I don’t know if it’s a Euro size thing.
    They do beautiful furniture too and I bought a toy chest / book case thing which I adore and is really well made.
    These days almost all the girls clothes come from Sainbury’s. Mine too for that matter. :o0

  5. Kate
    6th May 2011 / 9:35 pm

    Totally agree and I’d love to know why it’s practically impossible to find any summer dresses with little sleeves… call me silly but when it’s hot enough for just a dress (i.e. too hot for a t-shirt underneath) you don’t really want little shoulders exposed to sunburn.

  6. Nikki
    7th May 2011 / 8:52 pm

    Soooo agree with your comment about exposed shoulders. Next do a few though at an excellent price….

  7. 8th May 2011 / 1:57 am

    I really liked Verbaudet when we lived in the UK. I used to order big amounts of stuff. Have a look at it in the comfort of my own home, and then send most of it back. The courier would come and collect the returns (do they still operate that system?) It was ideal for someone a long way from a decent shopping centre, with small non-shopping-friendly kids.
    I found the sizes very small – I assumed French children must be made smaller than English ones, until my sister-in-law who lives in Paris explained it to me. In England, 12 months means “about 12 months” but in France, 12 months means “up to 12 months”. Maybe they should put that in their catalogue.

  8. 10th May 2011 / 9:01 pm

    ALthough i’ve not ordered anything from them for a while, I do really like Verbaudet and La Redoute. I like to play discount email brinkmanship with them – “we are offering you 15% off”, ignore it, “we are offering you 20% off” etc!
    I find there are very few places where I approve of entire ranges. I was appalled this winter to find it almost impossible to buy jeans that weren’t skinny fit. It seems you have to rummage round to find appropriate stuff, in amongst all the horrors. I’ve actually had lovely stuff from Debenhams and Boots, Next and M&S, even though M&S in particular also have some awful stuff.
    Mini Boden is lovely, but only when I’ve got a good discount code (more email brinkmanship!)

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