The best fall fashion for little ones

I’ve combed lookbooks and mined the web. It’s time to present my favorite fall fashion for little ones!

We’re talking fair-isle foxes, mouse mittens and pleated pinafores! Whether you’re heading to the pumpkin patch or snapping a photo for the Christmas card, there’s no better season to don your beautiful children in beautiful clothes. This fall it’s all about layers and textures – corduroys, cable knits and collars.

I focused on finding classic looks with whimsical touches – something to please both adults and kids. Almost any color can work this vibrant season – you’ll even see a striking use of pastel pink woven into deeper fall hues – but in my scans, mustard recurred. Paired with navy or chambray, you’ve got a charming, vintage look!

Let’s start there. These darling pinafores come in size 1 through 5 in an array of colors, handcrafted by Therese McInally, a talented Etsy artist. 

Therese’s pinafores are remarkably versatile, whether you’re putting it on over a T-shirt or a formal blouse. They’re playful but also convey an old-school, European charm (think Madeline or Matilda). 

With its criss-cross straps, the back is as adorable as the front. Thanks to the straps’ adjustable lengths, one child can enjoy a pinafore for multiple years.

The ribbed knee-high socks are from Little Rabbit Wears, which is selling thick, cozy fall-colored socks for $5. The saddle shoes are from Footmates, sold through Badorf Kids, which has the best selection of high-quality children's shoes. They are sturdy and gender neutral, so you can pass them down from brother to sister over the years. And brace yourself for a ton of compliments from a certain generation when your toddler sports saddle shoes out and about.

You can give this classic pinafore a spunkier look with stripes and polka dots.

Both the tights and the collared shirt (above) are from JoJo Maman Bebe’s dreamy fall collection. (Here’s the lookbook. Their sweaters for boys are so cute and cozy! Hello, fox and raccoons! Why do I love you so?)

Check out more of Therese's work at her Etsy shop, Cottontail, including her heart-melting parade pinafore and unicorn pinafore. They are beautifully made and reasonably priced.

While we're admiring navys, let me introduce you to this exquisite sweater. It's part of Mini Boden's new Roald Dahl-inspired collection. This sweater is a nod to Fantastic Mr. Fox. The pairing of fox with apple trees -- two of my fall favorites -- just about makes my heart burst. 

It's one of the most finely crafted embroidered sweaters I've ever seen. The apples pop and so do the fox noses!

Here's another gorgeous navy knit for you: the Rosewood Poncho sold by Little Rabbit Wears. I highly recommend this curated shop with its stylish mix of vintage and boho charm at reasonable prices. If you're a busy mama who doesn't have time to search for the cutest kid clothes, let Janine do the work for you. 

You'll swoon when you see your little one in this grown-up poncho.  

If you want to coordinate siblings for the pumpkin patch, dress brother or sister in this hooded cable-knit cardigan by JoJo Maman Bebe.

The hood adds a bit of mischief that'll suit your spirited toddler.

It comes in various colors, including a lovely cream that will add a soft touch to any autumn outfit.

Here's the cream cable-knit cardigan (below right) paired with the cutest bis sister-little sister corduroy combination you'll see all year: a jumper for one, a skirt for the other. 

I mean, mice plus mushrooms? Doesn't get much cuter than that -- and again, note the use of mustard! 

I should point out that the leather shoes on Big Sis -- Footmates' Daniel in Apple Red via Badorf Kids -- are the highest-quality shoes you'll ever buy. They aren't cheap, but they last forever, and they are the the most classic shoes out there.

They photograph beautifully. 

I love how this corduroy jumper pairs with JoJo's dainty pink Peter-Pan collar shirt. These shirts are so versatile and hard to come by -- plus this is a good price. 

 Seriously, you should probably just scroll through all of JoJo's whimsical shirts: elephants, mice, dinosaurs (yes, they're for girls!), bunnies, birds. 

And then hop over to their dresses. I can't decide which one I like best: the winter-scene party dress, the squirrel pinafore or the elephant jumper. (Love me some rickrack!) It's as if this collection was designed straight out of your sweetest storybook dreams of an enchanted childhood set amid woodland wonders.

Once it turns chilly, add the mice mittens; the preschooler will be as thrilled as the photographer.

 

Here too you may want to take a quick scan to find your favorite animal-inspired outerwear

My favorites (you won't be surprised) are the fox gloves and fox hat

    

 

Perfect for your 3-year-old to keep warm and still text her friends. 

Gray can be attractive on girls and boys, a quiet canvas for a bright face and vibrant fall foliage. 

This long-sleeved gray shirt is from Target's hip new Cat & Jack line. It's a versatile shirt -- whether he'll be hitting the playground or visiting Great Grandma -- and costs $10. The jeans, one of The Children's Place new bootcuts, suit a tall, lean gradeschooler well. 

This season's best collections also remind us that there's a place for florals in your fall wardrobe. I think you'll love this plum JoJo Maman cardigan and matching top, which combines many of my favorite things: Peter-Pan collar (check), smocking (check) and dainty flowers (check).

 

It'll make your little one feel like a big girl. 

Plum has a strong presence in this season's finest, as evidenced by Gymboree's darling Plum Pony collection.  

We're going to end with one of my very favorites. The name alone makes my heart skip a beat: a fox fair-isle cardigan.

I never met a fair-isle sweater I didn't love. Line it with fox and stitch rich autumn hues (yes, mustard) into a cardigan? Sold! (You can see in the five-star reviews it had other mamas swooning.) 

This cardigan also comes in an owl version, which boasts a bright, winsome coral-orange. 

That completes my survey of toddler fall fashion: the best of the best. 

 

 


 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two young girls (and one on the way!) in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at christina@mnparent.com.


 

 

Reviews are entirely the author's opinion. Special thanks to the following vendors for supplying complimentary samples for review and photography: