Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Favorite Boutique/Designer Baby Brands - and how to find them online.

Love DEALS on high-end kids' stuff?  Join my Facebook group Claire's Close Finds, I scour the internet and post only the best deals!  


A friend of mine asked me for this list... and so of course, I had to blog it!  Here goes, folks.  A little ditty on each of my favorite brands, trying not to be too girl-centric.  If you're new to the blog, be sure to check out my Tips for Reselling (and bonus tip #13 on buying) High-End Kids' Clothes on Ebay.  Makes these brands affordable!

** I have NOT been paid to write these reviews and none of the clothing pictured here was provided to me as a free sample to review.


I am BEYOND obsessed.  Hands down, this is THE most gorgeous stuff I have ever seen.  Like Matilda Jane (see below) I don't love everything they do - in fact, I hate a lot of it!  But what I love of theirs I would kill for.  SO, **SO** gorgeous.

Unfortunately - but unsurprisingly - it is CRAZY expensive.  But you can get it gently used on Ebay or in the Facebook group "Persnickety Obsession."  You can also find last season's lines half price (twice annually, until they sell out) if you go to Persnickety's website and click their "outlet" option.  Then, as I always say:  Keep them in excellent condition, and resell them yourself.  That's what makes it affordable!

* If you're wondering how it runs, it's all over the map.  You can ask about a specific piece in the group I mentioned above.  Skirts tend to run very big.  Other things run small.

Persnickety "Macie Jane" dress with Joyfolie Boots (from a flash-sale on GILT).
Layering shirt by Matilda Jane.

Persnickety Bo-Peep "Betsy" Halter with Button Tab shorts.  LOVE.

The back - to die for.

Persnickety "Pretty in Pink" line Lou Lou Peplum top and Paige skirt (runs big!)
Boots by Joyfolie, on flash-sale at GILT.

I just recently got into the matching Persnickety headbands...
not sure if this is the best thing ever or the worst, haha!
Persnickety Avery top in Yellow, Lisel Leggings, and Olive Headband.
Toffee Moon (Girl and Boy - baby/toddler only)

I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this UK brand.  They don't have a base in the U.S. (alas!) so unless you want to pay tons of money in pounds, you have to get it off Zulily.  Also:  They only make baby clothes - 24 months is the max.  Their stuff is so incredibly soft and just such high quality, I hope these pics can even begin to capture it.  Runs slightly big except rompers, which you might want to size up in to make sure the torso length works.

I was literally euphoric when this arrived in the mail.  As in, squealing.

It's all in the details.
This romper was my first Toffee Moon purchase.  It started a serious obsession.
Llum (just Girls)

Llum (Swedish for "light") makes the most gorgeous dresses imaginable, seriously, these pics don't do them justice.  The fabric on the petticoat and overlay is silk-soft and the sash is beautiful and long making for an eye-catching bow in the back.  Llum has its own website but it's prohibitively expensive for us.  I get their stuff when it's on GILT or Zulily and I've found that GILT has a better selection.  Runs true to size.

Just casual enough to still wear on a playdate or other outing. 
The back. 
It's the additional patterns and textures in the Petticoat layer that really makes these dresses so special.
Llum's Facebook page advises me that they'll have a new line of these out soon!

Tea Collection (Girl and Boy)
Confession time!  I am not a big fan of Tea (!!!).  I'm adding it here only because so many people think I forgot about it.  Enlighten me if you can... to me, it all looks like a bunch of long-sleeve T-shirt dresses of random patterns.  The colors are often pretty and the patterns are intricate... but... the cuts are SO simple and the fabric isn't anything to write home about, IMO.  I'm more into unique fabrics and cuts than unique patterns.

Don't hate me!!!  I do think their infant and boy stuff can be very nice, but I'm matchy-matchy and the price is just never good enough to get both the tea sweater and the tea pants.  I'll stick to Janie & Jack sales for my boy!

I don't get it...
But if you do, your cheapest find for Tea will be GILT, Hautelook, (Nordstrom's Zulily), or Zulily.

Janie and Jack (Girl and Boy)
Okay you're probably already familiar, but J&J deserves a little ditty.  J&J has the edge on ultra-preppy, traditional, ultra-high end classic American kids' clothing.  You'll need a coupon (sign up your email) and you'll still want to wait for the line you want to go on sale.  But it holds its value so if you combine a coupon with a sale and you resell, it can be reasonable or even cheap - sometimes you might even *make* money like I did on the romper pictured below!

J&J boys sweaters abound on Ebay.
Both kids wearing J&J off Ebay.

Daddy is a bike-commuter, so we love this sweater.

Paid $20 for this on sale in the store, sold it on Ebay for $30.
I rarely repeat outfits but couldn't resist with this one.  

Waiting until next August to resell this, to seasonally max what I get for it. 
Gymboree (Girl and Boy)
Gymboree is the "lesser" version of Janie & Jack, owned by the same company.  You'll often see cross-over in the themes of their various lines but J&J stuff is always nicer.  Still, Gymboree is super cute and it's a fraction of the price because there are constant sales and you can combine the sales with Gymbucks.  I actually think their brand has gone downhill over the past year - lots of lines that just aren't that cute and are too cartoony.  But when a line is a hit it's a big hit.  And I really love their swimwear.  I like cartoonish stuff better for swimming.

My little turtle.
Baby Whale.
So darling.
I especially love Gymboree for baby boys (0-24 months)
Love this outfit.
Cartoonish but I love the owls.
Such a cute shirt last fall.
JojoMaman Bebe (Girl and Boy)
I'm not really into their girls stuff but they have some adorable baby boy stuff.  I've seen them on both GILT and Zulily.

Twirls and Twigs (just Girls)
Often featured on Zulily, the best thing about this brand is that it's ethically made in the U.S.A.  This is our first dress by them and I LOVE it.  Perfect for a hot summer day, it's lined in a very light cotton so it doesn't feel flimsy but it's still nice and cool.

Ethically made in the U.S.A.!
Deux par Deux (Girl and Boy)
This is a high-end French brand with lots of darling details that I've sadly never seen on a flash-sale site.  I get it on the clearance rack at a nearby boutique, or off Ebay.  They have boy stuff too and beware:  It tends to run small and/or slim.

Deux par Deux dress with Carters leggings.
Seriously?  Seriously.  And the shoes are See Kai Run Smaller Sophie's, featured below.
Deux par Deux off Ebay.

Mini Boden (Girl and Boy)
Mini Boden is a high-end UK brand featuring "bright British looks."  The great thing about them is that unlike many other UK brands (like Toffee Moon ... sigh... ), Mini Boden has bases in the US so you can order off their website (click here and get 20% off if it's your first order IF you enter "FRND" at checkout) and pay in dollars rather than pounds, with reasonable or free shipping (depending on whether there's a sale).

Fabric is adult-clothing quality, and people go crazy for this stuff - I think because it's preppy/classic but not too stuffy.  Mini Boden is occasionally on Zulily but I'm not usually a fan of their selection.  Instead I get vouchers from Rue La La (e.g., pay $35 for a $50 voucher).  The vouchers can be combined with other Mini Boden sales (like a 20% off code - or like the new customer deal linked to in the paragraph above!), and the combo makes for some fabulous deals.  Mini Boden holds its value so well on Ebay that if you do this, you'll end up with a free outfit or possibly making a few bucks.  It tends to run slightly big, if anything.

Just Matthew's (L) pants are Boden but I wanted to note that Boden makes super warm fleece-lined pants for boys that look really sharp.  They are SO convenient - pair with a fleece like we do, and keep warm without a coat many days.
One thing Boden nails is the cardigan-with-dress look.  You cannot beat it.

My son loves to pick out his favorite appliqué.  I love the resale value ;)
Matilda Jane (just Girls)
I'm just now getting into Matilda Jane, which is sort of like a Pampered Chef thing - sold by parties.  I got this dress of Ebay and I LOVE it.  Some of the MJ stuff is a little too bohemian for me, but other dresses are just to die for.  The fabric quality is downright dreamy.

UPDATE:  I'm now obsessed with Matilda Jane.  Honestly, it's the fabric - so soft you just want to keep touching it and you can wash it a million times and it still looks brand new.  It's also the fit and the colors - this stuff is made with more of an eye toward what's actually flattering on different skin tones, rather than just whatever happens to be popular or considered a "kid" color.  Lots of jewel tones.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Happy Hearts Top from the current line "Hello Lovely"

Also from "Hello Lovely" - I wish I could capture how soft this is!!
Nannette (Just Girls) 
This is a *slightly* more casual brand and I've never seen it on GILT (just Zulily) but it still makes my list.  A lot of their stuff is pretty meh, but these two outfits are two of my all-time favorites. Super comfy, casual enough to wear anywhere, but still gorgeous.  And a great price: $20 when it's on Zulily!

Silver Nannette outfit with Robeez "Pop Diva" boots.  LOVE this look.
Vintagey and gorgeous.

I love when blue is still feminine.
Kate Mack (just Girls)
You can google around and find this brand online but IMO it's only affordable if you buy it on ebay.  It's all pinks/silvers/blacks/grays and I love it.

Feather Baby (Girl and Boy - baby/toddler only)
Softest rompers in the WORLD.  They have their own website on which you can order but again, prohibitively expensive.  They're a little too high-end for Zulily; I've only ever seen them on GILT.  They are absolutely to die for, you'll never want to put your baby down.  They make a fantastic baby gift too.  My friend Sarah got me this one and I can't bring myself to resell it!

Even her brother can't stop snuggling her in this romper.
It's hard to capture softness on film, so just imagine a cloud or something.
Hanna Andersson (Girl and Boy)
This is another mall boutique brand, out of Sweden.  The best of it, IMO, is the sweater dresses for girls in the wintertime.  Girls' pants are hardly ever lined but if you pair a sweater dress with the high-quality, thick leggings here you can really dress for warmth - and it's so cute.  Holy moly expensive though - best to buy in their January clearances and size ahead.  Hanna Andersson abounds on Ebay but I'm finding that a season's worth of washing makes the sweater material stiff.  Better to buy yourself and resell.  **Update:  This fall (2014) they've had pretty incredible sales... but I don't think the sweater dresses are as cute this year.  Hopefully they're not going downhill.

No, nothing has ever been cuter.
Ever.  !!!
Can't go wrong with Hanna for the holidays!
Baby Gap (Girl and Boy)
Okay, since I mentioned other mall brands... Baby Gap, IMO, is hit or miss.  Personally I'm not a fan of screen-printed T-shirts and they offer a lot of those.  I also don't like words on clothing.  And most of their toddler boy stuff is sort of too "rough" for me.  But they do have some really great stuff.  Just don't expect it to be cheap and don't count on it holding up well enough to resell.

New with tags from a consignment shop, resold on Ebay for the same price.  Took the pic myself!

Loved this little lavender outfit.  The shoes are See Kai Run Smallers, you can find them on Zulily and MyHabit - hope for MyHabit since shipping is free.  They're fantastic for babies, nice soft soles!
For info on the boots, see the bottom of this post.
Those two pink buttons are what got me on this one.
Tuff Kookooshka (Girl and Boy Outerwear)
This is *the* most ethically made brand I've found because not just the outerwear but the actual fabric itself is ethically made; the ultra-high end Polartec Fleece is milled in Malden Mills (Massachusetts) and the trim materials are out of Italy; the coats are sewn and assembled in Massachusetts.  It's also a very small, family-run company that started in a basement just using scraps of salvaged fabric - how cool is that?

Their stuff is GORGEOUS - you will get no end of compliments.  And it's super convenient because fleece this great, when paired with a hat, will keep your child warm on all but the coldest days - and those puffy coats are not safe for car seats, who wants to take their kid's coat off as you're getting into a freezing cold car?  Yes, it's expensive (comparable to The North Face) but you can get it half-off end of season and buy in advance, OR watch for it on Zulily in February.  Matthew is 3.5 years wearing a size 5 here - they recommend sizing up and flipping the cuffs so that you get two seasons out of it.

Even the fabric is ethically made.  (!!!)

Primigi Shoes (Girl and Boy)
You can find these at Nordstrom but as usual, too expensive!  They're too high-end for Zulily but they're often featured on GILT and RueLaLa.

Got these off Ebay.
These were on GILT last week and I'm proud to tell you that I *didn't* buy them!  Just stalked them. 

On Zappos.  Must.  Not.  Buy!

Ciao Bimbi Shoes (Girl and Boy)
I've only ever seen these Italian shoes on MyHabit.  MyHabit continues to reduce price until everything sells so if you search by your child's size you can often find $200 designer italian boots for $20 - that's how I got these (they also come in a dark grey/silver) and they are absolutely to die for.

Dying over these.
Livie & Luca Shoes (Girl and Boy)
I just discovered these last week and I'm obsessed.  I've never seen them on a flash sale site but guess what?  Amazon has them!  Great selection on Ebay too.  Got the auto-themed ones in blue for my nephew-to-be.

Umi Shoes (Girl and Boy)
I just discovered this brand and ordered these for Claire; they go with EVERYTHING.  Umi is often on GILT and MyHabit.  Don't forget to use a Master Card if you order on GILT - free shipping (and a UPromise Master Card will give you 10% back again).

See Kai Run (Girl and Boy)
Last, but definitely not least, are See Kai Run shoes.  They're featured on Zulily and MyHabit and you can also price-watch a pair you like on Amazon.  Their "Smaller" line features soft soles for pre- and early walkers, and you should max that out because they're so sweet and they're way cheaper.  The "See Kai Run" line is for kids and bigger kids can wear "Kai."  I still like some Stride Rite shoes, especially for my son, but I'm a little less sneaker-y with my daughter.

We don't own these, but I do love them.
See Kai Run Smaller "Meme."  Claire's first shoe, loved these so much.  
See Kai Run Smaller "Sophie."  Went well with tons of stuff.

And I'll leave you with this.  We've gotten *no* end of compliments on these boots by Robeez, pictured above in the first dress under "Nannette."  I first saw them being shown with all the Hanna Andersson sweater dresses in the fall and winter of 2011.  They were like $60 and Robeez was making them exclusively for Hanna.  Then in 2012 I did an internet search for them and to my delight they came up on Amazon for $30.  I bought them and I'll probably get $10 back reselling.  Boy did we love them.

"Robeez Mini Shoez Pop Diva Boot" for your Amazon searching.  Yes, spelled like that.


  1. Wow - this is just an extravaganza of incredibly gorgeous clothing! Incredible pics. You can add that Chase's yellow raincoat in the pic is also Jojo Maman Bebe. Their raincoats are fantastic quality. I dislike the cheap, plastic-y unlined raincoats - these are thick, supple, beautifully detailed and have a full cotton lining, which makes them warmer and more comfortable (not to mention nicer-looking.)

    1. Great to know, I'll add above! And yeah, this entry was soooOOOOooo fun to make, and I know I'll love looking back on all the pics.

  2. Makes me wish I were having another girl!

  3. Sometimes Costco gets Hanna Andersson stuff in for really great prices. The best part is the dress tops are cut so that you can wear them for several sizes, it just gets a bit short and you put legging on under it instead of tights. I scored two coats from them too at the thrift store and they are very well made.

  4. I love looking at the pics of the kids!! They are the cutest!!! <3

  5. Your kids are so cute - great post!

  6. We love many of these brands as well. Livie and Luca we usually get off of Babysteals for a much better price. They are my daughters favourite shoes, she loves the way they fit.

  7. You need to discover Well Dressed Wolf :) Super sweet dresses!

  8. You have adorable kids! Great post!

  9. do you use any checklists to know how many of each item of clothing to buy your kids each season? I shop consignment sales and buy an entire season at once and then fill in the blanks with consignment stores. I don't do a great job though at the consignment sales though because I'm not good at predicting what they need each season. I fall in love with a cute brand item and grab it and then almost always end up with an very off balance wardrobe!

    1. I think your checklist idea is BRILLIANT. I do use them for storing and reselling - at the end of a season I take those clothes, photograph them, add them to a Word document noting any flaws and how they run, and then 6-9 months later when they become seasonal again, that's when I sell.

      I definitely think doing this for "future" clothes would be really helpful and I'll probably start now, thanks to your suggestion! That way when I'm thinking about what color sandals will work, I won't have to drag out the bin and try to go through it. I, too, sometimes scramble to match things. I REALLY have to stay away from buying separates because I always end up with too many cute shirts and not enough pants, or a skirt that looks amazing but nothing that really goes. I try to buy in whole outfits. I also *mainly* stick to the colors that most compliment my daughter: purple, teal/greens, pinks, blues, and the occasional white. Sometimes it's fun to branch out, but doing it this way means that it's easier to find shoes that go with everything. I've also found that having a pair of gray or silver boots for the winter cannot be underestimated!

    2. ah colors! That is the other part of my shopping I need to perfect. I had my color analysis done but I still struggle with it and also have a hard time figuring out the best colors on my kids. I have noticed only a couple of winning colors so far but it's hard when shopping for them because they are never with me for me to hold it up to their faces. I guess it's just trial and error??

  10. Great list! You also need to check out all of the GLYM brands, Hannah Bannana, Sara Sara, Baby Sara and Turly, really well made super cute clothes. Andy and Evan and Mayoral are our favorites for the little dudes :)!

  11. Stumbled across your blog "researching" boutique clothes and I love this post! I need to know what those brown boots are that she's wearing with the MJ Sunny Weather dress! Thank you!!

    1. Awww thank you Kim! So those I got off MyHabit, they reduce prices until things sell out so I lucked out with these, they were a random Euro brand that was originally $$$$ and I got them super cheap like well under $20. I cannot recall the name of the brand though and it's been about 3 years so I'm sure they're not there anymore! But I recommend shopping MyHabit's clearance when they have it. Especially if you're still in the small toddler sizes you can get some crazy deals.

    2. Thank you so much replying! If, you don't mind me asking, where do you find inspiration for your daughter's wardrobe? Sometiems I have a hard time "seeing it" until I see it on another kid. Do you just come up with the outfits combos on your own? I feel like you've done a great job of creating outfits that are super cute/girly/whimsical but not totally over-the-top.

    3. Kim you are so kind. I would say that what I tend to do is I pick my favorite outfit each season by each brand, and from there I just keep an eye open for shoes that would work with it. There is usually just one outfit per brand (or sometimes none) that really does it for me each season, although Matilda Jane sometimes has more. I would say that the things that attract me to an outfit are these:

      (1) Colors that make my daughter look great. I don't find myself looking twice at black or red, for example, because those don't really make her own color palette stand out. Purples and teals I go crazy for.

      (2) I like things to be really fitted. It shows off their cute little baby bodies! I look for things that look narrow through the torso since my daughter is slim. Things that hang wide just don't look that great.

      (3) Unless they are a tunic and leggings combo. In that case, it's okay for it to be a little wider because it's short. Not sure really why that is. But I like dresses fitted through the chest and waist; tunics can be a little wider.

      (4) I stay away from skirts at this age. They really dwarf her. Maybe when she's older and taller.

      I hope that helps!

    4. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful response! I really appreciate you letting me pick your brain. I'm also a stay at home mom with two littles and a husband who works long hours. I've really enjoyed both of your blogs.

  12. I think this is the best article I read on this subject. It's not perfect, but it is the best.

    I found used Hanna Andersson items to be excellent across several different styles, such as sweater dresses, sweaters, Nordic design, applique shirts, applique dresses, Etc. -- not just the sweater dresses. Hanna Andersson is probably my favorite at Hanna Andersson's best. BUT Hanna Andersson has lots of cheaper, mainstream items not nearly as good as the best Hanna Andersson. Newer Hanna Andersson has a lot of cheap Gymborie stuff.

    Overall, Matilda Jane is consistently high-end. It's all great. Matilda Jane is amazing. It definitely has more pieces more towards artsy fashion than Hanna Andersson. The mixing of colors allows for mixing and matching of more items.

    Persnickety is like artsy Matilda Jane except more skirts not as many other items. The items are more artsy. You could mix and match Persnickety and Matilda Jane items in a way that is astounding fashion fun.

    Mini Boden is like the best Hanna Andersson stuff. Mini Boden is excellent. Not as many artsy item. More items like jeans and tweens stuff.

    Those three names were the big three to me.

    1. Also, lessor known and expensive, Monnalisa Girls has astounding skirts and other stuff.

    2. For the big three names I meant the better Hanna Andersson items, Mini Boden, and Matilda Jane (with similar Persnickety mix-ins).

  13. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our. baby & kids shop

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