Tutu to tango
The smallest guests have the biggest choice of partywear, says Brigit Grant
LIKE IT or not, children usually steal the show at a function. Adults can primp, preen and spend fortunes on their frocks and suits, but put a cute little kid in a pair of tatty dungarees on the dance floor and all bets are off. Even a bride plays second fiddle to her maids once they hoist up their taffeta skirts and go Gangnam crazy in front of their kvelling grandparents.
When the attention comes so easily, it seems silly to dress children up at all — particularly as they are prone to spillage — but parents can’t help themselves, particularly when it comes to girls, who regardless of age can be very picky about their attire. Make the most of dictating the fashion terms to your little ones, because before you can say “Abercrombie & Fitch”, your children will be telling you what they want to wear to simchahs and teaming microscopic flouncy skirts with Doc Marten boots. And that’s just the boys.
No, but seriously, boys are much easier to sort out in the style stakes. Prior to wearing penguin suits like their fathers, they can attend a do in smart trousers, colourful waistcoats and collarless shirts. Small chaps in suits can wind up looking like that toddler in the toilet-roll commercial or mini bank managers, so it’s better to keep it casual courtesy of Next or House of Fraser. Use Cruz Beckham in the Burberry ad for inspiration and invest in some dark jeans which will last...well, until next month.
Girls are a different proposition altogether. Apart from the odd tomboy, most want to be full-time fairies and go to balls in something sparkly. The
fairy-dress code is ideal for weddings and barmitzvahs, notably in the form of a pettiskirt or tutu like the ones sold at angels-face.co.uk — you can actually get lost in the multiple layers of these skirts which start at £35 for infants and go up to £56 for teens. Founded by Keely Deininger, the skirts at Angels are her very own tribute to Come Dancing which she used to watch with her mother on Saturday nights. Remember how the skirts bounced in the ballroom section of the contest? Well, so do these nylon chiffon confections which come in colours you can team with the scheme of the big day or simply go for fuchsia and let the dolls dominate the action.
Available at Selfridges, Mischka Aoki’s designs for little girls are this season inspired by Swan Lake. The couture label has only just come to the UK and the dresses aren’t cheap (£250-plus), but they are stunning and if you want your child to make a statement in the photos, this is an outfit to do it in.
Much less pricy, little-mistress.co.uk has some really pretty party dresses in pale pinks through to navy blue that are age-appropriate, which so many clothes for young girls tend not to be. In chiffon with sequin trimmings, they are very wearable — and much more likely to be worn again.
As shoes can make or break an outfit, a shoe brand that comes with its own signature tune has to be a good omen for a party and your daughter won’t need to be coerced into wearing Lelli Kelly pumps. The embellished canvas LK shoes are the most lusted after — and if you opt for a neutralcolour dress from Next, or even something in cashmere from Eric Bompard if it’s a day function, these shoes will provide the razzle dazzle. Now what are you wearing?
3 2 1. to 4. Big bow, from £5; Alice band, from £8; Peaches & Cream dress, from £56; Tea Rose pettiskirt, from £35, all Angel’s Face 5. Lord black & white shoe, from £59.50 6. Shavon gold party
shoe, from £155 7. Olympia shoe, from £94 8. Lord black patent shoe, from £59.50 9. Lelli Kelly party shoe, £34.90 10. Blooming Lovely pettiskirt, by Angel’s Face, from £36 6 8