Spain has some of the most beautiful, traditional children's clothes I've ever seen. I first realized this when I studied abroad there in college, loooooong before I was thinking about kids or their cuteness factor. You see babies and children dressed up in a way that you don't see every day here in the U.S. -- except on Sundays, maybe. During our trip there last week, every time I came across a shop window with these beautiful classic pink and baby blue knit outfits for newborns, or smocked -- panel de abeja -- dresses for little girls, I'd just stop in front of it and melt. And then I'd take a picture.
I love these classic and traditional outfits and would put my child in them every day if it were practical -- which it totally is not. I cringe when the toddler K dips her elbows in spaghetti sauce or when her tights get all dirty -- which is all the time now. So I'd probably have an attack if she got ketchup on a dress that cost upwards of $100. Yes, heart attack, that's the going rate for some of these dresses. Especially considering how fast the little ones outgrow their clothes. That's such an over-said thing to say, but it's true. I have bags and bags and bags of clothing in the basement that the toddler K only wore once or never. Makes me sad.
Still, I couldn't resist myself, so I bought the toddler K two dresses from a small shop called Arza in Bilbao. The lady who helped me out said the store had been in her family for over a hundred years, and that all the dresses were hand-sewn there in Spain.
There's also have a pretty good selection of these clothes at El Corte Ingles -- which is the big department store in Spain, and is like a Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom-quality crossed with Wal-mart's diversity of products (they have groceries, electronics, bookstore, clothing, pharmacy, a cafeteria, etc.). The brand Dulces is especially nice. I got the toddler some pink shoes de charol that were Dulces. Got those in the sale bin, which was not easy to find.
I think the preference and tendency here in the U.S. is to dress our children like little adults. Hey, the toddler K has worn plenty of velour track suits in her 15 months, and she has Dereon jeans, lime green Adidas tennis shoes, jeggings, etc. etc. But I do like to mix it up with classic and traditional clothes when I can -- because if not now then it's never.