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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
When shopping for kids clothes, consider upcoming growth spurts, seasons, and sales
We did the testing to find the best kids clothing stores and brands for kids of all ages and needs.
We also rounded up our favorite pieces for the summer, including rompers, shorts, tees, and dresses.
Both new and seasoned parents know the struggle of buying kids clothing. Whether it's for a baby's first birthday or a teen's school dance, it's difficult to avoid spending too much on clothes that almost immediately get stained, torn, or outgrown.
Even though I love and work in fashion, my daughter spent most of her first year in hand-me-down onesies. Now that she is approaching her second birthday, I'm itching to dress her in cuter clothes. But it can be daunting to sort through the variety of kids clothing online.
Quality and prices vary widely, and finding the time to navigate a retailer's website is no easy feat. Add to that kids often-changing preferences and the struggle of finding functional yet on-trend clothing. To help guide you, we've looked at many retailers. For each one, we considered the range of styles, sizing inclusivity, quality of materials, and prices.
Here are the best places to shop for kids clothes in 2021Best baby clothes: Janie and JackBest baby clothes on a budget: Carter'sBest toddler clothes: Tea CollectionBest toddler clothes on a budget: Old NavyBest kids clothes: Maison MeBest kids clothes on a budget: H&MBest adaptive kids clothes: AppamanBest adaptive kids clothes on a budget: Cat & Jack at TargetBest tween clothes: NordstromBest tween clothes on a budget: Kohl'sBest teen clothes: American Eagle Outfitters
Updated on 5/28/2021: We updated pricing and our favorite picks for the summer.
The best baby clothes
Janie and Jack/Insider
Janie and Jack baby clothes make every day a special occasion with their fun prints and high-quality fabrics.Sizes: Newborn to 24 months Prices: Bodysuits from $24, one-pieces from $36, pants from $24
Janie and Jack’s clothing run true to size, which makes online ordering easy and fast. The brand offers a large selection for infants and a variety of pieces, including bodysuits, sweaters, dresses, and swimsuits, as well as accessories like shoes, hats, socks, and bows.
The colors and fabric look new even after repeated washing, though we do recommend line-drying the garments because cotton can shrink in machine dryers. My daughter lived in her Janie and Jack swimsuits this past summer, and the material did not droop or fade in the sun.
What we like:Baby Embroidered Romper (small)Baby Floral Smocked Romper (small)Baby Raglan Lobster Jumper (small)Baby Button Strawberry Button Romper (small)
The best baby clothes on a budget
Carter’s offers a large selection of affordable baby clothes that hold up well after repeated washes.Sizes: Preemie to 24 months Prices: Two-pack bodysuits from $18, one-pieces from $16, pants from $14
For everyday staples, Carter’s is a reliable brand with value packs and simple styles that are great for babies who may cycle through several outfits in a day. There are cute bodysuits and sleep sets, as well as hoodies, jackets, shoes, and other accessories. Carter’s runs frequent sales, but even pieces that are full priced are budget friendly.
I have a variety of Carter’s pieces that have been handed down from at least two other parents, and the garments are still in good shape. The cotton does shrink a bit after a while and some pieces run big, but there have been no noticeable tears or holes.
What we like:Zip-Up Cotton Sleep & Plays (2-pack) (small)Organic Cotton Gauze Bubble Sunsuit (small)Little Planet Organic Cotton Overall Jumpsuit (small)Floral Linen Tank (small)
The best toddler clothes
Tea Collection offers everyday and special occasion toddler clothing in unique prints and patterns on soft fabrics.Sizes: 2T to 4T (30 to 40 pounds)Prices: Tees from $23, leggings from $20, pants from $36, dresses from $36, pajamas from $40
Tea Collection pieces are some of my favorites for their distinctive prints and patterns. The quality of the fabrics, buttons, and seams on the garments is on par with adult clothing, and the designs are practical, modern, and inspired by global styles. With the exceptional quality comes a higher price tag, however.
Though items are machine washable, using a delicate cycle and skipping the dryer will help them retain their shape and color. The brand also donates 10% of their profits to charitable organizations like the Global Fund for Children and the Homeless Prenatal Program in their home city of San Francisco, California.
What we like:Pocket Printed Tea (small)Print Mix Skirted Dress (small)Tie-Waist Shorts (small)Plaid Camp Shirt (small)
The best toddler clothes on budget
Old Navy is a budget-friendly one-stop shop to outfit your toddler and the whole family.Sizes: 2T to 4T (30 to 40 pounds)Prices: Tees from $6, leggings from $5, pants from $23, dresses from $8, pajamas from $10
The quality of Old Navy clothing exceeds expectations when considering the brand’s ultra-low prices. The patterns are fun and cheery, and the versatile pieces have great value. For example, toddler pajamas come in fun prints for just $10. Its vast inventory includes basic sweats and tees, jackets, blouses, button-downs, dresses, jeans, pants, shorts, and swimwear as well as accessories like socks and shoes.
I’ve found that their sleepwear runs small, but other pieces are true to size. While the clothing won’t hold up as well as our top pick for toddlers, Old Navy runs frequent sales, so stocking up for the entire family is budget friendly.
What we like:French Terry Tie-Dye Sweatshirt and Shorts Set (small)U-Shaped French-Terry Shorts (2-pack) (small)Printed Tie-Sleeve Romper (small)Printed Oxford Shirt (small)
The best kids clothes
Maison Me is Maisonette’s in-house label with classic everyday designs that hold up to wear and tear.Sizes: Girls’ category sizes 4 to 16 (35 to 108 pounds); boys’ category sizes 4 to 18 (35 to 125 pounds)Prices: Tees from $20, button-downs from $34, leggings from $11, joggers from $32, dresses from $32Shipping: $9.95 standard, free for orders over $75Returns: 14 days excluding final sale, free return shipping
Maison Me garments are made to last with pieces constructed from thick and sturdy fabrics that won’t wear out. The classic designs include traditional polos, plaid dresses, lots of striped pieces, and adorable florals. One of my favorite pieces that I tested with my toddler was a pink two-piece track suit that was ideal for play. I also found the leggings and drawstring pants were comfy and well-made.
The brand recommends machine-washing its clothing on cold and tumble-drying on low for optimal care. In my experience, this preserves both the quality and size of the garment.
What we like:Pearl Lace Collar Dress (small)Clay Zip Hoodie (small)Reese Ribbed Legging (small)Gunnar Drawstring Pant (small)
The best kids clothes on a budget
H&M has a diverse selection of organic clothes, all at bargain prices. Sizes: Girls’ category sizes 2T to 14 (waist: 19.5 to to 27.5 inches), boys’ category sizes 2T to 14 (waist: 19.5 to 30.25 inches)Prices: Tees from $5, button-downs from $10, jeans from $10, leggings from $10, joggers from $32, dresses from $5
H&M‘s environmental consciousness, budget-friendly prices, and diverse selection make it a great option for rapidly growing kids. The colorful prints, fun details, and prices are hard to resist. I started shopping there when my daughter was a baby, and as she grew, I continued to buy their affordable eco-friendly clothes.
H&M offers kids clothes up to age 10 and a more sophisticated line for ages 8 to 14. They also sell accessories like tights, hats, shoes, and hair clips. If your child is Frozen-obsessed like mine, you’ll also love H&M’s partnerships with Disney, among others. The offerings are well-made, true to size, and wash easily.
What we like:Patterned Jumpsuit (small)Cotton Henley Shirt (small)Sweatshorts (small)T-Shirts (5-pack) (small)
The best adaptive kids clothes
Appaman’s Adaptive line caters to kids who have challenges with dressing, thanks to thoughtful and unique design features.Sizes: XS to XL (22.5 to 27-inch waist, 45 to 105 pounds)Prices: Tees from $35, button-downs from $51, jeans from $58, leggings from $48, shorts from $53, dresses from $58, coats from $125
Appaman’s Adaptive line features accessible versions of its most popular clothing to empower kids to dress themselves. An ideal line not only considers accessibility but also style choices that are on par with nonadaptive lines, according to Debbie Stone, founder and executive director at Pop.Earth, a nonprofit committed to providing wellness options for people with autism and developmental disorders.
Garments have Velcro closures, magnetic zippers, and internal pant loops for dressing one-handed. Velcro ankle cuffs allow for prosthetics, orthotics, and other medical devices. The selection is somewhat lacking, with 42 pieces at time of publication, but the garments wash and wear exceptionally well. Though on the pricier side, the quality is unparalleled.
What we like:Rhodes Shorts (small)Hot Dog Playa Shirt (small)Naxios Dress (small)Dockside Shorts (small)
The best adaptive kids clothes on a budget
Target’s Cat & Jack line includes clothing with abdominal access, snap closures for easy dressing, no tags, flat seams, and thumbholes to keep sleeves in place.Sizes: 2T to 14 (20.5 to 28-inch waist, 26 to 108 pounds)Prices: Tees from $5, button-downs from $10, leggings from $10, shorts from $10, dresses from $20, jackets from $30
A major retailer like Target can broaden the range and accessibility of adaptive clothes. “At Pop.Earth, a charity for autism and special needs, I hear from numerous parents how important it is that clothing lines pivot to include these people,” said Stone. Cat & Jack is a favorite of the parents I polled, and while its adaptive offerings are somewhat limited, the prices are unbeatable.
Cat & Jack makes leggings, pants, polos, tees, dresses, swimwear, jackets, and more. Like Carter’s, the clothing wear and wash well despite their lower price point. Garments also come with a one-year return policy with receipt if you’re not satisfied.
Toddler Abdominal Access 4th of July Dress (small)Dinosaur Woven Button-Down Shirt (small)Adapative Chino Pants (small)
The best tween clothes
Nordstrom has a wide variety of tween clothing from popular brands and one of the best return policies.Sizes: Girls’ category, varies by brand, up to size 16 (29-inch waist); boys’ category, varies by brand, up to size 22 (32.5-inch waist)Prices: Tees from $17, button-downs from $40, jeans from $30, leggings from $16, joggers from $29, shorts from $24, dresses from $32
Nordstrom is one of my favorite places to shop as an adult, and the options for tweens are just as impressive. There are well-known brands like Ugg, Hannah Banana, and Steve Madden, and a variety of other lesser-known brands that are equally cool among the tween set. Prices run the gamut, and offerings include everything from Nike and Adidas sweatshirts to sparkly, formal dresses. If you’re looking for a deal, there are great sales around the holidays as well as during its annual July sale.
Quality depends on the brand you buy, but I’ve found that pretty much everything I’ve purchased at Nordstrom withstands wear and tear. The product pages include recommended care instructions if you want to know before you buy. Nordstrom also offers free shipping and returns as well as local curbside pickup.
What we like:Breathe Swoosh T-shirt (small)Crossback Jumper (small)Twill Shorts (small)The Markie Mid Rise Shorts (small)
The best tween clothes on a budget
Kohl’s has tons of affordable brand-name clothing, and Kohl’s cash can get you even more savings.Sizes: Girls’ category, varies by brand, up to size 20 (32.5-inch waist); boys’ category, varies by brand, up to size 20 (30.5-inch waist)Prices: Tees from $10, button-downs from $24, jeans from $26, leggings from $12, joggers from $12, shorts from $15, dresses from $20
Kohl’s is a go-to for tweens, thanks to its reasonable prices on brand-name items, including clothing from Levi’s and Under Armour. You can shop by price on the website, with thousands of offerings from $6 to $20. You can also sort by age range, occasion, and size, including extended size options.
Many pieces have printed designs or phrases, but there are basics as well. Some of the lower-cost clothing may be a bit thin and flimsy. Though they won’t last multiple seasons, they are great for messy art classes or sports practice.
Short Overalls (small)Logo Graphic Tee (small)Cameo Maxi Dress (small)Tech Cargo Shorts (small)
The best teen clothes
American Eagle Outfitters/Insider
American Eagle Outfitters has an excellent selection and range of size options, and its rewards program is budget-friendly.Sizes: Women’s category XXS and XXL (26 to 48-inch waist); men’s category XS to XXXL (26 to 48-inch waist)Prices: Tees from $20, button-downs from $40, jeans from $40, leggings from $25, joggers from $50, shorts from $25, dresses from $35
American Eagle’s basics and on-trend styles make it our top pick for teen clothing. It also beats out the competition in terms of affordability, thanks to its rewards program and sales that often include savings of 25%. Between AEO and Aerie labels, the selection is vast. Denim styles include the brand’s bestselling high-waisted jeggings and straight fit jeans. You’ll also find tees, sweatshirts, blouses, dresses, joggers, comfy loungewear, swimwear, and accessories like socks and shoes.
American Eagle has a rewards program, which offers cash rewards, members-only sales, a birthday coupon, free shipping, and returns. Garment construction can sometimes be irregular — crooked seams or an uneven hem on a dress, for example. However, the jeans last for years and get more comfortable after multiple washes.
What we like:Tie-Dye Lettuce Edge Baby Tee (small)Super Soft Tri-Blend T-Shirt (small)Floral Tie Strap Midi Dress (small)AirFex+ Patched Denim Short (small)
What else we like
While the following stores and brands didn’t quite make the cut, if you haven’t found what you’re looking for among our top picks, consider the following.
Gap Teen: Through its new eco-friendly initiative, NXT Gen Gap, Gap offers quality basics with an ethical backstory. However, its inventory and deals fall short of our teen pick, American Eagle Outfitters.
Mori: Mori makes excellent sleepwear for babies and toddlers, but it doesn’t have much of a selection for everyday clothing.
All The Babies: This organic, vegan line is mostly limited to cozy sweatshirts and cotton bodysuits. It runs a program that donates used garments to families in need.
T.J. Maxx: We love T.J. Maxx for great deals on name-brand clothing, but it doesn’t offer a large variety of sizes online. Shopping in-store also takes time and is hit or miss.
J.Crew: J.Crew has high-quality, well tailored pieces for the whole family. While its children’s clothing lasts a long time, the garments are quite expensive.
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