Easter Parade: Bright, comfortable clothes are popular this season

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Ysabel Morales wore a floral dress, white sweater, pearls and ballet flats.

Her brother Nikolas sported a pair of turquoise shorts, an argyle shirt, turquoise boat shoes and a pork-pie hat.

Dominic, their littlest sibling, donned a seersucker suit, brown, two-toned boat shoes and a straw fedora.

The three were quite stylish, dressed in outfits for Easter.

“For Easter, I want something for my children that is not so dressy so they can­­ — and will want to — wear the outfits again, but that still looks nice,” says their mother, Mimi Morales, of Peters, shopping at Crazy 8 in South Hills Village. “We are very involved in church functions, so we need good clothes for church and other events. That's why I love shopping at Crazy 8. This store has fun clothing in nice colors and prints and patterns, quality merchandise and reasonable prices.”

Morales is like most parents who want fashionable, yet easy-to-wear, clothing for their children, says Amber Valdiserri, store manager of Crazy 8, which is a sister store to Gymboree and Janie and Jack.

“This year, the dresses are made of more cotton, and cotton blends, versus lots of taffeta and tulle layering,” Valdiserri says. “Some have some tulle and taffeta because girls love dresses. But moms and dads are also looking for comfort and versatility, so they can wear the clothing for more than just on Easter Sunday. With lots of dresses and skirts, you can add stylish shoes, sweaters and jewelry to give the outfit more flair.

“For boys, lots of parents like shorts or linen pants with a polo or button-down shirt and a vest, which is a relaxed look yet on trend,” she says. “These are pieces that really never go out of style. We have also have had a lot of parents who are looking for a seersucker suit for boys, which is a classic.”

Customers want to be able to mix and match pieces, and they are looking for reasonable prices Valdiserri says. “They are drawn toward items that are more traditional, so they can pass the clothing down to their other children or be able to give to friends and family members' children.”

Footwear needs to be easy-to-wear, too, so slip-on shoes are a good choice for all kids, she says. Adjustable waistbands help fit varying sizes. And, clothes should be fun.

Michael Giannelli, lead designer at The Children's Place, agrees. Kids love bright colors, he says, which are a huge part of this year's collections for boys and girls.

The girls' line is indeed very girly, he says, with cute flare dresses and textured floral skirts. The ballet flat is a must-have. They come in sparkly sequins, pretty florals and colorful gems. Layering is the way to go, especially with fluctuations in weather, so pairing a button-down shirt and sweater vest is on trend and practical for boys. Adding a cardigan or jacket over a dress creates a versatile outfit that defies seasons, Giannelli says.

Katie Myles of the L.L. Bean children's line says this season, it's all about graphics and bright colorful prints and plaids. Graphic T-shirts run the gamut from sports to critters to nature scenes. Boys get plaids in shorts and camo print in pants. Girls have plaid shorts to choose from, as well as skirts with pretty prints. All are perfect spring finds, Myles says.

“Parents still dress kids up for Easter, but clothing has become more individual and tailored to a child's personality compared to the more traditional and matched outfits of Easter past,” Myles says. “For example, a little boy might still wear a polo shirt for dress-up, but layer it with a graphic tee and pair it with plaid shorts. Girls are all about bright colors and mixing and matching unique outfits.”

There are some cute girls' apparel at The Frog n' Princess in Peters. There are dresses made of satin with tulle skirt bottoms and rhinestone waists, as well as some with flower petals inside the skirt. And they come in the prettiest pastel colors. Accessories include hot pink and yellow headbands and ostrich puffs with flower hair adornments.

Boys will look sharp in one of the houndstooth or checked fedoras or suspenders. A striped pair of shorts, cotton shirt and long-sleeve cardigan is the perfect combination for the little guys for Easter, says Cindy Rooney, sales associate for Frog n' Princess.

“It's about dress casual for boys, which is still appropriate for church,” she says. “But for girls, they still want bling. They like sparkles and rhinestones and cute dresses. And if they do, this is the place to shop.”

Lands' End Kids designers are parents themselves, so that experience helps them know what the little ones like, says Liz Pierce, senior design director Lands' End Kids.

“Each item has been thoughtfully created for fuss-free, no-itch dressing with lasting comfort and durability in mind,” Pierce says. “Our tags aren't scratchy. We offer adjustable waists and soft fabrics. Most of our styles are also available in slim and plus for her, slim and husky for him. We work hard to create real value for parents with outfits that look great and will work for more than just one occasion.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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