Why I Quit Shopping at Carter’s: Ten Places to Score Unique Kids’ Clothing Online



Let’s just go ahead and get this out there; one of the major perks of procreating is getting to play dress-up with your baby. It’s just like your childhood Barbie experiences with a few diaper blowouts and an incessant stream of spit-up thrown in; just as fun but significantly messier.

When I found out that we were having a little girl, I headed straight to Carter’s and bought every teensie, flower-appliqued onesie they carried. No exaggeration. It was a wonder they all fit in her dresser.

But about the time my daughter started sitting up, I discovered the joys and dangers (to my wallet) of shopping on Instagram and Etsy. And I found a lot of satisfaction in shopping small from shops owned by moms just like me who were putting their hearts and souls into fun and unique clothing for kids while providing for their families.

I’ve found the prices at small online shops to be generally comparable to what I’d spend at one of the big box stores, but the clothing is so much more unique. So while I still stock up on basics at the Targets, Old Navys and Gaps of the world, I opt to shop small when I’m in need of something that’s off the beaten path.

Below are a few of my favorite online options for scoring unique kids’ clothing. (I feel like I’m passing along the keys to Pandora’s box.)

1. Camden and Kate. I’ve purchased an embarrassing amount of kimonos from this adorable shop. Every single time I put my daughter in one, someone stops to ask me where I got it. And they even offer Mommy and Me sets!

toddler kids fashion Carter's

2. Tribe Is Alive. I’m a big fan of the witty tee on toddlers. Particularly when they involve lyrics to my favorite songs from the 90s. This shop also offers Mommy (or Daddy!) and Me sets.

3. EnjoyEssential. This shop also carries really adorable tees, and they also donate a meal to a local charity for each shirt they sell. (If you’re a Mean Girls fan, you’ll particularly enjoy this cute tee.)

4. Slyfox Threads. This shop has a great selection of girls and boys clothing, including fun snapbacks and more 90s-themed fun.

5. KickinLegs. We’ve got several pairs of these hand-painted leggings and love them. They hold up well in the wash and add a fun and personal touch to a simple pair of leggings.

Kickin Legs Texas Leggingsstate love leggings

. . . though I can’t promise they’ll prevent toddler meltdowns.

6. Sugarplum Lane. If you’re looking for super-girly, glittery tops, bloomers, and shorts, you should check out Sugarplum Lane. We’ve got these blush sequin shorts and adore them (and they come in other colors, too!). They’ve also got some cute boy things, as well.

7. Two Little Kings. This shop has the cutest harem pants and shorts around.

8. Dream Catcher Baby.  For a special occasion, these dresses are beyond gorgeous.

Dream Catcher Baby Dressmint with gold dots dress

Can you even handle the bow?

9. Harlow Jade.  From bell-bottoms to gorgeous kimonos and fun graphic tops, you’ll adore the stuff in this shop.

10. Hello Moccs.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention moccasins in a post about kids’ fashion. I’m a huge fan of moccasins for babies and toddlers (though I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the price tag) because they’re comfortable, sweat-resistant, and ridiculously cute. I’ve purchased at least half a dozen different brand of moccs, and Hello Moccs wins for quality, color selection, and fit for my chubby-footed kid. Plus, if you follow her shop on Instagram, you can watch for flash sale codes where she drops the price on her moccasins significantly.

A couple of tips for making purchases from small shops such as these:

Remember, these shops generally aren’t large enough to keep a ton of items in stock, so you’ll usually have to wait at least a few weeks for your purchases. Be sure and check the website for standard production and shipping times to be sure the items will arrive in an acceptable time frame. And if you’re in particular need of something quickly, email the shop owner! They can generally accommodate requests for expedited delivery for a small fee.

Some of the more delicate items–particularly the kimonos–need to be hand washed. (Take it from this mama who discovered in horror that her washer had eaten the fringe on her brand new floral kimono, don’t try and wash or dry them in the machine.)

Make sure and follow the shops you love on social media. That’s where they’ll post sales and you can stay up-to-date on new products.

So how about you guys? Where do you find cute clothes for your little ones?

If you’ve got a favorite shop or are the owner of a small online shop that sells baby/toddler/kids’ clothing, feel free to share them in the comments.


    • Thanks for the recommendation, Shanna! I remember now that I received a Kickee Pants romper as a gift for my daughter, and you’re so right – it was SO soft and adorable!

  1. Hi! I’m the owner of Mud Pie in Frisco, TX. You may know Mud Pie as a national brand, however you may not know that the first Mud Pie store in the U.S. is here in Frisco! We hope that you can come check us out. We recently launched our app available in the apple and android app stores (Mud Pie Texas). Hope to see you soon!

  2. I would love to shop exclusively at these stores too but I take issue with this:

    “I’ve found the prices at small online shops to be generally comparable to what I’d spend at one of the big box stores, but the clothing is so much more unique.”

    $25 for a tshirt or harem pants not exactly comparable to me 🙁

    • Hi Mindi! Thanks for stopping by. I definitely don’t shop exclusively at small shops, though I wish I could. As I mentioned, I still buy basics at the usual places, but I turn to small shops for a few pieces each season to supplement my daughter’s wardrobe in a unique way. And certainly some pieces in the shops listed are pricier than what you could find at Target, but some are about the same or only slightly higher. For example, with discount codes, I was definitely able to score moccasins for my daughter cheaper than I could buy a pair of shoes at StrideRite for sure! 🙂

    • Yeahhhhh, I kind of agree with that. I shop at Carters and Old Navy and Gap because I don’t want to spend $20 on a shirt little man is only going to wear for a season before he outgrows it.

      That being said, the clothes in the boutiques is super adorable and i would love to outfit little man in it but…$25 for a shirt versus $5 for a shirt? That $20 is a tank of gas for my commute for a week. #priorities 🙁

  3. Hi Ryan!

    I too love to dress my little girls in fun, unique clothing. However, I have been struggling with how to shop for cute clothes in an ethical way. I know I can go and shop through second hand stores (I’m totally fine with this) but do you know of any kids’ clothing stores that are cute AND made in the USA or fair trade in Dallas?


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