Dressing your little girl in the hippest or the coolest or the prettiest dresses is a job many parents know that they just have to accomplish. Everyone wants their little princess to be the best dressed. New York parents take it to another level entirely, and NYC rises up to meet them. Children’s boutiques are as ubiquitous across the city as Starbucks or Duane Reade pharmacies. If you’re looking for an adorable dress for your Little Miss Sunshine, check out the store options below.
Century 21 Department Store, or “Century’s” to New Yorkers in the know, is one of New York City’s best-kept secrets and a true treasure trove of hidden gems. Located in the heart of the financial district at the footprint of the old, and new, World Trade Center, this discount retailer has some of the best deals in the city. You know how some stores say, “discounts on designer brands”, but the designers are sort of middle of the road? Not so with Century 21. These are real designer brands, like Stella McCartney or Dolce and Gabbana. The children’s section is a true delight, with many of the most expensive children’s clothes being sold for as much as 70% off and higher. You could find an adorable Lily Pulitzer or Ralph Lauren dress for the same price you’d pay for a dress at a mid-priced children’s store. Check out their merchandise from home at C21stores.com.
Century 21, 22A Cortlandt Street, NY (212) 227-9092
Julian and Sara
This Soho shop is a NYC fave amongst parents of budding fashionistas. The store stocks imported clothing from top European designers, as well as the owner’s own South American designed-and-made line of seasonal clothing named Julsar. The owner is very passionate about her business and her customers, often responding to their requests for alternative fashion choices. Her clients are repeat customers, and she sees them go from tiny babies to little ladies and gentlemen. The dresses sold by the store have a decidedly unpretentious European flare, and can be stunningly simple or charmingly eclectic. If you’re a fan of European designers along the lines of Lili Gaufrette, this is the store for you. Go see for yourself at Julianandsara.com
Julian and Sara, 103 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012 (212) 226-1989
If you’re looking for dresses that are girly, but not frilly, check out Lilliput in Soho. The dresses here are beautiful, simple and all girl. This is the perfect store for the parent looking for dresses that are sweet, not saccharine. Right now on the sight, there is a beautiful, lemon yellow sundress made by Legion. It has a dropped waist and is made of the lightest cotton, and would be perfect with a pair of sandals, or even paired with white Keds. It comes in sizes 3 to 5, and can be had for $110. If you’re looking for something a little more afternoon tea-ish, you could get the Larcin Dress by Lili Gaufrette. This sleeveless halter dress is a crisp white, covered in lovely blue flowers and green leaves. This dress retails for $115. Look at it online at Lilliputsoho.com
Lilliput, 265 Lafayette Street, #3, New York, NY (212) 965- 9567
If you’re buying for a girl who doesn’t mind wearing a dress, but wants it to look hip, you’d do well to stop by J.Crew. An amazing dress is the Mini-Cupcake Dress. Made of a rich, soft cotton, this dress is sleeveless and has ruffles all the way through from neck to hem. They’re not cutesy ruffles. They’re more layers than anything else, and they’ll work at school or at a birthday party. Even grandma would approve. This dress retails for $55. The Girl’s Jitterbug Stripe Dress is a black and white horizontal striped shift dress with a cinched, elasticized waist. This dress retails for $45. There are various locations in NYC and you can always see the latest trends in girls dresses at Jcrew.com.
Lord & Taylor
You can’t bypass the old school standby stores, and Lord & Taylor is one of the best. You can get everything from the frilliest frocks to the most kid-friendly anti-establishment tunics. Your little lady will be the belle of the schoolyard if she’s decked out in the Ralph Lauren Paisley Short-Sleeved Dress. This smock dress has a "Little House on the Prairie" charm that will work for those that appreciate that look, as well as for those who view the style with a more tongue-in-cheek appreciation. The pattern is a beautiful paisley print with smocking across the chest and hem. You can pick up this lovely dress for $32.
If you’re thinking of something a little less "Laura Ingalls pinafore" and a little more "Twiggy mod", check out the One A Girls Space Dye Sweater Dress. This funky sweater dress has an out-of-this-world space dye pattern wrapping itself all over in an almost, but not quite, psychedelic print. There’s ribbed knit trim all over the dress, adding a nice touch. This dress retails for $28.80, down from $48. And remember, you can always shop for yourself at Lordandtaylor.com.
Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY (212) 391-3344