Color Us Happy! Spring Fashion Trends for Kids are Bright On

Filed under: Fashion, Gear Guides: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Gear Guides: Big Kids, Gear Guides: Tweens

Bright, colorful dresses are a key trend for spring. Credit: T.J. Maxx

Goodbye arctic winds, snow suits and being trapped indoors for days at a time. Hello, sunshine, short sleeves and play dates at the park!

Spring has finally -- finally! -- sprung back into our lives and it's time for a little seasonal cleaning when it comes to your kids' closets. Weeding out the winter apparel -- plus, putting away all those items that kids have simply outgrown -- leaves room for a few key new buys to send the young ones sailing right out the door and into the fresh, warm air in colorful style.

"Bright colors are a must have for both boys and girls this season," Sonya Cosentini, spokesperson for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, tells ParentDish. "Greens, yellows, blues, oranges -- any bold, fun color will be everywhere from shirts to dresses, flip flops to swimwear and more."

Michelle DeMartini, Old Navy senior vice president of kids and baby merchandising and brand licensing, says, for girls, there's a trend this spring toward feminine styles, even for tomboys.

"Girls often react to trends in women's fashion; for instance, skinny jeans have been popular in fashion for some time now," she tells ParentDish. "This is not only a strong trend in the industry, but the 8-year-old girl loves the comfort and cool factor around skinny jeans -- it could be a staple in girls (trends) for several seasons to come. With the skinny trend, we are also seeing a trend towards longer tops. There is also a strong skirt trend."The skinny jean trend holds true for boys, as well, DeMartini says.

Plaid shorts and a printed shirt from Kinderbliss are great warm weather options. Credit:

"They have made it to mainstream fashion," she says. "Versatile clothing for boys that moms can dress up or dress down is also popular; she wants her dollar to stretch and in boys it is critical for her to see versatility"

Here's what else is hot in kids fashions for spring:

Girl talk: "The must haves for girls this spring include sundresses with volume in the skirt, fun prints and lots of embellishments, from ruffles to beading and novelty bows," Cosentini says. "Prints run the gamut from plaids to stripes and solid, bright bold colors also stand out. Tunics with 'shark bite' or uneven hems feature watercolor prints and are paired with bright colored, black or even white capri-length leggings. Skimmers (knee-length shorts) in bright colors or denim are paired with screen printed T-shirts featuring peace signs or butterflies."

  • "Even the tomboy wants something ever so slight to signal she is feminine," DeMartini says. "Older kids dress more neutral, but the 8-year-old still wants -- and her mom still wants -- that touch of girl."
  • Angela Edgeworth, founder of online children's and maternity shopping site Kinderbliss and pediped Footwear, says spring for girls is all about ruffles, tier dresses and bright colors. "Tutus, twirly dresses and skirts, hair accessories, leggings, bright colors, cute jewelry sets, lightweight cardigans and, of course, a great selection of shoes to coordinate with spring fashions," are all options, she says.
Boy story: "A preppy style is most popular for boys this spring," Cosentini says. "They will be adorable in short-sleeved polos in solid bright colors paired with plaid cargo shorts. Activewear will continue to be popular with shorts and T-shirt options that can be taken on and off the playing field. Also, beach and skate-inspired pieces in T-shirts and bottoms will be styles that boys will wear into the warmer months."
  • Edgeworth says trends for boys include "fedora hats and durable clothing with print designs and pockets to hold their treasures."
Mother knows best: "Kids are being influenced at a younger age more than ever before by online media and TV," DeMartini says. "Because our (Old Navy) target consumer is an 8-year-old, we see a difference in how girls show their individuality.

Girlie styles, including this Old Navy baby girl dress, are hot for spring. Credit: Old Navy

For example, it is more about the unique graphic tee than it is about looking totally different than her friends. Girls still find comfort in knowing that they are fitting in, but want a slight spin while doing that. Boys are highly influenced by sports, and younger boys are pushing their parents to buy them clothes that personify skater or snowboarder trends. At the end of the day, Mom still gets to decide if the look is appropriate."

Just add accessories: Cosentini says anything neon is key for spring, "from bags to belts and even neon trimmed socks."
  • "Skinny belts in girls and hair accessories are a hot trend," DeMartini says.
  • "Accessories, of course, complete the look of any outfit," Edgeworth says. "The top accessory trend for girls is metallic or sparkling. Spring is all about flower headbands and barrettes,cute jewelry sets, ballet flat shoes. We carry some great accessory items for boys including cool caps, a hip backpack and lunch box."
Layering it on thick: "Right now, in these transitional months, layering is still in play," Cosentini says. "For boys, short-sleeved shirts layered on top of long sleeves and hoodies are great layering pieces. For little girls, try cardigans over dresses and leggings under skirts and tunics for cute, yet transitional looks."
  • "While layering is still important, the functionality of layering is critical: Light weight and comfortable trumps over layered looks all the time," DeMartini says.
  • For babies, layering is key, says Ariel Perez, vice president for sales and marketing for baby retailer Kushies. "The first layer is always the bodysuit which is snug fitting followed by a secondary layer and then a cardigan," she tells ParentDish. "In colder climates, parents have to keep in mind outerwear and, yes, avoidance of bulk -- especially when babies are in car seats. The trick is not to overheat and to keep clothing fluid."
Shoe in: Pediped's Edgeworth says ballet flats and sandals with rhinestone detailing in white, light pink, fuchsia, multi-color and metallics are trendy for girls. Hot boys shoe styles include machine washable sandals and canvas sneakers in navy, orange, dark brown and olive.

Related: Pint-Size Models Hit the Catwalk on 'Project Runway'

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.