Miss Mink Looks for a Little White Dress

As a child, I dressed up a lot.  Probably too much. I don’t remember owning jeans until fifth grade, and that first pair had flowers painted on them. I sometimes wish I had more play clothes, but I’m thankful that I had pretty dresses as a little girl. I even had a gig as a “Polly Flinders girl” at Bamburgers (now Macy’s) when I was in kindergarten.

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The start (and end) of Miss Mink’s modeling career / Photo by Mama Mink

I am really looking forward to seeing children all dressed up in our wedding. I know many people say children in weddings are distracting and there was a time when I agreed, but having nieces and nephews changed my perspective. I am all smiles when I see kids totter down the aisle at a wedding. I’m thankful that, between us, we have a gaggle of children in our families. We invited them all to be in our bridal party.

The oldest nephew is going to be a groomsman. I have fond memories watching him and Mr. Mink playing catch, of him teaching us how to play Guitar Hero, and spending a day at Disney World together. Sometimes, I think he’s like a mini Mr. Mink…kind, sensitive, a bit of a comedian. He’ll be wearing a tux along with the other groomsmen.

The other boys we’ll have in the wedding are much younger. We plan on letting them walk down the aisle doing whatever comes naturally to them. One of my nephews decided that he needs to carry a flag. I actually think “I need a flag” was the first thing he said after the idea was presented. No problem! I’m happy to make them all little flags if that’s what they want! I’m not really set on dictating a specific outfit for them, but I’ll probably talk to my sister-in-law and Mr. Mink’s sister about what they think. I still have to do a little research in this area.

When it comes to our flower girl, I’m in the throes of researching options. When I thought about what Mr. Mink’s niece would wear in the wedding, I had images like these in my head:

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Photos from Strasburg Children

Those are from Strasburg Children, a store whose windows have always been filled with beautiful dress-up clothing for children.

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The storefront I remember / From the Strasburg Children website

As luck would have it, there was a Strasburg Children store about five minutes from the hotel where I recently stayed on a business trip. One night, I made the trip over and found this:

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The Strasburg Children store at Dulles Town Center / Photo by Miss Mink

What happened? Where are all the pretty dresses and Eton suits? Why does Strasburg Children suddenly look like every other mall store? I went inside and found a limited selection of dressy clothes at the back of the store selling for 50% off. I wound up buying two “I’m Going to be a Ring Bearer” books.

After some Googling at home, I learned that Strasburg Children filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. The owners closed stores for a while and finally sold the company. As of August 19, 2011, most of the dressy clothing is on sale. The entire format of the store is changing. It’s going casual.

I guess many people aren’t buying their children dress-up clothing anymore? I’m kind of sad…I loved getting a new dress for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I loved twirling around in those dresses and stopping to make the skirt “swish” around me.

So now, the search continues. I’ve taken a look at Janie & Jack (one of my favorite children’s stores), found some amazing dresses on the Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom websites, and briefly looked at J.Crew’s Crewcuts line. I think I’m going to see if my future mother-in-law and sister-in-law will have a “girls’ day out” and look for a dress for Little Miss Mink (my nickname for our cutie-pie flower girl).

I’m wondering what stores we should visit. If you have children or had them in your wedding, what stores and websites did you visit in the search for dressy children’s clothes?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mink

Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Margarita, Guest @ 12:16 pm

    I’m selling an amazing flower girl dress actually :) perfect for a slim 5-6y/o :)

    I recommend Nordstrom rack, lohemans, Marshall’s etc. that’s where my nieces get all thei awesome dresses

  2. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:31 pm

    @Margarita: I didn’t even consider the discount stores. They have flower girl dresses?

  3. Member
    jacinda10 469 posts, Helper bee @ 12:33 pm

    @Miss Mink: Some of them do for sure!

    Are you paying for their dresses? Because you could check out ebay too! Maybe even a chinese replica dress maker could make some cheap dresses that model what you were envisioning? Little kids shouldn’t be too hard to measure/sew for. They don’t have figures to fit!

  4. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:35 pm

    @jacinda10: I’m hoping to pick 3-5 dresses and let our flower girl make the final decision. So, I’m open to a variety of sources.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Margarita, Guest @ 12:39 pm

    They won’t necc have “flower girl” dresses, but what try will have is a ton of cute fun white dresses (or colored if thats your thing) There will be a ton of fancy dresses now for Christmas, and theme again around Easter (plenty of white then!!) that’s how we would our flower girl dress.

  6. Member
    jacinda10 469 posts, Helper bee @ 12:39 pm

    @Miss Mink: I would check out ebay and etsy (and replica sites if you’re willing) – I bet you can find something online that is “nice” (aka like your pics), and isn’t too expensive. The stores will jack up the prices a LOT. I’ve seen flower girl dresses go for 250 in bridal salons.

  7. Member
    hawk 1117 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:40 pm

    Janie & Jack has such adorable clothing! We purchased our flower girl dress from J. Crew. Good luck in your search!

  8. Member
    chrispygal 1472 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:48 pm

    Pinkprincess.com. I got my flower girl dresses there for only $53 a piece and they were adorable! They offer free shipping and returns too and seriously have a TON of styles. Check them out!

  9. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:53 pm

    @Margarita: Gotcha.

    @jacinda10: I was hoping, like with my wedding gown search, to get something made in the US. Etsy might be the best route! I should have thought to go there!

    @Miss Hawk: I might go down to the J. Crew HQ and see what they have in a few weeks!

    @jacinda10: Thanks!

    @chrispygal: Thanks! I’ll check them out!

  10. Member
    BonbonBunny 248 posts, Helper bee @ 12:58 pm

    I remember the dress I wore to my uncle’s wedding. I was going to be the flower girl but his wife changed her mind last minute and chose one of her second cousins instead. My dress was so much prettier! White, with a big skirt, and little sparkles on the chest. The “flower girl’s” dress was ugly and green! Oh well. I’m glad I didn’t participate in that wedding anyway.

    Anyway, I agree! Clothes today and much more informal… even finding good quality stuff at regular department stores is more challenging. You have to go to high end boutiques and pay an arm and a leg, which most people can’t afford, myself included. I really think the 50s and 60s had better quality clothes and materials and more elegant too… and affordable for the average family!

  11. Member
    35thannidaughter 277 posts, Helper bee @ 1:06 pm

    I get most of my daughter’s dress up clothes at Janie and Jack. I often find J&J on Ebay. Good Luck!

  12. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:12 pm

    @jacinda10: Wow!

    @BonbonBunny: I honestly thought Strasburg was where I’d find what I had in my mind…an old school, traditional flower girl dress. I DID see some at Neiman Marcus…but even there, the dresses had some more trendy embellishments. I feel old.

    @35thannidaughter: I have a serious Janie and Jack addiction!

  13. Member
    itwasntme 5705 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:25 pm

    http://joancalabrese.net/

    Her dresses are gorgeous but pretty expensive!

  14. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:30 pm

    @smyley: I know! I LOVE Joan Calabrese! I saw her dresses on Neiman Marcus’ website. So cute!

  15. Member
    Stincan 1 posts, Wannabee @ 1:32 pm

    My daughter has young men ages 4 and 6 in her wedding one is carrying a sign that says
    “And the story begins…” and the other is carrying a sign after him saying “Here comes the Bride” The flower girls and maids of honor are carrying pinwheels and the guys bouttonieres (sp?) are small pinwheels.

  16. Member
    futureMFG 283 posts, Helper bee @ 2:57 pm

    Janie and Jack has the most precious kid’s clothing! I hope you find something adorable for them!

  17. Member
    dalmatian 592 posts, Busy bee @ 4:11 pm

    Ahh, I am so jealous that you have little ones to dress! We don’t have a flower girl or ring bearer. I love Janie and Jack – I wish I had a reason to shop there!

  18. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:14 pm

    @Stincan: Cute!

    @futureMFG: I’m going to keep checking for their dresses. :)

    @Miss Dalmatian: It’s a blessing and a curse! I loooove shopping for kids’ clothes. But, I can’t walk by J&J without taking a look in there. It’s dangerous!

  19. Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:59 pm

    I love the floral headpieces in your inspiration pic! Yeah – I’m totally obsessed with accessories for your head!

  20. Member
    brittaful 263 posts, Helper bee @ 6:01 pm

    We’re doing something similar by letting any child under age 10 be a part of our wedding party; we won’t have designated flower girls/ring bearers. To make it simple for everyone, we’are asking that the boys wear gray slacks and a short sleeve button down shirt of their choosing. For girls, we’ve asked that they wear pettiskirts and leotards/pettitops in any pastel color (or combination of colors!) that they’d like. http://www.mywedding.com/brittanyandlamont/custom2.html

  21. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:28 pm

    We are just waiting until Easter to pick up dresses. They have adorable little girl dresses at Easter –

    Christmas – New Year are good times for the darker colors.

  22. Member
    rachiecakes 852 posts, Busy bee @ 7:16 pm

    I found a TON of flower girl dresses (& dressy clothes for kids in general) at Burlington Coat Factory! Of course I discovered this after the wedding (bought a flower girl dress from David’s Bridal) but I could not believe the selection! I wish I’d known

  23. Member
    girlygirl885 284 posts, Helper bee @ 7:04 am

    If you have a von maur around you check them out! They carry beautiful dresses and suits for lil ones!

  24. Member
    itwasntme 5705 posts, Bee Keeper @ 7:13 am

    You can also look at flowergirldressesforless.com for some inexpensive options. We got ours there and were pleasantly surprised.

    My neice just got her daughter’s from Alfred Angelo and it was disaster. It fell apart even before the wedding, and mid-reception, the tulle overlay became detached and had to be ripped off so she could walk. The FG’s dresses cost as much as the BM’s too…they were not happy.

  25. Member
    MuddyInsignia 51 posts, Worker bee @ 1:42 pm

    Wow, it was so hard for me to find just a plain, “nice” flower girl dress. Strasburg Children was my savior! Our wedding was in Sept 2011, and I think we had the dresses as of early August…. wow, we were just in time. I am so sorry to hear about that–I was planning on getting lots of other clothes from them. It is such a shame! The dresses we got from them were a fraction of the price as most bridal salons and heads above them in quality of fabric, detail, and stitching.

    I think “nice” little girls’ dresses pop out of the wood work sometimes…. you just see lots of them or they are HARD to find. I would recommend keeping your eyes open now and if you see something, grab it!

    By the way my mom LOVED Polly Flinders and I had a dress and pinafore like that one too :)

  26. Member
    Miss Care Bear 193 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:08 am

    I love seeing children all dressed up! I hope to have really frilly tulle dresses for my flower girls :)

    You mentionned your nephew wanting to hold a banner, have you thought about doing a “Here comes the bride” banner? If you just search for it on Google, there is so many different ways to do it, and it’s a cute touch. Just a thought :)
    Here is an example, scroll all the way down http://www.weddingbee.com/tag/syracuse/

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