Clothing brands for big kids: help my strong, healthy daughter stay confident! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I feel sure this has been covered somewhere, but I can't find even one thread for kids beyond the baby years, so perhaps it is time for a new one!


I am looking for help finding clothing brands that 'run big', specifically in pants. My daughter is 6, and in the 95th percentile for both height and weight (since birth). She has a large-boned muscular frame. When she was three, Hanna Andersson and Gymboree pants fit, but I'm not finding that to be true at her current age.


I bought a pair of Gymboree 'plus' jeans last year, and they are huge on her - the adjustable elastic is all the way at the last hole and they still slip down. This is true across the board when we've tried Plus sizes in stores. So I think brands that simply 'run big' is what I need.


Philosophically, I've sorted out my feelings on the whole 'plus' trend for children and I've decided it feels wrong for my girl and I am not going to buy plus size anything for my daughter. I feel the need to justify myself a little by saying she's not overweight, she's built exactly like her father, who is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger (or Fabio! Hah!). She's my surfing, swimming, rock-climbing girl and I'm focused on finding her clothing that shelters her from the "I'm too big" thought as long as possible. Mamas, help me now!


Old Navy and Gap pants do not fit, adjustable waist or no. Their leggings sometimes fit in the 8 year old size, often not. Hanna Andersson pants do not fit, their leggings DO fit but are cut really deep in the crotch and sag down on her oddly. Boy pants at the Gap tend to have styles that fit her, and I've slipped some into her closet when I shop without her, but this is delicate territory and obviously lacking cute details she likes. She can read now, so I don't want 'plus' or 'boy' on labels.


(I am deeply angry, by the way, that BOY pants at her age fit her but GIRL ones do not. This has been true for many years. Boy needs and sizes are the same as girls until puberty. This imperfect world!)


Does anyone feel sure Boden runs generous? What about Next Direct? Land's End? 


Grateful to you, mamas!

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#2 of 14 Old 03-29-2014, 09:43 AM
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OP, that sounds very frustrating. It looks like your post might have been missed so I'm bumping it up for attention. :bump: Anyone have a recommendation to share?

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#3 of 14 Old 03-29-2014, 09:56 AM
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LL Bean runs on the larger side, IMO/IME.  I ended up putting my very solidly built daughter in boys' pants and felt the same irritation that you do.

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#4 of 14 Old 03-29-2014, 10:38 AM
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My girls are on the opposite end of the clothing spectrum so my experience is not in buying generous brands. LL Bean and Lands End both run big IMO. My 11 year old who wears either a 10 Slim or 12 Slim depending on sizing, can still wear size 8 uniform skirts for school in both of those brands. The leggings are generous as well, we have some but can not wear them.  From what I can tell, the Lands End leggings don't appear to be as deep in the crotch as the Hanna ones. I've got nothing for jeans though. I did buy one pair of size 7 Mini Boden pants in a thrift store last year and they were way too generous for DD2 but that has been my only experience. 

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#5 of 14 Old 03-29-2014, 11:12 AM
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How frustrating.  On the flip side, I find myself putting my slightly built boy in girl's jeans because the boy's jeans just hang off him and fall down.  Infuriating, really.  My larger built child is also a boy, but I find LL Bean to be a nice fit, and some gap/old navy as well.  In his case, we still often have to tighten the waist elastic but smaller sizes are too tight through the thighs/hips/legs in general.  

I do find Khakis are more forgiving than jeans in some cases, and as summer approaches, shorts often work better than long pants. 

From personal experience- I know that my mother took me away from kids' clothing brands when I was 8/9 and helped me shop in the women's petite section, as the clothes fit my body better.  But that was a trauma of its own, as I was offended that the kid's size no longer fit properly. 

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#6 of 14 Old 03-29-2014, 11:23 AM
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My experience is that boden fits my DD well, she's tall and slim, so that may not work as well for your DD. I agree with what PPs said regarding Lands End, they seem to run big. You might find Columbia kids wear works well too, especially for outdoor gear. Mostly my DD wears stretchy clothes, leggings and dresses/tunics, but she's aging out of the little girl clothes (age 10) and I'm having a hard time finding pants that stay up/tops that don't show too much skin. irked.gif

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#7 of 14 Old 03-29-2014, 05:42 PM
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I buy the next sizes up. My dd is tall and thin so she had to use belts even with pants that have adjustable waists. Luckily she was mostly interested in fancy clothes until a year ago so mostly wore dresses with tights from LL Bean or leggings.
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#8 of 14 Old 03-30-2014, 03:47 PM
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have you tried old navy? I feel they run big imo. I get the plus size but on the husky boys side. I bought ds a pair of husky jeans at the children's place and they are huge! But the regular jeans he has always tend to be a little snug and a little long. He doesn't wear jeans much and that solves the problem. He is 7 and wears a 12 in jeans now. DD rarely wears denim either  most the styles are skinny and she has a toddler body, she is going to be 3 and needs 4t/5t and has a baby body still. Leggings are much easier and fleece pants in the winder, and truth be told, I have a hard time getting a good fit on jeans too. They just are so difficult to size!

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#9 of 14 Old 03-30-2014, 05:50 PM
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Yes, we have the same problem! I have been buying the plus size jeans at crazy 8. The regular ones don't work. My just turned 9yo is wearing 12 and 14. It's so frustrating. She's not overweight either, just stocky like I was. And strong. She has a bit of a gymnast build.

Anyway, she wears lots of skirts, and homemade clothes. I found a book called Sewing clothes kids love that has some great patterns.
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#10 of 14 Old 03-30-2014, 10:52 PM
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We get a lot of Mini-Boden hand-me-downs and they do seem to run big.  Agree about Columbia, but our only experience has been outerwear.


I know a lot of these brands are pricey, but eBay is a good option.  It's unpredictable - some "brand" stuff goes for high prices, but here and there things slip through for $3 without anyone bidding.

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#11 of 14 Old 04-09-2014, 02:36 PM
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I have two suggestions- #1- Go ahead and buy those boy jeans...and a bedazzler and some iron-on transfers. Your daughter might find it nice to make the clothing her own style AND keep those lovely deep pockets that boys get. Not to mention ease of movement and durability.

#2 Check out They sell a lot of clothing made for the more athletic outdoor kid (like Columbia) and a pretty hefty selection of "made for a major retailer" clothing that is off on sizing. All at a huge discount, and the description and reviews will point you in the right direction for fit.

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#12 of 14 Old 04-09-2014, 06:58 PM
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I know this is a UK site, but you should have a Walmart nearby. Look for the girl wearing Jeggings  (among other great clothes for her age). Super, and they're great value! :)

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#13 of 14 Old 04-09-2014, 08:35 PM
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Have you tried Target for jeans? My DD is a big kid (98th for height but more like 80th for weight) and those are her fave.
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#14 of 14 Old 04-10-2014, 01:34 AM
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 I have two suggestions- #1- Go ahead and buy those boy jeans...and a bedazzler and some iron-on transfers. Your daughter might find it nice to make the clothing her own style AND keep those lovely deep pockets that boys get. Not to mention ease of movement and durability.

I was just about to say this! Even if you don't sew at all, you can get iron-on embroideries (butterflies spring to mind, but there are tons), or those glue-on sparkly dots you can arrange in any shape you like. If you *do* sew, you can add lace around the hems or pockets, add craft fabric pleats or ruffles round the bottoms, sew on bows at the sides of the legs, use pink topstitching thread to topstitch around the pockets or do some machine-embroidery... endless possibilities! Even a small hint of pizzazz will make jeans look pretty girly, as boys' clothes these days are severely functional and unadorned (which is a whole 'nother issue if you ask me...)

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