April 17, 2013
The best-of-the-best names in smocked and appliquéd children’s clothes are made in the South. Coincidence? Probably not.
Many a Southerner can attest to having worn smocked and appliquéd clothes at some point during his or her childhood, as evidenced in family photographs lining walls from Texas to North Carolina. It’s a deeply-rooted tradition that mamas of well-brought-up young’uns have clung to for a multitude of decades, and for good reason. These most precious and beautiful children's clothes are comfortable, they're not quickly outgrown thanks to gracious hems and movable buttons, and they NEVER go out of style, making them available for siblings and/or future generations.
With heat and humidity that will choke a horse, it goes without saying that Velcro sandals, basic tees, cargo shorts and cotton sundresses are necessities in a southern toddler's wardrobe. However, not a single child under the age of 5 is routinely dressed for Sunday school, birthday parties or preschool picture day in any of the aforementioned attire. It's simply not done. Thanks to the deep-seeded heritage passed down from generations of Mimis and Maw-Maws, we know darlin' baby clothes when we see 'em... and they are everywhere!
Top brands have added their own unique touches to traditional smocked clothing to create fun and whimsical designs that appeal to moms across the US.
Smocking was developed in England and has been practiced since the middle ages. The technique was born more of practicality, as it was commonly used in cuffs, bodices and necklines before the advent of elastic. Embroidered designs were actually added as a decorative measure to serve as a status symbol.
Zuccini, Anavini, Vive la Fete, Claire & Charlie, and Royal Child all hail from the SunshineState. These memorable smocked infant and toddler clothes are perfect for church, school and play dates. With a full range of collections, including holiday & birthday outfits, these Southern smocked clothes strike the perfect balance of classic design and quality.
Rooted in the Louisiana bayou, Le' Za Me smocked children's clothing is near and dear to our hearts. The exceptional quality and entertaining designs consist of upscale play clothes, brother/sister outfits and special occasion wear. Le' Za Me dresses, longalls and shortalls are consistently top sellers in the world of boutique baby clothing.
Bailey Boys. LaJenns. Mulberry Street. Aside from making some pretty fabulous children's clothes, do you know what these three have in common? Company addresses below the Mason-Dixon line, of course.
The art of appliqué has been around since the 18th century. Another serendipitous act, it was created when torn garments required the application of fabric patches for mending. While it's true that many smocked clothing manufacturers also offer adorable appliquéd collections, no one beats the extensive designs of LaJenns, Bailey Boys and Mulberry Street. Quirky prints, wonderful embellishments and unbelievable imaginations add loads of fun to these already fantastic clothes. And, if that weren't enough, many children's appliquéd outfits are reversible!
In a part of the country where "y'all" is part of everyday language and tea is served ON ICE, strong opinions still exist regarding how children should be dressed.
Although practicality and happy accidents gave way to these centuries-old sewing methods, we still savor the sweetness of a newborn in a smocked layette gown, a barely-walking baby boy wearing a jon-jon with white knee socks and leather saddle oxfords, and a toddler twirling on the playground in her bow-clad appliquéd jumper. Whether you crave vivid fabric combinations, classic smocking, insanely cute appliqués or a combination of all three, online baby boutiques are shipping nationwide to bring these wonderful creations to your neck of the woods.
Shop for beautiful Southern children's clothes at www.madison-drake.com.
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