Friday, November 13, 2015

Girl's Dress Silhouettes - The Pros and Cons

As a parent of a precocious six-year old girl, I commonly hear people say that kids grow up so fast. They tell us not to blink else we'll miss their oh-so-sweet childhood years and suddenly find ourselves face to face with (gasp!) brooding, cranky teenagers  :) No surprise that I find myself agreeing.

In my role as an online retailer of boutique girl's dresses, this is one of the most common reasons I hear from parents when they say they do not like to spend too much when it comes to their kid's clothing. They are afraid of spending any significant amount on clothes that they think will be torn and tattered in a few months, or if it lasts more than that, be ill-fitting and outgrown. Admittedly, there’s truth behind this. But if you're smart about it, it's encouraging and fortunate that there are ways to get around this so we can ensure that we maximize the value of every dollar we spend on clothes.

Kate Mack Dress | Girl's Holiday Dress | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
Mary's Kate Mack Cocoa Dress through the years (2013-2015).  The bodice looks fitter but it definitely looks more adorable as the dress becomes shorter.

The first thing to realize is that a really good quality dress can often be durable enough to last for more than two years (a lot longer in many cases). Secondly -- by choosing the right dress silhouette, we can make sure that fit will also not be an issue.  With the right silhouettes, our girls can wear the dress a bit long in the beginning, and it will look equally or even more beautiful as the dress gets shorter.

Finding beautiful dresses that are also durable can be a trial and error process where you look for brands that you can trust (or you can leave it to us at Chichi Mary to recommend curated boutique girl's clothes, shoes, and accessories).  The rest of this blog will provide tips and recommendations regarding the pros and cons of common silhouettes used in girl's fashion.


Moms definitely love shift dresses. It is simple and yet very elegant especially when it comes in beautiful fabrics. This type of dress is very appropriate especially for afternoon teas or family dinners. Shift dresses are usually French chic ;) Because the silhouette is simple, layering and accessorizing are more fun to do. Pairing it with beautiful flats will complete a very sophisticated look for your little lady. It can also be worn for a long time because it still looks good even if it goes shorter. The only disadvantage of this type of silhouette is it may not be the most ideal for playing because it slightly inhibits your girl's movement. Shift dresses may be more suitable for bigger kids or for your tween.

Bleu Comme Gris | Girl's French Fashion | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary in a Bleu Comme Gris Shift Dress.

Bleu Comme Gris | Girl's Fall Fashion | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
An example laydown on how to accessorize the shift dress.

Drop Waist 

This is a common silhouette in girl’s fashion, where the waist seam on the dress is designed to be on the hips instead of the waist.  Usually, the drop waist dress comes with tiered or bubble skirts.  So far, it is definitely a girl's favorite based on my customer's feedback.  I especially love this kind of silhouette because it can be worn for a long time.  It looks good when worn slightly shorter above the knee but definitely looks cuter when it becomes shorter.  Pairing it with leggings makes it more suitable for active play.  The only disadvantage of this silhouette is that it may not look good on girls with long torsos as the torso will be emphasized even more.

Tartaleta Girls Fall Fashion | European Kids Dress | Chichi Mary
A Tartaleta drop waist dress worn on a shorter length.

Imoga Girls Fall Fashion | Holiday Dress | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
Imoga's latest collection of the drop waist dress.  Imoga has also been known for its drop waist dresses.

Petit Lem | Girl's Fall Fashion | School Dress | Chichi Mary
Mary in her Petit Lem Collared Dress.  Note that the hem of the dress gets shorter but it definitely looks cuter.  

A Line 

The most popular silhouette for both women’s and girl’s fashion.  This type of silhouette provides comfort and sleek style.  Similar with the shift and drop waist, it can also be worn for a longer period of time because it still looks good even if it becomes shorter to the wearer.  However, because it is very simple, a good pair of shoes and right accessories are necessary in order to create a sophisticated look.  The fabric of the dress is very important to create a classy look. 

Imoga Lace Dress | Kensington Gardens | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary at the Kensington Palace Gardens in her Imoga Lace Dress.  

Imoga Lace Dress | Petite Parade | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
On a shorter length, the A-line cut of the Imoga Lace Dress is emphasized more.

Fit n’ Flare

A typical silhouette for a classic floral sash dress.   Obviously, when girls wear this type of dress they definitely look like little ladies.  The cons of usually having this dress?  Your girl might easily outgrow it.  It's important to buy one size bigger to ensure that she can use it for a longer period of time but be sure not to overdo it because if it's too big, the right form of the dress will not be seen. If the waistline of the dress moves upper on the body when she grows, this dress may no longer possess its original appeal.

Tartaleta Floral Sash Dress | European Children's Fashion
Tartaleta Sash Dress.  Note that the dress is also worn shorter to emphasize the form of the dress.

Tartaleta Floral Sash Dress | European Kid's Clothes | Chichi Mary
Mary in her Tartaleta Sash Dress. Compared to Tartaleta's runway photo, Mary wore her dress slightly longer but not too much.  She can still wear the dress for a longer period of time.


Empire dresses look cute on girls.  It allows them to move freely and usually adds gracefulness during movement especially when there's enough volume or decorative design elements like fringes. Compared to other silhouettes, it cannot be used as a tunic or blouse. When your girl grows up, her movement might be limited especially on the upper body.  The tip?  When buying an empire dress, it’s better to choose a color that can be used throughout the year.  It's better to stick with soft muted colors.  

Biscotti Lace Dress | Girl's Holiday Dress | Chichi Mary Kid's Boutique
Biscotti Twirl Lace Dress in cream color.  A perfect example of a dress that can be worn all year round.

Biscotti Lace Dress | Toddler Holiday Dress | Chichi Mary
Another example of a beautiful Empire line dress for toddlers, Biscotti Lace & Tulle Baby Dress.

It is undeniable especially for moms that we sometimes can't resist splurging on an adorable dress without thinking if our girl can use it often or not.  But on a regular basis, if you’re looking for something that she can wear from casual chic parties to school days, it’s good for us parents to be conscious of some of these silhouettes so that we know that we're shopping smartly.  At Chichi Mary, we always believe that it's better to pick up good quality clothing that can be used for a longer period of time because it's always important for our kids to look good and feel comfortable all the time!



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