Today’s Woman: Summer fun for the kids can still be affordable

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Suri Cruise has been named one of the world’s best-dressed women – at just five years old.

Suri Cruise has been named one of the world’s best-dressed women – at just five years old.

In her jelly shoes and party dresses, the daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes has been deemed stylish enough to land 21st position in Glamour magazine’s annual readers’ poll of favourite style icons.

But if custom-made little Louboutin shoes and kiddy couture all seems too highbrow – not to mention costly – for your tearaway, don’t worry...

On the high street, the fashion forecast for childrenswear is bright and sunny – but practical and affordable, too.

“High summer collections are designed for relaxed beach holidays,” says Mags Milliken, Matalan’s senior infantswear designer.

“Colourful vests, fun stripes, surf and palm tree graphics are good summer looks for the boys.

Neon brights are a huge look for girls along with big, bold, floral prints – fabulous for brightening up a summer wardrobe.”

Grown-ups have enough problems finding clothes to fit, but children shoot up faster than a beanstalk so buying a hard-working wardrobe for your kids can be problematic.

Half-Pint Chic founder Nicole Frost ( knows only too well how contending with growing children and a family budget requires versatile clothes that will adapt to everything an unpredictable British summer can throw at you.

“As we don’t generally have clear and defined seasons in the UK, it’s helpful to make sure that your children’s wardrobes are interchangeable so that you don’t end up spending a fortune on items that will only ever be worn a handful of times,” she advises.

“By making clever purchases, your children can still be stylish without the huge expense.”

Working in the childrenswear industry and a mum of twin girls, Frost offers her expert advice on how to achieve a child-friendly but fashionable summer wardrobe.

Here’s how you can maximise your children’s outfits this summer with some natty styling tricks...

Focus on key lines

Fun summer novelty accessories will add seasonal flair to your little one’s look but don’t forget the staples.

“Buy clothes in key categories such as jeans, skirts, T-shirts and shoes along with the odd weather-appropriate piece such as sandals and hats, then you’ll never be caught out,” Frost recommends.

“Make sure that each pair of bottoms can be matched to a number of tops and vice-versa so that the number of overall pieces is reduced but the amount of new looks is endless.”

Dual-use clothing

Love buy one, get one free offers?

Keep your eyes peeled for clever clothing that doubles up as two garments in one – less space in the wardrobe for twice the wear.

Says Frost: “Trousers that have inside hooks and buttons to make them into shorts are a great idea – and so are jackets that have a removable lining.”

Prepare ahead

Gone are the days when big sales were limited to Boxing Day and post-summer.

But think ahead when you’re scouring the sale rails and secure bargains they will wear in months or even years to come. It’s the buy now, wear later mentality.

Frost suggests: “Many shops and online retailers have regular sales so you can purchase items that will be suitable for the next age group or season, and just store them away.”

Layers and Layers

Don’t be fooled by blue skies and sunshine. A sharp breeze or surprise rain shower could be around the corner so carry light layers you can add or remove in an instant.

Says Frost: “If you buy cardigans, lightweight jackets and sweaters in neutral and block colours they should co-ordinate with the majority of your child’s summer outfits.”