The first few years I lived in Southern California, I was shocked by the dreary weather from October through June. Wasn’t this supposed to be the place of sandcastles, surf, and sunshine all year long??
Well, it turns out those first few years were a fluke and we got more rain than I’ve seen since in my arid home…but it is still true that we do need winter clothes for at least a small portion of the year. I’ve seen frost and plenty of near-freezing temps, and once even snow!
What is different, and frustrating, about this place than anywhere I’ve lived before is that temperatures fluctuate greatly throughout the days. Often, a dewy 40 degree morning gives way to a scorching 80 degree afternoon, and if you aren’t dressed appropriately you will suffer the long and painful death of a popsicle forced to linger too long in a thousand rays of sunshine.
A little dramatic? Maybe. But you get the picture.
So, how do I deal with dramatic shifts in temperature each day? Well, my friends, I have learned to master the art of layering.
In this guide, you will find my current top picks for layering pieces for a little girl’s perfect winter wardrobe. Since I work full-time, I don’t like to fuss with picking out new outfits for Lu each morning, so I make sure to have plenty of mix-and-match pieces available for this time of year. As previously mentioned in my Small Shop Roundup post, I like to shop small for some pieces of clothing and pair those with basics from big box brands (mostly Zara and Gap Kids) to keep things affordable. Enjoy!
- Blouses: I tend to prefer blouses for myself and Lu over plain tshirts or sweaters. For winter, I choose long sleeve blouses to pair with cardigans and/or coats until it warms up during the day. I LOVE Zara’s blouses (you’ll find them under “shirts” on their site) for toddler girls. They have tons of unique embroidered or patterned ones. Lu wears one in these photos! Keep an eye out for Zara’s big twice annual sale, typically occurring the day or two after Christmas!
- Pro Tip: Always include a chambray blouse in your child’s wardrobe, like this one at Gap! They go with EVERYTHING and are always my most-worn piece!
- Long-sleeve Tees: I do buy several basic long-sleeve tee options to easily mix and match during cold months. I prefer to find ruffled or babydoll tees, like these at Gap and Zara.
- Bloomers: Perhaps it is just my projection of my distaste for pants, but I tend to feel like L is more comfortable in bloomers, even during the winter months. These high-wasted ones from Dear Loa are my absolute favorite. I keep the chills away by layering them with tights or knee socks (more on that later).
- Loose Pants: For our first winter, I was dismayed to find the main options for pants for little girls were jeans (I mean, what adult even LIKES to wear jeans?) and leggings. I wanted a more relaxed, comfortable fit for my sweet baby to play in, and luckily I found exactly the type of pant I was looking for, again at trusty rusty Zara. They often have multiple options for a more refined looking jogger pant, or cute trousers, like these polka dot ones Lu has.
- Cardigans and light jackets: As much as I adore heavy coats, they are just not functional with out ever-changing weather. I tend toward cardigans like these from Home Grown Knot Co (also where these bloomers are from) and Tate and Adele. I also purchased this denim jacket from Gapkids for Lu this year and it’s been a great addition to her wardrobe! When the weather warms up in the afternoons, I can slip off the cardi or jacket and go about our day!
- Peacoat: Who doesn’t love a good peacoat? I have a sort of infatuation with pink shades of wool, and this one from Little Deer Handmade looks perfect! She is closed for the Holiday season, but I plan on purchasing one for Lu for our future travels up north!
- Bonnets: I profess my love for Carrie’s bonnets over at Sweet As April also in my Small Shop Roundup, but I will do so again here and probably many times over! These bonnets are the first small shop goody I ever stumbled upon, and they have become a staple in Lu’s cool weather wardrobe. They are made from up-cycled vintage and pre-loved textiles and are fun and so individual! We always get lots of compliments on our bonnets when out and about :).
- Tights and Knee Socks: Tights or knee socks are crucial to continuing our bloomer obsession during the winter months. Plus, you can easily slide them off later in the day when temps rise. I’ll admit, I used to buy all of Lu’s socks and tights on Amazon and still frequently do, but I’ve recently been introduced to the world of specialized socks and tights, like these at All The Little Bows, and I am IN LOVE. The colors are so unique and the quality definitely beats cheapies, if you’re in the market to splurge!
- I tend to be a shoe loyalist, and only buy what I need when I need it, so there’s only one item in this category and it’s the Paseo Boot from Adelisa & Co. I make sure to have a pair of these boots for Lu at all times…they just go with everything and are such high quality!
So, again, in the world of whacky winter weather, layers are a key element in dressing your little one for success. If you live in or are planning a visit to sunny Southern California soon, I would be sure to pack your light jackets, comfy pants…and some sunblock!
BONUS TIP: Many of the shops or brands I’ve listed above have massive clear out sales at the ends of seasons. If I plan ahead enough, I often purchase necessities in the next size up to plan ahead and save money for the following year!