The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (2023)

There are about a million things I miss doing with my mom but one is definitely shopping together. I know that sounds shallow and superficial but they were times full of discovery, joy, and a lot of laughter. Ok, not every time was pure bliss since we were still mother and daughter, but most of the time those shopping trips just felt really special. So recently, when Em was mentioning how much fun it was to shop with Birdie for her back-to-school dresses, hearing that took me right back. But also, how could it not be when you have a kid like Birdie who LOVES color, fun prints, and of course, sparkles?! Obviously, we all wanted to see what they picked out and boy did our hearts melt when we did. The dresses are so stinking cute! We told Em this needed to be a blog post. However, since the Henderson’s are MOVING INTO THE FARMHOUSE this week and are extremely busy, I volunteered to write it. I mean once upon a time I was also a little one who loved a pretty dress to wear to school. Needless to say, I felt qualified. Also, school has already started for a lot of families. Time is of the essence! I did, however, ask Em what their dress requirements are in case that’s helpful to any of you shopping for your little one:

“Birdie is very specific and particular about her dresses and needs them to be the following: bright, comfortable, twirly, and she likes fitted on the top (as opposed to blousier – we learned this the hard way). Last year we both became obsessed with local kids’ dresses by Little Stocking Co. (who also makes awesome thick stockings for girls who want to wear dresses in the winter). This year she wasn’t as into the colors (brighter! she says) so we shopped around a bit to find a few that she loved and that felt high enough quality to at least last the year and be layerable in winter, etc.”

Now that we are all prepped with what to look for, let’s get into their purchases and some other fun picks.

Patterned Play Dresses

The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (1)

I love that Birdie wears a dress for almost any occasion. Outside, in the dirt, no problem. And she also loves a print:) Here are two that Em and her picked out:

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The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (2)

Mattie Dress | Long Sleeve Print Pocket Dress

That pink polka dot number is adorable. The color is so happy, the pattern is fun yet classic and the twirl capabilities look top-notch. Then that little cat dress is perfect for Birdie’s animal-loving heart. The print also feels fun and a little modern, making it pretty cool:) Also, both of these dresses have pockets which are perfect for storing little found treasures. Then she can throw on a pair of leggings as the temperatures go down and she’s set for a lot more wear time. Em also wanted me to mention that she knows that the dresses they bought aren’t cheap but she tried to shop from small, sustainable companies. But if these prices aren’t in your budget (especially since kids grow so fast) we have plenty more options for you…

The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (3)

1. Cotton Jersey Dress: I love how this dress looks a little dressy but is made in a causal, play-friendly material!
2. Kids Babydoll Dress: Great color, sweet print, and great for the upcoming colder months. A little pricy but very cute.
3. Patterned Cotton Dress: This looks like a mini Madewell dress!
4. Girls’ Floral Button-Front Short Sleeve Dress: The perfect color and print to work for any season.
5. Cotton Jersey Dress: I can’t get over how sweet this 70s print is. 10/10
6. Girls’ Short Sleeve Challis Dres: I would maybe wear that dress as an adult. It’s kind of giving an Ulla Johnson vibe. I love the cool pattern in this delicate color. Plus the tiers and ruffles are the sweetest!
7. Girls’ Printed Short Sleeve 100% Cotton Knit Dress: Great color combo with a super fun, not “too girly” pattern.
8. Percy Plaid Twirl Dress: I want to buy this now for my potential future child. My heart can’t take how adorable this is.
9. Kids Babydoll Dress: Same style as #2. Great fall/winter colors and love the large-scale polka dots.

Solid-Colored Play Dresses

The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (4)

Tillie Dress | Mauve Rose Charm Dress | Mattie Dress

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Prints are great but having some solid-colored dresses are also fun and good to have. These are Birdie’s picks. The colors are so fun and the dress in the middle (and #8 from above) are from Little Stocking Co. and according to Em,”are super comfortable, drape really well, girls find them fun to wear, and most of the time they have pockets.” Also, they are made in Portland and lasted all year long, without a stain or rip. So while they are on the higher price tag end, they are a good investment.

Here are some more affordable picks:

The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (5)

1. Cotton Dress: Love the sleeves and will be easy to layer as the weather cools down.
2. Tiered Rib-Knit Swing Dress (2-Pack): Great fall colors and great price.
3. Girls’ Adaptive Ruffle Sleeve Dress: Again, cute little sleeves and sweet seam detail.
4. Girls’ Quilted Ponte Riding Dress: A little fancy and a little pricey but perfect for fall and winter and is SO adorable.
5. Girls’ Plaid Button-Front Long Sleeve Dress: Another dress that looks like it’s from Madewell and I would happily wear myself.
6. Uniform Short-Sleeve Pique Polo Dress: Love this little preppy look.

Special/Party Dresses

The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (6)

Laurie Dress | Brisa Ruffled Capsleeve Basic Twirl Dress | Rainbow Dress

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As we all know, Birdie loves all things colorful and shiny. Rainbows are her favorite. So naturally, she was going to want some bolder dresses too. The shiny one on the far left is actually her birthday dress (Caitlin and I are honored to have her in the Libra club:)). It’s pretty darn special and was why Em was willing to splurge a little more. Then the one in the middle is perfect with those big, happy flowers. Lastly, a rainbow dress was essential and this one from Hanna Andersson is incredible. Emily also says that this brand’s quality is awesome. Birdie has others from them and they have lasted a year and look brand new still. FYI none of Birdie’s dresses were gifted. Both Em and Birdie both just love them and want to support (well, the supporting part is more Em:))

Wanna see the other options? These ones are a little more expensive since they are more “special occasion” dresses.

The 8 Back-To-School Dresses Emily And Birdie Picked Out Together (+ 24 Other Affordable CUTE Options) - Emily Henderson (7)

1. Butterfly-Sleeved Tulle Dress: It’s perfect. Love the colors, love the fabric, and love the sparkle. Oh, and the price isn’t too bad either:)
2. Girls’ Tiered Corduroy Dress: Perfect for the cold weather when you want them to be warm and a little dressed up. Did anyone else wear lots of corduroy as a little one???
3. Girls’ Mixy Dress in Tulle: It looks like a modern ballerina dress! The color is so pretty.
4. Pink Star Short Sleeve Dress: What’s not to love? A classic pink with a non-itchy tulle (at least that’s what they say) and the sparkles are moon and stars!
5. Tulle-Skirt Jersey Dress: This sweet little number could work for either a party or the playground.
6. Long Sleeved Tulle-Skirt Dress: Such a great color and love that little velvet belt.
7. Tulle-Skirt Dress: The short-sleeved version of the #6! (and comes in other colors)
8. Juniper Mixed Media Dress: Hello drop-waist for something a little unique:)
9. Toddler Girls’ Sequin Rainbow Heart Long Sleeve Tutu Dress: A more affordable version of the one Em bought for Birdie!

Ok, that’s all for today! Even if you don’t have a little one to buy for, I hope this was a happy feast for your eyes. Oh, and if any of you have other small and sustainable kid clothing brand recommendations, drop them in the comments.

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