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How to Dress Baby & Toddlers for Special Occasions

9 min read | 13 November 2023

Special events are a time to create wonderful memories with family and friends, and dressing your baby or toddler for these occasions can be a lot of fun.


Whether it’s a birthday party, a wedding, a lunch, or a picnic in the park, you’ll want your baby to look their best. However, it’s important to strike a balance between style and comfort, as babies and toddlers are always on the move.

In this guide, we’ll share some tips for dressing babies for special occasions, explore different dress codes and how they might apply to little ones, and provide some outfit ideas for a few of the special events your children might be invited to.

5 tips for dressing babies and toddlers for special occasions

  1. Follow the dress code:

    When dressing your baby for a special occasion, it’s important to follow the event’s dress code to make sure they fit in and look appropriate. We’ve broken down some of the most common dress codes below.

  2. Dress for their age:

    Select outfits that are age-appropriate, and allow your little one to move comfortably and explore their surroundings without any restrictions.

  3. Choose natural fibres

    : Choose pieces made from natural fabrics like organic cotton or linen to ensure breathability and comfort, especially in warm weather or for long events.

  4. Check the fit:

    Make sure the outfit you’ve picked out fits your little one well to help prevent any discomfort or fussiness. Avoid anything overly tight – in fact, when in doubt go for something a little looser. Clothes that are too tight will be uncomfortable, plus it’s often a good idea to leave some room for growth so your little one can get multiple wears out of their special outfit. Also check for anything that might irritate them, like scratchy labels or rough fabrics.

  5. Invest in quality:

    Where you can, invest in good quality special event pieces that are made to last, can be worn repeatedly, and eventually be passed on to someone else.

How to dress babies & toddlers according to dress codes

Invitations to special events often come with a dress code to help guests dress appropriately. But what exactly does this mean for the littlest guests? We’ve broken down some of the most common dress codes for babies and toddlers below.

Casual

For casual gatherings like playdates, daycare, kinder or family picnics, comfort is key. Choose soft, breathable fabrics that allow freedom of movement. A cute onesie or growsuit or a t-shirt with a pair of leggings are great choices. Accessorise with a sun hat and comfortable sneakers to complete the look.

Smart Casual

Smart casual occasions, such as a family dinner or a casual party, call for a slightly more polished look. Opt for a cute dress for your little girl or a button-up shirt or polo with a pair of shorts or pants for your little boy. For little ones on the move, add a pair of comfortable shoes or sandals that they can easily run (or crawl!) around in.

Semi-Formal

Semi-formal events like religious celebrations or milestone birthday parties often require a bit more dressing up. A semi-formal outfit for a baby or toddler usually consists of a button-up shirt with a smart pair of pants or shorts, or a dress with matching shoes and hair accessories.

Formal

For weddings and other formal celebrations, you’ll want to dress your little one in something extra special. Baby girls could wear an embellished party dress with a sweet pair of sandals or ballet flats while for boys a shirt, blazer or vest will look dapper (depending on our formal it is!). Keep in mind that comfort remains a priority, so remember to choose formalwear that is soft, breathable, and not too constricting.

Baby & toddler special occasion outfit ideas

Wedding

Dressing your little one for a wedding will very much depend on the dress code outlined on the invite. If it’s a casual wedding, opt for an outfit that allows your baby or toddler to move around freely. For a more formal ceremony, dress baby girls in a gorgeous special occasion dress with matching hair accessories, and baby boys in a smart three-piece suit or a button-up shirt with dressy pants or shorts.

Kids Birthday Party

A kids birthday party calls for something fun yet casual that can withstand playtime and cake-time! Opt for an adorable matching set that they can wear together or mix and match for different events. We love tops or dresses with bloomers, fun tees with coordinating shorts and tops with overalls. Add a pair of sandals or sneakers to complete the look.

Milestone Birthday Celebration

Whether it’s a 21st, a 40th or a 60th, a milestone birthday is a great excuse to dress your little one up in something special. They’ll love celebrating in a pretty party dress with a matching headband or a dressy shirt with shorts or pants.

Brunch or Lunch

A daytime event calls for something relaxed and colourful. When heading out to brunch or lunch, a romper or onesie is perfect for a baby, while a sweet t-shirt or knit with a pair of leggings and sneakers is great for toddlers.

Family Dinner

Heading out for a special dinner with loved ones? A sweet dress or button-up shirt with pants will work well. Don’t forget to pack a jacket or knit for when the weather cools down at night.

Movies

At the movies, comfort is key and cinemas can often be a little on the cool side! A cosy pair of tracksuit pants or leggings with a matching jumper will ensure they’re warm and comfortable.

Concert

A children’s concert calls for something loose and comfortable so your little one can move and dance without feeling restricted! They’ll also be burning a lot of energy, so dress them in layers that can be easily removed and popped back on again. A printed t-shirt or bodysuit and a pair of leggings with a light knit and a jacket is perfect.

Picnic in the Park

Kids of all ages love a picnic in the park. They’ll be running (or crawling) around on the grass and playing on the playground, so choose an outfit that allows them to move around comfortably. Dress your little one in a pair of overalls with a cute short or long-sleeve tee or bodysuit underneath and don’t forget to add a hat!

Christmas Parties

The holiday season is full of fun events calling for special festive outfits. Celebrate the season with pretty pieces in shades of red, green, white and gold, or go all-out with Christmas-print tees and growsuits.

Religious Celebrations

For a religious event, dress your baby or toddler in a modest and elegant outfit, such as a dress or a button-up shirt with a pair of pants.

Dressing your baby or toddler for special occasions is a joyful and memorable experience. Regardless of the dress code, make sure you balance style with comfort and, where you can, choose outfits that reflect your child's unique style and personality. Enjoy these precious years of baby and toddler fashion—it won't be long before they start choosing their own outfits!

Shop Purebaby’s range of special occasion clothing for babies and toddlers at Purebaby.

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