published Monday, March 14th, 2011

Simplicity is key in trends for Easter apparel

Carmen Quarfordt, left, 4, and Jenna Quarfordt, 2 1/2, model Easter fashions at St. Timothy's Church on Signal Mountain. 
Staff photo by Dan Henry - The Chattanooga Times Free Press
Carmen Quarfordt, left, 4, and Jenna Quarfordt, 2 1/2, model Easter fashions at St. Timothy's Church on Signal Mountain. Staff photo by Dan Henry - The Chattanooga Times Free Press

It was only a couple of generations ago that little girls proudly modeled their frilly Easter fashions in community Easter parades.

Easter parades, like frilly Easter fashions, are mostly a thing of the past.

“Comfort and simplicity play a huge role in a new tradition,” said Rachel Griffith, who co-owns Treehouse Kids & Co., a children’s clothing boutique on Signal Mountain, with Tiffany Quarfordt. However, some moms are still buying traditional Easter fashions for their little boys and girls, she said.

“Easter fashions will definitely continue,” she said. “Modern details on Easter clothing will always be available, but traditional styling also will be seen.”

In the 1940s and 1950s, many baby boomers were decked out to the nines on Easter morning. Little girls wore frilly dresses with lacy socks or white tights, black patent shoes, lacy gloves and Easter bonnets. Boys wore dress pants, shirts, ties and sweaters or jackets.

This year’s trends range from a modern, simplistic look to classic, Quarfordt said. “Trends tend to be more colorful and bright, while traditional leans toward the softer pastel colors with smocking or pintucks.”

But the bottom line in today’s fashion for children is comfort, Quarfordt said.

“I think families like to dress their children traditionally but comfortable for Easter,” she said. “For the most part, this constitutes a new dress each year that is still somewhat frilly or smocked, a white sweater, white tights or lacy socks and new patent leather shoes or dressy sandals. These days, one is less likely to see gloves or an Easter bonnet. For boys, the norm is still nice pants, a dress shirt, sweater or vest. A tie would mostly depend on how traditional a family is,” Quarfordt said.

The economy also may affect whether or not a child will get new Easter clothing.

“Families are willing to purchase new clothing for special occasions if they are in a financial position to do so,” she said. “The economy certainly plays a role in everything, and non-necessities are the first to go. Consignment sales are popular, and hand-me-downs are still a good way to get clothing for children. Even though I’m co-owner of Treehouse, I still save our clothing for the next in line. It’s just a smart way to live.”

Quarfordt, the mother of three girls, said she selected traditional and modern fashions for her girls’ Easter dresses this year. Carmen, 4, will wear a sleeveless, nontraditional wrap dress that is bright pink with large light pink polka dots and aqua sash. A white sweater and white sandals will complete the look. Dresses for Jenna, 2, and Eva, 6 months, are more traditional, but the colors will coordinate with Carmen’s dress.

This year’s styles offer a variety of trends and themes, Griffith said.

“It seems that the mixing of patterned fabric and unique blending of colors is really in this season,” she said. “Different dye techniques, like dip dye, is a huge trend.”

“The design trends are subtle but color trends are popular,” Quarfordt said. “Pink and brown for girls and blue and brown for boys were popular combinations for a while, Now, I’m noticing floral patterns making a comeback.”

Also trendy for children’s spring and summer clothing will be bohemian, nautical and surfer themes, Griffith said.

“These themes don’t differ much from last spring and summer, but last season’s designs are being updated with a vintage spin,” she said. “Mixed prints and exotic inspiration are playing a part in this season’s twist on bohemian styling. Blending bandana prints, ginghams, and floral prints along with unexpected combinations of colors such as pink, red, and green are expected.”

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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