How to shop in the kids’ section without looking like a freak

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Bianca wears a t-shirt from the kid’s section of Kmart

Tag a shorty.

I have a confession to make: I shop in the kids’ section. Sometimes, when I’m wearing purchases that I bought in the kids’ section, people even ask me where they can buy said beauty. I tell them I can’t remember – that’s rule #1.

Yep, the first rule of shopping in the kids’ section successfully is exactly that – the idea that no one will ever know your deep, dark secret. That, and people don’t tend to take kindly to women who declare their smallness by smugly announcing they shop in the kids’ section. Keep yo’ secret, keep yo’ friends.

There are, of course, more nuanced rules. Read on for my top tips for shopping in the kids’ section without looking like a freak – and saving those adult-sized dollies while you’re at it #moresmashedavopls.

Keep it simple

See that tee with the cute bow? Run! The best way to shop in the shorty’s section is to keep it 100% simple. Plain colours and stripes, basic silhouettes, and anything without embellishment are your friends. It’s easy to mistake a little detail like a ruffle or some bling as a cute addition, but when you take it home in light of your very adult wardrobe you’ll regret it. Or look like you stepped out of the ’80s.

Try, try, try again

Never, ever, EVER leave the store without trying things on. It may seem like that cute black and white tee is a bargain – and appears to fit when you hold it up against your body – but a lot of the time you’ll find the fit is way off. Obviously, children’s bodies are totally different to adult bodies, and often women will get caught out with surprisingly little bust room (even if you’re an A cup), or a clingy hipline. Because those bastard kids don’t have hips yet. Dammit.

Go up a size… if you can

The best way to throw people off the kids’-section scent is to go up one size – even after you try it on. A loose, laid-back tee will never seem like it came from the kids’ section, but something a little clingy might arouse suspicion. Especially if it has Dora on the front. A 14 in kids is usually around a 6 in women’s – but I always trade up for a 16, and a more easy fit.

Don’t be colourblind

A lot of kids clothing tends toward candy colours – and realistically, many grown women struggle to wear them non-ironically. Keep a super critical eye on the colours of the clothes you’re trying on – would you really buy something in Barbie pink if it was in an adult store? Think of how the item would fit into your current wardrobe – and if it does, you’re onto a winner.

Good luck, my fellow shorties – mainly for avoiding those glaring stares as you’re perusing the merchandise with ne’er a kid in sight.

Follow Bianca’s 5’0 journey over at @_thesecondrow, or listen to her podcast at @thefashionpodcast

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