How To Pick Dress Up Clothes Little Girls Will Wear Over And Over

Dress Up FavoritesThere are so many different dress up clothes little girls will love when they first are received. Some costumes, however, get worn over and over again. Day after day they are the first item pulled from the dress up box. They are worn even during non-play times!

What is that magical secret that makes that costume so wonderful? That makes a purchase worth the money?

After all, if your daughter is just going to leave a certain dress at the bottom of the box, or tucked at the back of the wardrobe, then why pay good money for it in the first place? How can you be sure of buying dress up clothes little girls will play with, basically until they grow out of them?

There ARE some ways you can be certain your little girl will love your purchase, that it will be one of her new favorite dress up costumes. Of course, kids are always surprising you, so no promises here, folks! But, that being said, here are a few tips to help you out.

1) Objectively observe your child.


Doctor Role Play Costume
Melissa and Doug Doctor Role Play Costume Set

The key word is “objectively” here. What I mean is, if at first thought you don’t think your child is a “girly girl”, and wouldn’t go crazy over a princess gown, ask yourself if you ever given her the opportunity to wear one? To look like a beautiful princess? If she never has tried one on (with you around to observe her), does she love to deck herself out with bead necklaces, try on your pretty clothes or makeup, or drape scarves dramatically around herself? Perhaps she IS a little girl who will seriously love a gorgeous dress up gown.

But then again, if when you observe her objectively, you see that your little girl consistently prefers her lego, stuffed animals, and non-fiction books to any type of dolls or My Little Ponies, she will probably not give an Elsa or Cinderella dress that much repeat attention. You might be better off getting a fantastic Doctor Outfit and Kit, or a fabulous Chef or Cowgirl costume in which she can role-play a different way. (See: “When I Grow Up” Costumes for some ideas.)

2) Go Big or Go Home 😉


If your little girl IS a bit of a girly-girl, as in, loves Pretty Princess Costumelooking pretty and doing her hair, you can’t go wrong with a fancy, floor-length, beautiful gown. The more glamorous the better. Frills, glitter, crinolins, beautiful soft velvet or satin, etc… she will feel like a Princess. And will be wanting to feel that way a LOT. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a Disney character gown!! In fact, sometimes more creative play can happen if you steer clear of that.  (See my page of generic Princess-style gowns for some ideas.)


3) Make sure it’s in GOOD condition!


My daughter has been gifted a few hand-me-down costumes over the years. (I have so appreciated these gifts, as additions can be a bit pricey sometimes.) Anyhow, few of the outfits she has simply adored… and a few were tried on once and then were promptly tossed aside, and I’ve never seen her wear them again.

zipperWhy? The loved costumes looked new, clean (well, clean enough for her 😉 ), weren’t ripped, and were, well, in good shape yet. The zippers worked, the hems didn’t sag, etc.

The cast-asides were the opposite. One Tinkerbell costume would have been so great, except the Velcro wings didn’t stick anymore, and the back sagged due to the many times the heavy wings WERE attached. The other cast-asides were stretched out from older girls trying to squeeze into them, or ripped from years of fun.

We appreciated the generosity of our friend very, very much, but those “very-well-used” costumes have definitely seen their end. Don’t go there, my friend, if you’re looking for a new fave. If you want something to be worn with excitement and love, for a long time, make sure you’re giving her something in good shape from the get-go. Doesn’t have to be new, but it should be in good shape.


4) Determine to play along side her at first. And admire her frequently.


If you want to make sure the dress up clothes your Mother Daughter Playpurchase for your little girl are HITS, one of the things you can do is to determine that you’ll play alongside her while she figures out her new character (games and activities ideas here). You role-playing with her is definitely one of the keys to having her love an outfit… because with the outfit comes PLAY… and all play to a child is more fun when Mom or Dad or Grandma (or any adult) joins in!

Along the same lines, there is nothing a little girl loves more than praise and compliments from her mother, father, or friends. And if you give her honest and creative positive feedback while she’s wearing the new costume, she’ll shine and repeat the behavior again so you can give her more praise, and more compliments.  And soon she’ll have her new favorite – because basically, she feels GREAT in it!

speechbubbleThere are so many different costumes out there, and some become favorites faster than others… and some just never reach that status. It’s a good thing to have variety! But it’s also fun to see a child fall in love with an outfit that you just got for them, isn’t it? Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful!  Drop me a note below and let me know what YOUR little girl’s favorite dress up clothes are!

Interested in some more ideas for dress up clothes for little girls? Check out:


MarlaineHow To Pick Dress Up Clothes Little Girls Will Want To Wear Over and Over...

11 thoughts on “How To Pick Dress Up Clothes Little Girls Will Wear Over And Over

  1. Syed Suhail Ahmed September 10, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for this post… I really did enjoy reading!

    In my opinion, little girls look extremely cute when they play dress up and I have two daughters, the youngest being only 5 years old, loves acting and playing dress up games.

    However, the kids these days are usually into playing dress up on their gadgets rather than in real life!
    I should definitely get her some great costumes because she loves playing dress up games.

    My wife and I will keep in mind these tips while buying her a costume and if she likes it, we’ll buy more!

    Thanks once again.


    • Marlaine September 11, 2016 at 12:19 am

      You’re right about dressing up games on gadgets being popular these days! There are so many of them out there online for purchase. As a parent myself though, I’m hoping this site will encourage more “real-time” play than “screen time” for today’s youth.

      I’m willing to guess that your little girl will have some fun acting out a favorite character too, especially with a great costume! Have fun, and thanks for dropping in!

  2. Jessa September 13, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Love your post! My daughter is constantly dressing up in her princess dresses and I am always looking for things when I am out and about so I can rotate her dress up wardrobe. She’s always asking for new outfits and wants to be a “styler” as she calls it when she grows up (shes 4). Thank you for some amazing tips! Keep up the good work.

    • Marlaine September 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Ah… a Styler… LOVE it!! 🙂 I can just imagine the fun you must have together playing dress up! My daughter (age 3) wants to be either a firefighter or a veterinarian… not a HUGE fashionista, but some days her “style” is princess-vet or princess-fire-fighter. Pretty awesome!! Have fun!

  3. lizp September 13, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Dress up is so much fun! I still love dressing up at Halloween 😉

    It’s true that it’s important for parents to consider their daughter’s personality before spending money on something that she won’t wear. And just because someone buys a Tomboy a princess dress, doesn’t mean she’s going to love it and change who she is. I think it’s what you said is important.

    Great post and website! If I had a daughter, I’d be buying lots of costumes (if she liked that kind of thing). My son really isn’t into costumes. He’s only three, so maybe he’ll be excited by it when he gets a little older.

    Thanks again,

    • Marlaine September 13, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Perhaps it takes a bit of “assistance” for some as far as getting started loving dress up – who knows… maybe this Halloween your son will suddenly take a shine to it, especially if your own enthusiasm is evident, as it sounds like it will be! You could start small with a fire chief hat or a superman cape – something that doesn’t cost much… that’s the way I’d do it, at least… no use breaking the bank for a big get-up if he’s not going to play much with it! 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by, and have a great day!

  4. Violet October 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Thank you for these wonderful tips on how to dress up the girls. We all know this can be a complicated and delicate affairs, rather tricky one, we all have been there ! You buy them a dress, or they are blessed with a gift in form of a dress, the next thing we know it has been cast aside….it happens all! At least with the tips, one would know what to do next time this happens.

    You are good at what you do….your site has loads of good advice on how to handle girl kids!

    Thank you

    • Marlaine October 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      I so know what you mean about it being a tricky affair! Even when you know the little girl very well, you just can’t quite be certain she’ll love what you buy ALL THE TIME. We just do our best, and these tips were hopefully helpful to you and others also trying to do their best for the little girls we love so much! 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by and for the compliments, Violet! Very sweet of you! Have a lovely day!

  5. Violet October 1, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Thank you for these wonderful tips on how to dress up the girls. We are know this can be a complicated and delicate affairs, rather tricky one, we all have been there ! You buy them a dress, or they are blessed with a gift in form of a dress, the next thing we know it has been cast aside….it happens all! At least with the tips, one would know what to do next time this happens.

    You are good at what you do….your site has loads of good advice on how to handle girl kids!

    Thank you

  6. Regina March 11, 2017 at 4:46 am

    As a little girl there were a few dresses I kept wearing because they were pretty. That was it! The colors were nice and the cut was flattering. I didn’t look frumpy in them. That was all it took to get me to reach out for them again and again. I’m sure these principles apply to dress up clothes too.

    It also helped that one of my favorites were made by my mother! There’s something about mum making something specially for a kid that will make her wear it often.

    • Marlaine March 12, 2017 at 2:58 am

      Hi Regina, I think you’re absolutely right in that it needs to be pretty, first and foremost. That, and made of comfortable and soft materials.

      I SO wish I could sew… because I think you’re very right about specially made-for-you outfits are well loved. My own mom DID make us costumes for our dress up box… sometimes our size, sometimes not. My own all time favorite was her own wedding dress LOL. Great times playing “wedding”, let me tell you! 🙂

      Have a great day!

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