Clever Girls Wear House of Minerva

Henrietta the Bear models House of Minerva’s Bird House dress.

Most people mention clothing in the same breath as food and shelter, considering it one of life’s basic necessities. At the most basic level that may be true, but I grew up in a different sort of family. Children’s clothing was my mother’s passion. She regularly read Vogue Bambini, the Vogue of children’s wear, and dressed my sister and me in uniquely beautiful clothes. My mother had an eye for classic Italian children’s clothing (Magil, Simonetta), as well as funky Dutch fashion (Oilily).

It wasn’t until my own daughter, Lila, was born last year that I understood what fun it can be to dress the little someone you love. Much of the clothing my mother bought has held up so well that Lila has regularly worn my 30-year-old hand-me-downs.

That’s saved me a lot of time and money, since I haven’t had to do much clothes shopping. It’s also meant that I can be much choosier about what new items I add to Lila’s wardrobe. Since she already has enough in her closet to meet the basic necessities standard, I can concentrate on adding only select, worthy pieces.

My favorite big-name, new-to-me children’s clothing brand has definitely been Mini Boden. I love their bright colors, animals that often look like kids’ drawings, and generally fun aesthetic. To me, they capture what kids’ clothing should look like. Magil actually captures my philosophy very well in describing their own line: “Magil’s children don’t look like adults; their world is made of play, fairytales, and fantasy. It’s a slow, coloured world, sweet like the scent of a biscuit.”

But a girl can’t live in Mini Boden and Magil alone, and that’s where the House of Minerva comes in. I discovered this boutique-sized company when they followed me on Twitter one day this past summer. They kindly agreed to send us one of their toddler dresses for free, so that we could try it.

I selected their Bird House dress, which Lila has now had the opportunity to wear a few times; the dress has attracted many compliments for its fun and eye-catching design. I’d even describe the dress’ design as witty, cleverly mixing little white birds and colorful birdhouses as it does.

When I selected it, I wasn’t really sure how the dress would look in person and whether the two patterns would clash or harmonize. Having now seen the dress in person, I can say that they complement each other incredibly well in terms of both color and design. Further, the online picture really doesn’t do justice to the dress’ bold palette. It’s much more attractive in person.

The dress is easy to wear too. Not only are there no buttons or zippers, but I was also very pleased by the elasticized arm bands and neck. The smart design simplifies dressing a squirming toddler. The size 2T we ordered is long, but not terribly long for a 16-month-old. It was the right size for us to order this summer, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get one more season’s wear out of it. The Bird House dress looks like a pulled-together outfit, unlike so many other toddler dresses, which seem more like somebody’s afterthought. It’s a good everyday dress because Lila moves easily in it. I love that the dress is playful and timeless, and that we’ve never seen another girl wear one like it.

But the dress isn’t perfect. If the designer asked me how it varied from my ideal, I’d mention a few things: 1) The fabric doesn’t chafe, but it’s not particularly soft. 2) The bow by the neck isn’t sewn on entirely straight (horizontally). 3) The tag in the dress doesn’t list washing instructions and should, since that’s where parents are primed to look pre-laundry. 4) The dress has no matching bloomers, and my toddler’s diaper isn’t always hidden without them. Ideally the dress would have bloomers matching the bird pattern from the dress’ top portion. 5) Lastly, in an ideal world, I’d love for the pattern to be matched along the seams, since that really raises a dress to a new artistic level. Of course, at this price point, that’s unlikely. Even more expensive designer clothes don’t always bother with such niceties.

All in all, I’m a new fan. I’d strongly encourage other parents to try House of Minerva. The clothes are reasonably priced, visually appealing, easy to wear and wash, and wonderfully capture the lively playfulness that should be part of everyone’s childhood.

To shop House of Minerva’s toddler dresses and other fun(ky) products, visit www.houseofminerva.com.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Clever Girls Wear House of Minerva”
  1. Nina Badzin says:

    Okay, so fun that you got a free dress. A good companion concept to your kveller post on not wanting to splurge. 😉 I love mini-boden in concept because I agree it’s what kids’ clothes SHOULD look like. However, as you know I have four kids and I’ve had the chance to see how QUICKLY the kids grow and how much all clothes wear and tear no matter the brand. I’m just willing to spend much more than the prices at Old Navy and Target. First time I’ve been on your blog by the way. Looks great!

  2. Brett Jarding says:

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  3. Sid Mcferren says:

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