5 Ways to Find The Perfect Mommy and Me Dress on a Budget
Tap into Your Obsession for Mommy and Me Without Spending a Fortune
There’s something so fun and irresistible about dressing up our kids as miniature versions of ourselves.
My own obsession with “twinning” began as a child, when my mother made a set of matching pajamas for me and my Cabbage Patch doll. That doll was my mini-me daughter in our little world of make-believe. Unfortunately I threw her into the garbage one day after doodling pen all over her face, but we still had some good times.
Our little human shadows are much like the dolls we had as kids, with the exception of having a much smaller window for wearing what we want them to wear.
There are plenty of opportunities to cash in on the twinning style even if you’re working with a small budget. Believe it or not, you could probably throw together a few adorable Mommy and Me ensembles based on what’s in your closet right now!
Here are five ways to get the twinning look this season without putting a huge dent in your wallet.
1. Coordinate Your Mommy and Me Dress Fabrics
Girls dresses come in a wide range of fun, durable materials, making them an ideal match for our own playful tastes. Here are some popular fabrics to look for:
Dress twinning with any of these materials closes the age gap, making us look younger while simultaneously making our daughters look adorably refined and more adult-like. What’s not to love?
Who doesn’t love a full, layered tulle skirt? They’re versatile enough to be transported from an enchanted forest to your backyard photoshoot. You can dress them up with a lacy top or dress them down with a denim button-down. You can wear them to the floor, knee-length, or short like a cocktail dress.
And now the best part: You don’t need a sewing machine to make one.
To make your own DIY tulle skirt, simply tie long strips of tulle fabric to an elastic waistband or ribbon. A lovely knot is all you need secure the fabric to your band. You’ll want to wear a slip or thin skirt underneath your tulle, as it’s fairly transparent even in layers. Don’t have time to make a skirt? Simply trim the edges of a large piece of tulle and use it as a wrap or belt.
Lace is undeniably feminine and looks flattering on most body types. Even if your outfits aren’t perfectly matchy-matchy, you can achieve the paired look just by having similar vintage accents. If you have a sewing machine, you can add a layer of lace overlay in a matching color onto an existing skirt or dress.
Have an old jean jacket collecting dust in your closet? Turn it into a vest by cutting off the sleeves. Denim vests can be beautifully layered over cotton summer dresses. If you have a fitted button-down denim top, pair it with a tulle skirt.
2. Coordinate Your Patterns
If you already own a dress in a trendy pattern, you can easily find an inexpensive match for your daughter without having to buy the exact replica. Here are a few common patterns available in children’s clothing stores:
- Polka dot
- Animal prints
There are many Mommy and Me retailers offering exact dress patterns in adult and children sizes. However, I’ve found sizing options to be limited, as it’s still a growing niche market. Also, due to the huge popularity of this trend, your size may be out of stock if you have a popular size.
As a 5-foot, 11-inch-tall woman, I face this problem nearly every time I go shopping. I have a very long torso, making length and waistlines a constant challenge. Most shift dresses make me look like I’m playing peek-a-boo with my derriere. Any dress with a tailored waist ends up looking like a maternity top.
Here’s my approach to the Mommy and Me challenge: Focus on finding a dress that fits you well, then buy a neutral coordinate for your daughter. Children are more cookie cutter and therefore have more sizing options than we do. Popular places to look for affordable girls dresses are as follows:
- Old Navy
- Burlington Coat Factory
Keep in mind that The Gap, Inc. is the parent company of The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta. You may have better luck coordinating dresses under one brand. If you already have a great dress in your closet, wear it to the store and have fun playing dress up in the changing room as your daughter tries on similar options!
3. Coordinate Your Color Swatches
As long as your patterns aren’t too busy, you can use the same matching method for your dresses by coordinating color swatches. You’ll likely save money by doing a little online digging rather than buying custom-made ensembles. Popular colors for summer include florals, pastels (crimson, pale pinks, tangerine, pistachio, pale and navy blues), animal prints, gold and white, denim and cremes.
4. Coordinate Your Mommy and Me Style
Are you an off-the-shoulder garden goddess kind of girl? How about a 1950s bohemian? Whatever your style, it’s guaranteed to look adorable on your mini-me. Maxi dresses are all the rage right now due to their comfort and versatility. Go for soft jersey or cotton fabrics, as these will breathe best during the hot summer months. Also, they work great as a maternity dress option.
Even if the pattern is entirely different, coordinating your color tones and the cut of your dress will help you accomplish the Mommy and Me style without costing a fortune. Some of the most popular styles today include:
- Embroidered shift dresses
- Ruffled hem or tiered ruffle dresses
- Off-the-shoulder dresses
- Long-sleeved dresses with open-shoulder cutouts
- Choker dresses
- Wide-sleeved dresses
- Shirt dresses with leggings
- Asymmetric hemlines
Any of these options are going to be a slam dunk.
Now I realize $63 for a dress isn’t exactly a steal, but you’ll find that good-quality maxi dresses run on the higher side. Plus, if you sign up to receive coupons, you can usually get the price down a bit further. Having purchased two PinkBlush maternity dresses myself, I feel good about endorsing the quality of their product for the cost.
5. Coordinate Your Accessories
This is one area where you can really get creative. Accessories are much easier to manufacture on the DIY front, as I’m sure you may have noticed the last time you threw together a Halloween costume. It sounds silly to compare our daily wear to costumery, but the planning process is the same.
Also, accessories are the easiest way to pull off the Mommy and Me look if you have a son. Let’s have a moment of silence for boy moms like me who are forced to ignore all the adorable dresses at baby-supply stores…
Does your daughter have a flannel dress leftover from the Christmas season? Find a matching blanket or bolt of material from the fabric store and trim the ends to turn it into a shawl. Even if you’re a novice seamstress, there are many easy DIY infinity scarf tutorials on the web. Use the same material from your scarf to make a matching headband for your daughter!
If you own any of these accessories, by all means use ’em!
- Sun hats (really any kind of hat)
- Garland crowns
If you’re a boy mom, just swap out bows for bowties. Sunglasses, boots and belts all still apply!
Styling your twini-me doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be beautiful.
With a wide array of affordable options and a polished look that’s priceless for photoshoots and special occasions, I really hope the Mommy and Me trend is here to stay. Whatever your reason for seeking matching attire, I hope this post has you conjuring up visions of walking down the runway with your mini-me’s.
Do you feel the wheels turning with all the ways you can rock the Mommy and Me look? Share your ideas and photos in the comments section below!
Erin Devine is not a fashion blogger, though she does enjoy sewing and saving money. You can usually find her blogging on Top Shelf DIY, where she talks about everything from house projects to cocktail recipes. Join her there for productivity inspiration and various adventures in momfoolery.