No Holds Barred: Great Finds from the Children’s and Teens Wear Department

In the quest to build a sensible, balanced wardrobe, it’s sometimes necessary to shop with no holds barred at the department store’s teens section. The children’s wear department is also a treasure trove of great finds you can use as you see fit. I’ve put together three looks revolving around some pieces purchased from the Little/Junior Miss section. Below, I also share four things I’ve learned since I started shopping here last year.

  • Expect to ask for the sizes on the larger end of the spectrum. As the clothes are made for slighter bodies that still have a ways to grow, adults shopping in this section should be prepared to look for sizes 14-18, or L/XL/XXL. The clothes you’ll wear from here will likely be for tweens and teens aged 12-16.
  • Things found here are likely to be more cost-effective, but fair warning: I’m not referring to big-name children’s wear brands that sell items priced on par with adult clothes. Instead, look for smaller labels or in-house brands that are often the first to be marked down during sale season. For example, a pair of shorts costing Php750 or 650 somewhere else, can run you 350-500 in children’s or teens wear.
  • Sometimes, some items may not cost that much less than a similar one in the women’s section, but are unique in terms of shape and style. I try to find other uses than how they were originally intended. Over a few months I’ve found loose dresses that can work as tank tops, jackets that can work as vests or cropped sweaters, and separates that are very wearable to work and weekend alike. Cute trends like peter pan collars and scalloped hems are often spotted here.
  • Take care to balance the pieces you buy here with more grown-up elements. I try to avoid going head-to-toe teens wear which can lead to saccharine overload. This may be cute for little girls, but no so much on a twenty-something. For instance, I like balancing a cute printed skirt with grown-up accessories like oversized watches and statement necklaces. Usually, I also go for heels.

I was delighted to find this dress in the children’s section of all places. I’m wearing size 18, the largest size, but the garterized waistband and a-line shape will be friendly to a lot of shoppers with a similar build. Because of the length of the skirt, which falls slightly above knees, Look 1 is wearable almost anywhere, even to work (just throw on a blazer or a cardigan). I chose to style with dainty pink accessories like these oyster-hued peacock earrings, pink headband, and pink studded cuffs to avoid the sweetness overkill I mentioned earlier. Neutral wedges finish the look.

The top in Look 2, a sleeveless blue number with a triple scalloped ivory hem, is also from children’s wear, and also a size 18. I use it only to wear tucked into skirts and pants, because on its own it is very short, with its hemline ending just past the navel. Here I styled it with a very grown-up pair of tailored navy pants (so worn that they are quite faded) and the same wedges as in Look 1. To ensure that I look my age, I also added a textured statement  bracelet featuring different shades of blue and ivory, which really anchor the outfit and give the eye something to focus on. I can also see this paired with an ivory blazer. Strong eyeliner and loose waves complete the look.

These shorts in Look 3 are from the teens section, size XL. I was immediately taken with the nautical design and styled it with a neutral gray shirt and some fun accessories, like my Stormtrooper bottlecap ring, tri-color bangle, and rose pendant. I also added just a touch of toughness via the black gladiator flats. This look is probably appropriate for anywhere you will be doing a lot of walking, as the shorts are very comfortable. I recently wore them on a flight as they don’t pinch when you are seated for a long time.

*All the items are still available now in the stores, but if you would like to know exactly where I bought them, please drop me a note at!


Behind the scenes at the shoot for Rinse, Wear, Repeat

Top left. Joseph and me at our senior prom five years ago. Right. The two of us in 2011. Bottom left. With the team. Make-up artist Karen Jean Santos, hair stylist Jay Wee, me, and Joseph Pascual.

Last November, I met up with photographer Joseph Pascual to shoot a collection of pictures to use for Rinse, Wear, Repeat . Joseph shoots full-time now, but he’s been taking photos for the longest time. Here is a photo of the two of us at our Senior Prom five years ago. I don’t think much has really changed.

Left. One of my favorites from the set. Top right. Joseph coaches me on my posing. Bottom right. A wide shot of the place.

We shot three layouts. The first location was at a small restaurant in Mandaluyong called The Frazzled Cook. The owners were kind enough to let us shoot early in the day, before the restaurant opened. I’ve been coming here for a while now; I always like tinkering with the little trinkets and odd things strewn playfully across the space. I asked Joseph to capture the busy, colorful feel of Rinse, Wear, Repeat, and to add an air of thoughtful nostalgia to the overall effect. I had fun with bright, colorful accessories like this hot pink Cambridge satchel, matching belt and jazzy bangles. I kept the rest of the outfit simple, with my favorite slim navy trousers and white blouse with a Peter Pan collar.

Left. A full-body shot. Right. Detail shots of the accessories. Bottom right. Karen and Jay work to create a sweet, romantic look.

We also shot outside, where the wind and sunlight were likely to give the photos an airy, sweet feel. Jay Wee, who did my hair, created this intricate updo with thick braids woven into rosettes, and Karen Jean Santos, who did make-up, kept the entire look very simple and clean. I had fun styling the simple peachy lace dress with contrasting aqua accessories. Joseph captured the dress’ movement and the small details in the accessories. I think I made myself dizzy with all the twirling.

Top left. The inspiration for this look. Bottom left. Close-up of the accessories. Right. A series of full-body shots from this collection.

It was Joseph’s idea to shoot outdoors in this small area in Greenhills. I picked out this beautiful cream dress with a long, flowing collar and a matching belt. I was inspired by this photo of two elegant ladies from the 40s, strolling along in their long dresses and jaunty hats. I envisioned the overall look to pay homage to the era without it looking like a costume, so I asked Karen to give me very full, deep berry red lips for a modern touch, while Jay softened the look by giving me neat-as-a-pin wavy hair. This dress is something I would wear to work, and so Joseph wanted to capture the contrast between the hard cityscape in the background and the soft, aged quality of the overall look.

Thanks to Joseph, Karen and Jay for all the time and effort to make this happen! I had a great time at the shoot, in front of the camera and behind the scenes as well.

Rinse, Wear, Repeat Meets Fashion Designer Mia Syson

I’ve been experimenting with different writing styles lately. I’m now working on a series of short features on interesting women who love style, filed under the “People and Friends I Still Can Recall” section. These people, a collection of bloggers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and artists have found major ways to integrate personal style into their daily lives, whether for expression, as a means of livelihood, or simply for inspiration. The second feature in this series, about my old friend and schoolmate Mia Syson, can be found below. Mia is an up-and-coming fashion designer, was a contestant in last year’s Mega Young Designers Competition, and has her own online store, Mia Zarah Couture. She was kind enough to let me visit her Marikina studio, where we talk over cookies and orange juice. 

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