Dressing Children Like Children, with Florence Eiseman

Photo: Samantha Von Doersten Photography
Photo: Samantha Von Doersten Photography

I dress my children as my mother dressed me: child-like and sweet. I know that goes against cultural trends that encourage us to dress our babies like little hipsters. But I just can’t go there. I believe children are only children once. Their preciousness and innocence is short-lived and I want to savor every bit of it while I can.

I think I can make a good case that, as parents, we want people to notice our children before they notice the clothes they are wearing, which is one reason I don’t dress my children in loud or overpowering attire. Not that I have anything against clothes like that, but I just feel they are unnecessary. I prefer clean lines and simple designs instead; clothing that accentuates a child’s sweet demeanor rather than diminishes it.

Photo: Samantha Von Doersten Photography
Photo: Samantha Von Doersten Photography

Another reason: I know that how we dress often affects how we feel. And if I dressed my daughters like teenagers they would no doubt act more like teenagers. And I, for one, don’t want any extra sassiness in my house!

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Photo: Samantha Von Doersten Photography

One of my favorite companies for children’s clothing is Florence Eiseman. The reason: they are the standard-bearers when it comes to dressing children like children. Florence Eiseman was in her forties when she set out to bring classic simplicity to children’s clothing. (How inspiring to us mothers!). Started in 1945, Florence Eiseman quickly became known for its fine fabrics and quality workmanship – so much so that children’s wear buyers joked that Florence Eiseman’s clothes were so well-made they could be worn from the inside out.¹

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Some of Florence Eiseman’s early work.

Jackie Kennedy and members of the royal family were known to have dressed their children in Florence Eiseman, boosting the line’s popularity and redefining children’s clothing altogether. And you fashionistas will love this: In 1955, Florence Eiseman won the distinguied Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, joining the ranks of Coco Chanel and Christian Dior.

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I love history: Florence Eiseman after receiving the esteemed Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1955. Also pictured: Grace Kelly. (Source: Worthpoint Media)

Interestingly, some of the clothes that my daughters wear now are Florence Eiseman dresses that I wore as a child – dresses my mother kept for 25 years and still look brand new! It’s actually quite amazing how well made they are: the tiny stitching, the movable buttons, and the deep hems all allow for children to wear the garments longer. This type of longevity also means that the clothes can be passed on to siblings and cousins and, eventually, their own children! Most clothing lines these days don’t that same enduring quality.

In the past, Florence Eiseman has only been available in fine department stores and boutiques. But now you can now buy online directly from Florence Eiseman’s website! I have been perusing their new site and am loving their holiday line:

Florence Eiseman Collage

My daughter has the red-plaid dress with velvet trim. Paired with a white “nutcracker” bow, it is almost too beautiful for words:

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Photo: Samantha Von Doersten Photography

What a precious and heirloom-worthy gift to give to your child. One day, when they are dressing their children in the same clothes, they will thank you!

May 4th Update: Here is a 25-30% off sale I stumbled upon on some darling dresses, jon, jon, and swimsuits. Not sure how long it will last!

 

Visit www.florenceeiseman.com for more from their adorable lines. Want classic children’s shoes? I’ve got a whole SHOP category dedicated to them here.

Did you wear Florence Eiseman as a child or do your children wear it now?  Please tell me below in the comment section below.

And remember to “Like” and “Share” on Facebook!

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Sources:

Red Plaid Dress with Velvet Trim (Click here)

Double-Breasted Plaid Jumper (Click here)

Apple Pocket Jumper (Click here)

Knit Blouse with Apple (Click here)

Nutcracker Bow: Layette (Dallas)

Photography by Samantha Von Doersten Photography (www.samanthavondphotography.com)

(Clothes c/o Florence Eiseman)

¹Schenectady Gazette. (August 15, 1955)


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15 thoughts on “Dressing Children Like Children, with Florence Eiseman

  1. My boys wore Florence Eiseman when they were little. It was the only style that Andy and I could agree. Her style of boys clothes are not overly feminine, but still classic and cute. Their Eiseman clothes stayed looking great and was always tough enough to handle normal boy playing, so we loved it and have passed it all on to my nephew. I have no idea about her girl lines, but we did have trouble finding much of the boy clothes. Neimans would only carry a piece or two each season. I am so glad that they are offering it directly!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this! When I was doing my research for this post, I read that Florence Eiseman wanted to create clothes that could stand up to children’s rough-housing and fidgetiness. And she did just that! I am also so excited that they are online now! Please share the news with your family and friends. Thanks again!

  2. We were fortunate enough to live near the factory and my parents and grandparents dressed all 6 of us in FE, courtesy of the factory seconds sales! I did the same with my son. When I moved to CA when my husband started medical school, I was asked how I could afford to dress my son in FE on a medical student’s budget. 🙂

  3. I too wore Florence Eiseman growing up and my mother saved my dresses as well.
    I love my girls in Florence Eiseman. So classic; so sweet. It is true that a child looks angelic when they are dressed classic; I believe as God intended.

  4. I just wanted to express my excitement when traveling toward downtown Milwaukee from Bayview.There,shining to my right,was the unmistakable Florence Eisman insignia! My heart skipped a beat! This mother of five was once among the excited crowd lined up before dawn,in FonDuLac, Wisconsin.My girlfriends and I waited for the calendar to count down the days till our big adventure.
    The rush of adrenalin to find the perfect holiday outfit or two or three or more,made us forget the cold weather we and others of great taste in children’s clothing,endured as we waited for the door to treasures to open.Upon the rush in the door,we would be presented with our brown paper shopping bag which we would fill with varying sizes of beautifully appliqués sweaters,velvet and lace embellished holiday dresses,fit for a princess along with a swanky swim suit and cover up for the princess to wear,next time she had a chance to play in a pool.We had formed a comradely with other shoppers after our repeated yearly visits.It was not uncommon that you might hear someone calling out a size needed while holding up an article of clothing.
    Occasionally,given the emotion of the shopping experience,some rather unsportsmanlike behavior would break out.The bags,brimming with our finds,would then be sorted as we sat on large sheets of brown paper placed on the floor.
    Exhausted,we could not depart until we poured through the beautiful imported fabrics,imagining what we might create with them.
    Our car ride to a neighboring luncheonette,gave us time to go through our finds,imagining our little darlings all dressed up!
    To my dismay,the sales,which had been relocated to Milwaukee,were discontinued!! 🙁
    You can now understand my excitement when I saw the Eisman signage during my ride.I have contacted them to include me in mailings concerning upcoming sales and although my babies are all grown adults now,and wouldn’t squezze into the classic regalia,I would love to perhaps find pieces for new little ones,others may have at their houses!
    Thank you Florence Eisman for your inspirational,classic and well made in the USA,garments!
    Your loyal friend,Elaine

    1. Elaine, thank you so much for sharing this story! How wonderful that you lived so close and could enjoy such beautiful clothes for your children as they were growing up! And I’m so glad you can now pass along that joy to other families. I am going to forward this comment onto Florence Eiseman because I’m sure they would love to hear from such a loyal customer. Best to you and thanks again for sharing!

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