Jeans and a tee is the classic kid uniform. But when special occasions strike — weddings, holiday tea, a trip to “The Nutcracker,” or anywhere you want to put your dressiest foot forward — it’s good to have some essentials in the kiddie closet. Here are 9 things to have on hand.

1. A killer bow tie.
Where to wear it: Fall and winter weddings. Your dapper lil’ dude might not be ring bearer, but he’ll vie for the spotlight with a bright, patterned clip bow tie.
Where to buy it: The coral double gingham clip tie shown here is from Etsy seller Divine Domestication. $15 at


photo: Divine Domestication

2. Graphic tights
Where to wear them: The school play or a class recital. Whether starring role or pretty place in the choir, a girl needs a little drama. Pair a skirt with a tights pattern that pops.
Where to buy them: You could go to a department store, but we’re partial to the multitude of styles from Oakland, California-based Luna Leggings. $32 at


photo: Luna Leggings

3. Patent leather shoes
Where to wear them: They are more versatile than they seem! Get them in a fun color, wear them with bobby socks and a skirt and you can trot off to school. Or, be dressier with classic black, paired with tights and a dress and you’ll have the perfect outfit for your mommy-and-me date to “The Nutcracker.”
Where to buy them: Zappos has great deals. We also love the pair in this photo in Mary Jane style from Bella Bliss. $70 at


photo: Bella Bliss

4. A tweed vest.
Where to wear it: With a timeless tweed vest, your small wonder can make like Sherlock Holmes (if he was pint-sized and loved skateboarding). If the little fella has to tag along to Mom or Dad’s holiday office party, this is a sweet look.
Where to buy one: Support a mom-run small business and browse the handmade styles on Etsy. We fell in love with this lil’ tweed number offered by Maggie Bogart. $44 at


photo: Maggie Bogart

5. A tulle dress
Where to wear it: Holiday tea. Whether at an upscale hotel or at American Girl Place, it’s a great excuse to get dressy. Remember, pinkies up!
Where to buy it: The cotton and tulle confection shown here is from Little Hands and is available on Amazon. Around $20 at


photo: Little Hands

6. A colorful shrug.
Where to wear it: Go for a walk and check out all the holiday lights. Or pick a main drag and do some window shopping. When the wind whips and it gets chilly, you can have one at the ready.
Where to get one: Get crafty (or tap into the talents of a crafty friend) and knit one from scratch. You’ll get the color of your choice — and bragging rights. In this photo is a beautifully textured one from Craftsy. Pattern available for digital download for $3.25 at


photo: Addiesma Designs

7. Dark black jeans.
Where to wear them: The question is … where not to wear them? Black jeans are great anywhere, anytime. But they’re especially great for family photos when you want to bump it up a notch from the usual faded blues.
Where to get them: Finding them won’t be trouble. And, oh, the options — pick from straight-leg, boot cut, loose fit or skinny. The ones shown here are classic skinnies from The Children’s Place. $7.80 at


photo: Children’s Place

8. A fedora.
Where to wear it: Pop on this topper for a big family gathering — grandma and grandpa will melt. Plus, a fedora makes your kiddo will instantly look more laid-back (even if he is having a public meltdown).
Where to buy it: Kid fedoras don’t exactly grow on trees, but there is a nice selection (including this preppy straw option) at Melondipity. $19.99 at


photo: Melondipity

9. A headband with bling.
Where to wear it: It’s the season of sparkle and even a little hint will do. Jazz up a trip to see Santa with a sequin-, rhinestone- or pearl-adorned headband.
Where to buy it: Claire’s is everywhere and has several choices. If you’re feeling ambitious, do like blogger MayDae did in this pic and make your own (she used faux leaves from the craft store). Click here for the tutorial.


photo: MayDae

What is YOUR go-to fashion essential for a dressy occasion? Let us know in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon