Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Oohs and awws

Just because you still suck your thumb doesn't mean you can't be the hippest kid on the playground

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I have to admit, I'm a sucker for little kiddies dressed in sassy little outfits -- mini versions of the hippest trends and funky threads that any adult urbanite would willingly stock their closet with.

Not that I'm opposed to pastel onesies with bunnies and ducks, but who can argue that a tot dressed in tiny denim jeans, a petite polo and pair of Chuck Taylors isn't just about the cutest thing you've ever seen?

It appears I'm not alone in my love for trendy toddler attire -- two local lovelies who share a passion for modern couture for kids have launched an online shop -- miniboutique.ca -- specializing in designer brands for tots.

"We carry labels not currently found in Winnipeg, like Stella McCartney and Mini and Maximus, and some labels are exclusive to our online boutique and not carried anywhere else in Canada," says co-owner Leanna Kendall.

Those exclusive lines Kendall is referring to include Pale Cloud -- a luxe brand for girls with gorgeous garments such as the Elfie dress, a cotton sateen frock with bronze embellishments, and the delicate crepe Florence Playsuit.

Another exclusive line is Soft Gallery. Among the items is a collection of wildflower-printed jumpers, tops and pants that are wildly outrageous and fun -- perfect for spunky sweeties. Soft Gallery also features graphic prints designed by feature artists each season.

One collection that particularly caught my eye was Fore! Axel and Hudson. Inspired by classic golf attire, this collection of preppy plaid and checked polo shirts, hats and shorts is nothing short of adorable with a capital A.

Another one of my favourite collections in the mix is Mini Shatsu, a line of graphic-printed garments for boys and girls. Inspired by the larger-than-life days of Hollywood in the '80s -- rock and rap, snapback hats and tattoos -- these graphic prints capture the pulse of any big-city urban jungle in mini form.

Kendall and co-owner Yvonne Alto launched miniboutique.ca just a couple of months ago and are already experiencing a rash of support from like-minded fashionistas looking for something special for kids that balances style with function.

Each of the brands carried by miniboutique.ca is durable enough to withstand a play date and also free from toxic dyes and chemicals, making them ideal for a child's delicate skin.

Got a suggestion for a future column or a fashion trend worth following? Email Connie Tamoto at connietamotofashion@hotmail.com.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2013 E10

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