Lifestyle, travel and parenting writer Helen Bowman tries out the new Sunspel kidswear collection with her three-year-old daughter, Clem.
At Sunspel we believe beautiful, high-quality clothing should be for everyone, regardless of age. With this in mind, our new kidswear offering is designed with the same attention to detail as our main collection, and is built to withstand the demands of day-to-day life. Here lifestyle, travel and parenting writer Helen Bowman and her three-year-old daughter Clem put the garments through their paces.
I first became aware of Sunspel in the mid-2000s, around the time the press were reporting on the brand’s involvement with the Bond films. I remember coming across the T-shirts in a store somewhere and commenting to my now-husband on the fluidity of the cotton and the streamlined design. The shirts seemed so contemporary, I was surprised when I found out Sunspel had a history dating back to the 19th century. But I guess that level of refinement in design often only comes with time.
The introduction of the women’s line was exciting because of the way the label’s history as a menswear brand shaped the new offering. I mostly like a simple, pared-back look – a uniform – and historically, I think menswear designers have been better at nailing that, perhaps because they more often focus on refinement instead of ornament. The Sunspel women’s collections definitely retained the considered classicism and sense of restraint that I liked in the men’s range. I love that there’s this emphasis on quality and cut. The clothes make a statement, but in a subtle way.
With these tastes, dressing my daughter can be a bit of a challenge. When I do find something that isn’t too loud or garish, often the quality isn’t great; it can’t endure what a three year old (literally) throws at it. So the Sunspel children’s range caught my attention as soon as I heard about it. The collection offers mini versions of the brand’s most recognisable pieces including the organic cotton T-shirt, Riviera polo shirt and loopback sweatshirt in classic navy, white and grey with some flashes of brighter reds and yellows. The pieces have all the attractions of the adults’ ranges – minimalist designs, classic cuts, beautiful natural fabrications – and they don’t compromise on quality. They’re also incredibly comfortable, which is important because my daughter is the kind to instantly remove any clothing she decides is slightly scratchy or rough.
The children’s collection also means she can match Mummy without me having to wear something that makes me uncomfortable – at three and a half, dressing and feeling like a grown-up is surprisingly important to her (some days at least). And given the rate at which she gets through clothing, it’s helpful that I can buy her a few super high-quality basics we can rotate ad infinitum – most of which mix and match perfectly with the rest of her wardrobe.