Kid’s Summer Styles that Bring us Back to Our Own Childhoods

Children of the 80s and 90s, get ready to relive your glory days. The styles of our youth are back in a big way for our kids.

We knew it would happen, right? Remember dressing for middle school and your mom saying, “Those are exactly like the jeans I used to wear!” It drove me crazy. How could my mom have already embraced something so ‘new’ and ‘now’ on the fashion scene? I absolutely thought I was being original. But no, it was just the cycle that fashion inevitably follows from generation to generation.

Well now it’s our turn to watch our kids rediscover the styles of our childhood. There have been times when I see current pictures of kids and get a flashback to a picture of me from 1989 that looks almost identical (barring the drastically improved photo quality.)

If you happen to have saved any of the following items from childhood, the time has come to bust them out, and prove to your kids just how “rad” you really were.


It is my hope for every generation ahead of us that overalls will perpetually have periods of resurgence. They are to kid’s clothing what PB&J is to kid’s lunch boxes. They are classic, rooted in practicality, and just so undeniably cute.

Tie Dye 

It is decidedly not the same tie-dye that we made in summer camp, but the theme of tie-dyed clothing has definitely resurfaced. What I love is that it’s moved well beyond the classic spiral design and now includes modern variations on the style, like bleach-dye, shibori, and even ombre.


I admit, I had to google how to spell this word, since I haven’t spoken or written it in probably 20 years. However, at age 10, these were a staple in my summer wardrobe. Half shorts, half skirt, culottes are the ideal bottom for days filled with cartwheel-twirling, downhill-rolling, and tire-swinging. Viva la culotte!

Jean Shorts

I mean, it’s hard to imagine a summer without denim shorts, right? They’ve gone through so many stylistic transformations over the decades, but they’re still holding court – this time with a longer above-knee hang and either a rolled or an unfinished frayed edge. For kids especially, this is a trend I particularly appreciate because it means I can take all their pants they have outgrown and transform them into rugged summer attire with two easy snips.

Smocked Dresses

Growing up, these were usually worn for special occasions, but now, there are tons of great places designing smocked dresses that are just meant for casual play. I love the look of that puckered top and billowy bottom, and it’s such an easy comfortable style that just shouts out that summer is here.

Tank Tops for Boys

If you take a look back through your childhood pictures, you’ll notice that boys clothing showed a lot more skin. Shorts were shorter, shirts were tighter. Not every style has been re-embraced, but one that has been is the sleeveless shirt. And it’s a great one! Not only are they way more practical in the sweltering summer months, but they have a beachy surf style that looks great too.


Talk about pure nostalgia. I had so many rompers (mostly homemade) when I was a kid, and I am thrilled to be raising kids in a time that they are back in style. There are a couple things to love about them: 1. They make packing SO EASY, and 2. To me, they make kids look like kids. Sure, there are some not so childish designs out there, but for the most part, they are very sweet and uncomplicated – just how childhood should be.