Big pants for a small child

As soon as a child is out of nappies, the question of what to put them in next arises. And let me tell you, finding pants, knickers, for a small girl-child that are not

have stupid logos on
or writing on saying things like ‘love’ or ‘princess’
or tiny

is not easy. I loathe logo-ed knickers.  Really, passionately hate them. And I believe, have always believed, that pants should be big and cover your kidneys because I have a Napolitan mother who told me these things (still tells me these things).

I’m also really fernickety about good quality stuff. This is why my house is full of Miele kitchen appliances. I searched very high and very low for simple, plain, not small, white knickers. I’m not stranger to finding things, having once been Dear Annie and having written a few consumer/shopping columns. But it was an impossible ask.

John Lewis did not let me down with plain white childrens’ knickers. But they weren’t BIG enough and after a few washes, I’m afraid to say, they just looked crap.

Then I remembered.

As a child, my French uncle, who was (is) impossibly glamorous and designed plane engines, and his wife, my Parisian aunt and Godmother, Josette, had bought me a pair of knickers once, when I was a child, that were my absolute favourite pants. And I remembered they had a little boat as a symbol, on the label.

Petit Bateau.

So I went in search of them here in the UK and lo, here was a company that made simple, big, white pants.

Let me tell you a few things about Petit Bateau childrens’ underwear:

  • the quality is superb. After two years of daily wear and 60 degree washes, they still look like new.
  • the fit is superb
  • they are beautifully plain, although you can also get coloured ones (which I do buy occasionally) and this year they’ve introduced ones with writing on which is a big, big no-no for me.
  • they are expensive
  • PB also makes thermal underwear for children which is unsurpassed in looks, comfort and quality. It’s made of wool and silk/cotton but constructed so that only cotton fibres are next to the skin.

The last time I made a purchase of PB pants and vests was when my eldest was six. Since then I’ve thought “can I really justify paying £4 for a pair of pants when for that price you can get at four pairs  (and, I know, in some places even cheaper). So last time we were in Johnny Loulous being measured for shoes, I bought a pack of four for £6.

And the quality is crap. After a few washes (40 degrees as they’re coloured, but at least just stripes and stuff and no logos).

So back I went to PB, braving the nearly always surly staff to stock up. I really can’t recommend the make highly enough and if you’ve got more than one child, such as I have, to pass down to, it makes them even better value and in price per wear, they can’t be beaten because they last so long.

The plain white ones are code 66637 00110 and called Lot de 2 Culottes (be careful cos the ones with writing on are packaged so you can’t see the writing) and cost £8.50 for two. Matching vests (thin straps) are 6663100110 and called 2 Chemises a Bretelles and cost £10 for two.

I’ll put a photo up later.

4 thoughts on “Big pants for a small child

  1. Clare Davidson

    F had a pack of three knickers from Vertbaudet that are lovely and have lasted fantastically. They're short style so cover everything and they're coloured purple and grey I think with pictures on but the pictures are just tiny embroidered aeroplanes. They're such good quality and I would love to buy her some more but then I think these were about £4 a pair as well and I can't afford it.

  2. Tomsmum

    H wears the ones her brothers had, they have trucks and stuff on, from Frugi 🙂 But generally European brands are better quality and less logo'd than UK brands.

  3. Anonymous

    M&S do boy's big pants in plain colours, no logos – a bit like fitted cotton boxers (but no actual openings at front) – could also be worn by girls. Have washed well so far.


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