A Non-Southerner’s Guide to Jon Jon, Bubbles and Smocked Clothes

I’m a midwestern girl, living in the south and raising two “southern” boys. It was inevitable that I would purchase one of those cute seersucker jumpers, with a monogram (or smocked design) perfectly placed on the front at some point. This past summer I was ready. But I had no idea where to start. I enlisted some of my mom friends who had experience to help me navigate this world of bubbles, Jon Jons, bishop dresses, and smocked things. So if you didn’t grow up wearing all the things smocked and/or monogrammed and have no idea what to even put in the google search, here is a guide to shopping and outfitting your little ones in the most southern of styles.

What is what?! 

  • Jon Jon: southern term for a little boy’s romper outfit; typically shorts-length and sleeveless.
  • Bishop Dress: loose-fitting dress; easiest garment to smock
  • Peter Pan Collar Shirt: white shirt with collar (some have a colored hem) to be worn under longalls or Jon Jons
  • Smocked clothing: used to describe classic southern style clothing. Needlework creates small, regularly spaced gathers stitched into a honeycomb pattern. On this pattern, there are geometric patterns or pictures stitched onto an outfit. Smocked clothes are traditionally very formal church or holiday clothes, but more and more, children are wearing them every day. You can find holiday-themed to your favorite university/college.
  • Bubble Suit: an outfit that is all one piece and blousy around the body. A bubble can be either short with the leg holes around the thigh or long with the leg holes around the ankles.
  • Longall: similar to a Jon Jon, but with long pants. Typically worn in cooler months so a white collared shirt (Peter Pan collar) is typically worn underneath.

Where to purchase:


  • Order early: Many of the seasonal styles have pre-sales. So check early and often. Especially if you are looking to coordinate sibling outfits.
  • Customize locally! Don’t monogram when you order the outfit. Sizes vary from site to site and little ones grow so fast. Since you can’t return customized orders, go ahead and order a couple of sizes. Figure out which ones you need (especially if you are ordering early for an upcoming holiday and/or family photos) and find a local place to monogram.
    • These places come highly recommended:
      • Gramercy Fine Linens (offer a small amount of children’s wear too; Peachtree Battle Shopping Center)
      • Marshmallow Dream (lots of in-store items to choose from as well; Smyrna/Vinings area)
      • The Stitch Chicks (also offer small amount of children’s wear; Sandy Springs area)
      • The Seersucker Peach (Custom embroidery, monogramming, and appliqué with a decidedly southern feel)

And to quote my friend when doing the necessary research: “Oh BUBBLES, Jon Jons and ALL things SMOCKED!” To be honest, I am thinking about just ordered matching holiday outfits for my two boys. I think I’m hooked. Where is your favorite place to shop for these southern staples? Tag your little ones using #AtlMomsSmocked so we can see your favorite outfits!

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Jon Jon, Bubbles, and Smocked Clothes


  1. Hey Lauren, I wanted to find out how my business could possibly be added to your non-southerners guide for children’s clothing. My designs are all custom made (by myself), and I’m in the process of rebuilding my website. Please let me know what your criteria is. I look forward to your reply.
    Kind Regards

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