My kids looked so cute in their "new" fall clothes I couldn't help but snap some pictures!
[Curls at the nape of the neck. The. Cutest.]
[Who's that coming down the sidewalk? It's Grandpa!!]
shirt: Old Navy via garage sale
corduroy pants: BabyGap via Goodwill
shoes: kohls.com (last year, purchased with my mom's Kohl's Cash)
sweater: Circo via Once Upon a Child (resale shop)
cupcake T-shirt (under sweater): Sonoma via Salvation Army
jeans: Old Navy via garage sale
Here are my tips for shopping for kids' clothes on a budget. If you have any more, please share them in the comments!
- Try garage sales, thrift stores, and resale shops. Garage sales often have the best prices. I always scope out the newspaper ads beforehand and only hit up the sales that advertise clothing in my kids' sizes. This sounds horrible but I make an effort to show up right when the sale starts if the garage sale is in a "rich" part of town -- sometimes means nicer brands and newer clothes! Visit a variety of thrift stores every so often to browse their offerings. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to visit a resale shop in a larger city recently and find that their prices were nearly as good as (and in some cases, better than) a thrift store. The fact that everything was organized by size and color was also a huge bonus (less time wasted browsing). I will go back when I can!
- Know what you like. I stay away from silly slogans and pop characters on T-shirts. Just not my thing. Neither is sportswear (for wearing when not actually playing sports), so I don't waste my time sorting through a pile of track pants when there are corduroys and jeans nearby.
- Only buy clothes you like and that are in good condition. I don't just buy whatever is in my kids' sizes. I only buy it if I actually like it and will enjoy seeing them wear it. I examine each item carefully for wear, fading, stains, holes, etc. Only buy an item that needs mending if you know you can and will mend it (like a missing button). I don't gamble on stains coming out.
- Buy a few sizes ahead. If you see something you like that is a size or two larger than what your child is wearing, snap it up! A lot of Edmund's 4T fall clothes this year were purchased last year when I was looking for 3T sizes at the thrift stores. I usually only buy ahead two sizes, just because I don't want to store things for too long and lose track of what I have.
- Know what you can spend on. I have had a hit-and-miss experience finding second-hand shoes for my kids. If I can't find what they need secondhand, I just buy them new shoes. I have a hard time finding jeans for Edmund, so several times I've bought him a new pair (looking for a good deal at the same time).
- Hit clearance racks and end-of-season sales. I can often find new clothing in stores that's on clearance for thrift store prices at the end of the season. Buy a size up for next year and your kids will grow into it.
- Modify your expectations. I'm not a fan of the Pepto-Bismol shade of pink that is all over just about every item of girls' clothing. But, since I'm buying a lot secondhand I just can't be that choosy about completely excluding it from Lavinia's wardrobe. I do try to buy items in a variety of colors for her, but I don't sweat it if her coat is pink. At least it's BabyGap and in good condition!
- Have fun. You know what, if you see some item of clothing in a store that you absolutely love and think your child would look adorable in it, BUY IT! It's OK to splurge once in a while. I've looked forward to having children for a long time and it's fun to dress them. I enjoy seeing them in cute clothes. God has been good to me and I want to celebrate that! So I'm not going to spend $30 on a dress for Lavinia every time, but once a year? I can make it work.