Most parents make the mistake of buying way too much clothing for children. Babies under 2 outgrow clothing in 2-3 months. Kids over 2, change sizes every 2-6 months. Here are shopping tips to save on children’s clothing. Spend less and shop back to school sales for cheap school clothes.
Use hand-me-downs. But be careful of secondhand clothing stores however. Clothes may be stained, stretched out or damaged. The best secondhand kids clothing outlets are Once Upon a Child and consignment boutiques. Your child should not wear second-hand shoes, hats, underwear, bathing suits or socks.
Stock up on basics but don’t overbuy. Use the rule of six for school-age kids. Children only need six each of bottoms and tops: six pairs of pants, skirts, dresses, undershirts, shorts, T-shirts and warm shirts. They need 10-12 pairs of underwear and socks. Remember how fast they outgrow it!
Buy skorts (skirts with shorts built in) instead of skirts or dresses for young girls. She will feel less vulnerable with something underneath. If she wears skirts and dresses, they’re generally not warm enough alone. Buy heavy tights or leggings to wear underneath. If the tights get too short, cut the feet off and she can wear them as leggings.
Buy four pairs of shoes. Buy one pair sturdy play shoes (tennis shoes) for gym and outdoor play. Buy one pair of sturdy, comfortable school shoes. Kids need only one pair of sandals for summer and one pair of warm, waterproof boots for winter.
For outerwear, choose a warm heavy coat with a zip-off liner. Wear the coat with the liner for winter and just the shell for a spring coat. Your child will need a raincoat if the zip-off liner isn’t waterproof. If you live in a winter climate, you will need snow pants or a snowsuit. Snowsuits work best for young children.
Your child will need these accessories: umbrella or rain hat, knit gloves, snow gloves, bathing suit, robe, slippers, sun hat and sunglasses.You do not need to purchase pajamas unless you find them less than $7 a set. Most are overpriced and poorly made. Any loose-fitting soft knit shirt and shorts or pants will do.
Don’t get carried away on dress clothes. One or two nice outfits is plenty. Dress clothes are expensive, difficult to wash, and impossible to play in. Don’t send your child to school (or anywhere) over-dressed. They’ll feel uncomfortable and awkward.
Best inexpensive children’s clothing stores are: The Children’s Place, Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Family Dollar, TJ Maxx and Meijer. But check mall outlets for clearance and bargain racks. You’ll find low prices, good sales, quality clothing, and generally sensible styles.
Choose school clothes with reinforced seams, generous hems, and no loose threads. Check buttons, zippers and snaps. Avoid clothing with lots of decoration sewn on. Watch out for underarms and necklines; these are often poorly sewn.
Best fabrics for children are cotton/poly blends. Jeans and pants with a little Lycra or spandex improves comfort. Corduroy and denim wear well. Polar fleece is excellent for comfort and play. T-shirt fabric and fleece material wear well. Avoid satin, lace, wool, chiffon, nylon and other similar fabric. They are itchy and they don’t breathe well.
Think quality not quantity when buying children’s clothing. Think sensible and comfortable, not cutesy in kids’ clothes.