In this week’s column, Jenny Bullough share’s her thoughts about shopping on a budget for young kids.
Now that fall is really upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to outfitting my 4-year-old for the colder months.
After a few years’ experience of digging through last winter’s long-sleeved shirts, pants, and jackets and finding more than half of them no longer fit, I’m prepared for a massive shopping explosion in order to make sure my girl is adequately clothed for the coming chill.
Nothing says “mommy guilt” like seeing the disapproving glances of the other daycare/preschool/JK moms and dads when they see bare ankles and wrists exposed because last season’s pants and shirts are suddenly a size too small! I speak from experience, unfortunately.
I hope you won’t think I’m a negligent parent when I tell you that when it comes to buying my little kindergartner clothes for everyday wear, I am *supremely* cheap.
Again, from experience I know that anything she wears to daycare or school is doomed to come back home stained with play-doh, paint, food, or old-fashioned mud, and most likely missing buttons, fasteners, and any fancy doo-dads sewn onto it, so spending a lot of money on daily wear is just not worth the investment since by the time she’s done with it, it won’t even be fit for passing on to future siblings or younger cousins.
For cheap kids’ wear, my first stop is always Joe Fresh. There’s a section conveniently located in our local Loblaws, which makes it easy to check out their clearance racks every week; and their kids clothes are inexpensive and surprisingly durable. Plus their pants often feature adjustable waists, which is a key ingredient to longevity in the kid wardrobe.
If I can’t find what I need while grocery shopping, Old Navy or Zellers will often have good stuff on their sale racks, and their regularly-priced merchandise isn’t too costly. For durability, go with Old Navy first; for items bedecked with your child’s favorite cartoon characters, Zellers is your best bet. I have occasionally had issues with the fit of some Zellers clothes, but as with all HBC properties their no-hassle return policy makes it easy to buy two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit.
And finally, I always love to drop into Once Upon a Child at least once a season and I’m rarely disappointed. This chain of consignment stores scores high marks with me for their constant rotation of high-quality, gently-used kids clothing. I’ve gotten some tremendous deals there on barely-worn name-brand designer kids clothes like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.
Those are my top tips for durable, cheap daily kids wear. What store is your first stop when your little ones need new school clothes?