Faithful (and pretty) reader Missy T writes:
Dear Pretty Mir…
Our family is soon to grow to 6. The adults will now be outnumbered 2:1.
Since you are so savvy, as well as pretty, which online stores do you think are the best places to find somewhat inexpensive AND hip/stylish/really cute kids clothes?
My wee ones ranges from in-utero to 7.
Many thanks for any suggestions you can pass along!
First of all, congratulations on your impending addition! I’ve been outnumber for years and I highly recommend it, if only because when you’re hiding, there’s a greater likelihood of any given child finding another child to torment rather than looking for you.
I feel a little silly tackling this question, because my answers aren’t going to be all that mind-boggling. Readers—please chime in with your suggestions, as well.
First, two non-branded, non-online suggestions because you know I can’t resist:
Announce you’re in the market for hand-me-downs. In addition to saving your own children’s clothes to pass down, let people at work and church and wherever know that you will happily accept any cast-offs they’d love to pass on. Sometimes, yes, you’ll have to wade through a bag of stuff in poor condition or out-of-date styles, but you never know what some kind-hearted person wishing to clear out a closet might send your way.
Shop second-hand. It’s no secret that I love expensive things; I just dislike expensive price tags. The brands which we love but cannot afford I routinely pick up either at the thrift store or our local kids’ consignment shop. And I’ve written before about making the most of those sorts of trips, too. My kids wear Gap and Hanna Andersson and other brands I’ve acquired when spending pennies on the dollar.
And now, my store endorsements:
The Children’s Place. You can find them in almost any mall, as well as at Children’s Place online. They are always having a sale. They often have online coupons (and shipping’s only $5). Their stuff holds up pretty well and is a great mix of utilitarian and trendy. If you shop in the store they often hand out coupons. Basically, there’s never a reason to pay full-price there. I buy very little of my children’s clothing new, but of what I do buy, I’d say 75% of it comes from TCP.
Target. Oh, you knew I was going to say Target. While I don’t find their sales online to be quite as good as what you’ll find in the stores, in-store you can often pick stuff up at 75% off. And it’s not as though their regular prices are that steep, either. Both Circo and Cherokee are brands we like there; similar to Children’s Place, it’s good sturdy cotton stuff. Just yesterday I picked up more pajamas for the kids—they were marked down to $1.75/pair.
Kohls. Shopping Kohls online is a mixed bag; when you hit the sales right, you can really make out. Their regular (and even “normal” sale prices) are quite a bit higher than preceding two options, however. They carry brands like Carters and Healthtex, which is nice when you have babies/toddlers. And if you have a Kohls credit card, there’s nearly always a coupon code for cardholders floating around. (Right now cardholders can use code MVCHOME15 for an additional 15% off, and everyone else can use NEW6866 for an additional 10% off.)
Lands’ End. Now that you can go directly to the Lands’ End Overstocks online, finding the bargains there is a no-brainer. Now, I’ll say right up front that this is the most expensive of the four options I’m suggesting. However, I’ll also wager you that whatever you buy at Lands’ End will last through all four of your children. (And guess what—if it doesn’t, send it back, and they’ll replace it. Best customer service ever at that store.)
In general, to get the best bang for your buck when shopping for kids’ clothes, you have to be willing to strike while the iron is hot. That means buying ahead, when stuff is on clearance, and sometimes that results in clothes that are never worn because they turn out to be the wrong size for the season, or whatever. That’s okay. A bit of excess isn’t going to hurt your overall savings much, and often you can either consign or eBay those extras and make money. Or if you have someone else to pass the goodies along to, just increase your good karma and give that stuff away.
I’m looking forward to everyone else’s thoughts, too. There is very little more fun than buying clothes for kids, in my book.