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If you have read just about any other post I have written then you know how important quality is to me when it comes to buying decisions. Baby clothing, and now toddler clothing, is no different. There is no comparison between cheap children’s clothes and well-made, quality children’s clothing; the feel, the wear, and the longevity just cannot compare. Unfortunately, my budget does not allow me to buy high-end baby clothes as freely as I would like. However, I have found ways to outfit my child in quality children’s clothing on a budget. Keep reading to find out how.
Why buy quality children’s clothing?
Let me count the ways.
1. You will have to buy a lot less.
High-quality children’s clothing lasts a lot longer and holds up a lot better than inferior brands. This means you will have to buy less and can pass along more to younger siblings (or resale).
You know how soft and sweet baby clothes are when you first get them, right? Swoon! So, soft and cuddly and wonderful. Then you wash it and suddenly that super soft baby outfit is rough and scratchy. That doesn’t happen when you buy high-quality baby clothing. They are still soft wash after wash.
It really is the simple things in life. There is value in feeling good about the clothing you put on your children. Yes, dressing my child in well-made clothing brings me joy. Just me?
I am not super into fashion by any means, but I do like the style and cuts of higher-end brands over traditional or budget brands. A more tailored cut makes a big difference, especially for my skinny guy.
Sold on buying quality clothing for your child? Great! Now let me tell you how to afford it.
I use three main methods to purchase children’s clothing: In-person Consignment Sales, Resale Apps, and Shopping Sales/Clearance.
In-Person Consignment Sales
I am fortunate enough to live right in between two cities that each have very large consignment sales twice a year. There is a good chance you can find these types of sales in your area as well.
Consignment sales are great places to find great deals on high-end baby items; clothing and gear. Some of my favorite outfits for my son have come from these sales.
Pros: Great prices, no shipping costs, able to inspect an item before purchase, usually very organized, and no waiting for the mail.
Cons: You have to guess what size your child will be through the next few months and stock up, crowded, have to “play the game”, filter through a lot of junk to find the gems, long check out lines, and makes for a long day.
Tips and Tricks
- Use Facebook to find consignment sales in your area.
- Join the Facebook group of any sales you find to stay up to date on when the sale will be.
- When the sale gets closer, pay attention to the instructions on Facebook Group. See if any early shopping days apply to you (New mom, new grandparent and guest, etc.). Some sales will let you in early on opening day if you bring canned goods to donate.
- Go to the sale twice: Opening day for the best selection and one of the last days when they usually discount everything 50% or more.
- Try to go without your child/children if possible. It makes it easier to maneuver and you can stay focused. If you must take your child, opt for a baby carrier over a stroller for easier maneuverability.
- Only take in a shopping bag and a wallet. This is all most sales allow, so plan for it.
- Make a list of what you need and prioritize. When you get inside, go to the top priority items first and work your way down your list, even if it isn’t the most logical way to navigate the space.
- Look for “Boutique Brands” sections to find higher-end baby items, but check through all the clothing too and you usually find some gems.
- Once you start buying quality children’s clothing, you start to learn to tell what is quality just by feel and can find some great items from unknown-to-you brands. I’ve found a few items I love and went to buy more from those brands and found out that they were very high-end brands that just weren’t on my radar.
A Note on Consignment Stores
I’m not going to lie, I’m not a huge fan of consignment stores. The only ones we have around are Once Upon A Child and the organization or lack thereof makes me a little crazy. I have found some good brands in their 10 for $10 onesie bins, but it took a lot of digging. I usually only go to consignment stores if I am already in the area and/or need something specific and can’t wait. It is probably worth checking out the consignment stores in your area. I know that some are better than others.
What do I do in between consignment sales? Resale apps! Kidizen*, Mercari*, and Poshmark are my three go-to apps for quality children’s clothing. They each have their little quirks, which I will break down for you, but I have used all three to buy great high-end baby clothing.
Kidizen* is by far my favorite. It is the only one that is dedicated to children (and some for mama). Children’s clothing is the main focus and they do it well. The community is much different too. Mothers selling used baby clothing to other mothers. Most shops are just selling their own children’s outgrown clothing and are not trying to make a living selling online. This makes the atmosphere supportive and understanding.
Pros: Supportive community, available whenever, a great activity for insomnia, great selection, usually free shipping, and good deals.
Cons: Potentially time-consuming and addictive and sometimes shipping times can be longer than you’d like.
Tips and Tricks
- If you see an item you like, add it to your cart. This sends a notification to the seller and asks them if they would like to make you an offer.
- If you add an item to your cart, go to that seller’s profile and see what else they are selling that you may be interested in as well. Most shops have a discount if you buy more than one item and sellers will usually give you a better offer on multiple items.
- Unless it is something you wouldn’t be ok missing out on, leave an item in your cart for at least 24 hours to give the seller a chance to make you an offer.
- Create filters for each child to make filtering search results quick and easy.
- Make a filter of your favorite brands. You will have to adjust the filter for each child (or make a favorite brand’s filter for each child). This allows you to see what’s out there from the brands you love without having a specific item in mind. Just go to “Shop”, choose Boy, Girl, or Baby, and then filter using your Favorite Brands filter.
- Set your filters for your child’s current size and next size or two up.
- Set up notifications or make sure you check your app daily once you’ve added items to your cart. Offers are only good for 24 hours.
The way you get good deals on Poshmark is the long game. Instead of adding an item to your cart, like Kidizen, you like/heart an item. This allows the seller to send offers to anyone who has liked an item. This means more competition for an item, but you can get some good deals this way. The downside is it can take a while for those offers to come in. My child has grown out of the size before an offer has come back on an item I had liked.
The other way to get a deal on Poshmark is by making offers. If there is an item that you want that is outside of your price range, make an offer. The worst that can happen is they ignore your offer. I got an amazing deal on a Filson tote bag that I used as a diaper bag for my first son this way. The seller can counter-offer as well.
Pros: You’re able to easily search by brand, Poshmark is mostly high-quality items, your recent searches are saved and pop up when you click in the search box, and you can get good deals.
Cons: Sellers can be slow with offers, set (high) shipping costs (although you can get a shipping discount with an offer), I don’t think their filtering works properly, and not as child/mom focused.
- Like/heart anything and everything that catches your eye.
- Don’t be afraid to make offers on items you particularly want.
- Check back frequently or set up notifications so you don’t miss an offer.
- Accept an offer quickly because it likely didn’t go to just you. I have missed out on some good deals this way.
- Be mindful of shipping costs. I tend to forget about Poshmark’s set shipping costs when evaluating a price.
Referral Offer: Get $10 when you sign up with my invite code. Invite Code*: SOWEN08
Like Poshmark, Mecari* has its uses but isn’t my favorite. The main time I use Mercari is when I am looking for a very specific product. Mercari lets you set up Saved Searches. You can search for an item, set your filters, and then toggle the option to save search. Then whenever you go into your app you can go to your saved searches and see what’s new for that search. You do not have to re-search and re-filter constantly.
Mercari* uses likes/hearts like Poshmark. This allows sellers to send you, and anyone else who liked the item, to send you offers and alerts you to any price changes to the item.
I get the best results when I make offers on products, again like Poshmark.
The community on Mercari* leaves a little to be desired. My husband bought an iPhone from a seller claiming it was in great condition. By the time we were able to get it set up and working, we were out of the window to be able to do anything about it. It was (and still is) very glitchy. He can’t answer phone calls sometimes and his keyboard freaks out regularly. Super frustrating.
I bought a pair of shoes for my son and, again, it took me too long to figure out that they were two different sizes and the time for getting a refund had passed. I messaged the seller anyway and she fessed up to having bought them on Mercari and thinking her son’s feet were just weird and reselling them.
Pros: Saved searches, you can find just about anything on Mercari* (not just children’s clothes), easy to navigate the app, and good deals.
Cons: Less than desirable community, lots of “professional” sellers, a limited amount of time to report problems, and they send a lot of emails.
- Thoroughly inspect your products inside the window of being able to return it and get a refund.
- Don’t be afraid to make offers.
- Like anything and everything that catches your eye.
- Turn on notifications or check your app regularly for offers.
- Set up saved searches and check back periodically for new matches.
The last and most rare way I buy high-end children’s clothing is direct from the company when they have a good sale. Signing up for a company’s email newsletter and following them on Facebook/Instagram are the best ways of knowing when a good sale is going on. It also a great way to tempt yourself to spend money you don’t want to spend. The best sales are extra percent off clearance. That is when I find the best deals.
Pros: New products, you know what you’re getting, returnable, exactly what you want, fun, satisfying, and you get at least one more generation of wear out of the item.
Cons: Temptation to buy more than you would otherwise, taunting, lots of emails, and Free shipping thresholds encourage extra spending.
- Use a “junk” email address. I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now. I use one email address for email newsletters/signups/non-personal emails. Anything that is not a personal email goes to one email account. I still check it every day, but personal emails don’t get buried in junk emails and it keeps my personal email account cleaner. I highly recommend this method.
- Always do a quick Google search for a coupon code before making a purchase.
- Do a quick search on Kidizen, Mercari, and Poshmark to make sure you can’t get a better deal on the items from there first.
- Pay attention to sales cycles. You will learn what time a year each company runs their big sales and what is a good deal and what’s not.
Does all of this sound like way too much work for you and you would rather just pay the money?
Then I have an option for you!
I haven’t been able to try it myself though, but I am counting down the days until my son is wearing 2T clothing so I can give it a try.
Stitch Fix Kids
While I am not a regular subscriber to Stitch Fix*, I will do an occasional Fix for myself. If you want to find unique high-end clothing pieces for your child without spending the time seeking it out, Stitch Fix Kids* will do the work for you and send you a box of clothing items. Try them on your child, purchase what you like, and send back what you don’t. There is a styling fee that is applied to any purchase you make. If you do try it, let me know what you think in the comments below?
Well, there you have it. How to buy high-end children’s clothing on a budget. It seems like a lot of work, but it is actually just a few minutes here and there.
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