Friday, March 13, 2009

Buying Name Brand Children's Clothes

One of the reasons that I am so excited about this Saturday’s consignment sale is that it is a wonderful source of gently used name brand clothing for my two girls (ages 2-1/2 and 6 months). I generally look mostly for Carters, Gap, and Gymboree items, and I have even found quite expensive brands, such as Janie and Jack and Flapdoodles.

Honestly, my girls own few clothing items that are not name-brand. And this is not just because they are spoiled by loving grandparents, great grandparents, and aunties! I have simply found that for me, it is actually more frugal in the long run to get the more expensive brands.

I thought I would share some reasons why I prefer name brand children’s clothing and also some strategies I use to get it for less.

Why I prefer name brands:

- Name brands tend to wear a lot better - I am lucky enough to have two girls who were born at the same time of year (two years apart), so everything that I buy for my older daughter I automatically plan to pass down. I want clothing that the two year old will not tear when she’s running around or stretch out when she’s dressing herself and will look nice washing after washing.

- Name brands tend to look nicer - It’s not just a matter of "expensive taste," it’s that higher-quality clothes tend to consistently look more like they were intended to look. We’ve all had clothes that wrinkled constantly or the hem turns up or the picture is bent. While this can happen with any clothes, I find that better brands have more details in the sewing that keep things looking nice.

- They're cute! - I admit it, I am a flawed frugalista! I love Gymboree’s adorable matching styles and Carters sweet baby collections. I still will not pay full price or violate my budget to get them, but I do enjoy making my girls look extra cute. :-)

How I purchase name brand clothing on a frugal budget:

- Buy it used - I wrote extensively about my favorite consignment sale here. That is one of my main sources each season for gently used name brand clothing. I live in a fairly prosperous area, so there are many parents out there who can afford to buy expensive clothing and then sell it after their child wears it a few times.

Other sources of used clothing that I have used include yard sales, thrift and consignment stores, ebay, freecycle, and hand-me-downs. All of these can be great sources of nice clothing. It is just my personal preference to buy or receive gently used high-quality clothing rather than buying all new clothing in lesser brands.

- Don’t ignore in-store sales - I have heard several moms say that they can’t afford Gymboree for their children. While I would certainly agree with them if we were just talking about Gymboree’s regular prices, Gymboree has fabulous sales and promotions on a very regular basis. Just as an example, I really wanted matching Christmas pajamas for my baby’s first Christmas last year. I priced them in Target, but was actually able to get ones I liked even better in Gymboree for several dollars less, due to a promotion. Gymboree is just an example here; this is no doubt true for other stores as well.

- Plan ahead - In order to get more expensive clothing at rock-bottom prices, I often shop at the end of the season. At first, I had to guess what size she'd be in the next year, but now with my second daughter I have a much better idea. With name-brand clothing, I figure that if I get it cheaply enough and it doesn't end up fitting, I can always resell it and recoup some if not all of the cost.

I hope these strategies are helpful if you are interested in getting name brand clothing for less. Of course, if you prefer a different approach, that's great too. As long as our kids have appropriate clothing and we're staying in our budgets, we can all do whatever works for us!
PS - Check out more Frugal Fridays at its new location: Life as a Mom.

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! I have an AMAZING Goodwill near my home that is reasonable and I have found new designer clothes with the tags still attached!


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