7 Elements to Look for When Shopping for Children’s Secondhand Clothing
Purchasing secondhand clothing is such fun: the ability to find clothes at a lower price is efficient for our finances and our time. Buying clothing for children is especially thrilling since we are lucky if the kids stay the same size for even one school year. The next time you’re ready to shop for more clothes for your growing children, look for these elements to help make the most of their wardrobe, and extend the life of each piece.
- Multitasking items of clothing. One of my favorite things: snug, long-sleeve thermal tees that can be used for layering in the cold and worn alone as the weather gets warmer. These kinds of shirts work as pajama tops and as layers under sports jerseys. Thermal tees also take up little space in a travel bag when you need warm items in case of cool weather (or a cold hotel room).
- Pants with adjustable waists. Waistbands that adjust rank high on my list of the world’s greatest inventions. We all know that waist circumference doesn’t necessarily change at the same rate as our height and our age: true for adults and true for children. To extend the life of pants, jeans, skirts and shorts look for brands that allow for several inches of waist adjustment.
- Working zippers. Nothing is more irritating than getting home with your stash and finding nonworking zippers. Check zippers to be sure each one hooks, zips up and zips down without skips or breaks.
- Large neck holes. Sometimes I’m buying secondhand items without my children present, and I’ve learned to look carefully at the circumference of the opening. A great shirt is no good if a child can barely get it on (or worse, off) over their head.
- Intact buttonholes. Make sure holes have no tears and that buttons fit in and out properly.
- Insulated jeans and pants. I’m in love with flannel-lined and fleece-lined clothing that adds soft protection against winter weather.
- Reinforced knees. Oh, those holes in our children’s jeans. Some brands make pants and jeans with reinforced knees to try and prevent the damage that comes with sliding across the grass and kneeling in the sandbox. Try and find those gems on the clothing rack.
Additional tips when shopping for secondhand children’s clothing:
- Don’t overlook the clothes that are bundled together. These bundles are often the best place to get multiple clothing items for less, like leggings for girls in all kinds of colors.
- Think about how you can use each piece without getting distracted by how it is paired with other clothing items. Will the clothing item look good with other pieces your child already wears?
- If you’ve found a certain brand that works well, look for additional clothing items at least one size up. You know, for next year.