Back to School Clothes Shopping Tips
| Catherine gave me the “thumbs up” on her new back to school clothes |
Let me start by saying that I’m so grateful that I have a girl who loves clothes as much as her Momma! When Jackson was younger, I could get away with dressing him in really adorable boy outfits but now he only wears Under Armour brand shirts and shorts. That is the complete extent of his wardrobe except for perhaps twice a year, when he dresses nicely for our holiday photo card and for Christmas Eve. And then I have to re-introduce him to what a button is. Shopping for back to school clothes for Jackson is so easy, I basically buy the next size up in all the standard colors and I’m done. The problem is that shopping for him isn’t a lot of fun which brings me back to my first point about how happy I am to have a little girl who wants to go clothes shopping. Girl clothes are so adorable, and I have to control myself and so it doesn’t get too expensive. I thought I’d share some helpful tips on stretching your dollar when you are buying back to school clothes:
Back to School Clothes Shopping Tips
- Conduct an inventory of your children’s clothes to determine which ones still fit and you’d like to keep. Donate/discard clothes that are too small, damaged, stained or you simply don’t want any longer. I highly suggest making a list of the items that you are going to keep and what color the item is. When you go shopping to supplement your child’s back to school wardrobe, you’ll want to make sure that you are buying new pieces that will coordinate with their existing pieces.
- Have you heard of the term Capsule Wardrobe? It is a small collection of about 30 essential year round clothing items that is augmented with seasonal pieces. The concept centers around collecting these 30 items of clothing and adding only a few new pieces each season, like a winter coat, snow boots, gloves and mittens when the weather gets cold and then a couple swimsuits, sandals, flip-flops and shorts in the summer. Compare the clothes that you are going to keep against the Child’s Essential Capsule Wardrobe (below) to see what new clothes you should consider buying for back to school. Make a separate list of the new items that you need.
- I think that this next tip is a really fun idea! Organize a clothing swap with parents/friends that have kiddos the same age or size. Set simple ground rules such as everybody brings 20 items of gently used clothes to swap (the clothes are free of stains and tears, etc.) and everyone picks a number to determine who will get to choose first, second, third, etc. from the clothes that the other parents brought.
- Shop in thrift stores, like Savers and the Good Will and in stores that overstock like Marshalls and TJ Maxx who carry designer labels at a steep discount.
- Wait for the tax-free week (if such a thing exists where you live). For my Connecticut readers, the 2016 tax-free week begins on August 21 and runs through August 27. All clothing items that cost less than $100 will be exempt from sales tax during the tax-free week. If you want to find out if there is a tax-free holiday in your state, click here.
- Buying clothes and shoes during tax-free week provides even more savings. Many retailers plan their largest sales specifically around the tax-free week in an effort to really boost sales and get rid of their seasonal inventory. You’ll see sales across the store, but the biggest bargains will be on the clearance items that are composed of summer clothing that they want to sell to make room for fall and winter items.
- Take advantage of the sales on seasonal items! It’s still warm in September and October and summer clothes, such as a lightweight shirt or t-shirt will get a lot of use. When the weather gets cool, your child can simply add a sweater or jacket over the shirt.
- Buy the next size up. I frequently “buy ahead” for Catherine. I buy clothes on sale that are too large for her, but will be perfect a year from now. It’s one of the smartest things you can do to save money. The only exception to this rule is the shoes. Comfortable, proper fitting shoes are so important for a growing child. To me, it is easily the most important clothing item they have and I always get an expert to help size shoes for my growing kids.
- Extend the number of different looks your child can get from the same pieces of clothing by deciding on an overall color palette. Accessories are a great and inexpensive way to tie together an entire look. We bought 30 pieces of clothes and can make 100+ different outfits!
- Allow your child to pick one or two pieces that you’ll splurge on, but set a maximum amount that you are willing to spend and let your child know the amount before you go shopping to set expectations and prevent disappointments.