Fluff: When do you buy clothes for your kids?

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100
Fluff: When do you buy clothes for your kids?

I was talking with a couple of parents at school this morning about clothes. One said she had spent $200 on clothes last weekend that her kids probably won't wear more than once or twice since they're in a growth spurt but she didn't want to buy larger sizes that might be inappropriate for the weather. I asked why she had bothered to buy them at all, and she replied, "Because it's back to school time. Don't you buy new clothes for a new school year?" No, I don't. I buy clothes when my kids need them, and Tiven has plenty of clothes right now. When she outgrows a few things, I'll replace them. I don't understand buying clothing because it's "time" for it. Another parent said she buys a couple of things every month to spread out the cost so she's not strapped when they hit a growth spurt. That makes a bit more sense to me but it still seems you might be buying things you don't really need. When do you buy clothes for your kids & why?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I buy clothes for my girls all throughout the year. I love to shop at thrift stores an pick stuff up for them all the time. As for buying brand new things, only when they need them. I have a friend from college who has also bought my girls a ton of things. As for me buying brand new clothes, only when they are needed. For example, my oldest just had her feet grow and I needed to buy new shoes. I first looked at the thrift store. When they did not have any in her size I went to Walmart and bought both sneakers and dress shoes. My girls are homeschooled though, so there is no need to buy clothes at a special time of year. Before when my oldest went to private school for preschool and kindergarten she wore a uniform and also did not need street clothes at the begining of the year.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

I don't buy back to school clothes, I don't really have a reason to. I buy most of their stuff online, when it's on sale. Sometimes I'll buy stuff a size or two up at the end of a season for them to wear the following year, like Old Navy will have some crazy sale and I'll stock up in a larger size.

Otherwise I buy them stuff when they need it (due to growing, or wear & tear) or when I see something fantastic and/or at a great price.

I don't know why they'd need new clothes just for school, my kids wear the same stuff whether they're at school or not. Well, except we won't let Juliet wear her new Rapunzel dress to school. We got it for her birthday.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I actually buy ahead. I go to thrift stores and garage sales and store clearanced items and hand me downs in bins in the attic. I have all the clothes both boys could possibly use until they grow out of a 10. We also buy shoes/underwear/socks ahead, but those are only bought new so I get every season in every size when I can find a wide shoe that is decent.

I would NEVER buy new clothes just because they were starting school. We did have to buy uniforms new but that's because I didn't htink we'd get in. I've already started on size 5 and 6 for the next year.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

I'm with you on this one. I only buy clothes for my kids when they need them, a few pieces at a time. In Texas when they start back to school it is still hot and they are still wearing their shorts. So I feel no need to go buy them a whole bunch of jeans just so they will have them sitting in a drawer until it cools off enough to wear them. I would rather wait until they need them.
The only exception is that I do buy things when they are on clearance, so sometimes I will buy clothes ahead of time for that reason. For instance since the summer clothes are on sale right now, if the price is cheap enough I will buy stuff for next summer and put it up. I usually buy a size bigger when I do that so I know they will be able to wear it. My kids don't have huge growth spurts so it is usually easy to predict what size they will be wearing.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

When they need them. Smile

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

I shop end of season and buy the next size up. I pick up brand new shirts for about $2 each and shorts for under $5. Our local op shops clothing is often so gross it's not suitable to wear and over priced, I can get new on clerance for not much more. I check the sale racks probably at least once a fortnight at one store, it's close to my workplace so I just walk up in my lunch break.
I wouldn't but clothes because it's time for it. When DS starts school he will have a uniform (pretty standard here, in my time I have never come across a school that does not have a uniform) so obviously I will likely need to buy some school shorts then but thats all

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I usually buy a size bigger when I do that so I know they will be able to wear it. My kids don't have huge growth spurts so it is usually easy to predict what size they will be wearing.

Weston seems to be growing pretty evenly overall, but Tiven chunks up first, and then sprouts up. She's been that way from the beginning. Tiven needs a bigger waist for a while and then needs longer legs in the narrower waist which makes it hard to plan ahead for her. I do try to find pants with an adjustable waist but it gets less & less common in the higher sizes.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"Spacers" wrote:

Weston seems to be growing pretty evenly overall, but Tiven chunks up first, and then sprouts up. She's been that way from the beginning. Tiven needs a bigger waist for a while and then needs longer legs in the narrower waist which makes it hard to plan ahead for her. I do try to find pants with an adjustable waist but it gets less & less common in the higher sizes.

Ya it is harder to buy ahead the older they get. Then when they turn 13 or so it is almost impossible to buy anything ahead because if you don't let them pick it out themselves they are never going to wear it. I gave up buying clothes ahead for the older ones because they sit in the closet with tags still attached because they don't like them for some reason or another. My boys hate to shop but I force them to go anyway because I got tired of wasting my money.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I buy when when they need it. Those studies saying people spend like $400/kid for "back to school" baffle me.

All I bought for school this year was new backpacks and runners. Oh and I did buy my 7yo son pants because he literally didn't have a single pair without holes in the knees.

I do buy up a size if I stumble across a great sale though.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

So far I do buy T new clothes about twice a year. Not really tied to "school" but more to the seasons. As it gets colder, I usually try to stock up on cold weather clothes, and then I assess and buy anything I need to as it starts getting warmer. I get longer use out of shorts and t shirts, so I didn't buy a ton of those (because who cares if they are a little shorter this year than last year) but I do have to buy new long pants and long sleeved shirts every year because he has always grown so much. As a matter of fact, I bought some 4T pants in early spring 2012 and they are already noticeably too short for him, he's already in size 5s. He's a tall, lanky kid who seems to shoot up the most in the summer time every year, so that always means new clothes in the fall. I wouldn't do it just to do it though, it's because he needs it.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"kris_w" wrote:

I buy when when they need it. Those studies saying people spend like $400/kid for "back to school" baffle me.

All I bought for school this year was new backpacks and runners. Oh and I did buy my 7yo son pants because he literally didn't have a single pair without holes in the knees.

I do buy up a size if I stumble across a great sale though.

OVER FOR US-Did you know Sears will replace pants (for the kid they were bought for) if this issue happens with an item purchased from them?

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

My girls wear uniforms to school, but if they didn't I'd definitely buy them a few new outfits for the start of school. Just a tradition I loved as a kid and wouldn't mind doing with my girls.

I actually don't buy my girls many new clothes at all. Alana gets hand-me-downs from a good friend and an older cousin, and my MIL loves to buy them dresses and shoes. I usually buy them 1-2 pair of pants when it starts to get cool, a new jacket every other year, 2-3 bathing suits at the beginning of Spring, and a few other pieces here and there as something comes up (like every year Alana gets a new bright colored shirt for her Spring concert, etc.).

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3210

I'm with both the "buy as they need" and for some items, buying at the end of season. (For example, I LOVE scoring a kid's nice winter coat -- "in season" that would be $70 - $90 -- for $12 at the end of season! I buy a size larger and hope that I'm close.)

Shoes, however, I've been horrible at predicting what size. There have been years where they wore the same size for 9 months and then slammed with changing sizes twice in one season alone. Argh.

LOVE LOVE LOVE hand-me-downs. Some friends and I exchange regularly. It's terrific!

The "back-to-school" shopping for us is mainly supplies due to the deep discounts on pencils, crayons, paper, etc. The older ones enjoy picking out a special backpack and/or notebook (typically again based on need.)

Lillie -- thank you for the reminder on Sears. I need to go reread their warranty policy again!

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"MissyJ" wrote:

Lillie -- thank you for the reminder on Sears. I need to go reread their warranty policy again!

Would you believe I found out about it because some woman was bragging about clothing all four of her boys on the one wardrobe purchase on a thrifty forum? It still makes me nauseous thinking about it.

And I guess they caught on that people were abusing it. Sorry!
Sears: Online department store featuring appliances, tools, fitness equipment and more

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"wlillie" wrote:

Would you believe I found out about it because some woman was bragging about clothing all four of her boys on the one wardrobe purchase on a thrifty forum? It still makes me nauseous thinking about it.

And I guess they caught on that people were abusing it. Sorry!
Sears: Online department store featuring appliances, tools, fitness equipment and more

Sears Canada still has this. And it specifically states that it will continue to replace the clothing as long as it still fits ANY child in the household. You have to buy it in store though, and keep your receipt so it wont work for me Sad And they dont count rips or tears as wear. My sister got denied when her son ripped his pants on barbed wire.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Wow. That's a very very friendly policy! I wonder if their CA website is better than their US one. Half the orders I've made online get cancelled because the stuff is "out of stock". Though I love shopping in their stores.

Do you guys not have the rewards card that can pull up the purchase for you?

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
Posts: 1303

I do back to school and buying throughout the year. We always did back to school when I was younger, and I just kept it going. It's exciting to have new things for the school year to start. The kids love going to the store and picking out their 'first day outfit'. Smile
I don't go crazy with money though. This year I spent probly 175 on clothes. But the school supplies cost me over 200 bucks. They each needed FIVE two inch binders, that alone was 50 bucks! Crazy...

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"MissyJ" wrote:

LOVE LOVE LOVE hand-me-downs. Some friends and I exchange regularly. It's terrific!

Whats fun is when you hand stuff down and then get it back. My youngest wasn't really planned so I gave all my stuff away after my 3rd son to my niece... she used it for her 2 boys and is now passing it back to me. It is fun when I go through a bag of stuff she gives me and I can recognize some of the things I gave her.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

DD starts kindy next Tues and all the school has requested is a backpack that can hold a library book (check) and a pair of runners with non-marking soles. I haven't bought her any new clothes because I just hit the motherload of all motherloads at my neighbour's garage sale last month for school clothes. Plus, I love love love my trusted consignment stores. Why buy new when you can buy something a fraction of the cost that's broken in, pre-shrunk and that DD still treats like brand new?

So the only thing I have to buy is the shoes. She will need some bigger outdoor shoes for Sparks too. Her uniform arrived the other day. Pretty cute.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

Funny story about Sears. I knew they had that program and looked it up online to see exactly how it worked... And I see that they stopped the program. Oh well, I bought him some jeans on sale at Childrens Place instead.

The next day my DH comes home telling me he heard an ad on the radio about program. So, I go to prove it is discontinued and sure enough, they still do it.

Apparently the first site I pulled up was American. Dang. Next time.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"kris_w" wrote:

Funny story about Sears. I knew they had that program and looked it up online to see exactly how it worked... And I see that they stopped the program. Oh well, I bought him some jeans on sale at Childrens Place instead.

The next day my DH comes home telling me he heard an ad on the radio about program. So, I go to prove it is discontinued and sure enough, they still do it.

Apparently the first site I pulled up was American. Dang. Next time.

TCP often has some really amazing deals. I like their socks for DS because he has little feet and ankles, but meaty calves. They always stay up without digging in. And, they have cute boy jeans too. Sometimes the girl stuff I find a bit garish - too bright etc, too knockoff-ish.

Grandma gave us some money to buy Ben a new Gap hoodie because, well, he's adorable in a Gap hoodie, so that's the only thing I've bought new for him since he was born. Everything else has been handed down by his twin cousins. Score! Smile

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Sears Canada and Sears in the US are totally different companies.

I am thinking that I might start a tradition with DD that she gets one new outfit for the first day of school, but that is it. Other than that I try to use hand me downs as much as possible and shop clearance as needed. Shoes are the one thing we do always buy new, but I try to at least get them on sale seasonally.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

TCP often has some really amazing deals. I like their socks for DS because he has little feet and ankles, but meaty calves. They always stay up without digging in. And, they have cute boy jeans too. Sometimes the girl stuff I find a bit garish - too bright etc, too knockoff-ish.

Grandma gave us some money to buy Ben a new Gap hoodie because, well, he's adorable in a Gap hoodie, so that's the only thing I've bought new for him since he was born. Everything else has been handed down by his twin cousins. Score! Smile

Their sales are awesome! The jeans were only $12 and I know they fit his skinny butt well (thank goodness for those adjustable waist thingys!). Plus, I hate returning stuff when I buy online (don't have TCP in town), so I like that I know their sizes.

Love hand me downs! Although we don't get many because my kids are the oldest cousins on both sides and most of our friends have lots of kids and keep their stuff... Like we do... It gets reused until it gets thrown out Smile

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

When I was pg with DD I went freaking NUTS buying new clothes online. I was on bedrest so I couldn't go anywhere. But I don't think I've bought her anything new in probably 3 years. I've never bought anything brand new for Ben except for the hoodie. Everything has been passed down, and in DOUBLES, since the cousins are twins.:) I'm just waiting for the 'Mom, I just HAVE to have a ________ pair of shoes or a ________ pair of jeans!!!!" to start up in the next few years. How does one NOT give in to your kid's desire to have what the other kids have?

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"kris_w" wrote:

Their sales are awesome! The jeans were only $12 and I know they fit his skinny butt well (thank goodness for those adjustable waist thingys!). Plus, I hate returning stuff when I buy online (don't have TCP in town), so I like that I know their sizes.

Love hand me downs! Although we don't get many because my kids are the oldest cousins on both sides and most of our friends have lots of kids and keep their stuff... Like we do... It gets reused until it gets thrown out Smile

Not sure where you live, but Old Navy is my favorite place to buy the kids clothes online. All we have is a Walmart, so..... Anyways, Old Navy has free shipping over $50, and FREE RETURNS!!! You just put what you dont want back in the original package, stick on the included label and throw it in the mail. So handy, especially when you have kids and are never sure what the right size should be.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"ftmom" wrote:

Not sure where you live, but Old Navy is my favorite place to buy the kids clothes online. All we have is a Walmart, so..... Anyways, Old Navy has free shipping over $50, and FREE RETURNS!!! You just put what you dont want back in the original package, stick on the included label and throw it in the mail. So handy, especially when you have kids and are never sure what the right size should be.

Argh. Therein lies my issue. I'm an instant gratification type girl, so I force myself to take the kids to the mall with me so that I can make sure it fits the first time. I will qualify that last sentence by saying I never ever ever take them at the same time. One at a time is the only way I maintain my composure in public. DD loves to go to the mall with me. DS just loves to run up and down the concourse, hiding behind pillars and scaring the wits out of me. We just go an OshKosh/Carter's outlet near my house, so I'm curious to see if they have any good deals. They were advertising $10 jeans and pretty decent 2-for-1 deals.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Like I said, we only have a Walmart, which not only limits our options (I hate all the disney crap they sell), but it also means that every other child in town is wearing the same clothes as your kid. Makes things hard at the playground Smile

That is another thing I love about hand me downs though. Since the clothes can be years old, the chances of seeing a bunch of other kids in the same clothes is slim.

Happy story that fits here: I posted on facebook that I am looking for hand me downs for my kids for winter and a friend took up a collection amongst all her friends for me, and she is dropping them off for me this afternoon. Plus, an acquaintance is sending all her older girls clothes my way as well. Im so excited! Feels like Christmas!

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"ftmom" wrote:

Like I said, we only have a Walmart, which not only limits our options (I hate all the disney crap they sell), but it also means that every other child in town is wearing the same clothes as your kid. Makes things hard at the playground Smile

Ah but I'll bet that the Walmart Disney crap is a lot cheaper than the Disney Store Disney crap we have at the mall. Why pay $5 in Walmart for a Minnie Mouse t-shirt when you can pay $25 for the same one at the Disney Store? Junk.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I buy clothes throughout the year depending on what is needed. I also buy at the beginning of the season as many things from the previous year are too small.

DD is at the stage where she grows like a weed so I try not to buy her too many new things - and if I do they tend to be a size big. I do a lot of thrift store shopping and hand me downs for her - especially play clothes - as I know she will either wear it once or wear it out. This way when we do want to spend a bit on new clothes for her we can.

DSD is a teenager so she doesn't do too many second hand things. We give her money each month to go towards clothes, make up etc. This is supposed to take care of most of her basic needs. She is responsible for making sure she has what she needs. She also gets some new clothes for fall as she has often grown out of some things from last year. It is nice to get at least one new outfit for school so she usually gets something. This year she chose a really nice jacket and sweater that should keep her warm all winter. I am happy with that.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"wlillie" wrote:

I actually buy ahead. I go to thrift stores and garage sales and store clearanced items and hand me downs in bins in the attic.

I do that too. I have a huge pile of stuff in DD's closet for later.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"ftmom" wrote:

Not sure where you live, but Old Navy is my favorite place to buy the kids clothes online. All we have is a Walmart, so..... Anyways, Old Navy has free shipping over $50, and FREE RETURNS!!! You just put what you dont want back in the original package, stick on the included label and throw it in the mail. So handy, especially when you have kids and are never sure what the right size should be.

I did not know that! Thanks for the tip!

I get TCP emails and they often have free shipping and specials. Either way, their $8 flat rate shipping is cheaper than it costs to drive there!

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

Ah but I'll bet that the Walmart Disney crap is a lot cheaper than the Disney Store Disney crap we have at the mall. Why pay $5 in Walmart for a Minnie Mouse t-shirt when you can pay $25 for the same one at the Disney Store? Junk.

Yes! DD currently loved Cinderella. A nighty was $8a walmart and $18 at disney. blech!

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I haven't read anything but typically I buy clothes as needed. E *did* get a special dress for 1st day from Crazy Eight with the matching elastic but that's it. She's getting new sneakers because hers are falling apart and will get new shoes (not sandals) as she outgrew last years pair but typically I shop ahead (not too often for shoes), LOVE thrift store shopping and hand me downs to make different outfits. I don't spend 200.00 just because it's back to school.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

We take each kid by themselves for a 1st day of school outfit, then buy as they need it throughout the year. I love having the one on one time for the shopping trip and I love that they feel super dressed up on the first day. On that shopping trip we also take them out to dinner and talk about the upcoming school year and what they are hoping to do that year

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

If you call The Children's Place store and ask for a free shipping code they'll give you one.

We have a disney outlet here. I can get all of Jason's clothes that I do buy new cheaper in our outlet stores than wal=mart here. They know people are lazy and jack up the prices in Wal-Mart. I don't mind driving 30 min to get to Carters, Disney, TCP, and Stride Rite and saving more than 70%. Love living here and I"m saying this during a Tropical Storm! Disney has had their t-shirts on sale for 2.99 for the last month. Loving it.

I was supposed to get my baby boy clothes back my 17 year old cousin got pregnant so I had fun shopping at garage sales and going through my SIL's stuff. There are already 4 other babies (Aug, Oct, Dec, Feb) after Matthew with Dibs on the clothes so people must think he looks good. Wink

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

I buy as she needs. So if her clothes start looking a bit scruffy or you can tell she's out growing them, then I will replace. If I am in town and see something I really like though, I will buy it. I love having DD in nice clothes, what can I say.

xx