19 Wardrobe Hacks for the Forever Frugally Fashionable: Part 2: Kids

Hong Kong, for those of you not in the know, is fashion central for kids. Baby and kid fashion are absolutely huge in Hong Kong. I know this because when traveling there on business and shopping one weekend, other customers tried to stop be from buying some kid fashion because it was, in their words, “No longer trendy.”


For kids? I know, I get it, I really do. Kid clothes should be durable and practical, interchangeable and easy to clean and above all inexpensive. Since kids are a moving target size wise, seems you are forever dishing out money to buy new clothes. My 19 kid friendly frugal fashion hacks are:

  1. Teach your kids to not love labels. I am serious. Even young kids can be seduced by designer labels. I am very lucky that my daughter never cared a fig for designer duds. I once bought her a knock off Kate Spade purse when in Asia (it’s perfectly  legal if you only bring back one or two by the way). Anyway, she was taking a community college course, tossed her purse on the floor next to her bookbag as she took a seat one day and a couple of girls gushed, “Like, OHMYGAWD, is that Kate Spade?” My daughter glanced down at the purse, shrugged and said, “I think its black actually.” She had no clue. I raised such a good kid.
  2. Buy in bulk and not just underclothing. I buy multiples of durable leggings for my grandbabies when they go on sale, various bright colors that I know they love. This is part of their go-to look for school. Same goes for cute tops, I try and buy multiples on sale.
  3. Buy jeans that are longer than your kid needs and cuff them. When they shoot up, you can get a few extra months out of them.
  4. Don’t be ashamed to trade, barter and swap. My daughter has this entire network of other moms who regularly trade, barter and swap kid’s clothing.
  5. Spend your clothing budget for kids, on good shoes. Don’t buy used shoes as they can mess up growing kid’s feet and gait.
  6. When doing the math, figure 75 percent of the budget goes towards school/causal clothing, there is considerable overlap here. The rest is for nightwear and specialty clothing.
  7. Many schools now dictate kids wear uniforms (khakis, beige skirts, white shirts with collars) which is something to embrace. Uniform stores are not expensive as kid’s clothing goes so if your kids school(s) have a uniform rule then figure 50 percent of clothing budget for uniforms and 25 percent for causal/non-uniform clothing school days.
  8. Tee shirts are a surprisingly versatile option for kids. I buy larger than normal that the kids wear with leggings as oversized tops and as night shirts. They then grow into them to wear later with jeans and skirts.
  9. Specialty clothing for events like parties and weddings is something to not spend money on. There is nearly no chance that they will wear that tiny suit or dress more than once. Instead, tap into your network to see if you can’t borrow or swap something. After all, its new to your child. Failing that, big box stores actually have party dresses for kids at affordable prices. girl-4024226_1920
  10. Hand me downs are an essential strategy for frugally dressing your kids. If your kid balks, change up the buttons, dye shirts another color, patch the jeans, make them look different somehow.
  11. Thrift stores present another frugal option. You can buy gently used uniforms there for pennies on the dollar and nobody will be the wiser. You also might get lucky and find a specialty outfit for that upcoming family wedding.
  12. Check discount stores for seasonal clothing like summer camp were. I once outfitting my daughter for an entire summer of day and away camps from the Goodwill for pennies. She needed entire wardrobes for horseback riding, hiking, camping and more that she was only going to wear for a few weeks, max. The only thing I bought new was her swimsuit.
  13. Come Halloween, which is HUGE for kids but can be hard on a frugal family’s budget, think thrift stores yet again. Many kids now expect multiple costumes; one for the school parade, another for church, a third for a friend’s costume party, a fourth for actual Halloween trick or treating, etc. My daughter would go to town at thrift stores come Halloween, she was highly creative and good with a budget even as a child. She once bought an old wedding dress that she turned into a spooky shredded vampire bride dress, scaring a neighborhood kid so much that he actually called the cops on Halloween night screaming about a vampire. What can I say, she loved Interview With A Vampire. We were then paid a visit from a bemused police officer with the trembling kid in tow asking about any potential sightings of blood suckers. It was hilarious and memorable at the same time.
  14. Speaking of costumes, collect and save yours if your kids like to play dress up. My daughter had an entire trunk of Goodwill buys that she played dress up with for years. Her friends loved coming over to play dress up and it cost me very little to fund that creative activity. I keep a collection for my grandbabies to this day.
  15. Never say never. I kept a lot of my daughter’s baby clothes, mostly I suppose out of nostalgia. I had them stored well and when my daughter became pregnant with her first child, I suddenly remembered that I had them stored away. Giving her all those baby clothes was a cherished moment and it actually saved her money.
  16. Check out garage sales. You can often get entire garbage bags full of kid’s clothes for a few dollars.
  17. Sign up for discounts at kid’s clothing stores you frequent. You should be able to get better discounts and rewards that way.
  18. Plan to buy big ticket items out of season. The minute spring is beginning to show, think about buying winter coats. Autumn is a good time to stock up on summer clothing, etc. child-83811_1280.jpg
  19. Hold regular clothing sales of your own. You can make money on clothing you have that your kids grew out of to buy new clothes.
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