TIPS ON HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR FAMILY’S WARDROBE ON A BUDGET
As a family, having a plan for your clothing budget is important. Kids grow out of clothes super fast, and while it can be tempting to buy the latest gear or the prettiest (but most expensive) dress in the store, doing so regularly and for every kid is simply not sustainable. Yes there are some adorable clothes out there, but when the cost of these clothes cut into the family lifestyle, it’s time to rethink your shopping habits.
Accepting and wearing hand-me-down clothes is a fantastic way to save on the family budget. It’s also a great way to protect the environment by giving clothing a second life. Repurposing old clothing diminishes the amount of energy it takes to make and transport new clothing, and for those that have kindly passed the clothing on, seeing a niece or nephew in a former favourite piece can be very warming.
But of course, hand-me-down clothing can have its problems. The fit might be a little off, there might be a small stain or tear, or they might just be a little old fashioned. Don’t fear though – Thanh’s Alterations can help.
A professional tailor can do wonders to any outfit. They can hem it, take it in, or make it look brand new. You might think that doing this will be just as expensive as buying brand new, but we promise it’s more affordable than you might think!
FIXING THE LITTLE THINGS
Lots of kids clothes have missing buttons or broken zips, but this doesn’t mean they should be tossed away. These are easy fixes that just about anyone can do. As for stains, these can easily be removed using the power of vinegar. Simply soak in vinegar, hang out in the sun, and then run through a wash as normal. To lift mildew stains, mix equal parts vinegar and water with some salt and soak before washing.
MAKING OLD STUFF COOL
Trends come and go, and some clothing you inherit might be a little stuck in the past. If this is the case, make some adjustments to bring it up-to-date. Put new buttons on a cardigan or coat, embellish and bedazzle to add interest, or add pockets using some funky fabric. Use iron-on hem tape to make a cutout lace shape, add a lace trim to a pair of denim shorts, or give tops a new fit by trimming the bottom to make them cropped. You could even turn felt into a bleach stamp pad and stamp on some cool motifs.
Sew on an embroidery patch of your child’s favourite animal and even the oldest of jumpers will become a new favourite. If you can’t find a patch, employ the services of a profession embroider to do the job. If your child’s favourite colour is pink, take a white T-shirt and dye it to make it a winner. Alternatively, you could turn it into a tie-dying family activity.
SHOPPING FOR USED
All of the above still applies when shopping in thrift stores for used kids clothing. Most stores, be them online or local, only sell goods that have been well cared for. Clothing should be free of stains, tears and fading (although mild fading should be expected). Many second-hand stores will specialise only in quality brand names too, meaning your child can be kitted out in the trendiest names for the lowest prices.
SWAPPING WITH FRIENDS
If you know a friend that’s holding onto clothing for when their youngest grows older, ask if you can borrow. Perhaps you’re in the position to make a trade? Find friends with kids of different ages and work as a team to rotate clothing. This works particularly well for big spend items such as coats, raincoats, shoes and boots.
WAITING FOR SALES
Every time you see a sale, make a note of it so you’re ready for next year. Most stores follow a similar pattern each year, and knowing when the next sale is means you can shop sensibly. This won’t fix the clothing industry issue of energy wastage, but it will mean you never pay full price again.
MAKING A REGISTRY
If you’re worried that an upcoming birthday will mean more toys cluttering up your home, make a registry and ask friends and family to stock up your child’s wardrobe instead. A registry can be a controversial issue, but it’s a great way to get quality clothing that doesn’t cost you a thing. You can always use this saved money to purchase just one toy you know your child will love.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
If your own wardrobe is packed full of brand new designer labelled clothing, how do you expect your kids to be happy with hand-me-downs and thrift store finds? Lead by example and alter your existing wardrobe pieces before shopping for anything new. Talk to friends about swapping or rotating clothing, and make the thrift store your first point of call when hitting the shops. Remember, the more you save on the whole family wardrobe budget, the more money you’ll have to enjoy family life.