Say "yes" to hand-me-downs
When you first find out the gender of your baby, whether that is before birth or after, you'll probably get offers from family and friends to pass on their same-gendered children's outgrown clothing. It's easy to brush these offers off, thinking that you want to "set your own style", but don't say no! Both my sister-in-laws had girls before us and handed down clothing. I go through the boxes and choose what I like and leave whatever I don't still in the box to give back when I return everything else. It's fun to "shop the boxes" when my daughter goes up a size, and it's all free!
|Sweater over sleeveless dress with|
BumGenius Babylegs in Rory underneath
I have a friend whose first child was a girl while mine was a boy, then our second children were reversed. Every few months, I give her all my son's outgrown clothing for her little boy and she gives me her 3 year old daughter's outgrown clothes for my 2 year old girl. This is a great way for both families to benefit. We also switched our pink and blue BumGenius 4.0 cloth diapers so that her son didn't have to wear pink diapers all the time and my daughter could add some pink to her stash!
Off season clothing and Babylegs
Children grow! Sometimes they grow fast, and you'll find that they get only 3 uses out of an article of clothing before it's too short in the legs or arms. Other times, you buy a whole new spring wardrobe in 2T only to find that your 2 year old remains in 18-24 month sizes until late summer. My solution to this is a fun fashion mix-up using Babylegs! Babylegs are supersoft leg warmers or arm warmers that can be worn in a variety of ways from newborn all the way through toddlerhood.
It's easiest for me to illustrate how to make your children's clothing last multiple seasons with Babylegs by using blurry photos of my own children modeling.
For girls, make summer dresses last into the winter months by layering long sleeved tees under or sweaters over sleeveless dresses and adding Babylegs as leggings.
I've also used Babylegs to lengthen shorts, as shown here on my daughter with the Rainbow pattern Babylegs underneath blue jean shorts, topped with a long sleeved tee.
For either boys or girls, I love to put Babylegs on the arms underneath a short sleeved tshirt to give it a layered, long-sleeved (and warmer!) feel.
This is also a great solution for when your toddler becomes overly attached to one particular tshirt despite the fact that the weather is actually too cold for short sleeves!
Don't forget clearance and seconds sales!
Buying a season ahead by shopping clearance sales or picking up second quality items are another great way to fill out your child's wardrobe without breaking your budget. Grab the essential pieces that are necessary for every season at great savings as manufacturers change styles and colors. Cotton Babies has both a clearance category and occasionally has second quality cloth diapers available, which are a great way to add more diapers to your rotation. The clearance section is also a great way to pick up maternity essentials for yourself.
What are some ways you've found to stretch your clothing dollar? We'd love to hear more ideas!
Jenny Bradford is a mom to two cotton babies, Little Sir born Oct. 2009, and Little Lady, born Feb. 2011. She lives in the Dallas, TX area with her husband, Christian, and can be found at Conscientious Confusion - a blog about living consciously, which often encompasses: green living, natural health, conscientious consumerism, cloth diapering, and living frugally.