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  • Kari S.

When Buying Children Clothing, Go a Little Bigger



Children, they grow up so fast.

And because of that reason, they’ll need a lot of clothes.

A report from the U.S Department of Agriculture states that the average American family will spend between $700 and $930 annually on clothing from children up to age 17.

While many enjoy it, buying cloths for growing children can also be a hassle.

Just think about it. Nonprofit agency the MAGIC Foundation says child will grow an average of 7-10 inches in their first year of life, slowing to five inches in their second year, three inches in their third year and about two inches per year from age four until puberty, when growth spurts can stretch beyond your imagination (think Shaquille O’Neal).

So what should you do?

Here are some basic recommendations when shopping clothes for your child.

Think Big

Every parent has bought that cute outfit for their kids that they never wore because they outgrew it. The best way to avoid this from happening again and throwing your money away is to generally choose one size ahead so they grow into the clothes. Kids grow so fast they may have outgrown it by the time you take it out of the store. Some fabrics may also shrink a little on the washer and dryer. Pay attention to the brands, as sizes may vary from one to the other. And you must also consider your child. Is he/she a little husky, big boned?

But don’t buy something so large and big that will hinder their walk or movement, as that won’t help either.

Plan Ahead

Buying out of season or at the end of the season may save you some bucks, but do consider the time lapses. If you buy a summer dress in the winter, chances are she won’t wear it right away and it may not fit when it actually comes time to wear it. And buying a bulky jacket in summer will be of no use for months.

Look for the Bargains

Every store has sale racks and sometimes it’s not necessarily just the ugly sweaters nobody wants to buy. Many times these racks hold the only remaining item from a collection, and usually at bargain prices. But you may also find clothes there that were returned for one reason or another or in some colors/designs that didn’t attract too many buyers, but they are still a good buy. Just read the fine print on the return policy, just in case.

From Indoor to Outdoor Play

Kids can go from playing with dad inside the house one minute to rough-housing on the yard or playground the next, so look for clothing that will adapt to these changes. Think about comfortable, practical items that will look good if your little angel is taking a picture with grandma or playing pickup soccer. All kids are messy, so opt for pieces that may also hide stains.

Mix and Match

Those jeans may look divine on Jennifer or Johnny, but the price is a little steep and won’t leave you enough for a matching outfit. What to do? Mix and match. Buy the label jeans and mix it with a plain top from a less expensive designer. It will give the impression you’re paying top price but still within your budget.

What do they like?

You may be paying for clothes, but they will be wearing it. Kids can be picky, go through color phases and may find some fabrics scratchy or some designs uncomfortable. If you’ll be shopping for your child on your own, consider all those things. And if you bring your child along, consider his/her input. Something that you and they like is sure to be worn often and will make getting dressed easier for you and them. Stick with the Classics

Kakis, jeans, single color and simple stripes and patterns are always the best option instead of too many trendy pieces that will date too quickly. Opt for plain sorts, sweaters or jackets with limited patterning in basic colors that can be mixed and matched with different pieces. Also, limit funny T-shirts or those with odd phrase or ones that may be have a double meaning that could end up being embarrassing in certain situations.

Ease and Comfort

Too many buttons, hard to open zippers or anything that makes it difficult to get dressed and undressed will frustrate your child and you. So avoid garments that will only create problems in an emergency, and you know those will happen.

Washer and Dryer

Ease of cleaning is something else you need to consider. Read the labels to make sure there are no special washing/drying instructions. And avoid things on the garment that may fall off or pieces that may dye bleed.

Buying Online?

Online shopping opens a world wide web of opportunities to find great clothing at great prices. But it also presents its own set of challenges. If buying online, take a look at the size chart to better assess whether something may be too small or too large. And read (and very carefully) the return policy for peace of mind and to avoid problems later.

Have Fun

Shopping is not supposed to be stressful; it’s supposed to be fun. If you find yourself getting frustrated or stressed, getting into fights and battles with your child, turn around and head for the parking lot. And if you’re buying things online and can’t find anything that you really like, turn off the computer or go watch a music video and try another day.

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