Parents define their kids’ wardrobe in three categories: school, playtime and fancy occasions. Most of them are happy that the latest category doesn’t require updating very often, but when it does, it’s always a major endeavor. First, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a single outfit; after all, it will most likely be worn only once. The second major challenge is to find something the child will feel comfortable enough in, unless you want unpleasant scenes. And there’s the question of potential stains and everything else that can go wrong. Here are some tips that should help you find the ideal outfit on a budget.
Rent, Don’t Buy
Special occasions don’t happen very often, but as adults, we have the perk of wearing the same outfit several times – maybe at some wedding next year, just with different shoes and accessories. Kids, on the other hand, grow very quickly, and it’s almost impossible for them to wear the same clothes one year after the purchase, so why waste money on a one-time wear? Instead, you can rent a top-to-bottom combination, and save some cash.
Photo by Rene Asmussen
Kids’ second hand clothes are always a good purchase, especially when it comes to fancy pieces, which are probably worn only once or twice. Still, many parents hesitate to buy used clothes for their kids, because of the stigma that once surrounded the secondhand shops. Today, that’s not the case, since even celebrities, like Julia Roberts, are buying clothing for their kids in consignment shops. See, nothing to be ashamed of.
There are some clothing pieces that can be worn even if they are one size up, so they can be worn the following year too. For instance, investing in boy’s suits for each special occasion would be too expensive, but if you go one size up, you can have one for two years. While it’s still a bit loose, you can make it casual by rolling up the sleeves. Just make sure that you buy a fitting shirt, though. Do a similar thing with girl’s dresses. A cute belt can make a large dress fit, and when you remove it the next year, no one will even notice it’s the same dress.
We had something old, and something new, now it’s time to move on to something borrowed. Check with cousins, family friends and neighbors with kids about the same age, whether they have some appropriate outfits. Of course, if you go down this road, you have to be willing to return the favor one day.
Learn to Sew
This might sound too complicated, but figuring out some basic cuts and styles is actually pretty simple. Besides, you don’t have to go from scratch every time, you can just repair and change some clothes kids already have. Also, there are some kids’ fancy clothes that can be made without sewing, like tutu skirts.
Consult Your Kids
No matter how young the kids are, they always know what suits them and what not. That’s why it’s very important for them to try out the outfits. They will tell you if they feel uncomfortable (or they will cry, kick and scream), so you will know if the combination you were aiming for is a waste of money or not. Also, try to find out what they think about the style, kids love participating in such decisions. Just don’t let them go wild with the colors, subtle timeless child-appropriate shades are always the best choice, especially if you are planning to sell the outfit afterwards or “recycle” it the following year.
You should always keep a close eye on sales in kids’ stores and coupons on the web. With all of the tips above, it shouldn’t be that hard to dress up your kids for a special occasion, without emptying your wallet or compromising on their comfort.