10 Tips for Buying Kidswear Off-Season

05 January 2012

On this blog, I have not hidden my love for retail therapy or my $10 rule for buying baby clothes - apart from special occasions like birthday and Christmas, I do not buy clothing for my babies that cost more than $10. I achieve this by buying the girls clothes off-season at least one year ahead.

Now that the girls are wearing some 12-18 month sized clothes I purchased a while back, I can evaluate the success of my shopping strategy.  Based on my evaluation, here are a few tips from me to you:
  1. Get the maths right - I didn't forget my kids' birthday, but somewhere in my mind I had it that they would be one by 2011 Christmas so I bought 12months Christmas outfits. Bad maths. Since the girls were born in November, I should have bought outfits sized for 18months. Let's just say their santa dresses were a little snug.
  2. Get the seasons right - Cute skirts in 18m size are not a steal if the girls are 18months old in May and the temperatures are still too cold for short skirts or capris or the cutest little linen tunic
  3. Get the accessories - I focused on the everyday clothes and forgot about accessories like socks, hats and gloves. That could be a costly mistake. I've seen the same pack of socks sold for $8 in-season and $2 off-season
  4. Get the accessories right - Leggings and tights can turn some summer clothes into winter clothes
  5. Get the colors right - I initially bought anything that was priced right but soon realised I had a bunch of colors that didn't go well together. Sure I can dress my kid in a green tee, purple pants and yellow shoes but I probably shouldn't.
  6. Buy complete outfits - To handle the problem above, I made sure to buy a complete outfit or matching accessories if available. This really works when shopping in the children's stores that have collections like Crazy 8, Gymboree and Gap
  7. Limit the volume - When buying heavily discounted items, it's easy to go overboard. To forestall this, I have a 64qt plastic tote for each size of clothes and a total of 5 totes. All old and new clothes have to fit into these 5 totes. The space limits helps me control the numbers and forces me to organize the old clothes before buying new ones
  8. Understand the value - When limited on space, some items are more valuable than others. High value items worth buying on sale include dresses, jeans, heavier sweaters and outerwear. Items like tee-shirts, shorts, fleece pants and sleepers are not worth buying ahead unless they are special. These will always be available for $5 or less in Carters, Walmart and even Costco. Why take up space storing them?
  9. Watch the wear - Some brands wear out better than others. Spend good money on Gymboree, Gap and OshKosh. Old Navy and the Children's Place are over-priced below-average quality brands - thats my opinion based on experience so far. Carters and Walmart have year-round sales so you'll always get good deals. Stocking up is not necessary
  10. Photo Credit with thanks
  11. Enjoy playing dress-up with the little munchkins because in a short while they will have their own opinions on fashion and refuse to wear those cute yellow shoes

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