It’s no secret that I love shopping. And dressing Elijah in stylish clothes. And getting good deals. I have learned a few things in Eli’s almost two years of life about shopping for tiny human clothes, at least for boys. We will see how shopping for little girl clothes is different. I have figured out the things that I am willing to spend a little more on, because they will last longer, and the things that I try avoid buying new. I confess that I have spent parts of my monthly clothing budget on Elijah, but I do a good job staying within his allotted clothing budget…which we may have to change shortly since there is a baby girl monkey coming, who will also need to be stylish and adorable.
The clearance rack is my best friend. And I rarely shop at stores without a coupon. And I don’t pay full price for Eli’s clothes. Because, he is a toddler. He is a boy. He is messy. He is rough on clothes. He probably gets that from his daddy, who wears holes in his jeans worse than his two year old son and goes through a pair of Converse a season.
Let’s start with my favorite store. The Gap. Oh how I love the Gap. And they sure know it, I get emails from them multiple times a day and probably check out the website 3 times a week. The best times to buy from the Gap are when they have an additional percentage off sale and clearance items. They also recently started the Gap Cash incentives, which can be dangerous for me. The downside about this Gap Cash is that you can’t combine it with other percent off coupons. But it is basically like getting 50% off, since it’s $25 off $50. I just try to stay right at $50 before tax to get the best prices. Pants, namely skinny jeans, are my favorite item to buy at the Gap.
I find that babyGap pants last a long time for Eli because he is tall and lanky. I won’t buy him pants (jeans, chinos, cords) without an adjustable waist anymore. He has been in size 12-18 month pants from babyGap since the spring, and hasn’t worn through any knees or caused rips in them. BabyGap also has the best cozy, cotton cuffed pants. I currently have him in 18-24 in any babyGap elastic waist pants. The monkey print pants in the picture above are what I’m talking about. They are a baby item, not a toddler item, so Eli isn’t going to fit in them for much longer. I have been dressing him in this cuffed cotton pant style since he was a newborn.
A couple things I have learned about babyGap clothes:
-They generally wash up well, I have had a couple sweaters pill on me, but I also don’t wash his clothes on delicate, like I do my own, and always throw all his stuff in the dryer.
-They’re regular price is over-priced. $34.95 is way too much for jeans for a little man. Even if they do last 10 months. This is why I shop the sales with coupons.
-I have been happy with the quality of babyGap shoes. I wish all their high-tops came with zippers up the side, because they are my favorite every season.
H&M. H&M has real cool baby and toddler clothes. They always carry trendy pieces and have reasonable prices. The main reason I love H&M right now is because of the Wrapp iPhone app (here is the website). Wrapp is an app that you can send friends free gift cards, and then they can send you them back in return. H&M is the best store, in my opinion, that is on the app. And they often have promotions where you send a few friends an H&M gift card for $6 and then get one back. If you want to try to use this app just make sure you only send the “free” gift cards. There are a ton that have to be paid for. When I was frequenting the malls, basically weekly before this stupid polar vortex crap, I would go to H&M and aim to get Eli a free or practically free item with the $6 Wrapp gift card.
All 3 of the above tops were purchased that way, I think I paid a couple dollars for the polo and the henley. But the striped tee was on the clearance rack for less than $6, so that was a freebie.
A couple things about H&M clothes:
-Not all their stores carry kid’s clothes. Which is a bummer.
-They run big. Especially the baby sizes. They also run wide. Eli is wearing a pair of pants today that are 12-18 months. They are almost too short on him(they have elastic ankle holes so I think they look okay with cool socks) but he can yank down the button up waist no problem to pee. And it currently looks like my child has no butt because he is wearing underpants. The said pants he has also had for a year, and just started wearing them. He wore a pair of 1 1/2 to 2 year shorts this past summer. They had an adjustable waist so I think they will still fit him this summer.
-H&M carries awesome basics. I got Eli several solid colored organic cotton tanks this past summer, and loved them. This is one of the few stores that have a good selection of solid colored basics.
Old Navy. Old Navy often has great clearance too, and regularly sends out coupons or posts them on their Facebook page. They often have $1 per pair socks which I pair with coupons for a nice price when Eli is running low or needs a particular color. (Why are solid color socks for littles so hard to find?) Old Navy also has great prices on cold weather gear. I bought 3 of Elijah’s winter hats, his puffer vest, and two different winter coats at Old Navy this winter. I am not the best at purchasing a size up for next year, mostly because Elijah is so skinny, he hasn’t been in the sizes I guessed the year prior. But a couple weeks ago I did buy him these two winter coats for next year. I got 3T, so fingers crossed, he will fit in them. I paid $7 for the puffer and $9 for the red parka.
A few things I have learned about Old Navy baby and toddler clothes:
– Their jeans, in my opinion, are crap. They don’t all come with the adjustable waist, and the denim is cheap. I bought him two pair in the fall and one got a hole in the knee after a couple washes and the darker pair faded so horribly. Even though they may be cheaper than babyGap, if I want them to last and look good for awhile, I will always pay a little more for babyGap.
-Old Navy tee’s shrink, so I usually buy at least a size up.
-I find that Old Navy clothes can wear out quickly, and don’t always wash up well, so I tend to aim for less than $4 for an item of clothing there.
-The sizes aren’t always consistent. One pair of sweats he has in 18-24 are long on him, and the other pair in 18-24 are a good 3 inches shorter. Same pair, just different colors. I ordered them online, so I couldn’t really check them out well. I don’t dare make Eli try clothes on, so I just compare them in the store.
Target. My happy place. You can mix the printable Target coupons and cartwheel coupons with clearance and get some nice prices.
A few things I have learned about the brands Target carries:
-The genuine kids by OshKosh line is adorable and stylish. This line runs small, though. I got an 18 month sweatshirt stuck on his head last week. I think it was a little traumatic for my little man.
-Clearance, clearance, clearance. Target clearances out kids clothes super fast. I always give the clearance rack in the baby and toddler section a quick once over.
-The baby clothes that are Just One You by Carters, run smaller than the actual Carters brand. Practically a whole size smaller. As do the Precious Firsts layette items.
-The character shirts Target carries (superhero, Disney, etc.) have always shrunk on me. And they aren’t always the best quality. But if you get a Batman tee for $1.50 on the clearance rack, what do you really expect?
Zulily. I buy Elijah the coolest tees from here. Zulily is a discount site that has new sales daily. Sometimes they are brands I have never heard of, but they often have name brand clothing and shoes as well. I am picky about what I do order on Zulily, because it is very easy to just click and checkout right from the iPhone app. You have to pay $5.95 shipping, but then you get free shipping for the rest of the day (or weekend). So I always factor the shipping into the price, to see if it really is a deal. (They also constantly have maternity clothes, but I haven’t ordered any.) I like Zulily because I feel like they have things I wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Doodle Pants leggings, I have been happy with and never have spotted them elsewhere. I recently ordered some for baby girl too. The Doodle Pants are sweater-like and cozy. And run quite long.
Things I have learned about Zulily:
-All the screen printed tees that I have ordered for Eli, have been printed on Rabbit Skins tees. These shrink so much; the three 2T tops that are pictured above are all too short on him now. So order up a size or two. The onesies from the same brand are huge though. I have a 18-24 month Mr. Rogers onesie that would still fit him now, if we weren’t potty training and avoiding bodysuits. The sales don’t say what brand tee it is going to be printed on, so Rabbit Skins may not always be the brand, just in my experience it has been.
-They do not accept returns. So I don’t buy something if I am unsure about fit or if I don’t really love it.
-Shipping can take forever. So long that sometimes I receive a package and forgot that I ordered those items. I would say it is 2-4 weeks on average. So I don’t order things that I need/want quickly.
Mom to Mom Sales. I talked a little about Mom to Mom sales in this blog post. Mom to Mom sales are my favorite place to buy pjs. Carters blanket sleepers run $8 to $15, on sale, at stores like Kohls, JCPenney, or TJ Maxx. At Mom to Mom sales, I can find them in great condition for less that $4. I also like to buy character cotton pj sets at these sales. I got Eli’s Buzz costume-like pjs from one in the fall for $2. The Disney Store sells them for at least $12. I just make sure to check out the pjs for stains and things before buying them. Shoes are another great find at Mom to Moms, although this past fall, shoes were the only thing I was looking for and could not find them in his size. I think it was easier to find baby boy clothes than toddler boy clothes at these. And there are always more girl items than boy items, so I am pretty excited about getting some great finds once baby girl comes around.
A couple things about shopping at Mom to Mom sales.
-I try to look for name brand items, that are still in great shape. Stride Rite shoes, baby Gap, Carters, sports team gear, Janie and Jack, character tees…all of these I have found for super cheap at Mom to Moms. And I am very picky about the kind of shape the clothes are in. I don’t want Eli to look like he is in used clothes.
-Play clothes. Painting clothes. Camping clothes. When I want clothes where I won’t be upset if Eli ruins them, Mom to Mom sales are where I get them. I threw out a sweat suit outfit when we went camping in October, because Elijah was covered head to toe in mud. And I didn’t think twice about it because it was from a Mom to Mom and it cost me $1. I even keep his “play clothes” in a little basket in his closet so that they are easy to identify.
-If a price seems too high; I ask if they will take lower. Most of the time these Mamas just want to get rid of their old stuff and make a little money; so they are usually willing to bargain with you.
I love talking about shopping and clothes and saving money, so if you have any questions or want some more tips, feel free to ask.
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