Monday, August 12, 2013

10 thrift store tips for buying school clothes

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes

I thought that today, instead of showing you the amazing finds I've been finding at the thrift store lately (Kate Spade shoes anyone? Dione Von Furstenburg dress?) I would show you what I've found for my daughter and give you my top 10 tips for buying school clothes! I'll also go through each of the outfits above and give you and outfit cost breakdown.

During a recent trip to Target I almost choked when I saw the price for a pair of girl's jeans. $20!?! Seriously? If I were to buy everything new for her for back to school, the rest of the family would have to go naked! Instead, I checked out out my local thrift store circuit and got almost everything she needed for a crazy fraction of the retain price.

Thrift stores can be the absolute best place to find clothes for kids inexpensively for back to school. No really! I promise! It's not all stained, dirty or out of style clothes for kids. Almost no one would guess almost all of my kid's clothes come from the thrift store.

Still don't believe me? Check out the outfits below. I'll make a believer of you yet! (If you're just here for the tips, scroll down to the bottom. My feelings won't be hurt, I promise!):


Outfit #1: Going to the Chapel...at school.

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. American Living cardigan: $3
2. Children's Place dress: $3
3. Extremely Me shoes: $4
Outfit total Cost: $10

Outfit #2: It's too cold for leggings, yes you must wear pants today.

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. American Living cardigan: $3
2. Gymboree T-shirt: $1
3. Gymboree Pants: $1
4. Gap Kids leather flats: $4
Outfit total cost: $9

Outfit #3: The pinkest of them all. (Also known as 'my daughter's favorite.')

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. Target Circo brand hoodie: $1
2. Gymboree T-shirt: $1
3. Gymboree skirt: $1
4. Wal-mart brand leggings: $1
5. Extremely Me shoes: $4
Outfit Total Cost: $8

Outfit #4: Yes, it's still too cold for leggins, but you can wear your sparkle shirt instead.

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. American Living cardigan: $3
2. Gymboree shirt $4
3. Old Navy flares: $5
4. Crew Cuts (J. Crew) leather flats: $5
Outfit Total Cost: $17

Outfit #5: The cat's cutest meow.

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. Gymboree cardigan: $1
2. Gap Kids T-shirt: $1
3. Children's Place skirt: $1
4. Wal-mart brand leggings: $1
5. Gap Kids leather flats: $4
Outfit Total Cost: $8

Outfit #6: The twirliest skirt EVER!

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
 1. Children's Place cardigan: $1
2. Gymboree T-shirt: $1
3. Baby Lulu skirt (aka "the twirliest skirt ever"): $4
4. Wal-mart brand leggings: $1
5. Extremely Me shoes: $4
Outfit total cost: $11


Outfit #7: Rainbow Brite.

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. Wal-mart brand hoodie: $1
2. Carter's shirt: $1
3. Carter's leggings: $1
4. L.L. Bean leather flats: $4
Outfit total cost: $7

Outfit #8: A little punky purple and twinkly toes.

10 thrift store shopping tips for buying school clothes
1. Children's Place windbreaker: $1
2. Shirt: $2
3. Old Navy skirt: $1
4. Wal-mart brand leggings: $1
5. Sketchers Twinkle Toes shoes: $5
Outfit total cost: $10

In case you are interested in the math, that's 28 items for $60, and at least 8 total outfits for back to school. That's an average of $2.14 per item (including brand name shoes)! And all of them are free of major wear and tear, holes, or stains. Amazing, right?

If you want to try thrift store shopping for your own kids this back to school season, my 10 best tips are below:

1. Bring your child with you. This may seen counter-intuitive, considering most thrift store crawls involve intense browsing and often run long, a dangerous combo if you have a bored youngster along. Because a lot of thrift stores have dubious return policies, it is smart to have your child along to know what will fit them and what they like. You may not be able to return it! I suggest that for school clothes shopping you stick to one section-kid's-and save the intense browsing for another day.

2. Shop off season and look through every isle and section. This is just plain thrifting 101, but I it deserves mentioning here. In July/August you're going to find way more jeans, leggings and long sleeved shirts simply because no one else is thinking that far ahead. If you know what your child needs, you will be able to score big on cool weather clothes during the warm months.

3. Know which stores have "sale days" and when, plan to shop then. This is how I scored all of the $1 shirts and skirts above. I knew that my local Goodwill's mark their specific colored tags down to 50% off on Sunday, so my daughter and I went school clothes shopping on Sunday. We were able to find many $2 skirts, shirts and pants all at 50% off!

4. Have a list of what you need, and know your child's school dress code requirements. In advance of any shopping trip, I really try to take inventory of my daughter's clothes and have a good list of what we're looking for. In addition, I read through her school dress code and made sure I knew what is required. With this in mind, I passed up many an adorable sleeveless dress knowing that it would not be school appropriate (all tops must have sleeves). It's important to keep your school's dress code in mind while shopping so you don't waste your precious back to school dollars on clothes they can't even wear to school!

5. know what size your child is/brands that fit your child. My daughter is a different size in almost every children's brand. She is a size 8 (!!!) in Children's Place for tops, a size 6-7 at Old Navy, size 7 at Gymboree, size 7-8 at Gap Kids, a size 6 in most pants, and some of her skirts are even a size 5 (because she's so skinny). I also know that because she's skinny with long legs, Children's Place, Gap and Old Navy jeans will fit her because they have an adjustable waist, but Circo (Target) brand will not. It's really important to know which sizes fit your child and which brands work well for their growing bodies. Otherwise you might pass over that size 5 skirt for $1, just because your child wears a size 6-7 shirt in another brand!

6. Know what your child will actually wear. This is a toughie, and another reason for Tip #1. My daughter is getting picky, and really loves to wear skirts and dresses every day. This means that when we were choosing pants I let her pick out some pairs she really likes, with the idea that she will hopefully wear them more often that way. But honestly, I can buy all the pink sparkly pants in the world and they probably still won't get worn as much as a cute skirt and some leggings! So that's where I focused my buying; skirts and leggings.

7. Check everything over thoroughly. Because there is a lot of stuff that was donated because of stains/holes/general grubbiness. And sometimes those imperfections aren't always obvious at first glance.

8. Have your child try things on (if you can). This is best done in the smallest increments you can manage. Even the most amazingly behaved child will melt down into a screaming, crying mess if you force them to try things on for 30 minutes straight. Trust me.

9. Try and buy similar color schemes and styles to encourage mixing and matching. This really works for us! I know what colors and types of clothing my daughter likes best (Pink! Purple! Skirts! Sequins! Pants with no buttons!) and I try and buy along those lines. If I keep those colors, patterns and styles in mind, everything will naturally mix and match better. This is the same technique big department stores like Target use to get you to buy every item in a "line" of clothing from their store. Busy parents will buy it all because it's easy for their child to choose their own clothes and still "match." You can do this yourself too! Just keep certain colors and themes in mind while shopping for your child at the thrift store.

10. Have fun with your child! This is the most important tip! Shopping for back to school should be fun, and at a thrift store it can be even more entertaining. Let your child try on goofy old-fashioned clothes. Let them pick out an outfit for you to try on with them. Do a scavenger hunt to see who can find the silliest pair of shoes or hat. Thrifting is fun!

Well, so ends the LONGEST POST EVER! Hopefully some of the information helps you out, if you'd like to try saving some big $$ this back to school season. Happy thrifting!

~Jessica

24 comments:

  1. Great post. All good tips. I honestly don't know how anyone can even think of paying full price for any of those fancy brands when you can find them so easily at a consignment shop. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Great tips! I dread taking my 5 year old shopping for clothes because he just picks the first thing he sees, but now I can see how much money I could save if I can get him to be a little more patient. :)

    Krissy @ http://hotcommodityhome.blogspot.com

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  3. I absolutely love this post!!! Exactly what I do and your post was so beautifully put together!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Kendra! I loved how these pictures turned out and I think I'm going to start laying out my adult "thrift store finds" posts like this too. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. Great post! I love thrift shopping especially for the kids. I can't understand why more people don't do it...that's ok more goodies for me!

    Over The Apple Tree

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  5. I've always got a ton of Bella's clothes at thrift stores...they are outgrown or stained too quickly to pay full retail! I always feel like my kid is one of the best dressed too.

    This year the school switched to uniforms & messed up all my thrifty mojo. They are weird colors that I can't find anywhere. I've been having to order them, and I'm paying around $15 a shirt after tax & shipping. You better believe I'm saving everything she outgrows so the school can pass them along to a kid who needs them. It's crazy & disgusting to spend that much...at least it s for me, the queen of cheap lol

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  6. These ideas are great! I do some of these things when I shop for my daughter at Just Between Friends (if you don't know what it is... YOU MUST! It is motherly heaven). But now we live in Texas and my daughter's school uses uniforms so womp womp!

    Anyway, great tips!

    xo,
    Ana Paula
    {Visit me at Mommyhood, PhD}

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  7. We do lots of thrift store shopping ourselves. Our kids actually enjoy doing it, and can't wait to go. I enjoy it myself too. I've become quite addicted to be honest.

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  8. Hi Jessica - These are great tips and I am proud to say that except for shoes, we either shop thrift/yard sales or hand me downs. The clothes are name brand, still in great condition, and very much in style. If I see something that is a size too big, I'll still get it and put it in the "next size" box to rotate through. Hugs, Holly @ coconutheadsurvivalguide

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  9. Cute outfits and great tips and suggestions. Thanks for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, marty

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  10. Great tips! With four kids, I am turning to thrift stores more and more. Even with sales and coupons, it's so expensive to keep them all clothed now days!
    I am so impressed with what you found and your adorable outfits. Thanks for the inspiration!

    This would be a great addition to It's a Mom's Life Link Up. I hope you'll join us!

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  11. Excellent post! I am a huge fan of finding my kids clothes at Thrift Stores. It's great for the budget! :)

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  12. I have realized recently what a treasure trove thrift stores can be. At first, I just shopped at consignment stores. Thrift stores felt 'dirty' to me. But now I know that isn't true. I've found some awesome stuff there. I just wish I could go more often!

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  13. Love thrift stores! I only have boys and the pickings are few. But, girls have tons of choices. Well, they are almost grown, now, and buying their own clothing. Great post.

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  14. This is awesome advice! Pinning this right now! I can't believe all the great deals you got on those super cute outfits. They all look like you paid full price for them. Good job!
    Stopping by from Create It Thursday. (#109 Chocolate Covered Pretzels) Have a great week!

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  15. Terrific post and just in time for back to school shopping.You Rock!! The gang over at My Personal Accent, would like to invite you to link-up this really fantastic post at our new Blog Strut Peacock Style Link Party. Share as many of your creative ideas, recipes, and any other family friendly content as you like. We will be pinning every submission we receive. If you have a giveaway or contest you’d like to promote, feel free to post it on our giveaway page. Come on over and show us what you’ve got! http://www.mypersonalaccent.com/the-blog-strut-peacock-style-6

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  16. Those are some amazing outfits at great prices! Love it!

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  17. Such cute outfits and such great tips!

    Thanks so much for sharing at this week's Project Inspire{d}!

    Pinning to my party board ~ http://pinterest.com/mbtm/project-inspired-party-pins/

    Have a lovely weekend and I hope to see you for the next party.

    Mary Beth

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  18. Love this and am featuring on my fb page tomorrow. Great job!

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  19. Great tips and those outfits are all totally cute! My favorite is the cat outfit! You've inspired me to want to go thrifting!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

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  20. Hey you two! This has got to be the greatest post and I cannot believe the outfits you have put together. Great finds!

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    Grab a featured button here http://bit.ly/11S2wN1. Our next party starts at midnight tonight and thanks again for linking up with us.

    Sharon and Denise
    BeBetsy ♥

    ReplyDelete
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