Be a clever mum and make your kid’s clothes last

I am pretty sure there are tiny little elves that shrink my child’s clothes every few weeks. It feels like I’ve just bought him onesies and now he’s four years old. So if you’re reading this article, it’s probably to know how to make your kids’ clothes last what they cost you. That means extending the life of some pieces beyond the perfunctory six months. I was fortunate to receive a lot of used clothing for the first two years from my brother. And I’m often complimented on dressing Aarav (my son) well. It started as a quest to find good boy clothing but it’s gone beyond that. I’ve learned to buy pieces that will last three years if well chosen and at least one year otherwise. Sit down with your cup of tea, your shopping list and allow me to tell you how.

  1. Buy one size bigger – Grandma’s advice of buying a size bigger totally holds good. My son, who’s four, still wears some clothes from two years ago and some from five. It makes sense to buy important and expensive pieces like sweaters and jackets a size bigger so that they can last a good year, or two, even three.
  2. Re-purpose stuff – The best shot to making clothes last is to re-purpose them. Ankle-length trousers that are riding high can now be a three-fourths or even shorts as long as the waist fits. A dress that’s become too short can be paired with leggings to make a cute outfit, and so on. Tops that’ve become short can be paired with pants that ride high or as inserts for dungarees.
  3. Buy bottoms with elastic bands – This is something I’ve learned the hard way. Most of the inexpensive clothing in India comes with ridiculously large pant legs but extremely narrow (and tight) elastic bands and buckles. It’s better to invest some money and get stuff with elastic bands, no zips and press buttons (especially for kids under four). This is useful not just for lasting them longer but also to help them learn to dress themselves. If you have people living abroad, pay them to buy you some stuff when they visit. It’s worth it!
  4. Invest in the good stuff – Spending Rs 1000 for a pair of kiddy pants may seem hideous. But it’s worth it if it will last your child two years and you can use it for your next kid or hand it down to someone else.
  5. Choosing shoes – Buy shoes that are 1-2 sizes bigger at the toe so that your kids can walk comfortably in and grow into. Shoes with velcro straps also makes it easier to put on and take off and have more room to grow into. The average pair of shoes lasts less than six months for growing kids. But if you choose well, there’s no reason you can’t ride out the year.

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