Your assignment: Find new clothes and stay within your budget.
- Plan ahead. Figure out what your child actually needs before shopping. When you find a sale (you can ask a store manager about future sales, too), look for items your little one will need not only next week, but in a few months. With summer sales, you may even want to consider buying a few items—in the appropriate sizes—for next year.
- Choose a color group. Get pieces that mix and match easily. By sticking to a color scheme, you can gain many different looks with just a few items and an accessory or two.
- Buy big. Some items fit fine even if they’re a bit large. Leggings, for example, can be worn as loose pants until your child grows into them; this approach extends the life of her wardrobe.
Your assignment: Make sure the clothes you select feel as good on your child as they look.
- Stick with natural fabrics. Cotton and bamboo are soft and supple. They let young skin breathe. Consider organic material, too—it’s made without the chemicals of conventional fabrics. Organic usually costs more, but shopping at sales can bring the price way down.
- Be aware of sensitivities. For some kids, seams, tags, or tight clothes cause discomfort and distraction. Others are frustrated by zippers, snaps, or buttons. Talk to your little one about how the clothes feel when she tries them on.
- Stay loose. Buy clothes with a tad extra room in the legs, shoulders, and arms, or items that stretch a little. It’ll allow your child to move more freely.
Your assignment: Make sure those new outfits last and last and last.
- Choose well-known brands when possible. Name-brand clothing typically has a longer life than a generic version, and the cuts are more comfortable and flattering.
- Look for dark colors. Light ones show every speck of dirt, and the more you wash an item, the weaker the fabric becomes. As long as there’s no major mess, most of your child’s duds can be worn more than once before being tossed into the washer.
- Pay attention to fabric and stitching. The fabric quality and how it was put together play a big role in durability. Tighter woven fabrics and double-stitched seams tend to hold up longer.
Your assignment: Clean their accessories.
- Baseball cap: Use a hat frame in washing machine set on cold.
- Sneakers: Wash laces in machine and scrub shoes and inserts in warm water with a mild detergent. Blot and air dry.
- Backpack: Shake out all crumbs and wipe with damp, soapy cloth. Hang to air dry.
Your assignment: Spruce up some of those long-loved items.
- Tie-dye stained shirts or pants.
- Cut too-short pants into capris or shorts.
- Use an iron-on patch to cover up a tear or stain.
- Add color to faded shirts with fabric paint or dye.