ultimate guide to shopping for kids

Your ultimate guide to shopping for kids clothing

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Shopping for kids clothing can be fun. Perusing the little people’s section filled with cute little onesies that say “Mama’s little stinker” and tiny suspenders that serve no purpose other than strictly aesthetic gratification can be so emotionally satisfying. If cutesy isn’t your thing try holding up a pair of newborn pants and pretend you’re a giant. There’s many ways that shopping for kids clothing can be an enjoyable experience, but there’s only one way to ensure that it won’t be: bringing your kids. They run through the aisles, hide in the racks, and before you know there’s a full-fledged tantrum that results in abandoning the store sans new clothes and eating tear seasoned yogurt in the food court instead.

If and when you do get the opportunity to acquire some new duds for your wee one without said wee one being present there’s a few things you’ll need to consider:


Unless you want to spend the majority of your children’s younger years taking care of their clothing, be frugal. Kids are hard on clothes. If they’re not having explosive diarrhea or smearing strawberries down their front, they’re crawling in the mud or giving their clothes new tattoos with permanent markers. It’s a lot easier to come to terms with the fact that a stain isn’t coming out if you paid as little as possible. Ideally, you want to check out consignment stores because it is great for your wallet and the planet!!! Sometimes, however, when you’re looking for a specific item you can find some awesome sales at retail shops.


Solid colors? No. Light colored pattern? No. White? HELL NO!!!!

The only thing for young children to wear is anything that doesn’t show anything.  If it has a “loud” pattern or any kind of pattern that already looks like mucous smears and chocolate ice creamed fingerprints is where it’s at. Mom, this applies to you, as well.


Junior only appreciates/doesn’t care about those tiny suspenders that you insist he wears for so long. The older Junior gets, the less enthusiastic he’s going to be about the ensembles that his Mom has deemed “cool”. As the kids get older it’s important to allow them to make their own decisions regarding what they want to wear. This is the exception to the general idea of NOT taking your kids with you.


Buttons on kid’s clothes are the worst thing on the entire planet :”Please, 15 month old, just lay down for 5 minutes while I fidget with this itsy button that’s size indicates that it was intended for your fingers to do it up rather than mine.” Snaps follow in a close second because no matter where you start doing those suckers up they almost never match up. Zippers aren’t bad, but ideally you want to find something that requires the least amount of work on your part, because, truly, you have better things to do (chocolate in the laundry room, anyone?).


Shoe sizes amongst different brands is terribly inconsistent. A size “4” in brand A is a size “2” in brand B. Remember when you were a kid and you traced your foot and had to draw a running shoe on it? Get your kids to do that and then take that lovely little piece of art with you to the store to use as your own sizer. Trust me, this will eliminate the 2 hours you’re going to have to spend lugging your 3 year old from store to store to try on runners that she hates because they don’t have a high heel on them. When it comes to clothes, go big or go home. If the clothing fits a little big it’s better than a little snug: less complaining about being uncomfortable, and they’ll get to wear it for a while longer than if it fit them properly.


If it needs to be ironed, dry cleaned, or hand washed you do not want to buy your child this article of clothing. You’re going to want the one that’s made of rugged cotton duck, repels water and stains, and washes itself.


Remember the time when you and the kids were walking in the mall when “Uh Oh!!”- someone’s peed their pants? (You have to cross your legs before you sneeze). Don’t you wish you had brought an extra pair of pants? Kids have the same problems, and then some. The chances of your child needing to change their clothing at some point during every day is pretty high. Prepare yourself. Make sure you bring extra clothes with you wherever you go- for you and  the kiddos.

Age appropriate

There are some things that should be left for adults to wear rather than putting them on kids (except this shirt). Enjoy the “little kid” clothes and don’t rush to get them looking like mini-adults too quickly. Gymboree has the sweetest clothes, matching and coordinating sets, and is affordable -especially when there’s a SERIOUSLY AWESOME SALE!!!. Dress your littles up as littles. Before you know it they’ll be borrowing your clothes, which, by the way, you should be taking as a compliment!


Realistically, kids are naked 70% of the time. During that other 30% when they really need to be in more than their birthday suits this guide will keep kids and their parents happy.

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