If you have followed my blog – or indeed my instagram – for a while you may have noticed that the wardrobe belonging to my children is vastly superior in both quality and quantity to that of their mamas. This is motivated in part by a genuine love of children’s clothing – it is so tiny and so sweet! – and in part by a fervent believe that children, even the most darling of children (and mine are), are approximately 20% more loveable when dressed in a pleasing fashion. Ergo, dressing them well is as much for their benefit as mine. Not only that, but as there are four of them and two of us and they all benefit from their communal wardrobe (the small twins will inherit from the bigger twins, after all) investing in toddler clothing is actually super value for money.
That is what I keep telling Kirsty, anyway.
It can be hard to find a balance between what my heart thinks it ‘needs’ and our family finances can take, especially with more than the average number of children and only one of us working. Here are a few things that I’ve been doing recently to enhance my wee ones’ wardrobe without straining the credit card:
Finding people on Instagram whose style I love, and then buying their outgrown clothes. Bear with me, because I know that this sounds a little odd and it does feel super awkward at first. But let’s face it, children grow so quickly that they barely wear their outfits anyway and most parents will bite your hand off to be able to sell their little one’s outgrown wardrobe in bulk without worrying about advertising on facebook groups etc (though I do buy from those too). I’m very lucky that Wishes and Wellies and Tigerlilly Quinn both have a boy who is a little older than my boys, a girl who is a little older than my girls, and are generous enough to sell me their sprogs’ outgrown stuff at a fraction of what it would cost to buy it new.
If you’re too shy to approach people directly, try facebook groups for your secondhand baby clothes. There is a group for every style. I am a huge fan of the Love for the Scandi and Love for the Non-Scandi groups, as well as this one for Mini Rodini and its ilk.
You can wait for the sales and buy ahead, although I wouldn’t recommend doing this on a credit card – the interest rates mean that by the time you roll around to the season in which your offspring will be wearing the thing, you may as well have paid full-price. Otherwise, this is a great way to get a stylish wardrobe for half the price.
If you buy gender-neutral, you can pass down outgrown clothes from your older to younger regardless of their sexes. We do a lot of this, and I’m super excited for the girls to wear much of the boys’ bright, fun wardrobe.
We very rarely pay full-price for clothes… we simply cannot afford to. Mostly these days we shop the sales, use codes, convince our friends to sell to us and sometimes, when I am very lucky, Kirsty will make something beautiful for them to wear. My absolute favourite outfits to put them in are those lovingly knitted or crocheted by their mama (although I mustn’t lie, the Mini Rodini or Frugi comes pretty close as well!).
That said, when we do pay full price for clothes we try to invest that money into purchasing from brands or people from whom that purchase might make a real, tangible difference. Lamb and Bear is one of my favourite brands, with leggings and dribble bibs designed by a real mum like me, my friend Alex, and they are available to purchase via her own shop or through my other friend Hannah’s new online store, Apples and Pips. Hannah also sells The Bunting Tree t-shirts, which I keep meaning to buy and haven’t yet got round to doing! Or I tend to hit up my friend Jenny from KyNa Boutique for my Maxomorra or Mini Rodini, because I know how much love goes into that little online store of hers and she gets me my orders super quick. Alternatively, my accounts assistant at work, Ieasha, sells adorable hairbows and flower crowns in her instagram store, Pixieboo London. The girls are FINALLY growing enough hair to jam a bow or two in it and I am determined to do so, gender-neutrality be damned (to be fair, I’d probably put my boys in them too!).
So that is how we save money when developing our wee ones’ wardrobe, and how we splurge when the occasion calls for it as well! It’s good to find a balance. I’d love to know your top tips for expanding a small-human wardrobe and if you’re a clothing brand, feel free to link up in the comments.