Smarter shopping April 17 2015
Some people are passionate about music, or travel, their pets, whatever. I used to have passions a long time ago (I think), but now my kids occupy most of my time, energy, thoughts, money… you get the picture. Necessity has made me adaptable, and I’ve channeled my passion for fashion into passion for clothing my kiddos. If you love shopping for your kids, I want to share something that’s streamlined the process for me that I really enjoy. If you despise shopping for children’s clothing maybe my method can help take the sting out of it.
First rule of shopping - SHOP IN OUTFITS. Either buy a piece that coordinates with 2-3 items already in your closet, or buy a piece that coordinates with stuff you’re buying. Don’t buy hot pink floral print sneakers for your little cutie (no matter how on sale they are) if all of the duds already at home in her closet will clash.
Shopping in outfits sounds simple, but as you are probably aware, there is nothing simple about shopping with children. I went to the mall with my 1 year old, 4 year old, girlfriend, and her 9 month old last week thinking my friend and I would have time for deep conversations and bonding. Reality was that the moment we walked into Messy Children’s Retailer, Thing 1 started whining at a pitch only dogs and moms can hear, begging to leave, and Thing 2 began flailing her arms and legs in an effort to escape from the baby carrier strapping her to my battered chest. In what seemed like my only choice, I released Thing 2 from her constraints and at that point her and Thing 1 ran in opposite directions. I just started shoveling clothes that looked like they might be the right size into my arms trying to corral my children towards the checkout counter. 2 hours (or 15 minutes, or an eternity?) later I finally dumped my massive pile of miscellaneous textiles in front of a sales clerk who probably scheduled his vasectomy the minute I left with a bag full of clothes I’d hardly looked at. I got home, put together like 2 outfits, and the other 80% of stuff I put back in the bag to return should I ever be insane enough to walk back into a store.
If that scenario sounds even vaguely familiar to you, may I recommend online shopping as the better choice for outfitting your children?
Step 1: Surf the kids websites you like. (I’m partial to shopping small and supporting mamas getting their hustle on.)
Step 2: Take a screenshot of all pieces you like.
Step 3: Make a wardrobe collage. I use PicStitch on my phone but you can go any route you see fit.
The idea with a wardrobe collage is to put together outfits, and see how they work together. Ideally you create a functional wardrobe you can mix and match. With this method my kids get more use out of the clothes, getting them dressed in the AM is a no-brainer, and I have the entire internet at my disposal, so I can match a sale top from Retailer A with a great piece from Retailer B. Check out my examples below.
If your son insists on wearing basketball shorts and athletic t-shirts in High School, so be it. Now is your chance to gift him with style that is funky and cool. I love how the pop of red from the pocket on the picnic tank and the red seams on the boy + girl sweatshirt both tie in with the trucker hat, which is the perfect accessory to add a rad skater dude vibe to your stud's look.
I’m a major proponent of black and white clothing for myself and everyone around me. To overcome this potentially boring tendency, throw in a colorful accessory, like a teal headband that works as a finishing touch on either look. Also, metallic is the most important neutral - overspend on one pair of metallic shoes for your tot that she can wear with everything for the short time she fits in them.
Print mixing can be intimidating, so why not practice on your kids? Your first instinct might not be to mix and match these looks, but the black and white Ultra Violet Kids halter works with the Thief and Bandit southwest legging because both prints are anchored by white, and if you find an accessory to repeat some of the main colors you're working with you'll really look like you know what you're doing.
Sometimes (especially when shopping for girls) you'll fall in love with something that doesn’t instantly integrate into your wardrobe collage. Maybe it's a romper, or a to-die-for shirt dress like the one by boy + girl pictured above. How do you justify the purchase when you're shopping in outfits? Figure out how to wear it multiple ways. For example, this dress can be worn with a pair of sandals and you're done, or you can put a funky jean jacket over it and a pair of Docs for a downtown cool vibe, or throw on a cardigan and a Mary Jane to prep it up. Wear it as a jumper with tights on a cooler day. If you love it, find a way to get your money’s worth!
The key is to give style some thought when you're buying so you never have to think about it again. Especially not when you're 15 minutes late, out of coffee, searching under the couch for your kid’s other shoe and just need to get out that door. Happy styling!
Want to see more of Morgan's writing? Please visit her blog: http://wallawallamamamama.blogspot.com/ to learn more about this reformed fashionista.