The Classically Dressed Baby - On a Budget!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

So, when we were pregnant with Reagan, I remember immediately wanting all the baby clothes.  I mean, we could walk in literally any store and they had baby girl accessories or clothes that I wanted.  I quickly learned my style in kid's clothing is preppy, traditional, classic, and...expensive.  Sticker shock like you wouldn't believe!  I love quality - elegant detailing like smocking, embroidery, matching buttons, ruffles, and coordinating accessories...and fine fabrics - hello, pima!

I know this isn't the trendy clothing.  Reagan's closet definitely doesn't have any tight little ripped jeans, crop tops, or screenprinted tee-shirts with witty sayings.  No emojis in our closets, ha!  Anyway, I know we aren't hip with the latest fashions, and that's okay with me.  I only have a little girl for so long, and I love that she looks sweet and innocent!

At church a couple months ago, someone asked me if I bought all Reagan's clothing at Buttons and Bows, a very upscale local kid's traditional clothing boutique.  I was tickled pink beyond belief!  That's exactly what I want everyone to think...but I've just honed my little systems over the past couple years!

  • Consignment sales - buy on consignment.  We have some local consignment shops, but we also have seasonal consignment sales.  They are fantastic!  A win for everyone.  Around here, they're held twice a year, and I used to go to all of them.  Over time, I decided which ones were best for what I wanted.  Go early - there's usually a line on opening day, and things fly off the shelves!  I've snagged new with tags smocks ($80+ in stores) for $15 at consignment sales.  Especially great finds for younger toddlers and babies that are gentle on their clothes and typically have enormous closets full.  I also have found great deals on toys, shoes, and "gear" too. 
  • Upscale consignment stores - we have a local small store here in Richmond.  It specializes in upscale kid's consignment only, and they will ship!  They list a few things online but carry more in the store.  This has been a good place for designer dresses for me.  I really need to look into finding more of these type stores around the country that offer shipping.
  • Facebook BST (buy/sell/trade) groups - the jackpot for me!  I'm in a couple local ones; one is specific for high end brands, and one is for all things mom-related.  But the real fun is in the national groups.  Is there a brand you love?  Mini Melissas?  Stride Rite?  Beaufort Bonnet?  Proper Peony?  What about a style - smocked dresses?  A particular time period - "heirloom" or "vintage"?  There are groups for all of it.  There are also a few broad groups - one that has over 60,000 members is "Upscale Kid's Resale $25 and Under".  Join them all!  You can always unfollow and only check in when you're ready to buy, so you're not constantly tempted every time you're on social media!  Sometimes things go lightening fast, especially if it's a good deal.  Most of the groups do allow you to post an "ISO" (in search of) in particular places or on particular days.  Make sure to read the rules of any group you join; these groups are a gold mine for kid's clothes, and you definitely don't want to be booted!
  • The attic!  Some of Reagan's sweetest outfits have been ones painstakingly saved and preserved from my mother.  Southern babies have been dressed the same way forever - Feltman Bros and Petit Ami are two favorites.  Reagan's first photos were taken in a Feltman Bros dress I wore as a newborn.  Both her first and second Santa photos were taken in my or my sister's dresses, and same with her first two Easter Bunny photos.  This Easter, she wore a bonnet that my grandmother gave as a young toddler.  There is something so sweet and sentimental about seeing my daughter wear photos I've seen myself wearing in photos.  Dresses that once upon a time, my grandmother made.  I'm definitely going to reach out to my mom and ask how she packed those dresses away for 3 decades, because y'all, they looked like they were worn yesterday when she gave them to me.  More on that later.
  • Semi-annual sales - I love Lilly Pulitzer, but I definitely won't be paying full sticker price for more than maybe one dress a year.  I've been lucky at consignment a few times, but the best deals for Lilly is at the two semi-annual sales, where a toddler shift will be around $30 with free shipping.  Other companies do similar sales.  Or, you can go old school and buy at the end of the season for bottom prices and hoard til the next season.  I think that's been a parenting trick for forever!  One of my biggest secrets for shoe shopping is buying off season on Amazon - Reagan got winter fur boots for her August birthday last year and sandals for Christmas.  They were both around $55 retail and both were under $20. 
  • Discount websites - Zulilly and Rue La La are well known.  I have always had excellent experiences at both.  I got two of Reagan's Christmas smocks off Zulilly last summer for around $14 each, sweet summer boutique outfits for the following year for $5 at the end of the season, current season Gymboree, and so much more.  The downside is you often have to wait - clothes don't usually ship for around 2 weeks, and once they do ship, the shipping is the cheapest/slowest.  If you need it quickly, look for the little rocketship icon; that means it'll ship in a couple days.

Where I haven't found the deals to consistently be good - 

  • eBay - now don't get me wrong, there are definitely deals to be had here, and the PayPal buyer's protection is fantastic!  But I've found that a lot of sellers really gouge you on shipping prices to inflate their profit.  It drives me insane.  I'll resort to eBay as kind of a last resort if there's something I want that I can't find anywhere else.
  • Thrift stores - I have found a piece here and there.  I see all the time online how people find these amazing deals at Goodwill, and I've been lucky once or twice, but it's in no way close to worth the amount of time it would take to scour these places on the regular.  If you're going anyway, check the kid's sections, but personally - I won't be making any special trips.