The challenge has been challenging this week. I get my kids clothes at thrift stores or they are hand-me-downs (or handy-downs as Cole calls them), which has worked nicely for a long time. It’s still working, but here are some of the difficulties.
Boys vs. girls
They say girls are pickier about their clothing, however the person that said that did not have a Joe. After fighting with him for over an hour, I told him we were going to play dress up when he got home from school, meaning I was going to make him try on clothes since he says he doesn’t have any pants that fit him. And when I did find some? He didn’t like them. His response? “Oh fine, you’re going to dress me up like a fairy princess!” Oh, you think the boy would know better than to say something like that…
Let me give you a little background here. I was a tomboy and hated to wear anything girly. My mom was all about the frilly, fru-fru stuff, making me wear dresses and entering me in beauty pageants. (do not get me started on that one) The photo is of me, one that I altered for an expressive photography class. It’s part of a larger art collection about childhood.
In third grade, I got sent home for wearing bloomers to the private baptist school I attended. Let me just say that bloomers were NEVER in style and if you know me, I know you’re thinking this explains a lot. Shortly after that, they told my mom to go home because she went to the school office wearing a matching pants suit… with a matching, exposed bra under the unbuttoned blouse. I’m not even sure Madonna would have been able to pull this off. Sigh. Back to the future…
Although it’s tempting to dress Joe up like a fairy princess, and he would find some way to make it entertaining, I think it’s best not to, as I don’t have that much money in his therapy fund. He has always had his own style and I have always encouraged that with my boys. This photo is of Joe in his mismatched shoes, one Buzz Lightyear tennis shoe and one loafer. For 5 months these are the only shoes he would wear. If he woke up in the middle of the night and didn’t see his shoes, he would start wailing, “My shoes! My shoes!!” And let’s not even mention his Woody costume that I had to wash every night for 6 months.
Boys can be just as picky or high maintenance as girls. Gender makes no difference, but culture does.
The tag says what?!
I found some sweatshirts at the thrift store, nice ones that my kids needed. As I was taking one of them out of the dryer, thinking this is a really nice sweatshirt that was only $3, I noticed the tag. This very boy looking sweatshirt had a girl restroom logo tag and very small on the outside said “girl” embroidered on it. I thought I’ll just cut them out and the kids will never know, as the sweatshirt doesn’t at all look like it’s a girl piece of clothing. So Cole comes downstairs wearing it yesterday morning, before I had a chance to cut the tags out. I couldn’t let the boy go to school with that on because some kids would have noticed the tiny word, and if he took it off, his life would be over. I told him what it said, he quickly blamed his brother as I cut the tags out. He wore it and likes it. All is well.
Thrift store shopping tips (clothing)
I have done these before, but maybe they’ve changed a little and these are more clothing specific.
- Time and planning. If you’re looking for things you need quickly, you might get lucky and you might not. Plan ahead. Look for clothing that your kids can grow into. I have a plastic tub with clothing that’s really nice, but my kids won’t be able to wear for another year.
- Seasonal specional. It doesn’t matter what season it is, as a lot of people clean out their closets with off season stuff. Again, plan ahead. Buy what you need before the season starts.
- Look at the tags. I bought a really cute top a while back and realized it was a maternity shirt. I like it and wear it though. And for the record, I’m glad I bought the girl sweatshirt. It’s nice and was probably expensive when it was new.
- Altered art. Can you alter it? Some of you have sewing skills. My friend Becca just bought a couple of $2 t-shirts and made the coolest shirt the people thought came from Anthropologie.
- Their own style. Allow your kids to choose their own style (within reason), but also make them shop for clothing if they’re going to be picky.
- Slideshow. Show your kids photos of stuff your parents made you wear, then they’ll appreciate you more.