Gwyneth Paltrow has been roundly criticized for her out-of-touch women's lifestyle site, GOOP, and I hate to add fuel to the fire since I think she means well ...
But I couldn't resist telling you about her latest GOOP newsletter, which contains her recommendations for children's clothing. This sundress, for example, is a Gwyneth fave. Sure, it's cute. It's also $96.
Ladies, I don't care how much money you have. PLEASE do not EVER spend $96 on a sundress for your toddler daughter for two reasons.
One, there's an excellent chance she's going to stain it within one or two wearings and you will be furious because YOU SPENT $96 ON THAT DRESS, OMG. And two, you can get the look for far, far less. Read on and I'll tell you how.
If you want designer gear for your kids, my very best piece of advice to all of you (except Gwyneth, who may be mobbed if she takes this advice) is to take the time to go to your local seasonal consignment sales. I have done this ever since my daughter was a baby and anyone who knows her will tell you -- the kid is IMMACULATELY dressed. Consignment is my dirty little secret.
At consignment sales, you will find racks and racks of deeply discounted, hardly worn designer girls' dresses. Think about it. Someone pays $96 for her daughter's Easter dress and because it was so expensive, her daughter only wears it once or twice before she outgrows it. The mom then consigns the dress for $25, but no one will buy it because everything else on the rack costs far less money. So on half-price day (most consignment sales typically go to half price on the final day, which is when I hit them), the dress is $12.50 AND IT'S MINE. Actually, I think $12.50 is high for a consignment dress, but if it were originally $96, I just might splurge.
I've bought the vast majority of my daughter's dresses, though, for between $3 and $9 and she's grown up with a closet full of hand-smocked dresses, Lilly Pulitzer sundresses, and Laura Ashley dresses. As an added bonus, she's allowed to wear her beautiful dresses pretty much anywhere, and if she spills something on it and it's ruined, it's no big deal, because I didn't spend a fortune on it.
As for my son, I keep it simple -- khakis, polos, and button-down Gap Kids shirts, and white t-shirts underneath. All are very easy to find at consignment sales.
As for new clothes, TJ Maxx often has fantastic, deeply discounted designer clothes for kids. I've gotten quite a few Ralph Lauren items for both my kids there. Target has great graphic t-shirts for boys now that look very fashionable layered over a long-sleeved white shirt. And once a year during its semi-annual sale, I splurge at Hanna Andersson and buy my daughter two or three dresses, all two sizes up. Hanna Andersson dresses look adorable on girls when they're oversized, they wash beautifully and never look old, and my daughter can generally wear a Hanna Andersson dress for at least three years (first as an oversized dress, later as a tunic-style dress with leggings) before she outgrows it.
Lately, I've also started using my flash sale site credits from Gilt, Ideeli, and HauteLook to buy kids' clothing (if you want to join these sites instantly, click on the links, I love them). I recently bought my son two awesome designer layer-look tees, originally $49.50 each, for $12.50 each -- and with one credit, I only spent a few dollars!
So Gwyneth, honey, spend as much as you want on yourself, but really. You don't need to spend all that money on your kids. Unless you just want to, I mean. But where's the fun in that?
What are your money-saving tips for buying kids' clothes?
Image via Busy Bees