Do you feel like you’re constantly buying clothes for your family, but rarely yourself? I was never a total fashionista before I became a mom, but I used to care about what I wore. Clothes shopping was a regular activity. I paid attention to annual trends. Stained clothes got thrown out promptly. And I’m embarrassed to admit that I would spend way too much time in front of the mirror agonizing over what outfit to wear whether it was for a big event or just running out to get groceries. Now after two kids, sadly none of the above is true except that I do still in theory care about what I wear, but am just too exhausted to devote much energy to it. So here are some clothing hacks for both mom and kids to help maximize what little time and money we do still have to devote to our wardrobes.
For Your Kids
Hang up any clothing you really care about. When they’re young, this doesn’t matter as much. But I found out the hard way that as my son started picking out his clothing every morning, he increasingly had a knack for selecting the “special occasion” shirts and pants that I kept neatly folded in the back of his drawers. After the third or fourth time of him coming home from preschool wearing his best pair of pants now covered in mud and paint, I decided to start segregating his clothing. Play clothes go in easy-to-reach drawers. Fancy outfits get hung out of reach in his closet. Now, if only I could figure out a way to keep him from undoing twenty minutes of my work folding and putting away laundry by pulling them all out of his drawers just for fun….
Take photos of any outfit you want to remember at the beginning of the event, or even before you leave the house. This goes for everything from birthday best to that adorable onesie your mom sent the baby. Because if your children are anything like mine, chances are they will find a way to stain it before you get a chance to capture an image for posterity. Bonus tip: Find a stain treater that works (I like Seventh Generation Natural Stain Remover Spray) and be ready to use it often!
Give fancy clothing to other people’s children; rarely buy it for your own. I admittedly have a tough time following the latter part of this tip especially when browsing the sale racks at Janie and Jack. But here’s the thing: Kids clothing is expensive, particularly when you think about the fact that they’re growing so quickly we’re having to buy new clothes for growing bodies every few months. So chances are, you’ve figured out by now that it makes economical sense to buy the majority of their everyday wardrobe from discount stores, and you’ve probably bought most of it on sale the previous season. Though it’s always helpful to receive more kids clothing in any form, when someone gives you a beautiful outfit for your child that you never would’ve budgeted for but absolutely love, it’s that much more meaningful. Be that aunt who goes on a mini shopping spree at Bloomingdales for her niece.
On a related note, find a resale group. There is no shame in buying second-hand clothing (it’s the eco-conscious fashionista choice!), and that’s especially true for your children. Find a kids consignment store, or ask around for a local resale group on Facebook. These are great ways to buy gently used clothes both for play and special events, and are also a terrific resource for when you’re ready to clean out your children’s closets. I once got a bag of 20 pairs of play shorts…for $20! Some resale stores and groups include toys, baby gear, and even maternity clothes, all of which comes in handy when you realize how much money you’re laying out for clothes that will likely be worn less than a full year.
Get clothing suggestions from a personal shopper or fashion blogger you admire. Even if you are a SAHM and technically not earning a salary to do the job of mom, your time is worth money. It is a valuable commodity that could be better spent, say, sleeping, so leave the hard work of sifting through this season’s trends as they relate to your ever-changing body shape to a professional. Most department stores offer free personal shopper services, or if you prefer the convenience of online shopping, my colleague at Anaheim Moms Blog wrote this rave review of an affordable online stylist service called Stitch Fix. My choice for fashion advice oddly enough is former Bachelor contestant turned fashion blogger Sharleen Joynt’s excellent blog alltheprettypandas.com, where she both dissects the content of each new Bachelor(ette) episode and includes links for where to buy her favorite outfits from each week. I recently bought a pair of vegan leather pants from a Canadian website I’d never heard of thanks to her suggestion – something I never thought I’d want to wear! – and they are my new favorite outfit for (the rare) date night.
Never care about anything you wear. This sounds more depressing than it is. What I mean is, just make peace in advance with the idea that, on a daily basis, anything you’re wearing has a high likelihood of getting stained. If you have a baby, you will get spit up on. A small muddy person will sit on your lap. There will be a surprise hug involving spaghetti-covered fingers. Probably all in the same day. This is just a fact of parenthood and the sooner you accept it, the less often you will find yourself tearfully spraying stain remover on your favorite shirt.
Now, if you try all these clothing hacks and find that you’re still spending too much time, money, and energy, don’t despair. You can always take a page from Steve Jobs and have the whole family adopt a uniform!
How about you, mama friends? Do you have any clothing hacks to add to the list? Please share!
Contributing Sister Site and Author
Though I was born and raised in New York City, I’ve lived in SoCal for over ten years now and am proud to call this beautiful and diverse place my home. My husband and I have a young son and a second child on the way! Prior to becoming a mommy I spent several years in feature film publicity and acquisitions for Miramax and later as the Creative Executive for Hilary Swank Productions before seguing to the music industry where I did Online Communications for the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. In my ample pre-parenthood free time, I also freelanced as a script analyst and screenwriter. I am fortunate now to be able to devote all my time to my family, but I still love to write so am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog! I am a foodie, avid traveler, environmentalist, preschool parent volunteer, and unabashed Disney nut.