We do the math: High-quality clothes save $

It’s counter-intuitive, but you should spend a little more on the stuff they wear every day, because it will save you $ in the end. Cheap clothes look like crap after four or five washings. Good clothes keep their shape, don’t shrink, and have better hand-me-down potential and resale value.

Consider this: a pair of Old Navy jeans ($19) lasted for six months before there were holes in the knees and were too short (due to shrinkage). Resale value: $0 Net cost per month: $3.17

A pair of Hanna Andersson jeans ($28 on sale) lasted for sixteen months (and my kid grows fast), looked good through practically weekly washings, and were snapped up at the resale shop. Resale value: $8 Net cost per month: $1.25 (Less if you have more than one kid of the same gender.)

Don’t get us wrong — we love Old Navy. You can’t beat it for a $5 t-shirt that will soon be splattered with paint, or for a dress-up outfit that runs the risk of being outgrown before leaving the hanger. (Man, that sucks.) But for the everyday stuff, go for quality. Think Hanna (a Portland favorite, available via Web and catalog elsewhere), LL Bean, Nordstrom, Gymboree, and, in some cases, Gap. I’m sure there are many local kids’ clothing shops that are even better than the chains I’ve listed here (suggestions are welcome in the comments).

Caveat: this applies less to babies, who grow like weeds but aren’t running around in the dirt and scuffing their knees.

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  1. Mary Wells Pope says

    I couldn’t agree more, but would also add Mini Boden to your list of high- quality, great value children’s clothing. The same quality and price as Hanna, but not quite as bright and flowery, also lots of great cool unisex clothes for kids of all ages. I especially like it for boys and older kids. http://www.boden.com

    Love the site!

  2. Ann says

    I would add Babystyle to the list. Their basic T shirts, play pants, and dresses are super-soft, last forever, and fade slowly and attractively. Much of what they offer is mix-and-match, which is handy when you need to change items of clothing every few hours for various reasons. I think they mainly exist online, though there may be a handful of storefronts.

  3. Anonymous says

    All of the above can be bought cheaply at resale shops. Same equation, newly done. Bought at resale shop for $8. Used for six months before outgrown. Sold at resale shop for $6. Cost per month: $0.33.

  4. bkienan says

    Hallelujah, sister. I’ve been using the “buy quality (on sale)and resell when outgrown” strategy for seven years. The resell shops always take what I bring in, because it’s all still in good shape, and each round of reselling finances the latest round of new purchases. Works like a dream.

    Haven’t had luck with reselling anything purchased at the resale shop, though (as another parent suggested in this blog). Our local reseller seems to take only things that have gone through one round of use.

    Anyway, the buy-new-and-resell strategy is great for us.

  5. says

    Old Navy up to 2 years old, why spend $38 on a pair of Jeans they’re only going to wear for 6-10 weeks, when you can spend $12 and still resell them.
    Once they’re done with the huge growth spurts, then change to the more expensive clothing.
    Tip: Buy next years clothes with this years clearance sales!

  6. says

    I’m with Allyson…I might go with the expensive clothes once the girls slow down a bit with the growth spurts, and try to find them used in the meantime. I LOVE those manufacturers, but buying all that for twins would bankrupt us.

    Also, call me cynical but something tells me that grape juice can ruin a cute $35 Babystyle outfit just as well as a $10 Old Navy one. Our local resale shop won’t take anything but the most pristine of outfits, so one little blemish of any kind and they won’t take it, expensive or not.

    (White grape juice is my friend!)

  7. Great White North Country says

    I’m searching for pants to fit my chubby 6.5yr son…..waist 31 & leg 26…Seems impossible….everything needs to be hemmed 5-6 inches in length and the Rise (crotch) is too long….any ideas would be great…thanks

  8. Jodi says

    I really find good deals on clothes at Children’s Place. I haven’t had any trouble with quality and can normally find clothes for $2-5 a piece. I do buy bigger sizes when there are sales because my kids grow like crazy (my 3 year old wears 4t and my 6 mo old wear 12-18 mos). And, if you join their mailing list, you get additional 15% off coupons.

  9. Ingrid says

    Here in Vancouver there’s a great local brand called Please Mum. I got to know them through the excellent hand-me-downs I was receiving, now when I need to buy new, I go to Please Mum. Their things also resell well.