"I want it NOW!"

"I want it NOW!"

The back to school season is upon us, and I really feel for the millions of parents in this economy who are faced with buying clothes for their kids for the start of the school year.  Sure, you want your kid to look good and to feel good about themselves, but very few people I know can afford $150 for a pair of designer jeans.  Discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Marshalls are counting on this, and have ramped up their advertising to get you in their doors.  You’re still going to pay quite a lot to approximate the latest trends, the quality often isn’t so good, and kids loathe to have their stuff recognized as coming from Wal-Mart.  What to do?!  Gitcher butts to Goodwill! Or the Salvation Army!

Made you wince a little, didn’t I?  That’s what I’m here to help out with.  Shopping at a thrift store is only as productive and as lovely as you want to make it.  If you seek out faded black t-shirts with airbrushed wolves on them, you’ll find them, and how.

However, with a little creativity a good eye, and TSC Tips, you, and your child, will have some fabulous wardrobe staples that won’t break your budget (or get your kid ridiculed).

Now, kids are hard on clothes.  But they also outgrow them quickly.  If you find stores in more well-heeled neighborhoods, you can find nearly new items for a fraction of what you’ll pay for retail.

If nothing else, it won’t hurt anything for you to go take a look and check things out.  Here are a few TSC Tips to aid you in your search!

1.    Figure out what basics your child will need.  Pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, sweaters, jackets, rain boots, winter boots, etc.

2.    Go through a catalogue of popular stuff (Abercrombie, Hilfiger, Gap, etc.) and take a look at what the upcoming fashions are.

3.    Your child will most likely not want to go with you.  But who knows? Some might, especially if it’s presented at as a game:  “You can have 10 items of clothing that you want.”

4.    Check all items for quality – do the zippers work? Are the seams in good shape?  Are they made of natural fibers? (these last longer and are often of better quality and craftsmanship)

5.    Get creative!  A kid’s used denim jacket can look amazing after it’s been laundered and softened.  Add a few vintage pins or brooches (or an anarchy patch…depends on your kid), and voila!  Instant style, for pennies on the dollar!

6.    Stretch your dollar further by supplementing the basic wardrobe with trend-forward accessories.  Most kids follow the status quo and don’t think outside of the box when it comes to accessorizing.  Would you rather have a $50 Hilfiger T-shirt, or a $4 Hanes with an awesome bag/hat/bracelet/necklace?  A $80 corduroy skirt or a plain skirt and fabulous tights with Chuck Taylors?

All we’re saying is that it’s absolutely possible to make your kid look great, stay on budget, and help your community at the same time.

Post your favorite Back to School photos and show off your creativity!

And, as always, thanks for being a Thrift Store Confidential reader!


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  • Any fool can spend money. It takes intelligence, creativity and bravery to get what you want at the price you can reasonably afford.
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