Second-Hand Shopping Tips to Outfit Your Growing Family
Shop efficiently, shop often and don't forget the accessories.
Everyone knows that brand new, fashionable, quality clothing is expensive. That sticker shock is particularly painful when you’re buying for growing kids as well as yourself. Whether you have a toddler who is going up a size every few months or a teenager who wants to experiment with fashion, second-hand shopping can be an affordable alternative to buying brand new. Plus, if you position it the right way, your kids may just fall in love with the thrill that comes with hunting for preloved gear. These tips will help you make the most of your second-hand shopping experience, while keeping everyone in your family looking sharp:
1. Appeal to your kids’ environmental and social conscience
Most kids are acutely aware of environmental issues and know that disposable fashion culture makes for landfills full of perfectly good clothing. Shopping at Value Village reduces waste by giving gently used clothing another chance to be cherished. Also, Value Village buys its clothing and household items from local nonprofits, which allows those agencies to fund vital programs within the community.
2. Let your tweens or teens experiment with their style
Not only does Value Village offer department store brands at a fraction of the original cost (96% of items sold in Value Village stores are priced at under $10), but the affordable prices and added selection of vintage fashions lets kids experiment with various looks without breaking the bank. It’s important to stock up on staple pieces like jeans, jackets, and basic button-ups, but if your teen is going to go through a short-lived phase where she only wears fringe and pleather or pastel-coloured denim, you can also indulge those whims without sinking hundreds of dollars into a look that is only going to last a couple of months. Plus you can bond over going through the racks in search of that perfect vintage piece to complete those unique outfits.
3. Shop efficiently and shop often
With over 100,000 quality preloved items on the floor of a Value Village store at any given time a shopping trip can quickly become overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to have an idea of what kind of items you’re looking for, while still being open to stumbling upon an unexpected treasure. Shopping often is also a good plan: over 6,000 fresh items hit the floor daily and things like high quality baby clothes and designer label clothing for older kids and teens go quickly. Making a habit of stopping by your local store on your lunch break or on the way home from work a couple of times a week can result in some great scores.
4. Style isn’t just about clothing
Clothes are definitely one of the main attractions at any second-hand store, but personal style also includes home décor. Value Village stores are packed with décor items to help kids of all ages personalize their bedrooms — whether they’re looking for desk lamps to help them do their homework or quirky antiques to add some personalized retro flair. If your teen likes cooking and wants to throw a dinner party for their friends, try collecting some mismatched vintage dishes, a look that is all the rage in hip urban restaurants.
5. Don’t forget the accessories!
Whether they’re seven or 17, fashion conscious kids know that the key to making an outfit truly special is to focus on the accessories. An otherwise boring T-shirt with jeans or a black tunic over leggings can be elevated to high fashion with a funky hat, a chunky vintage necklace, or the perfect pair of shoes.
6. Use your DIY skills
Part of the fun of saving money on previously worn clothing is that you don’t have to feel guilty if you tear it apart and stitch it into something new. When shopping for second-hand clothes, don’t just look for the “perfect” pieces (though you are bound to find some) — look for pieces that have the potential to be transformed. If you or your teen like to sew, search for garments made from interesting fabrics that can be restructured or completely repurposed. Cut the necks or arms off of t-shirts with cute or ironic slogans for an updated look. Or, if you find something that fits well but don’t like the colour, switch it up with fabric dye. Let your creativity run wild — not only will your kids end up with a unique wardrobe, but working together on it is also a lot of fun.