Shopping with kids always seems like a disaster ready to happen. Well, with my kids anyway. As I arrive geared with snacks, bribes and promises of pet shop visits, my kids seem to sense my nervous energy, making their disapproval apparent before they have even left their car seats.
With my mission in mind – to buy some new clothes for my precious angels – I plan the quickest route from car park to store and back to the car park with a quick pit stop at the toilets.
Speed browsing through the narrow aisles for quality yet stylishly affordable clothing for my girls, the first meltdown erupts. As I scoop up my screaming toddler amidst the judgemental stares of solo shoppers I abort my plan, strap both kids back into the stroller and head back to the car – mission unaccomplished.
With my kids playing quietly in a room nearby I concede that my toddlers tend not to share my passion for shopping. So I log in online, browse and shop serenaded by the happy sound of towers being built and broken, blocks being tipped to the floor and tea parties being prepared for their legions of dolls.
Oh how I love online shopping.
When friends ask where I buy my kids clothes, and I tell them about the online stores I love, they are reluctant to give it a try for fear of buying the wrong clothes, the wrong sizes, and generally not getting it right.
Here are some tips that helped me and will help you shop online for your kids like a pro, and never end up with a pile of clothes that don’t fit.
Always know your child’s measurements and weight so that you can compare it to the store’s or brand’s specific size chart. Never rely on generic size conversion charts, as sizes vary considerably between brands. Always check for the sizing recommended by the individual store or brand for good fit.
Children’s measurements change regularly so make sure you are up-to-date on your kid’s height, waist, chest/bust, and hip measurements. If you are purchasing for the next season or next year make sure you add a size on the current size your child is wearing. I find that it always better to purchase a size up if you are unsure, that way if it is too large they can always wear it the following year.
Newborns and toddlers: Weigh your child and make note of their weight and height. If purchasing for the coming season add 6 months to your child’s current size. If purchasing for the following year, add a full size.
Always check the store’s return policy before you purchase. When purchasing from overseas check to see where the return address is located. You can save heaps if you shop at stores that have an Australian based returns address, or stores that offer to credit your return shipping back to you.
The longer and cheaper the return window, the better off you are, just in case.
Reviews are your best friend when shopping online, particularly overseas. Stores that offer customers the opportunity to give feedback on the clothes they buy are a godsend for online shoppers. Read through the reviews by other mums and dads to see if there were any major problems with the clothing, or if the sizing was off on that piece.
All good online stores note the fabric used to create the garment in their product description. This is usually a good clue as to the quality, durability, and washability of the item. When shopping for summer seasons I always look for clothes made out of 100% cotton or linen for my little ones, and in winter the percentage of wool or down can give you an idea of how warm the clothes might be. If the fabric is not listed, it never hurts to shoot the store an email and ask, they are usually happy to oblige. If not, probably best to take your business elsewhere.
5. Sales and Seasons
Most overseas online stores in general and particularly kids stores often have great sales and specials. Always sign up for your favourite store’s email list to stay up-to-date and in-the-know to get first access to all the best sales and deals. What makes it even better is that since we get to live on the better side of the globe, we can take advantage of end of season sales in the best way! When summer is drawing to a close here there are tons of fabulous winter bargains to be had overseas and likewise when the winter is ending in Australia, summer clothing stock prices are slashed overseas. So take advantage and shop great bargains, because you can!
Follow theses five great tips, and I promise your kids wardrobes will thank you!