How to (Affordably) Outfit Your Kids in Natural Fibers
Kids are the original inventors of fast fashion—buy them clothing and they’ll outgrow it in record time!
But for real, we’re all waking up to the realities of fast fashion and other harmful textile industry practices, from synthetic fibers to toxic chemicals to unfair labor practices. We certainly want to do our part, but especially as the seasons shift into autumn and winter, it can be a teeth-gritting, wallet-pinching exercise to invest in pieces for our littles.
One of the easiest tips to follow out there with regard to reducing our impacts is to wear the clothing that we have for as long as we possibly can. With kids’ clothes that are only worn for a few months, it makes sense to pass them on. Keeping clothing circulating rather than being discarded in landfills is not only helpful to the cause, it can also be helpful for our budgets!
What to do? Here are some handy approaches for those years from baby to older kid, before their growth begins to slow down in the teen years.
Buy Up a Size (or Two)
As a parent, you figure this one out pretty quick. If we look at something like wool base layers, you can buy them a little big and they’ll be loose the first year, fitting the second, and if they are comfortably stretchy enough you might get a third year of wear out of them. Dresses easily become cute swingy tops as they get taller. Sweaters and jackets can be baggy for a while until they grow into them.
When it comes to things like scarves, hats, and gloves, you can feel good investing in quality wool items that have multi-year wearing potential.
Have an Eye on Hand-Me-Downs
Maybe you’re just beginning to embark on the journey toward building your family and suspect you’ll have more. Maybe you’re “one and done” but have a circle of close friends with kids around the same age. Or maybe your friends and family are a step ahead and you’re looking to plug into the hand-me-down train.
Whatever the case, this is a fantastic way to outfit your kiddo in quality threads, especially if you’re surrounded by other environmentally-conscientious folks. You could even strike up a deal with a group of families to invest in cotton and wool clothing together.
Go Gender Neutral
This is especially effective in the early years. Buying items either resale or brand new in gender neutral colors ensures that they can be worn and loved for as long as they’re purposeful. Whether it’s in your own family, in a circle of friends and family, or with an eye toward reselling it, gender neutral colors will maximize their reusability.
Resale is the Best Sale
Second-hand, thrift store, consignment, online upcycling…the options are endless. These days it’s easier than ever to find reasonable quality natural fiber clothing—let someone else pay full price!
To find what you’re looking for locally, go for higher-end or thoughtfully curated consignment shops (though if you’re up for the hunt, regular thrift stores can yield big gems too). Craft fairs and farmers’ markets may feature local artisans upcycling clothing for children.
Online opens up a whole world of options. Sites like ThredUp, Etsy, and eBay are well-known for those who love the search. Labels to look for include:
- Nui Organics