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Is It Worthwhile to Purchase Children’s Clothing in Advance?

My little guy is five months old. So far he’s on the big and tall spectrum of the height and weight scale and is already wearing clothes in nine and twelve month sizes. In the first few months he’s barely had time to wear the same outfit more than two or three times before he outgrows them. Luckily I received a bunch of outfits as gifts and hand-me-downs. I also bought a few adorable onesies using gift cards I received from my baby shower.

Now that he’s getting bigger I’ll need to buy a greater share of his clothes. I’ve considered taking advantage of end of season sales on everything from winter coats to snow boots, but of course I have no idea if he’ll continue to grow at this rate or not. While I could purchase items for nearly 90% off the retail value I fear that I’ll choose the wrong size and that they ultimately won’t fit.

A bargain is no bargain if he doesn’t end up wearing anything I buy. So now I’m wondering if I should try to estimate what size he’ll be wearing and search around for seasonal sales or if I should keep my money in my pocket since I really have no idea what size he’ll wear next season.

Any thoughts from my readers? Do you take advantage of end of season sales and have you found that most of the items actually fit when the next year rolls around?

Nicole @ The Penny Frugalista

Wednesday 4th of April 2012

It depends on the weather in your area and how much you buy. At 90% off, I don't think it'd hurt to buy a few things -- coats can be ridiculously expensive, so I agree with a previous poster about snagging one of those. This winter, I discovered a coat that's a size bigger fits better over winter clothes (my daughter is 14 months now).

Regular-weight playwear and sleepwear is your best bet, because they can be worn across a season or two (spring into summer, or summer into fall). Or you can layer long-sleeved shirts until a short-sleeved top if it doesn't fit until winter.

I don't buy a full year ahead, though -- right now, I'm looking for clothes that would work for fall.

Jen

Tuesday 3rd of April 2012

I frequently buy ahead, so far w/ great success - but my two boys are fairly average sized and have grown at very predictable steady rates. It also helps to know that if I "miss" w/ one then there is still the chance it will work for the other in a few yrs. My best friend's baby was a chart-topper as it seems yours is. I seem to remember that he was in 2T by age one, but stayed in 2T for about 7-8 mo after that. At least once you get past the 'every 3 month' sizing, there is a little more room for error, and they tend to stay in the size longer. For the really great deals I'd say go for it - maybe even in 2 different sizes if you really like it. You can always gift, consign, or Ebay what doesn't work.

JoeTaxpayer

Monday 2nd of April 2012

90%? Even if 'normal' deals are half price, you are getting a 5 to 1 return on your money. Imporove your odds by avoiding the things that have the higher risk of not fitting, such as pants, but I'd grab the shirt and jacket/coat. If only half gets used, you're still ahead of the game.

Jamie B

Sunday 1st of April 2012

It is possible and worthwhile, but can be difficult, especially since you mentioned he's an odd fit. If there's a certain brand that you know fits him the best, you can pretty accurately estimate what size he'll be in in a year or at a certain season. But that doesn't mean he won't have a spurt or that you'll not guess wrong. I'd say buy it if you really love it, if it's an extraordinary deal, or if you can gift it to someone else in the event of it not fitting. :)

WorkingMom

Saturday 31st of March 2012

Having three boys (16, 12, and 4), I would say keep the money in your pocket for now. In my experience, buying in advance leads to clothes that fit during the wrong season. When you need clothes, try consignment/second-hand clothing stores (we have Children's Orchard), shopping the clearance racks at TJ Maxx and Marshall's, and yard sales held by mothers' groups. When they're that little, they grow out of or trash the clothes they wear when they're little. Save your money for one cute outfit they can wear for special occasions like holidays or family celebrations (when you know the cameras will be on him!).