Sustainable Kids Fashion: Buy Well, Buy Once
Buy well buy once is my mantra for sustainable kids fashion—and it's more nuanced than just buying an organic cotton tee. Investing in quality clothing for kids is the most sustainable approach to dressing children. Yes, we've all heard it before: why spend money on kids when they outgrow their clothes so quickly? Or: my kids destroy their clothes so why bother buying anything nice for them? Or my personal favorite: my kid only wears ____ (insert tacky chain store clothing item here).
I'm here to tell you it's SIMPLY NOT TRUE. My personal shopping-for-kids philosophy is that you, your child, and the planet are ALL much better off when you follow the "buy well, buy once" mantra. Let me explain...it all boils down to these three little things: fit, quality, and style.
The fit of a garment is what gives it longevity. Good designs are made to grow WITH your child, taking them through multiple seasons. A great example of this is the dress: say you buy a dress for your little girl with room to grow ... sure it's a bit big the first season. Roll those sleeves up, belt it, and don't worry about the hemline. Nowadays hemlines fluctuate from mid calf to mid thigh. It's all about the attitude and individuality with kids, they have an amazing knack of pushing the fashion envelope. Fast forward to the next season....those generously cut sleeves fit perfectly, and the length is a bit shorter—perfect. And finally, because you've purchased a quality garment, that dress dances it's way into the season after as a tunic, worn over jeans or leggings. Cardis and tights take it from hot summers to cold winters on a dime.
While fit is crucial to extending the life of your child's wardrobe, it doesn't mean a whole lot if the fabric is of poor quality. Cheaply woven or synthetic fabrics will not have that soft "feel to the touch" that kids (and parents) love plus they don't breathe very well. Who wants to be hot and sweaty in any season because they are baking inside cheaply made clothes? NO ONE. Texture sensitivity aside, have you noticed that cheaply made garments tend to shrink way way down when you wash them? Quality fabrics such as soft jersey knit and linens will retain their shape and even soften with every wash
Do I really need to say anything about this? If you're reading this article, the answer is most likely a resounding NO but for those that need a gentle reminder or any unconverted husbands out there wondering why their wife doesn't just shop High Street, this last point is for you. Design is important! It's not just the extra spring in their step, the smile on their face or the positive giddiness that is enhanced by a "good outfit" day (ever catch a kid dancing in front of the mirror in their new shoes?) . Superior clothing design is performance-enhancing! From the skate park to the classroom, grandma's dinner table to the street, well-made stylish clothing keeps kids comfortable and cozy, cool and collected.
When the elements of fit, quality, and style are all present in a child's garment, that garment is likely to last much longer than apparel of it's chain store counterpart. A well-loved garment with great design will be happily passed along to siblings, neighbors and friends. It becomes a cherished piece of your family's story and will definitely not end up in a landfill six weeks after purchase.
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