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Cheap Is Chic Again

Vintage cowboy boots given to me by my boss! They were collecting dust in her closet.

One good thing about the current economic recession is that it’s cool to be thrifty again. I’ve read that one of the fastest growing businesses is consignment and thrift stores, especially for children’s clothing and toys. Gone are the days when people feel pressured to spend loads of money on dressing their kids like baby fashionistas. I love this because it’s preschool after all, not Fashion Week.

Probably 90% of my kids’ clothing comes from consignment shops or hand-me-downs from friends. I buy a few things new, but they’re almost always off the clearance rack. I happen to think that the retail price of children’s clothing is ridiculous, especially when you consider the actual cost of making the apparel. There is also a lot of controversy about the labor practices of the garment industry, specifically child labor in places like Taiwan and Bangladesh. It bothers me that 8 year olds work 10 hours a day so that my kid can wear Baby Gap. Buying used clothing makes me feel like I’m not contributing to the virtual enslavement of kids in underdeveloped countries. 

Additionally, I like that I’m not buying new because it’s a way of subverting the consumerist culture. I’m not defined by the clothes I wear and neither are my children. I realize that as they get older, they’ll have opinions about what they want to wear and peer pressure to buy certain brands. I hope to instill in them a sense of personal style that is more about their uniqueness than about brand recognition.

One goal I have is to learn how to sew on a sewing machine, at least simple patterns. I’ve seen so many cute patterns for little girls’ dresses, and I would love to be able to dress E (my 3 year old) in my own creations. I value making over buying any day. Maybe my 2012 resolution will be to learn how to sew. In the meantime, I’ll keep scouring the resale shops for bargains!

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