With North West and Penelope and Mason Disick ruling the toddler tinsel town these days as mini fashion icons, you might find yourself a little discouraged when you look into your own child’s closet. Fashion-forward toddlers are taking over social media; coining terms like “micro-fashion” and “mini-fashionista” before they ever hit the terrible twos. But what’s a non-celebrity mama to do with a tight budget and the poison from the bite of the fashion bug flowing through her veins? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered – or at least your little one, anyway. The following is a list of rules to live by if you want to fill your own toddler’s closet with fashionable threads without breaking the bank!
80-90% of your child’s closet should be filled with second-hand items. Seriously. It’s that simple. Brand new baby and toddler clothes from retailers are EXPENSIVE. And kids outgrow their clothing so quickly. Unless you’re planning on hoarding every single piece of clothing your little ones own for all of their future siblings and their children after that, chances are, you will most likely be donating them to Goodwill or selling them for pennies-on-the-dollar at yard sales. What a waste of money!
So, mamas of little fashionistas, take advantage of all of the mamas who DO drop their barely worn, excellent condition and practically new kids’ clothing off at Goodwill and those who sell those beautiful name brand designer dresses that their daughters wore for one event ever for $1 at their annual yard sale. You can buy bundles of practically new pieces of clothing for the price of one new item at a retail store.
Don’t shy away from unconventional pieces. Vintage baby clothes (anything from the 90s and earlier – chew on that one for a while!) are making a huge comeback in the micro-fashion world. Goodwill is a great place to find vintage pieces. There are also tons of vintage resale shops and shops that make vintage-inspired handmade clothing on Instagram right now that specialize in finding and selling amazing pieces for kids. The best part is, these shops are set up and run by mamas all over the country; so you have the opportunity to snag vintage clothing from all over the US and beyond – which completely broadens the variety of styles and options you’ll have. (Think vintage Hawaiian toddler dresses, for example!)
Also, look for accessories, like old costume jewelry and scarves, at yard sales. You can find some really cool and special pieces that people are practically willing to give away! (This outdated adult sized collar was a steal at 25 cents during a church yard sale. It was given new life as a toddler poncho!)
The key is to mix vintage pieces with modern pieces and accessories to create a truly unique and iconic look.
Become a Brand Representative For Handmade Shops
Small, handmade, mama-run shops are taking over the micro fashion market! From quotable tees to gorgeous rompers, headbands and leggings, your options for shopping handmade are endless. These women are hardworking, creative and innovative; and many of them run their shops directly from Instagram.
The best way for these shop owners to promote their brand and their products is to find brand representatives who will wear their clothing and promote their shop via their social media outlets. Most will hold searches, where they request that you tag them in a few of the photos that best represent your child’s style and your photography skills; and then they pick a handful of kids every quarter who they feel will best represent their brand. The shops promise to send free products to you in return for quality photos and brand promoting on your personal social media pages.
The key to getting your child chosen to rep for these shops is to have a good following on your Instagram account (some mamas create a separate account just for their child’s fashion photos so they can keep their personal accounts private) and daily posting of photos focusing on your child’s outfits. These shops look for unique styling and crisp, clear photos that showcase their products. If you want to stand out, take risks with your styling choices, and be sure to focus on the products you’re representing.
The “small shop” and “rep mama” community on Instagram is such a great way to make friends who share in your joy and passion for micro-fashion. The more shops and mamas you follow and interact with on a daily basis, the more known you will become in the community, and the better your chances will be for your child to represent these shops. If your photography skills are not top notch, fear not. We have an entire photography section with helpful posts to get you on your way to taking beautiful, quality photos of your little one.
If your child represents multiple shops, try to style their daily outfits with pieces from each shop. Tag the shops in your photo, so other mamas know where you got the pieces. (That’s how the shop owners will get new followers and customers, which is their reason for seeking reps in the first place.) And don’t be afraid to be bold and take risks. Don’t just include small shop pieces into your child’s daily outfits. Toss in some of your vintage and modern thrifted finds and your own accessories to make it a completely unique look. An icon is not born by wearing khakis and polos, after all.
Resale the Right Way
While it might be easy to toss all of your child’s outgrown clothing into bins and slap a “$1 a piece” sign on it at your annual yard sale, you won’t be making even a fraction of the money you spent on it when you bought it new. Whether it be modern name-brand items or thrifted modern and vintage, you can make a pretty penny setting up your own shop and selling your child’s used items on Instagram. All you have to do is open a new Instagram account with your shop’s name (ex: Chloe’s Closet), gain a following by using hashtags promoting your upcoming sale (#vintagekids #vintageresale #kidsclothing), and take well-lit photos of your individual items. Be sure to mention any imperfections or stains, and take a photo of them if it’s possible as well as one with your child actually wearing the clothing.
Include the size, measurements and a short detail of the item in your caption. When pricing, always try to have one flat rate that includes shipping ($7 shipped). People are much more likely to purchase something when they know exactly how much it is going to cost in the end. Set up a paypal account and have buyers leave their paypal email address to claim an item. Then, you simply invoice them and send their items out in the mail the next day. The same vintage dress that someone found at the bottom of your bin and paid a dollar for could sell for $15 dollars or more in your shop! In the end, you will be able to buy all the new and used clothing you want for your little ones and then resale it for equal, or in some cases, way more, than what you paid for it!
If you find it difficult to part with things (there’s a little Carrie Bradshaw hoarder in all of us, isn’t there?), choose a few items from each year of your child’s life that are really important to you to save. Sell the rest in your shop after your child has outgrown them or you are sure you aren’t going to want to use them again down the road. You are obviously going to take photos of your little fashionista in all of her outfits; so each year, print a fashion book for her. She will absolutely love looking through all of the volumes of her coffee table books when she’s older; and having them will make it a little bit easier for you to part with the actual outfits.
Raising a micro fashion icon doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to be willing to search for gems in all the right places and put a little work into it.
Photo Credit: Marley Layne’s Closet