As I write this post, I’m preparing clothing for a back-to-school segment for the Chicago ABC affiliate station’s morning show, “Windy City Live.” The more I peruse pictures of back-to-school fashion, the more I gain insight into what kids want to wear this year. But, I’ve also discovered that these same rules can apply for putting together great looks for anyone transcending chronological age. For the show I have four models that needed outfitting: two girls and two boys, ranging in age from five-to-nine years old. What struck me when I received the mini-models’ information from our marketing department here at Goodwill, was the very personal opinions expressed by the children about their clothing. It was their particular taste(s) coming through loud and clear! One girl professed that she doesn’t like the color pink, but she likes all kinds of pants. Practical girl, I would say. Another boy enjoys wearing shorts and the color blue. And, our smallest girl is akin to lots of colors, princess-type clothing and dance. My dilemma soon became, what can I do to please them all, as well as the producer for the show? Well, just like I do for all photo shoots and fashion shows, I went to Goodwill and found something for everyone. Here are some of my rules for finding great clothing for kids at Goodwill stores in your neighborhood …
1. First and foremost, you may want to take your kid with you as you try to fill the gaps in their back-to-school wardrobe. That way you can avoid the hassle of them not wanting to wear what you’ve picked out! For me, a fitting is a good indication of what fits, and what they like, as well as what will look good on camera.
2. Think in practical terms (like I do) about what would be the best approach while shopping. For kids, I always start with jeans. Jeans are a staple of family life and especially your child’s back-to-school wardrobe. On trips to three Goodwill stores in my area, I was able to find quite a few NEW pairs of jeans and slacks at more than reasonable prices. Since this is usually an item kids wear day-in and day-out (and not only in school) your focus should be on creating an entire jeans wardrobe for the year.
3. Look for layering pieces such as long-sleeved t-shirts in solid colors that can be added as the weather gets colder this coming fall. They look great alone as well, and these are yet another great staple item that you’ll return to again and again. Short-sleeved, solid-colored t-shirts, or those with graphics and logos, would be the next item of interest. Thank goodness that all of our stores are segmented by size, but take my word on it, you may want to scan the other sizes too, just in case you find something awesome that may not fit now, but could work in the future. Kids do grow fast and, at our prices, this makes a lot of sense.
4. Trend items and things that look like mom or dad would wear them if they were their size, are always a great way to create kid-friendly fashion. Button down shirts and blouses, long-sleeved sweaters, vests, skirts, dresses, hoodies and anything else that trips your kid’s fancy (or those that earn your parental approval) should be purchased as well.
5. Given that children grow quickly, but are hard on clothing sometimes, means that our stock of gently-used, or often NEW items, at Goodwill turn over quickly - so frequent shopping for your little style maven is a must! Accessories such as shoes, backpacks and coats get a lot of wear, and they’re a little rarer to find at times in our stores. Taking note of that fact, when you do find something that could work for your kid be sure to grab it!
I always try to hit the mark as it relates to style and fashion for EVERYONE in the family, but when it comes to kids you can always tell when they really like how they look! Those big smiles come out and, if you’re lucky, they may even do a little happy dance. That’s why Goodwill is a terrific resource in the battle with the budget when it comes to back-to-school looks that the whole family can take to the head of the class! I guess you could say our “Mission” is accomplished!