Finding Clothes That Fit Your Child
There it is, another package sitting on my back porch from yet another children’s clothes store. If you are the delivery guy, you’re probably starting to think that perhaps a new kid has moved in. In the last four weeks, almost every day, another package arrives from places like Gymboree, Lands End, Mini Boden, Old Navy, GAP, Garnet Hill Kids, Vineyard Vines, Hanna Andersson or Athleta (okay, that one’s for me). Each afternoon, I hope “this will be the one that fits!” More often than not though, the contents of the package end up back in a bag to be returned. Perhaps I should think of opening a clothing store in my living room instead…
It’s only recently that clothing shopping for my daughter has become more of a painful chore than a pleasure. Gone are the days when I could have bought anything off the shelves and it would look cute and fit because she was true to size. She has now hit that curious size, the size that doesn’t seem to exist, or worse yet, the size when clothes become incredibly inconsistent from one brand to the next. Every night before bed she tries on more clothes, specifically pants. I’ve resorted to bargaining with her – you can pick out what we eat for dinner, etc… but you have to try on four pairs of pants tonight. You want to take a bath instead of a shower? You want to pick the TV show? Okay, but you need to try on clothes, too.
I’m entering the world of desperation. I fear mornings and find I actually beg for it to be hot enough for shorts and skirts because those all fit relatively the same. On chilly mornings, panic runs through my body. I have a friend who hands me down a ton of clothes, yet this is the first time none of them fit. So, my online shopping habits have sky rocketed (you don’t even want to think of what my credit card bill is…I can’t even bring myself to look.) I’m ordering from stores I would never have bought clothes from before, primarily because they are expensive, but I’m now willing to spend much more on a pair of pants IF they actually fit. Unfortunately, no one wants my money. They can’t seem to deliver a pair of pants that fits my soon-to-be seven year old.
My orders are large, consisting of “regular” and “plus” sizes and consisting of size sevens and eights. But either the pants are too big, too small or evilly scream “I’m going to shrink after you wash me. Just try me!” In addition to finding a size that fits, the closure on the pants also has to work for us. Certain buttons are impossible for my daughter to undo, especially when they are first worn. Now I’m even finding myself seriously contemplating paying for the pants to be hemmed. Hemming pants for a soon-to-be seven year old! It’s not supposed to be this difficult.
Recently, I broke down and bought leggings. They have stretchy waists and because they are tight all the way down, the length isn’t as critical. I’m not a huge fan of the leggings, but when paired with a cute dress, I think they can work. Finding the cute dresses is a whole different set of problems, but alas, I have several boxes arriving soon and am hopeful I will have a few outfits for my daughter to wear.
I wish I had the solution to finding clothes that fit kids, but I don’t. However, I do have a few tips to share that I’ve learned along the way.
- Focus on stores with Slim, Regular and Plus fit sizes (and try not to cringe at the “labeling” the clothing industry uses).
- Be very aware of return policies, including how much time you have to make a return and how the return can be made. Land’s End, OshKosh, Carter’s and Hanna Andersson all have the best return policies of any clothing store out there. As long as you save the receipt you can return items anytime as long as the tags are still on. GAP & Old Navy are at the other end of the spectrum with some of the shortest return windows. Remember too, some items are return-by-mail only, so if a size doesn’t work out, you may be stuck footing the return bill.
Beyond this, I just want to wish you luck in finding clothes that fit your kids. Sometimes luck is what you need!