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Durable clothes for little guys?

Now that Everett's starting kindergarten and needs lots of serviceable and (my preference) non-commercial playwear, I've been thinking about buying a few really nice things every pay period -- nothing fashion-forward, just t-shirts and polos and chinos and sweatpants that will last, and last, and last. After all: I have three boys and I'd like to avoid having to purchase these again and again.

Truman_climbing_wall I've had good luck with Hanna Andersson sweat pants and chinos, but I don't like many of their pants styles and their shirts haven't done well in my house (lots of unravelling hems and the like). I love American Apparel for myself but have found that the stretchy fabric that's so comfortable also tends to wear quickly. I'm tired of putting pants in my pile of those-needing-knee patches! Does anyone have any favorite kids' clothing makers, or stories of flimsy stuff I should avoid? Retailers with good sales preferred...


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I have heard the Sear's has a policy that they will replace pants that get blowouts in the knee or possibly else were. (My girlfriend buys all of her boys pants there) But, I don't know any other details. Would be worth calling. Hope this helps!

I have a little girl but have found that clothes at naartjie online or at washington square mall seem to last through several seasons and lots of washing. I find them to be as good of quality as Hanna....they have great sales and cute stuff for boys.

i second the Sears post above. i buy lots of clothes for my boys at sears and i always figured that they would outgrow the pants before the pants/shirts wear out, but if you have 3 boys, it's probably a good option for you.

I love Gymboree. They put their stuff on sale all the time, which is good because I really don't like to spend full price since it is spendy. But, I'm buying for two boys, so I know everything will get used twice, which does make me willing to spend a little more. I won't spend mmore than $10 for shirts and $15-20 for pants, and I can usually get away with this. There are exceptions. Something about they way they size things makes them fit forever, and I've not worn out anything, even though I've bought alot resale so I know it's had a previous life. They have the adjustable waist, etc, which extends life. And, on line you can easily cruise all the sale stuff, if you have limited time. I don't know what shipping costs, since I usually go in the store because it's my one shopping pleasure left!

I wish I could say I love Hanna Anderssen, but I just don't. I don't find their stuff on sale much, and the shirts get short fast. I've blown through knees in their pants, but it was usually resale. I also stay away from Target clothes. The price is alluring, but I find they get outgrown quickly. I think it's the sizing thing. I'm also starting to experiment with some Old Navy things, which so far I'm liking. I've also picked up a few shirts and fleece things at Fred Meyer when they're on sale and have been pretty happy.

Good luck. I think the trick is to be willing to invest the money now since you do plan to get alot of life out of them. It makes a lot more sense than spending more on things that wear out so you have to replace. And, who knows, you may get some resale value out of them in the end!

Now, any suggestions for how you store things? By size, by season, what's your trick?

Our family budget does not allow for many (if any) purchases at the adorable local clothing stores around town, and I have not had much luck finding things at resale shops so I tend to shop the mall stores for clothing for my boys. My strategy is ALWAYS to buy things on sale, and preferably at the end of one season on clearance to be used for the following year. I've got a drawer full of pants and shirts that I will get out shortly that I bought the end of last winter, and I've just put away several pairs of new shorts that I bought a few weeks ago that Anders can wear next summer.

My favorites are Gymboree, Gap, Children's Place and Old Navy, and Hanna when I can hit a good sale usually at the outlet in LO. Gymboree in particular runs a good sale/promotion a couple times a year where if you spend $50 you get $25 in "Gymbucks" to use at a specified time a few weeks later. And then a month or two later you can spend $50 and redeem them and get the $25 off. Somewhere in the "earning" weeks there is almost always a weekend where everything is an additional 30% off, so things get really affordable. I recently spent $50 (enough to get the $25 in Gymbucks) and came home with 8-9 items of clothing, no single item was more than $15 and I can go back in a few weeks to spend my Gymbucks and hopefully come home with some more gooddies to pack away for next year.

I'm really happy with the quality of everything I've gotten at these stores and not as happy with the things that have been purchased at the Targets and Fred Meyers types of stores along the way.

I'd actually find a great resale shop and frequent it on a fairly regular basis - you can often find gently worn name-brand clothing for a fraction of the price you'd pay retail.

Old Navy is having a big sale right now. They have some great fleece and denim for around $10.

I have always had great luck w/Hanna Anderson. The Lake O outlet is the best bet. Their sizing lasts on my son for at least a year and I find they can wash and wash and wash.

Gap on sale is good too.

we've had really good luck with land's end clothing (not the shoes!). nearly all of the items we've bought from there have made it through at least two of my kids and still look pretty fresh.

I think that OshKosh would be great durable clothes for a young boy...cute too and not too expensive

I have two boys (2.5 and 4.5) and I buy Oshkosh for them. I won't buy anything else!! They last forever and its the only kind of clothes that will fit my kids the right way. My boys are so tall and thin and these pants are longer and have waist bands in them that you can ajust. We live at the base of a mountain in the woods/country so my kids are outside playing hard all day long and these clothes never seem to get worn out before they are outgrown. And they don't outgrow clothes real quickly. My kids grow really fast but Oshkosh fits forever it seems. In my town there is only a Wal-Mart and a JC Penney and I don't buy anything from any of those places. I drive almost 4 hours just to buy my boys clothes at an Oshkosh store. That is how good they are! And for shoes I only buy my kids Nikes because they last so much longer and my kids don't wear them out before they grow out of them. It is nice. I love these two brands.

I think Gymboree is actually doing a Gymbucks promotion right now. I got some last week. They had quite a selection in little boys clothes when I was there, too. I usually hit the sale racks at Gap and Old Navy (you can also shop online and get $5 shipping at Old Navy anytime.) Nordstrom Rack is another favorite. They always have good brands at lower prices. Good luck!

Some thoughts based on other posts: First, I have had a few OshKosh things and the boys seem to bust open the diaper snap section on the overalls constantly. No other overalls do this. Does anyone else have this problem? and Second, I'm a great resale fan, but I would maybe stay away from it in your case if you're looking to get three lives out of the clothes. You never know how many lives they've already lived. Any of my clothes that I've worn out before outgrown have come from resale and I just assume they were well used before I got them. And I'm pretty picky so some of that you just can't see. Finally, I don't see that Gymbucks is still going just at a quick glance online but they have 20% off sale items and 50% off a bunch of fall stuff. Gymbucks are redeemable starting Oct 4.

I second Lands' End. I get almost all my boys' things (that I can't find at resale/Value Village) from them. The "Climber" pants have double knees, elastic waists, self-belts that buckle with a very satisfying "CLICK." Plus, they are made of a tough yet very soft and comfy 100% cotton. Also, my oldest is a real skinny minnie, and LE has a slim size that fits him just right.

I also have two boys, so I'm willing to shell out a little more once a year for things I know will be passed down. The climbers are around $24.

LL Bean is great the stuff we have purchased (although it was for girls) has been very durable. Prices are reasonable and they have great colors without sayings or characters all over them. They stand behind their product and offer a great return policy.

I have found that buying online - on ebay - in bulk has been extremely helpful for me. I recently bought a "lot" of over 100 pieces of clothing for $50.00. The trick is to look for someone local - within driving distance and when you win the clothes ask to pick up the clothing instead of having it shipped. Even with shipping it still ends up being a steal. Make sure to check out the user's feedback - if it's good then I usually go for it. Seems to work well for me and my son. Hope that helps.

Also like some of the other moms have said - Sears has a "Kids Club" (ask about it at the cash register) that is free to sign up for and if you child's clothes wear out before they outgrow them they will replace them with a new item of the same size.

Good Luck!

Sort of on the topic, I'm looking for advice about winter coats. This will be the first year I'm wanting to get a good one and am not sure where to start. I want something that will be warm and able to hold up to rain walks. I don't want to buy two coats (i.e. warm coat and rain coat) and am wondering if someone can suggest one that will do both. I'm hearing lots about Lands End, which I love for adult clothes. Do they have a good coat in a size 3/4?

In re: coats...Last year we found that a Columbia Sportswear fleece lined windbreaker worked best for us except for in the coldest situations i.e. snow. It was water resistant and warm enough for most portland days yet was not so bulky so that we could get in and out of a carseat with it on. We added an extra layer underneath on colder days. I also found that shopping resale or thrifting yeilds great coats so we could also get a heavier one for those few times we went out in the snow...also a great place to find snow boots and pants.

for basics, I'm another big fan of Gymboree/Gap/Old Navy sales -- I have two boys and they live in the stuff. Also Lands' End, which you can find very good sales on if you go to the Sears store at Washington Square Mall. Another tip: if you find something on their Overstocks page online that you want and they don't have it in-store, they'll order it for you at the store without you having to pay shipping!

I rarely buy new for my kids (and I'm pledged to buy nothing new for myself for at least a year), but hit the consignment stores regularly and also make a point shop at a thrice-yearly children's clothing sale at a nearby church. I keep an eye out for the brands everyone's mentioned and am amazed at the great deals I find on gently used brand name clothing. Also, because I pay so little for each piece, I can afford to buy more--and do laundry less often.

All About Kids on Glisan, just west of 122nd, has the East side's best selection of boys and girls resale, up to about size 6 or 7--most consignment stores seem to have a lot more for babies and toddlers and not much for sizes 4 and up. I find Hanna Anderson, Oshkosh, Old Navy, Gap there all the time. A couple months ago I stupidly passed up a barely worn pair of See Kai Run shoes that would fit my son perfectly now. They were a third of what they would have cost new.

Another great source for clothing is the Pass It On sale that Kim Zerbe puts on twice a year out in Hillsbeavero. The next one is coming up in October. Check out www.passitonsales.com for more information. There's also www.pdxswap.com for free clothes (for the kids and yourself). They're having a swap starting at 10:30 on 9/29 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1244 NE 39th, though it's not listed on the web site.

As far as organization, I used to sort by size, but have found that insufficient as my daughter, now four, can wear some things from one year to the next (she can still wear some of her 2T short and skirts, for example and dresses that are too short on their own are perfectly cute with leggings). Last Sunday, I put all her spring/summer things that I expect to fit her next year in a box. Things that are not going to fit for a year or more (like her stuff that I plan to pass down to her little brother), I separate by size and within the box (I use under bed boxes for storing clothes) I separate spring/summer and fall/winter clothes.

I've also had good luck with LL Bean and Lands' End. I try to check their sale pages whenever I think of it & buy for the future when there's a good deal. We have had many pairs of those climber pants...love those double knees and elastic waists. But...like someone already said, don't waste your money on Lands' End shoes! We do love their squall coats, though. Just ordered another one, in fact. It was the only coat my son needed all winter last year. Oh, also...if you order from LL Bean very often, you can get one of their credit cards, which gets you free shipping each time.

I have found that The Childrens Place has cute durable clothing for even better prices. I agree that Gymboree, LL Bean and Lands End have cute clothing too but they can be on the expensive side.

Mulberri Bush is a great brand of clothing especailly for little boys. It is a pricier line new, but I buy them new and used on ebay for a significantly lower price ($6-$12). They have elastic waist pants and with my son's little belly that helps a lot. Their shirts have very cute designs that are not the typical trucks and sports themes.

Hi Sarah: I am amazingly cheap on kids clothes because there are so many ways to find good used. I rarely buy new except for pants. With my two it's always the knees so the Land's End overstock area is the place to shop. Love those double knees. I also have gotten pretty good at cleaning clothes using a front load washer and BioKleen soap. I even pour boiling water over oily stains then soak in Zout and wash in hot water. I might wash a stain twice and always check it before putting in the dryer (line drying in the sun can also help). I keep Bankers boxes of size sorted clothes in the basement and the boys love to go shop the basement. Catlin Gabel rummage sale is good, Red White and Blue Thrift store in Milwaukie, as was the Sunnyside Swap this Sept (www.sunnysideswapshop.org). I think the key is to buy no logos (so they aren't dated and the silkscreenign doesn't crack) and buy ahead a couple sizes. I also tie dye things (this was a great fix for hand-me-down bay clothes). For socks, I buy the Gold toe kids line at Target in the crew socks so I always have a match. Occasionally I will bleach these if they gray but I try to avoid it (but figure a little bleach is better than tossing the socks). Jackson loves the Hanna boy's underwear and if I am a Tryon Creek area I will stop by the outlet in Lake Oswego and find the underwear often for 3 or $8. It wears great and has no exposed elastic. Wish they made it for women.

Boden is the only way to go. Totally not commercial, kind of skater/surfer clothes. No logos. All of the clothes are super cute and durable. They are a british company so you have to order online and through the catalogue. Just google boden usa and they will pop up. Beware the sizing though, it is uk.

I joined http://www.gumdropswap.com and for only $5 a month, I get access to gently used kids clothing for a fraction of the retail cost. So when they get stained or otherwise damaged, I don't feel guilty. Then, the nice items my 3 kids don't ruin I ship in and earn credits to shop with. I just swapped last winter's wardrobe that no longer fit and my daughter's summer dresses she barely wore and earned over 200 credits. That payed for lots of jeans (only 6 credits each) and other play clothes for the boys. I got some new corduroy dresses for my DD with the tags still on for 7 credits! It's the best club I've ever joined for sure. Good luck!

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