Kids Summer Style Essentials, on a Budget.
Summer is almost here…
Though summer vacation isn’t supposed to start for a couple more months, many kids in states across the country are currently finishing up their school year at home… depending on where you live however, the weather is anything but summery and most families have one or both parents either working from home or out of work completely. Money is tight and stress is high, but we’re not supposed to let our kids know that right?
Like many, I am out of work for the foreseeable future with my partner still employed (thankfully) but now working from home. We haven’t had outside childcare for the duration of this quarantine period, and though I had a brief (okay, weeklong) meltdown about not wanting to be a full-time stay at home Mom (see: adult version of a kids tantrum complete with tears in a melty puddle on the hallway floor), I finally pulled my sh*t together long enough to count my damn blessings, and am now focused on finding all the sparkly, silver linings to this “situation”. I’m not going to list them all here, but there are some that made me SO DAMN THANKFUL, with #1 being that I get to spend so much time with my baby (toddler?) and #2 that my kid is too young to be able to recognize our stress or the money discussions being had over dinner.
As you may recall, I live in Sunny Southern California where the quarantine started for us with 3 straight weeks of rain and has ramped up to 97 degrees in the shade. It’s not cute, but it’s not the worst. However, those weather patterns, coupled with forced social distancing have propelled me headlong into closet cleaning, basement reorganizations, and a healthy case of “waste not want notting” in my bathroom drawers (can sheet masks go bad?) and pantry (yes, canned pink salmon CAN go bad). But I’ve also found some unused art supplies from my 1st (and last) ill fated holiday crafting party.
*side note: not everything in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine is as easy to do as they’d have you think.
Recognizing my skill set, which is in no way crafting, I instead set my daughter Asa up to do some finger painting. Turns out she, like me, isn’t all that crafty either, she ate the paint, so instead I donated the paints, the brushes, and the craft paper to the family a couple houses down with kids ranging in age from 2-11. They’re infinitely better at painting than I am. And TikTok. And math. But whatever..
The point I’m slowly getting to, is that most of us aren’t in a position to go right out to j.crew to buy a $50 kids swimsuit that’ll only fit for one summer, and we’re even further from going on a big summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and be cute in and around our homes with the stuff we already have lying around (plus maybe some new essentials we can find on super sale). My little ding-dong is still sporting hand me downs I was gifted before she was born and is happier than a pig in mud when she’s in a cardboard box on the lawn. So here are a few quick and east tips to refresh their wardrobe!
Update their summer style, without breaking the bank.
Summer is all about fun! And fun usually equals mess when you’re a kiddo… so let’s keep it under $20 a piece shall we?
Here’s a little colorful kids summer photoshoot we shot before the quarantine! It’s full of fun summer style for kids of all ages that’s easy on the eyes and easier on the pocketbook. And honestly, there’s no need to go buy a bunch more stuff, just have a look at what you currently own and rework the magic a little bit. Play with prints, kick the color combo’s into overdrive, and add some fun accessories!
Warmer weather means it’s time to be outside, to hear birds chirping, run in sprinklers, go camping, and have picnics, all of that is more fun in color! Bright sunny days deserve bright cheery colors! Mix and match color popping shorts with all their favorite tops! A pair of solid color shorts will go with so many different tops! A couple new pairs might be all you need to get through summer!
I’ve found that Poshmark is a great place to buy gently used kids clothes and has the added benefit of helping another person out along the way! Another budget friendly way to upcycle clothing is to check out Offerup in your neighborhood, I also love love love thrift and vintage stores… and if you have the time (and energy) I find antique malls outside of larger metropolitan areas often have some super funky kids vintage for a steal, plus it’s funny to explain to kids how old fashioned telephones work.
When it’s hot out you need to stay cool! Invest in shorts, dresses, and breezy skirts, all of which can be worn over a swimsuit for those spur of the moment water balloon fights! And FINALLY some companies have started making built-in shorts in skirts so your girly girl can turn upside down as much as her little heart desires! And don’t forget the sun hats and sunscreen! Healthy sun habits start now!
If foraging for fashion isn’t your jam, i’ve linked some online picks for you too which I’ve kept as inexpensive as possible! Brands I always love for kids stuff are Zara, Old Navy, H&M and Nordstrom, plus Amazon has a great variety of smaller brands to try including many organic and sustainable brands, (though they can often be more expensive).
Who says prints have to match? It’s so so fun, and totally trending (for adults too) to mix-up those patterns! Plaids and Polka Dots? Yes. Leopard and Hearts? Also yes. Fruit? Goes with everything. Mmmmm daiquiris…
In general, I try to shop exclusively in the sale section for kids clothes, as well as a season or two ahead to get the best prices, but be sure to take into account how big your kid will likely be when that season actually arrives… and don’t buy shoes in advance, Lord knows that won’t work out well for anyone.
This one needs little explanation, especially after 2 months of isolating. We may have to continue isolation for the summer, but if we don’t, you better believe i’m gonna be BFF’ing so so so hard. Momma needs a hug.
And ladies, hang in there, this is a truly challenging time for all of us in so many ways, go easy on yourselves, step away for a sec if you need a good cry, take a brisk walk around the block or have a glass of wine, and forgive yourself if you just need to let everyone sit in front of the tv a little longer than may be healthy. It’s ok. Take a breath, count your blessings, hug your little and not so little ones. Our families are our biggest blessings, even if sometimes they’re also the most challenging.
Socially distant cyber hugs,
Photographer: Elke Van de Velde
Wardrobe Stylist: Hilary Folks
Hair & Make-up: Tracy Moyer