Motherhood

Cute Kids’ Clothes (Under $25)

Cute Kids' Clothes (Under $25)

We all love small handmade brands, like Mabo, Soor Ploom and Misha & Puff, but the catch is that the price tag is (understandably) high. For adorable clothes on a budget, here are a few great ones…

Cute Baby Clothes

Plaid Dress (40% off)

Thoughts? Which brands do you like? Some affordable places are Primary, H&M, Zara, Gap, Old Navy and Carter’s.

P.S. Great gifts for new parents.

(Top photo by Robin/Twentyventi. Bonnet from Rain People.)

  1. Michaela says...

    I saw that many comments were about needing less expensive clothing for kids but wanting ethical options, so I wanted to suggest looking for a Buy Nothing group in your area (https://buynothingproject.org/about/).
    The idea is you post items you no longer need to give away for free and can also post requests for things you need (I’ve seen all kinds of things: clothes, tools, books, furniture, food, plants, art, toys, cleaning supplies, etc.). There are always families giving away clothes that their kids have outgrown! Plus it’s a way to build community and get to know your neighbors :)

    • Kate S says...

      Great tip on the reuse part of the sustainability effort, thanks!

  2. very adorable clothes! Simple and beautiful x

  3. Alex says...

    I also like Boden, a British brand. And hand-me-downs are a great way to be sure perfectly good clothing doesn’t go to waste and you save money. I thoroughly washed and vacuum sealed all of my first daughter’s baby and toddler clothing (what she didn’t destroy…) and will be unpacking it when our second girl arrives this fall. When we’re done having kids, clothing that’s still in good condition will be sealed up again for a friend or for donation.

  4. Fern says...

    I’d also like to chime in with the rest of the commenters that are making the point about what “cost” means. The alternative to buying more expensive children’s clothing is not to buy clothing made with unsafe or exploitive labor conditions, it’s to buy things second hand. I love kidizen. It’s an app where individual families sell their used clothing and it’s awesome. Basically everything my kiddo owns is from there. We’re a single income family near Portland, and while we do okay, I could never afford to buy everything new and ethically made. But it’s fine, because there is ENOUGH STUFF ALREADY. We’re clogging the ocean with textile waste.

  5. Laurel says...

    I nearly never buy new clothes for my boys. We have friends with a child who’s one size up from my oldest and we get heaps of hand me downs from them, and we saved clothes for our second. I also used to hit up this amazing thrift store in Seattle when I lived there and my first was under one, it was a hidden treasure trove!

    • Katie says...

      Was it Childish Things? We’re in Seattle now (and expecting our first) and trying to navigate all of this!

  6. Clothes for kids… that might have been made by kids!! I totally understand that ‘ethically’ made clothing is outside many people’s budgets, and that babies grow so fast they constantly need new stuff – but where you put your money really does shape the world (that your kids are going to inherit). I second all the recommendations of hand-me-downs, swaps, second-hand (try Ebay if your local thrift stores are no good), and making your own if you can. There’s a collection of free and cheap patterns here: https://uk.pinterest.com/WeTheSewing/patterns-for-little-people/ and plenty more to be found by Googling (Made By Rae has a few). Baby clothes are so tiny you can often make them out of old adults’ clothes, so you don’t even need to buy fabric! Would be great to see a CoJ post about these alternatives.

    • Fern says...

      yes! I buy giant, solid-colored t-shirts from Goodwill and sew them into toddler clothes. It’s rad, because I’m keeping textiles out of landfills and/or the ocean, and the cotton is super soft because it’s worn in.

  7. Laura says...

    Thanks for recognising that your readers can’t all afford those expensive brands. Which really are just so so so expensive.

  8. Caitlin W says...

    Would love to dress my daughter in Mabo but she is also splashing in mud and her water table all day long this Summer. It’s been so difficult to not just buy 2$ and 3$ t-shirts from fast-fashion brands. I really am at a cross-roads about this because I want my daughter to wear ethical clothing but still look put-together. Nothing against thrift stores but the clothing there for kids isn’t usually something I would love for her to wear (super gendered pink items is all I can seem to find). Would love to see an independent brand featured that understood the fact that toddlers get messy (hence the cheaper price tag) but that some mom’s want to support makers and not fast-fashion.

  9. Katie Larissa says...

    I bought mostly Carter’s and gap onesies for my first baby, and for the little sizes that they outgrow quickly, the quality didn’t matter. But now that I have my second boy and they are just 17 months apart, I find myself wishing I had splurged on better quality pieces with my first born. The Boden and Polo outfits I have are in much better shape for round 2 than the cheaper options. From now on I plan to mostly shop sales of quality clothes rather than take the easy way out and stock up on cheap options, because I know I have another boy who will wear everything, so it’s an investment. But sometimes Gap and Old Navy have such cute things I can’t resist them! Haha.

  10. I don’t love this idea because a lot of these clothes (while adorable) are basically copying the aesthetic of Mabo/Soor Ploom/ Misha & Pluff, etc. but having them made in China by big box retailers. This not only has the potential to harm the smaller, well-made, ethically made brands referenced above, but it also promotes buying from companies that use suspect manufacturing practices. I get that ‘that’s life’ and believe me, I shop at Old Navy & Gap Kids sometimes too- but more and more I’m trying to buy 2 things at Mabo instead of 5 things from Old Navy /Gap/Target/etc & fill in with hand me downs and second-hand .

    • On instagram, etc, I see a lot of gorgeous photos of babies and children in high quality, ethically made clothes from small shops. I think this is fantastic- if you can afford it. The argument to buy less clothes of high quality instead of more clothes of poor quality (and perhaps made using unethical practices) is an admirable goal to strive for. I have two children in day care, however, and their clothes get absolutely destroyed- lots of lunches with tomato sauce, and lots of painting, playdough, etc, so those stains are sitting for hours before they even get home. And they are kids, right? Making a mess is how they learn. Buying ethically is certainly a goal, but hand-me-downs, thrift stores and consignment are additional ways to lighten your footprint or even supplement more expensive handmade purchases. Some of the clothes my younger child is wearing have been worn by 3 children before her and may last to pass on to another child.

    • Joanna says...

      Heartily, earnestly and unreservedly seconded.

  11. Elizabeth B. says...

    For everyone who loves the handmade looks that they see on Insta, they should try making their own. I realize that this requires time that most mothers may not have, but making baby or kids clothes is a great way to learn and it can be very reasonable from a cost standpoint. There are really great basic/easy patterns available for free if you just do a Google or Pinterest search and sewing for kids is so forgiving if you mess up! You don’t end up wasting a bunch of fabric and if there are a few imperfections, they’ll never know!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you! this is inspiring!

    • Laura says...

      Yes! I just started sewing clothes for my soon to be born baby girl and i love it. Not only is it incredibly satisfying, it totally helps me understand why those smaller brands are so expensive. It can take forever! (I am a super beginner though). Now I’m inspired to start sewing for myself and my boys, if I ever make it through the baby girl wishlist :)

    • Vanessa says...

      Great idea! I second it. It is easy to get simple patterns and ideas online. For example, I’ve made Purl Soho’s wonderful toddler t-shirt several times over. I thought it would take a lot of time, but often it’s not any more time consuming than it is to drive to the mall, park, and all that. In a couple hours I can have a few toddler t-shirts and shorts sewn up. I still buy clothes, but it’s fun to have the option to make them at home.

  12. Alex says...

    I scored some Fjallraven shorts at a resale shop for $5! I didn’t even know they made kids clothes but those shorts are awesome and durable- a must for my always climbing, running, rough and tumble little dude.

  13. Michelle says...

    Maybe I’m just mega-cheap, but the prices at Gap and Zara make me cringe! I am all about second-hand clothing, especially before age 3 when the clothing is hardly worn. I have 2 daughters under 3 (with a third arriving in 1 month) and I have not spent more than 100$ to clothe my girls since they were born. Their closets are full of cute outfits regardless, most items for a few bucks a piece!

    • Laurita says...

      Girl, I am so with you on this! Our “strategy” for our 2-year-old daughter’s wardrobe is the following:
      1. Ask your friends to give you the clothes their kids don’t wear anymore
      2. Go to the thrift store, buy hardly-used (or never used) clothes
      We get compliments on what she wears all the time, and I have to say, I have a great time mixing and matching the various finds. Plus, kids this age are soooo messy, and grow so fast!

  14. Lou says...

    I really don’t like the term ‘handmade’. All clothes are handmade, stores like H&M, Zara, and so forth simply have the clothes sewn in countries in which they can pay the workers less for the same labor.

    It is quite difficult to find out what kind of ethical standard different brands have and actually abide by it, but more and more websites are compiled to answer exactly those questions. What surprises me most is that middle-priced or expensive brands sometimes have the worst working conditions.

    As suggested in previous comments I try to stick to buying second hand or occasionally splurge on something a little pricey from brands i trust.

    I understand that it can be somewhat exhausting to do research and then remember all that information for all kinds of everyday-things, still i think that everyone giving an extra 10% (of though, time, money) could have a significant impact of good.

    -Lou

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, lou, great points xoxo

    • SO TRUE – in ‘industrialised’ mass clothing production, each seam is still run through a sewing machine by a person. The process is barely any different for the US-made brands v the cheap imports, it’s just that the person doing the sewing didn’t get paid properly for the cheap stuff. (And pay is not the only issue – google ‘Tazreen fire’ or ‘Rana Plaza’.)

  15. GAP has 40% sales all the time…. and that’s when I buy their pieces for Rosie. She’s lived in their clothes since she was born! It’s good quality, and some of their designs are really chic.

  16. Amanda says...

    Crazy 8 is another great go to. Also Lands End and LL Bean sales can be great and those clothes last through multiple kids!

  17. Lily says...

    Now I want a second baby!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      same!!!

  18. Old Navy is my go-to when I need something that the thrift store and hand-me-downs doesn’t cover. Besides style, I want a store that has easy coupons and sales and is easy for me to get to. Well, I guess I do also buy some basics from The Children’s Place too because they have free shipping so often.
    I also like the Janie & Jack line at Target.

  19. I just got that striped toddler boy shirt from old navy today but in grey and white. Old navy has the best little boy clothes! I buy almost everything for my son there.

  20. sarah K says...

    I also like to watch for sales at places like Tea Collection and hanna andersson. If you wait a bit longer into the season, you can get some great deals for about the same prices you would pay for sale items at the Gap. I get solid color basics from Gap and JCrew Factory online when they have 40 or 50% off, and then colorful printed pieces from Tea and hanna. I also love Boden’s kids’ clothes–but even on sale, they are a bit more spendy.

    I have four living children; when my firstborn was a baby, I was dressing him like a tiny adult at 3 months: dark Levis, button-down shirts, cute graphic tees. By the time I was snuggling my fourth newborn, I wanted her to look like a baby for as long as possible and I was buying dresses with smocked yokes and peter pan collars. :) Time and experience made me realize how fast babies grow up!

  21. Ramona says...

    I love Marks and Spencer (the British department store). Their children’s clothes are very reasonably priced and I often find that they are of better quality than similarly priced stuff from Target, etc. You can order online and shipping is free to the USA if you order $50 or more.

    • Vanessa says...

      I did not know this! Thank you! My mom used to buy some of our clothes from Marks and Spencer when they still had stores in Canada in the 80s. I still love the pictures of my sister and me in their cute dresses. We’d also get biscuits and treats there if we were good!

  22. shannon says...

    That collared bodysuit…now I gotta tell the ovaries to pipe it down. And the floral bloomers are a dead ringer for Liberty of London fabric!

  23. Jill says...

    Thanks for this! I am due in October and we are not finding out the sex. I just stocked up on a bunch of super cute gender neutral pieces from H&M. I can’t wait for them to arrive!!

  24. Cerise says...

    Vivi Design Studio sells handmade items for less than $40… And you get to pick your color, style, and can make length adjustments (perfect for my daughter– a 2T in waist, 5 in length!).

  25. Gitty says...

    My favorite for every day clothes is Target! I love the JOY by Carter’s and Cat & Jack! Fabulous prices, adorable pieces that wash well and perfect fit. And I love that I can shop in person and don’t have to wait for sales. All around win for me

  26. Leigh says...

    Perhaps it goes without saying, but in my experience the cheapest clothes are always hand-me-downs and those found at second hand stores. My wallet does not allow me to buy exclusively from the fancy brands either, but I’ve been lucky enough to find myself gleefully positioned in a chain of like-thinking moms who find joy in investing in well made things and giving them second lives (or third or fourth…). Also, I always think that a special thing here or there paired with less expensive basics is a nice balance. Bonus: When I invest first hand in slow fashion that is ethically made from thoughtfully sourced raw materials (think Rudy Jude), I sleep better at night. Invariably, those are the clothes that find second life in a friend’s baby’s closet, or that I am able to sell on consignment to earn a few bucks back in my pocket once we’ve outgrown them. My pro tip? Size up and pass down. Babies and kids look cute in oversized pieces anyway. Plus, less, which is always good these days, no? <3

    • Alex says...

      Agreed. Baby clothing swaps are where its at! Way too much fashion ends up in landfills…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      baby swaps are a GREAT idea. we have the oldest kids in our family and group of friends, so we never got hand-me-downs, but i’d love to arrange a swap with parents in the neighborhood! such a smart call.

  27. Angela says...

    I bought my son 3 sets of the cutest chino shorts from H&M for a grand total of $30…in 2015. He is now on his 3rd summer of wear.

    I also love, but frequently can’t afford a lot of the brands I follow on Insta, but find a lot of inspiration there. You can still make smart choices on a budget and I’ve done so by making modified capsule wardrobes for my kids with some of the brands listed above. I think a key ingredient into getting longer wear out of ANY clothing is to care for it well. I try to pay attention to my wash cycles, removing stains, hang dry if possible, and use my (limited) sewing skills to make small transformations (a la ripped pants into shorts).

  28. Claire says...

    I feel like I’m really good at rationalizing expensive purchases, but I can not, for the life of me sign off on a $108 romper that my darling babies are going to grow out of in a few months. Maybe if it was my first child, maybe if I didn’t have twins, maybe if all three of my kids stayed perfectly still all the time and didn’t spill any food…

    My oldest lives in Tea Collection items. They’re so well made, durable and they’re easy to pick up on sale. Zulily and Gilt run sales on Kickee Pants and Toms as well as Hanna Anderssson stuff and I tend to stock up when they have them.

    • Angela says...

      I had never even heard of Kickee Pants until my daughter was born- we got some jammies as hand-me-downs and oh. my. gosh. They are to die for!

  29. Elle says...

    So cute! Some more gender-neutral picks would be awesome! Love the last two (shorts and overall)

  30. Marni says...

    Thank you for this post! I forever covet the look of the handmade brands on Instagram but can’t afford them right now. I’ll keep crushing on them from afar– but get some of these pieces now ;-)

  31. Mollie says...

    We shop ’em all. A couple tips: Carter’s tend to run small, and H&M runs big.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, mollie!

    • Allison says...

      To add to this, children’s place is good for skinny kids, while gap and old navy work better for kids with some junk in the trunk (Like my two, who have always been up at least one diaper size over what’s suggested for their weight)

    • Cambria says...

      This is absolutely true in my experience as well!

    • And for me, Gap and Old Navy are my go-to for my skinny kid. They have slim fit pants with the button tabs in the waist. Thank goodness or we’d be lost.