Back to school outfits come right hand and hand with the beginning of the school year. Chances are your child no longer fits into her clothes from last fall, so finding new clothing items can be essential. If you have priced new clothing at your local mall lately, you will have seen that jeans and shirts for children can cost as much as $40 a piece. When you have several children to buy for, you can quickly find yourself breaking your back to school budget. So what is your alternative? Buying second hand of course! When you repurpose old clothing in new ways, you can quickly and inexpensively build a wardrobe for your child that they will adore wearing. Many second-hand pieces are still fresh, hip, and have plenty of wear left to them. Take a look below at where to find stylish second-hand clothing pieces perfect for back to school. You’re going to want to save these back to school shopping tips so you won’t forget them!
Where to Find Stylish Second Hand Back to School Outfits
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1. Consignment shops
Consignment shops love to offer customers higher end merchandise at a huge discount. Look for jeans, sweaters, and other essentials for less. You can even sell the shop some of your child’s clothing she can no longer wear to get cash to buy new-to-her clothing. Look for bright colors, durable fabrics, and clothing that can be layered and worn all season. I am personally a big fan of Once Upon A Child for kids and Plato’s Closet for tweens and teens, though there are many consignment shops that sell second-hand clothes. If you have one near you, check them out!
Related: How To Be Prepared For Back To School
2. Garage sales
Yard sales, garage sales, tag sales… no matter what you call them, they are a great place to find accessories as well as back to school clothes. Look for gently used items such as belts, ties, scarves, and other items your child can accent her outfit with. When browsing sale ads look for sales that are offering your child’s size so you won’t waste gas trying to find a sale that does. Also don’t forget ot check for online garage sales in your area. In many areas not only are people posting their garage sales on Facebook, you can also find local garage sale groups where people buy and sell.
3. Clothing swaps
Lots of churches and schools offer clothing swaps this time of year. Look for these in your area and score clothing for less or even free. Try to find clothing that is ideal for gym class such as shorts and t-shirts, as well as items for everyday wear such as a durable pair of jeans. If you live in Canada, FlipSize Canada is a great place to swap clothes! You can also host your own kid’s clothing swap with your friends!
4. eBay and Craigslist
Online forums are a great place to find secondhand clothing that still has plenty of wear left. Many people choose to sell their name brand clothing online as it will reach more shoppers. Give eBay or Craigslist a try and search for items in your area or from sellers that offer free shipping. You can even search by size, gender, and style.
5. Ask your friends!
Ask your friends to trade their gently used clothing and get plenty of new-to-you items for the school year. Trading with friends is a fun and easy way to get clothing for your child that is still in season and gently worn. Make a fun event out of it and get the kids together for a playdate while the adults swap.
Remember, when shopping second-hand children’s clothing look carefully for damage and stains. Look for durability, bright colors, and comfortable and easy to care for fabric. You will find that with a little searching and patience, you can easily assemble a wardrobe you can be proud of for less!
Freshen all purchases up with a quick trip through the washing machine. You can even sew on simple and inexpensive embellishments if you wish to add a touch or creative flare. Tie on colorful scarves, pins, bows, or other items you wish to add a pop of color and style too.
How do you save on back to school clothes shopping for your kids? Is there anywhere else you look for quality secondhand back to school outfits for kids? Tell me your tips in the comments below!
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26 thoughts on “Back To School Outfits: Where to Find Stylish Second Hand Clothes”
My son used wear uniforms so we always had sales to pass along these. Of course that’s been a few years ago no back to school shopping for me but I do look sometimes at garage sales and Goodwill, especially for special occasions. I bought a formal taffeta gown for a cruise last year for .99. I looked as good as anyone else.
My son wears uniforms, and it can get SO expensive! But I am hitting up a few high end second hand stores to find deals for him! I try not to buy too many at once because he is still a growing boy and as history has shown me, he always grows out of his stuff about mid year!
Garage sales are great and it’s fun to look for items that can still be used. There are some vintage pieces that look fashionable and trendy for school. School clothes should be simple and comfortable. Online stores are also good places to find durable fabrics.
I love shopping thrift store for clothes period!! My kids always loved going clothes shopping with me there. Plus getting the kids involved in the shopping shows them the value of a dollar as well compared to what the normal stores charge.
I totally agree with you on this one. Back to school clothes for kids are only good for a year or two, so it is not good to spend too much on temporary things like this. EBay would be good, though I do not fully trust in craigslist.
I love thrift hunting. Some of my best finds have come from Goodwill and ebay.
I find this very useful for families, who are on a tight budget and they can not pay out a lot of money for clothes. Also, this is a great way to maintain a budget, since children are consistently growing out of clothes, you don’t want to spend $50.00 on a pair of pants your child can only wear maybe 3- 5 times.
Thrift shops are a great place to find school uniforms and back to school clothes if uniforms aren’t required. I’d become a huge thrift shop queen before I left the states and I can’t wait to get back to it.
I like your idea of asking friends. Consignment stores can be as expensive as sales at nice retail stores. Friends will usually give away whole bags of clothes if they have some.
I am a huge fan of getting clothing second hand. Most of the time for kids they don’t even get to wear something good before they grow out of it so dropping a ton of money on something brand new. Great post girly!
I try to get my bottoms especially pants for my teen 2nd hand. It is too hot year around to spend $100 or more on clothes she will wear for 4 weeks.
Wow! These shoes are great! You can definitely find a lot of great things in garage sales. It’s true that sometimes someone’s trash is another’s treasure, especially when they don’t have young kids anymore. Great find!
before we moved we had a great thrift store near us that we loved to shop at!
These are great ideas. I know my sisters just went shopping for their kids and they spent a ton of money on just a few outfits.
I love the idea of second-hand clothes for sooo many reasons. Not only are they economical, but I feel it is so much better for the environment to use what we’ve already created.
Good tips! I find buying 2nd hand clothes for my twins really hard. They love to have the same things and I can’t find duplicates very often.
I love shopping for bargains and here where I live we have consignment stores and thrift stores. I also use bidding wars for clothing and accessories.
We have good luck at our upscale thrift stores too. You can find some really nice designer labels there that my teens love.
Katie, I love this! It reminds me of two things: 1) The 80s, when my sister and I would dive into bags of great stuff from the girls down the street (and when everyone had patches on the knees of their jeans!) and 2) Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Many times in this beautiful bestseller, she speaks of hunting for treasures by antiquing, going to consignment and thrift shops. Great tips.
I’ve shopped at a few garage sales and seen some clothes I ended up buying. I love Ebay for clothes too! Great tips here! Thanks for sharing 😉
great ideas, we shopped the consignment stores when the boys were babies