When you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) and need new kids clothing, of course the absolute best solution is to get hand-me-downs. Considering how quickly those little ones outgrow things, nothing beats getting free clothing from friends, family, and local clothing swaps. But that’s not always an option — especially because there are certain ages when kids are super rough on their pants and shirts, rendering hand-me-downs impossible. Plus, sometimes, even when you need to save money, you really want to buy something fresh for your cuties.
Fortunately, there are a number of retailers offering stylish kids clothes at reasonable prices. Some of them have great prices on all their items, all the time. For other stores, we just have to keep an eye on those sale racks (or, you know, online sale pages) to get good deals. Here we’ll give you some of our favorite places to shop for kids when we’re on a tight budget.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
This brand touts its “fresh finds at OMG prices” and it’s not wrong. Zulily offers daily deals up to 70% on a wide range of kids clothing, from cute tees to rompers to on-trend rainbow sweaters and much more. But clothes aren’t all! While you’re there, you can shop toys, school supplies, and of course clothes for you, too.
Yep, it’s an obvious choice here, because Target just knows how to provide us with everything from staples — underwear, socks, shorts — to the kind of T-shirts, dresses, and PJs that become instant favorites with our kids. That means when your child is in a phase where every item of clothing has to depict a Disney character or superhero, you’re set. But when they grow out of that and want something less specific but still stylish, they’ve got Cat & Jack and other reliable brands to choose from, with most items going for less than $10.
Parents rejoiced earlier this year when The Children’s Place revived this beloved children’s clothing brand. Now Gymboree offers just a few adorable collections per season, in sizes ranging from toddler through size 8. The style is a sort of traditional, preppy cute: ruffles, flowers, and sweets for the girls; sports, travel, and plaid for the boys. A couple of items go for more than $30 at full price, but once they’re on sale, they can be less than half that price.
Just as H&M’s grown-up clothing can make anyone who wears it look expensive, its kids outfits do the same. Or, well, it looks like the kids’ parents are fancy people who don’t mind dropping tons of cash on duds they’ll outgrow in two months. But in reality, you’ll likely never spend more than $30 on a full-price item. Most of the clothing (available for babies through teens) costs less than $10.
One mom we know likes to joke that Kohl’s gives her enough discounts and Kohl’s Cash that it feels like the store is paying her to buy her kids’ clothing there. We wouldn’t go quite that far, but it is a very inexpensive place to shop. In terms of children’s fashion, your best bets are graphic tees and active wear, but you can also find some pretty dresses and handsome button-downs too.
Japanese brand Uniqlo knows how to give basics just the slightest hint of trendiness, for adults and kids. Turn to them for very useful winter undershirts and UV-protection summer shirts, as well as for playful printed dresses (there’s a Marimekko collaboration right now), graphic tees (Disney, Hello Kitty, MarioKart, and more), and very hip sweats.
There are two reasons kids e-tailer Primary brings a smile to our faces. First, those bright colors make any day feel like a celebration. Second, the company was founded by two moms on a mission to make quality clothing for kids (from 0 to 12) at affordable prices. Almost everything on the site is under $20.
The mega-store is constantly surprising us by providing exactly what we want, for less money than we planned on paying for it. As you might expect, there are basics and T-shirts aplenty in Costco’s kids clothing department. But you’ll also find slightly higher-end styles from brands like Nautica, BCBG Girls, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger, often for less than $20.
Warp & Weft
We often feel like we have to choose between affordable clothing and clothing that’s not destroying the Earth. Warp & Weft will ease that guilt for you. Their denim jeans, shorts, and skirts — which are available for boys, girls, and adults of all sizes — are made using only 10 gallons of water (compared to 1,500 of traditional denim) and an environmentally friendly bleach alternative, by workers paid a living wage.
We’ll finish this list off with one more obvious choice, because Old Navy always hits that sweet spot between casual and dress-up for kids, making them look like they’ve got smart parents who care for them. At these prices, you’ll basically never regret an outfit you buy here.
A version of this story was originally published in May 2020.
Of course, no kids outfit in 2020 is complete without an adorable child-sized face mask.