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The Hidden Cost of Cheap Clothes

It’s hard to resist all those adorable baby things you see in shop windows. Onesies, booties, those little hats: picking one up when you’re out for a stroll with your baby can be like indulging a quick candy bar.

Babies grow so fast, too, they need a whole new wardrobe every few months. Kids aren’t much better; my 6-year-old went through two clothing sizes this year, and trashed everything she had pulling stunts on the playground.

Resisting the temptation to stock up on adorable kid fashions isn’t easy. It helps me to remember that the sticker price at Target, or even the much bigger one at my local baby boutique, is only a fraction of the true cost. The rest is paid via pollution, poor labor practices and abuse of natural resources.

Ew. Suddenly those little baby duds look a lot less adorable.

Most of us have learned the basics of  green shopping by now.

  • Accept hand-me-downs
  • Go to family-friendly clothing swaps
  • Shop at kids’ second-hand shops, Goodwill and the Salvation Army
  • Use Freecycle and Craigslist to find specific things you need, like raincoats
  • Mend small tears and let out seams to make clothes last

What about when you need something special, though? Something extra-cute, something that fits just right, something fabulous?

Here are some companies making to-die-for cute kids’ things right here in the U.S., from recycled or sustainably produced materials:

Babylegs: these folks make the cutest legwarmers I’ve ever seen. Also tights and socks. They’re durable, creative and they have a wide array of organic materials.

Zutano: These colorful creations just make me smile every time I see them, and so does the company’s commitment to sustainably produced fabrics and good labor practices.

Tomat: Organic gear for the tiny hipster in your home. Awww.

What are your favorite ways to keep your kids’ wardrobes green?

Photo: Tomat

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