I am finally ready to admit an inevitable truth: I have become my mother. And while I'm proud to have inherited her great taste and appreciation for quality design, I've also picked up a habit I'm not so proud of: non-stop shopping.
If you, too, have this habit, I can assure you that it will only get worse after your bundle of joy arrives. Yes, shifting your fashion focus to your most precious new accessory is one of the many amazing pleasures of motherhood, but it's also the beginning of a period of intense accumulation -- and spending -- that will continue for years.
Luckily, I have a best-kept secret for making the accumulation more manageable, less wasteful and more affordable: buying and re-selling my children's clothing from and to other style-obsessed moms. And now that I've launched a high quality, trustworthy online consignment concept store, Girls on Greenwich, I can guide other stylish moms who want to do the same.
Here are 6 tips on what to buy for your baby (and beyond) that will help you become the “power consignor" you know you are.
- Invest in high quality brands that are in demand. Certain designers are more popular with consignors and retain a higher re-sale value. You will most certainly be bombarded with options to dress your baby everywhere you go. Buy what you love, but if you have to focus and choose, the most popular brands in the re-sale market are Bonpoint, Bonton, Burberry, Caramel Baby & Child and Makie. There are also newer designers that are becoming increasingly popular and hard to find like Bobo Choses, Mabo and Nellystella. For layette I also love Flora & Henri.
- Keep the tags and the brand sew-in labels. As a new mom, you will have a tendency to rip off the tags and wash everything you buy, but re-selling items that are new with tags, especially for newborn and baby, will yield a higher price. Your little one never gets to wear everything you buy, so keep the tags on until you are sure you want to use an item. We understand that sometimes the sew-in label with the brand name and product size comes off (especially with knit pieces). Some moms also cut the sew-in labels off because they might irritate a baby's skin. Your baby should definitely not suffer for consignment-sake! Keep the labels in a bag or tape them to a piece of paper and note the size and item they belong to. If the brand sew-in label, and especially the size label, are missing, it will be harder to re-sell because we cannot verify the authenticity or size of the piece.
- Have you heard of Liberty of London? If not, you will probably become very familiar with it very soon. The iconic floral print and fabric house has been around since 1875 and every great designer brand uses these prints in their clothing lines year after year. Bonpoint, Bonton, Caramel Baby & Child, Jacadi and Makie all feature Liberty floral prints because they are beautiful, classic, sweet and timeless. Liberty fabric also washes incredibly well. Many of the darker prints do not show stains, and in general Liberty prints are more popular and collectible than prints like plaids and geometric prints. So, if you are trying to decide whether to buy the plaid or the Liberty print, go Liberty.
- Taking care of baby clothes is simple. I am sure you will all use mild, dye free detergent for your babies, and the good news is that most baby clothes can go through the washing machine on gentle cycle. I would, however, skip the dryer and hang designer clothes to dry to avoid shrinking and fading of the print. For tough stains, there are several good options for stain removal, like The Honest Company's stain spray or Babyganics Stain and Odor Remover.You can also soak stains in Oxyclean and run through the wash as you normally would or splurge on laundry detergent from The Laundress.
- Your BFF/sister/cousin's teacher might not actually want it. Many moms choose to save their baby clothes with the hopes of passing it on to the next baby in the family, which is a smart, practical and sentimental thing to do. I would never discourage this, but I have found that it is not always worth doing. Over time, stains tend to come out in the clothing, even though they may have looked perfect when you put them away. Personalities and coloring are so different, and clothes that work for one baby don't suit another. I know it is hard to part with the precious pieces that you invested in, as well as the memories, but I would encourage you to keep the pieces that are really truly special, and hand down or re-sell the rest.
- Sometimes you need to splurge. And sometimes you don't. Dresses and tops are the bread and butter in high-end consignment. If you are on a limited budget, or you just want to be practical, invest in dresses and tops from designer brands and get your pants and jeans from stores like Zara Kids or The Gap. Don't over-invest in knits. Instead, buy one or two neutral pieces in high quality designer cashmere and baby alpaca that go with everything. Or better yet, buy them second-hand from a trustworthy source like Girls on Greenwich!
Written by Julie Turkel Abrahamson of Girls on Greenwich. Girls on Greenwich features a beautiful selection of barely worn baby clothes from the best designer brands.
Photography by Mary Grace Bernstein