Tips on buying clothes for little girls

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Now that my toddler has outgrown onesies and has moved on to wearing real clothes, I’m finding it frustrating to shop for her. The offerings are mostly pink, adorned with rainbows and unicorns. Few of the pants have pockets and many of the clothes have sparkles, sequins or lace, adornments that don’t do well in the wash and aren’t great for outdoor play. Any ideas?

— Meg W.

Dear Meg: Head directly to the boys’ department. Yes, you read that right. In the boys’ department you will find a lot of unisex garments — many in the solid colors of red, blue and black. And the pants have pockets. Shopping at a discount department store recently, I found (on the toddler boys’ clearance racks) a black Snoopy T-shirt for $1.50, a set of Snoopy pajamas for $5 and a NASA-branded solar system T-shirt featuring Jupiter for $1.50. All perfectly suited for little girls.

And another tip on shopping for kids’ clothing …

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Have you seen the prices on clothing for babies, toddlers and preschoolers these days? They are inching toward what I pay for my adult clothes. Without spending hours searching in thrift stores or lucking into a decent sale, how can I keep the costs down for clothing my growing kids?

— Nora B.

Dear Nora: Yes, I have seen those big prices. Here’s one idea. Readers have been bragging to me recently about their bargain finds on Kidizen ( It’s an online seller of higher-quality used (and new) children’s clothing, much of it sold with original tags intact. You can buy and sell on the site. To minimize your time looking, you can search the site by gender, size, brand, price and condition. I found brands like Hannah Andersson, Gap, L.L. Bean, millie + roo and many others. Also listed are toys, books, clothing, shoes, diaper bags and all that baby gear that costs a fortune when new. There are many other resources for kids’ clothes and equipment. Readers, tell me where you find bargains.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is there an age limit to wearing intentionally ripped jeans? I used to hate the look, but I’m a convert. I’m a young and petite 59, and when first wearing a pair of “frayed but not a complete hole” jeans, my 17-year-old son said, “Ripped jeans? Mommmmmmmm.” I wore them anyway!”

— Joann U.

Dear Joann: I’m not a fan of distressed jeans. It just seems counterintuitive to pay for clothing with intentional holes and other worn spots. But if you like the look, go for it. Don’t listen to your son or to me. Yours is the only opinion that matters.

Angelic Readers

Readers had advice for Mary F., whose jeans (cotton with a bit of Spandex) get baggy. Candace B. writes: “The best way to prevent cotton/Spandex jeans from bagging is to avoid the dryer! The heat breaks down the fibers in the Spandex, and once that happens, those jeans are done. Wash your jeans inside-out in cold water, then hang to dry. AFTER they’re dry, put them in the dryer on medium for about 10 minutes to soften them up. You can also add a softener sheet.” Olga W. says she’s about to turn 75 and her much worn jeans fit like new and yours will too if you follow the method that Candace recommends although Olga says don’t use the dryer at all.

Reader Rant

From M. R.: “Three of the last four things I’ve ordered from sellers on eBay I could smell before I even opened the outer envelope. A pair of shoes had been sprayed with fabric softener ‘because it’s nice.’ One pair of pants came with a fabric softener sheet for I guess the same reason. (When my neighbor does laundry I have to hold my breath walking by their house, since the added laundry perfumes escape through the vents.) Nobody wants to receive something that smells like an ashtray or the family’s cats, but items that smell of artificial anything make me suspicious that there was something stinky that couldn’t be gotten out and yet the owner decided to sell it anyway!”

Unhappy with selections in the girls’ department? Head directly to the boys’ department. with selections in the girls’ department? Head directly to the boys’ department. Dreamstime/TNS

By Ellen Warren

Tribune News Service