Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to dress a 2 year old (with an international sense of fashion)

One of the things that happens when moving from country to country and you end up living in 4 different countries (we are not counting cities here) within a decade is that you develop a fairly international fashion sense and know where to get what types of clothes. I get my basics from the US (Banana Republic makes great dress pants and Anne Taylor has jackets that fit me well) and my more hip and expensive clothing from Denmark. I buy accessories such as scarfs in Sweden but generally they have similar stuff to Denmark, just more expensive. I love Ted Baker and Paul Smith, which I always buy in the UK, occasionally in Heathrow when I have the time. I never buy shoes in the UK because of the rubbish quality there and in fact I have bought 80 % of my shoes from a tiny little independent store in Copenhagen called Scarpa for over 10 years. They cost a fortune but they last both in terms of fashion and quality for at least three years. They are worth every penny (or every øre).

Zoe has been well-dressed from her first day outside my belly; my best friend introduced me to Petit Bateau her first christmas, leading to an addiction of high quality French underwear and onesies. But here is what I discovered with Zoe her first few months: Baby clothes doesn't last three seasons, in fact the first few pieces lasted about a month, then two months and finally after her first year, it might now last six months. Babies grow fast. And technically clothes last much longer than their little growing arms can fit into it, leading me to discover the only environmentally friendly option: 2nd hand clothes. As a parent it is your responsibility to make sure your child wears at least 50% reused clothes and that all the clothes that can be worn again are passed on to an appropriate source, that be the thrift shop or your friend who has a baby one year younger than yours.

In the US I was an avid fan of ThredUp (who btw have chanced their concept since I moved), an online trading resource for children's clothes and even toys. I got some of my best clothes from there and got great reviews for my own. When moving to Sweden I discovered their core secondhand resources: Blocket and Tradera. Blocket is the local Craigslist type resource where you go pick up the goods, which is great for larger items such as snowsuits etc. and Tradera is basically Ebay in Swedish. On Tradera there is an unspoken friendliness among moms who buy and sell: it is almost like a club where we transfer money through bank accounts instead of the dreaded paypal, and where everyone knows that if you take a week or two before sending or paying you are not a bad Ebayer, you are simply a super-busy mom.

Zoe's shoes however, like mine, I also buy in Denmark. For some reason Sweden has not caught on to high quality children shoes and although I am not against second hand shoes per se, it is rare that I can actually find some that fit Zoe well and are suitable for what I'm looking for. Last weekend when I picked her up from a week at grandmothers, we went shopping for her winter boots. I ended up with a fashionable pair of Sofie Snoor boots in black for the steep price of $165. I know that sounds crazy but they are not only gorgeous, I also know that these are the ones she will be wearing October through March every single day. Playing outside every day. I rather want to know that these fit her perfectly, are warm enough and will not break, than to gamble and buy cheap ones where I might have to replace them once or even twice during the winter.

So my international clothes shopping routines are clearly being transferred to Zoe as well, with the addition that she wears a lot of "preloved" clothes. Oh, and her Petit Bateau underwear I get shipped from an online store in the UK because it is cheaper than buying them here in Sweden. For some reason there are not much underwear available in the secondhand stores or online. Wonder why.

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