Get Creative with Sustainable Shopping

How to shop sustainably for back to school clothes

Who says sustainability has to be boring? Typical sustainable shopping options touted by fashion experts include buying from consignment shops, renting, and repairing old clothes. These are all great options. But you’re allowed to get creative with your sustainability efforts. And when it comes to doing so for your kids, your back-to-school shopping bonanza can turn out to be smart and fun.

As a stylist and mom of a 7-year-old and 2-year-old, I can attest to the convenience that Amazon offers. While searching for “boys skinny jeans” and “toddler dresses” is undoubtedly easier than hopping in the car and rummaging through racks of kids clothing, giving into the temptation of clicking a button and waiting for a package almost always disappoints — either in quality of garments or that crummy feeling of guilt for contributing to the fast fashion industry.

In order to prevent that, “It’s one week before school already?!” feeling of panic, here are my recommendations for sustainable back to school shopping for your kids.


Local thrift stores are secret gold mines for new-to-you treasures. (The Ridgefield Thrift Shop in particular). This includes resale shops, vintage stores and any place that sells second-hand clothing and accessories. You can feel extra good about supporting a small business that relies on the contributions of local residents.

Do a clothing swap with friends

A few months ago, I attended a clothing swap with a few friends. We gathered a handful of items from our own closets that we no longer used, brought them to the clothing swap event and had a really fun evening "swapping" clothes. It was the clearest “One man’s trash is another’s treasure” testament I had ever experienced. 

Hold your own clothing swap with friends or neighbors.

Go on a tag sale adventure

All of those “Tag Sale” signs you see on street corners in the summer months? Stop by a few and see what’s there. A lot of them are ridding furniture and houseware items, but some are selling vintage goods like durable jackets, well-made shirts and leather shoes. Check them out!

Online marketplaces (that aren't Amazon)

Much like the treasure troves of thrift shops and tag sales, online marketplaces like Poshmark (it's an app) are incredible for searching for exactly what you want, and getting it at a low price.

I utilize Poshmark for my son's jeans, sneakers and jackets when he's in need of an upgrade due to wear and tear of his old items or has outgrown his favorite clothes. 

Purchasing new

Sustainability translates to quality and durability. When buying new, be mindful of the fabric, quality and style of the garment. A denim jacket, for example, is an excellent piece to invest in, no matter what age your child is. Being mindful includes making sure your kids can rewear new items multiple ways, which isn't hard to do with a cotton tee and good pair of jeans.

I love purchasing new from spots in town like Sammy + Nat, specifically for birthday gifts. The next time you throw a birthday party for your child, why not request guests get an item of clothing instead of a toy? It may not be as exciting as a new race car or doll baby (unless you're my niece who loves clothes and everything to do with dressing up), but it is way more practical. Maybe it can even teach children to get excited about receiving a brand new cardigan equally as much as a robot. We can dream!

"It was the clearest 'One man’s trash is another’s treasure' testament I had ever experienced."

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