Head of the fashion class
The gang’s all here: Maddy wears a cropped polka-dot sweater by One Kid, with a print skirt by Paper Doll and Haven Girl leggings with a bow at the ankle. Wrapping it all up is a turquoise head scarf. Malcolm and Aidan sport similar outfits—Malcolm an Eland brown sweater vest and oxford, Aidan an Eland argyle grey sweater, and both in pants by Heartstrings. Zoë is wearing an Oilily print long-sleeve tee over her own Mini-Boden green cords. (She made her bag herself.) Ruby is layered, with a Desigual cat-print top under a Limited Too white corduroy jacket, a Kiddo grey skirt over Dori Creations leggings, and her own lime green legwarmers.
It’s easy to shop exclusively at chain stores, or head to the mall, but there are other ways of dressing kids affordably, creatively, and fashionably. Now that it’s September and thoughts of bookbags and pencils are dancing in our heads, we’re looking at how some creative Buffalo parents manage. The individuals we’ve included vary in their degrees of attention to fashion, dollars spent, or the child’s personal style. (As in the adult world, in general, there are definitely many more options for girls, and fewer for boys. It may not be fair, but that’ll take a different kind of revolution.)
We found that consignment shops are a great way to make the most of the short time that kids will fit into clothes. There are up- and down-sides, of course.
First, you never know what you will find through consignment shops—you will definitely want to have different expectations than if you are heading for Target, Old Navy, or J.C. Penney. Says Erin Casey, owner of Rumpelstiltskin’s consignment shop, “If you are looking for a specific seasonal item, brand, style or color, that may not always be [at the shop that day]. If you do take a gamble, though, you will find something that you want or need.”
Her store in the Elmwood Village uses every nook, cranny, and hallway to display a range of clothes from infant to teens. She got into the business five years ago after ten years of consigning her own childrens’ outgrown clothing with the previous owner. (She has four girls who are now fifteen, fourteen, ten and five, and still clothes the youngest two out of her store.) “The upside is that you get a huge savings over buying new clothes,” Casey notes. “The things we accept for consignment are clean. They are ‘gently used,’ in great shape.”
Finders Keepers, in Williamsville, is also consignment, with a floor-to-ceiling display of clothing. Owner Kim Sullivan got into the business twenty years ago, after giving birth to her first child, and then triplets. “When I realized the abundance of clothes I needed, and thought about the waste that could occur, it seemed like a natural. Parents can save a ton of money—at one stop you can find so many diverse things, in all the sizes, instead of hauling through the mall,” says Sullivan. “Our stock changes daily; the biggest compliment we hear is how well stocked and organized we are.”
Pumpkins, also in Williamsville, is one of the few independently owned clothing retailers for kids in the area; they carry newborn through age fourteen. Owner Maggie Schwartz has also been in the business for over twenty years. She opened the shop, giving up her previous full-time career, after she had her children—who are now twenty-two and nineteen.
“I wanted to start a business where I saw there was a need to be met,” says Schwartz. “And my philosophy has always been the same: Try to bring unique fashions to the area, things you won’t see at the mall, within a successful, locally owned, family business.”
For the looks shown in story, we mixed and matched from the kids’ own closets, consignment shops, and Pumpkins’ brand names.
Models: Madeleine Cherr, 10; Aidan Eckman, 8; Liam Eckman, 5, Will Knauss, 8; Zoë Knauss, 10; Malcolm Schultz, 10; Ruby Soudant, 8.
5945 Main St., Williamsville
5520 Main St., Williamsville
571 Elmwood Ave.
Jana Eisenberg enjoys mixing and matching her own wardrobe, which includes hand-me-downs, yard sale finds, and one Armani gown (the most expensive single item she ever purchased).
Shot on location at the Park School campus. The author would like to acknowledge the generosity and kind assistance of the Park School staff.