Buying Oversized Clothing

Want an eco-friendly, budget friendly solution to keeping your child’s clothing costs in check?  Buy big!  I’ve found that buying clothes a size or two (or four!) bigger for my son works in a myriad of ways. 

  • Bigger pants accommodate cloth diapers. When he was smaller, we just rolled up the cuffs a bit.  Now that he’s potty training, they will be able to fit him for at least another six months with plenty of room around the waist!  Check out Rebecca’s post on managing cloth diaper bulk for more ideas.  
  • Used clothing has often shrunk after several washings.  Now when I search for secondhand duds at thrift stores, I’ll often buy 4T-6T shirts.  They fit him fine after I roll up the sleeves a bit.  They’ll last him at least a year and I won’t have to worry about shrinkage since they’ve already been washed several times.
  • They’re cute!  Seriously, when my son is all dressed in his baggy clothes he’s really quite adorable and I know they’ll last him much longer than perfectly tailored garments.  The outfit to the right cost less than four dollars total and each piece was a few sizes too big for my two year old.  With a few rolls of the sleeves and pant legs, it works perfectly!

I’d imagine this might be tougher to pull off with some girl’s garments, but since I have no experience in that area I’d love to hear from you.  Do you find ways to buy big and stretch the time that your child can wear his or her clothes?  It’s a great way to save money, save shopping time, and save a few more clothes from having to be manufactured.  


  1. I have a lot of too-big clothes for Audrey, but I don’t get them on purpose. I can’t believe that Roscoe is seven months younger than Audrey and wearing up to a size 6T! Audrey can still wear some of her 6 and 12 MONTH clothes.

    It sounds like this tip will work best if you have a stockier child. Audrey’s 12 month pants fit her fine around the waist but aren’t nearly long enough. The 2-year pants are long enough but gap at the waist.

  2. I do the same- we’ve found that buying clothes a little bigger last A LOT longer than buying those of his size. Great tip. My son isn’t actually pretty thin so I think it really depends on the brand of clothing you buy.

    I have a post up that would work for Thrifty Green Thursday! Thanks.

  3. This is a great idea, and I’d add this: tee shirt management is key!

    My 4 y.o. currently wears a size 6 tee. But that doesn’t mean we’ve put away his size 4s and 5s. I just use them for layering. Now when I buy him tees, I’m looking for size 7 and even 8, to do the same thing. It takes some thinking – you can’t put a short-sleeved size 4 over a long-sleeved size 6 – but it cuts way down on the amount of clothing we buy.

    I’m already buying my 5 m.o. daughter 12 month and 18 month tees, too. While onesies are practical, they have a much shorter life – especially with the bulk of a cloth diaper under them.

  4. Hi – I always buy shoes and boots big too. I look for shoes that can be tied tightly to make up for the bigger size. My son has never had a problem with this and he wore a pair of shoes all of last winter and almost through this winter. As a note, I would never put shoes on my son that would cause him to trip easily so I pay close attention when buying. I got a pair of BRAND NEW 9 1/2 Stride rites for $2.99 a resale store and he’s been wearing them for about 6 months.

  5. LOL I might be being reeeeeally dense but I can’t find the Mr. Linky for this… is it still on this site? I wanted to try to participate… :)

  6. I don’t see Mr. Linky and wanted to add my Thrifty Green Thursday post on Earth Hour. Sorry I have to do it in your comments, here’s the link

  7. When you have a skinnier child sometimes you can turn what are supposed to be pants into capris for girls. Of course that is different then buying big but it still makes the clothes work for a longer period of time.

    I did a post for Thrifty Green Thursday:

  8. I love buying clothes a size or two bigger! And I especially love the end of season clearance sales! That is when I buy the most clothes for my kids. I don’t buy items that were a one-season-only-fashion so my kids always look up-to-date in their wardrobe. And I always have clothes on hand in case they go through a sudden growth spurt and need a bigger size.

    I also did a post for Thrifty Green Thursday:

  9. My son is in his cousins hand me downs. The clothes that his cousins wear are from a company that makes there clothes rather baggy. I love them they are so baggy and fun. They also look extremely comfortable on him. They fit over his bulky pocket diapers–that I also think are adorable.

    He is currently 18 months old and is wearing 18-24 hand me downs. We also have 2T. Both are really baggy on him and I see him in these clothes for a very long time even though he is about avg or a little over average size. It seems though that he grows out of the mainstream stores clothes before he hits the age they are suppose to go to, and not just bc of the diapers either. They just seem like a tighter less comfortable fit for him and he is not a chubby kid.

    I was wondering though what do you do when the seasons change. Where we live we have drastic changes in the seasons. T-shirts and shirts are not a problem but shorts are a must in the summer. Do you buy their size or do you still size up? Shorts will probably only be worn where I am for 3 months maybe 4 at the tops. The next little guy will be in them in about a year or two, but I was just wondering how you handle the seasons.

  10. Sorry everyone–Mr. Linky is up now!

    Abbi–My daughter has a lot of “capris,” too! Once her pants finally start fitting her around the waist, they’re several inches too short to be normal pants.

  11. I could not disagree with you more. I often find that by the middle of the summer my kids clothes are destroyed from playing outside and just being kids. Plus, if you buy them big, then by the time they actually fit right they are completely worn out and look terrible. For me the key is buying much less than most people in the correct size and letting my kids wear everything as much as possible.

  12. Mamasimpson says:

    I actually used capris as pants for my daughter last spring. She’s pretty much wearing the same stuff this year as last. Same as my son. I think it’s great.

  13. That’s a really great idea that I hadn’t thought of before. I hate it when my daughter only gets to wear things a couple of times before she grows out.

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