Thrifting as a lifestyle is the way I roll. With that being the premise of my shopping, it’s no wonder our five children have grown up with a designer wardrobe that comes from a Frugal Fashionista lifestyle as well. Many people understand dressing their young kids in a yard sale wardrobe, but I get many arguments from moms claiming that once boys pass ten years old, second hand clothes are not readily available, nor are there any fashionable finds.
Considering that 80% of my sons’ wardrobes are all second hand finds, I beg to differ. Yes, boys are harder on their clothes. Yes, it may be a bit harder to find trendy items, but yes, you can dress your teen sons in designer clothes for pennies on the dollar.
My guys tend to lean towards the preppy side of fashion when they dress up. Lands End, Gap, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer…all the classic looks are what I scope out, yet for the day to day, they like the sports clothes, so Nike, Adidas, Rebook, etc are also common brands I hope to find.
I hit the jackpot in just one yard sale last weekend. Ten Gap, Mens Limited, Banana Republic, Tommy Bahama and more, all newly dry cleaned dress shirts, polo shirts, and athletic shirts for $1.50 – 3. Let’s face it, the dry cleaning cost more than that price as the seller so kindly reminded me.
After church on Sunday, I snapped these pictures quickly when we walked in the door, so was definitely no official fashion shoot of my men/boys. In all these years, I can’t believe I haven’t shown more of their frugal fashion because they do have some fashion sense and this does NOT highlight it.
By starting your children on a lifestyle of designer Frugal Fashion, they trust you. You have had years to prove to them that they will not become social outcasts by wearing clothes from Good Will. 🙂
I’ll never forget when our eldest first showed some appreciation for my frugal fashion finds. As a freshman in high school, one of his friends was bragging about her new pair of $89 designer jeans. He asked, “Why in the world would you pay $89 for jeans, when you can get them for five bucks at Good Will.” It was then that I knew he “got” it. My guys are considered good dressers by their peers, yet they have made it clear with me that they don’t care about wearing second hand clothes as long as they are in-style and it looks cool. Sometimes I will bring a few things home that they boycott. I am completely fine with that since I know in the long run, I am saving thousands of dollars.
Last Christmas, when our holiday budget was nearly non existent, I knew they were hoping for some updates on their wardrobe. They all told me they did not care where I bought their clothes, as long as they were cool clothes. For a then 15 and 16 year old to acknowledge that on their own, was music to my ears. 😉
Khaki shorts have been fairly easy to find, but the pants are a bit more difficult now that my sons are all over six feet. Yet, this is the first year I have had difficulty finding them. Typically, Good Will has their pants organized fairly well.
Plaid golf shorts and V-neck T-shirt shirt make an instant outfit for only $3 total, while this Gap sweater will be perfect this winter with jeans.
My newly turned 16 year old son is 240 pounds and nearly 6’4″. Believe it or not, I still thrift shop for him, but yes, I’ve had to buy him a few new things this year. Athletic shorts and shirts I can always find second hand, but finding trendy pants are a bit of a challenge for this football player. They are out there and every once in awhile, I hit the jackpot on pants and will score 3-4 all at the same yard sale. This outfit above was a total of $3. Those Tommy Bahama silk shorts were $2, yet they retail for over $70. I LOVE that! (Yes, just divert your eyes to the mountain of soft drinks on our floor…it was party time.)
Our daughters have both become Fashionistas in their own right, with a definite style sense that is different than mine. Of all the people that are beginning to balk at Good Will shopping, it our oldest daughter. She is a neat nick and the fact that we bring home clothes without donating and clearing out other things is really bothering her. The Lord knew I needed her in my life.
Her outfit on the left was $2 total: $1 for the tank top and $1 for the skirt – both from yard sales. She loves yard sale-ing with me, but doesn’t prefer thrift stores. Our newly turned 14 year old is sporting his brother’s Khaki pants from Goodwill – $3.75, with a $1 yard sale shirt.
So, to my question, “Can Teen Guys and Thrifting for Fashion Work?
Absolutely. We have two teenaged boys closets full of designer clothes to prove it.
(My guys are definitely gamers when it comes to putting up with their mom’s blog. Let me know if you would like me to continue featuring both guys and girls second hand fashion on here. I may even make my hubby step up to the plate, since most of his wardrobe is second hand as well, and yes, even most of his office wear.)
New to shopping at a thrift store? Don’t miss my tips on Five “Must-Do’s when browsing for clothes in a thrift store” and “How to Navigate a Thrift Store.”
Wow! Truly amazing deals you guys found. It’s so important for our children to be good stewards of their money–congratulations on helping your children learn these lessons! I especially love your daughter’s outfit–how cute! I can’t believe how much your children have grown–you have a beautiful family.
Great post. I too purchase most of my sons clothes at thrifts – and they have more Polo than most o their friends! Last Christmas I was on a tight budget and new I had to find deals – so looked over the course of Nov & Dec at several Goodwills and came up with a bounty of clothes for them. I probably had 150.00 invested and had a tree full of gifts to the tune of Eddie Bauer, AE, Hollister, Polo, great sale deals from jeans from Kohl’s, an more.
It can be done!
@Helen, a friend of mine was just talking about how she does all of her kids’ school shopping at goodwill and thrift stores! I love that! I don’t do it all, and I’ve never done it for Christmas shopping for clothes (for toys and books, yes!), but I may try it this year! See what I can see.
I LOVE to see the whole family – it’s easy to get lazy about shopping for them so it’s inspirational to hear that it’s possible!
Thanks so much and yes, PLEASE continue and encourage your hubs to hop on board.
i love this post! my 8 year just spent a gift card to justice and got three items, she enjoyed herself, but oh we could have done so much more at a trendy thrift store and still gotten the logo on the label. she is a good sport about wearing clothes from the thrift store overall, but does love to buy new every once in a while, so better a family member’s gift card than my wallet.
@sheri grennille, I find Justice stuff for my 11 year old at the thrift store all the time, you just have to go often.
I LOVE Goodwill. We just moved to a new area that has an awesome (and not crowded) Goodwill store. I’ve bought myself four shirts, my daughter three outfits for a missions trip coming up, and still looking for some shorts for her to take. We have 3 daughters, but I have a 6 y.o. grandson that I love to pick up things for there,too. I think your boys/men are very handsome and level headed. I have just gotten my husband into wearing thrift clothes, so I’d love to see a post of things you’ve found for your husband.
That’s awesome. I’ve only been to our goodwill once and there wasn’t anything that day. I do plan to go back. So far with little man we’ve been able to get lots of hand me downs and I ALWAYS shop the clearance rack for his clothes. Our town also has a huge consignment sale and I got almost his entire summer wardrobe there. I hope he continues to be a good sport as he gets older.
Yes, please share about clothing your husband and all your family members! Thanks for the great posts and encouragement to be Frugal Fashionistas!
I love this post! I have a 12 year old son and 14 year old daughter, and my son is definitely the easier one in my house to shop for! My daughter has learned the love of high end teen shopping, but thankfully still goes directly to the clearance rack! She will wear second hand, but it is hard to fit her – she is thin, but “blossomed” early, so finding things that fit both is a little hard. I LOVE Goodwill for my son’s shorts – he wears shorts year-round, even with snow on the ground unless he is going to be outside for extended periods of time, and scooping up name brands at the Goodwill makes us both happy!
Great post! I love seeing pictures of your boys…it is SO encouraging to see that you can feed (as well as dress) your BIG men so frugally!!
my oldest son is 11 and i’m finding it a little harder to shop for him second hand, but i just always keep my eye open and every so often i find great items for him. he hasn’t complained yet!! i love thrift stores and garage saling!!
Great post. I wouldn’t mind doing the thrifting thing for clothes, I just never get around to it, or when I do get to Good Will, I don’t find anything I like.
Your kiddos are so cute!!
I just wanted to tell you I love your blog! Your common sense and ethical behavior is so refreshing in this time of rampant coupon fraud. Keep up the great work:)
This is so great! Just the blog I needed to read this morning. Our son isn’t a year yet, but he’s growing fast. Sometimes I find myself wondering about clothing this boy when he’s a teenager on our extremely tight budget, especially if he ends up built like my side of the family (my brother alone is 6’6″, 250 lbs). This just gave me great hope for the future. I would love to see more of your secondhand fashion finds and tips.
Yes, I would love to see more of your kiddos fashions and it would be neat to see ideas for your hubbs too. Keep em comin.
My son (15) is the same as far as he doesn’t care if its thrift or yard sale as long as its cool looking. He is not preppy at all though, and it does seem like that style is more readily available. But on a few very rare occassions I have found an item or two. He is pretty brand specific with his shirts (Volcom) and his jeans need to be Bullhead. The shirts I have seen on occasion but never the jeans. But I won’t give up. His most recent jackpot was a pair of those new Reebok sneakers (can’t remember style) with the wavy soles. Well he got them for $8 at a yard sale like new condition. We went to a store after the yard sale so he could prove the value and well they were $90. Cha ching.
@Michele, I know the pain of a brand loving teen! For a while, my oldest had just a few brands he would wear… so, the choice he would make would be to just get a single expensive pair of jeans (while his sibs’ clothes budget went a LOT farther, mixing up thrift shopping, garage sales, and a new item or two)… but, I’m happy to say that he has now outgrown that attitude, and has taken himself shopping for deals at TJ Maxx, Goodwill, etc. He’s still looking for a particular “look” and fit, but has come to really appreciate a deal. Coincidentally, that has happened after he’s had a couple jobs and worked for $8 an hour. 🙂 So, it may get better.
Love it! And I would LOVE to see some posts on dressing hubbies thriftily!
Love it!!! My kids (12, 10 and 7) love to garage sale and go to Goodwill. I’m hoping that it will stick with them, too. Thanks for your great blog. You are so encouraging!!
I am a huge fan of the Goodwill, thrift stores, yard sales & the consignments. I’ve had to bring my husband on board since we married, but he’s impressed when I find him great stuff & of course I always dress my girls second hand. Why buy new, when you can find new & like new hanna andersson & gymboree for $1.00!! One night we were heading to Target to get my hubby some work jeans & decided to check Goodwill first. Wouldn’t you know I checked a rack that was coming out & found him 4 pairs of jeans for $4.50 each!! The price of one of the “$22.00 on sale” ones at Target!!
You are such a wonderful blessing. I love shopping at Goodwill and thrift stores. In my area I haven’t been able to find much at yard sales for any of my kids or myself. I think I need to come up there and go with you a few weekends. LOL My oldest son does not clothes from Goodwill. . so I buy them, wash them, and stick them in his closet. I have been able to find him clothes on clearance for $5.00 or so. I can live with that amount. I have introduced my Fiance’ to Goodwill since we have been together and he is know addicted. 🙂 Please show more of your amazing family. I look forward to your post daily. My Mom has a saying for me when I get down. . “Remember. . you are a daughter of a King!!!” Jen you are such an amazing example of our King’s love and blessings!
Yes!! Please show clothes thrifting for your family. It provides, not only encouragement for the rest of us, but also some great ideas! Thank you so much.
Thrifting the wardrobe of my husband and three sons is an on going challenge. I really appreciated this post. More please.
I’ve had good luck with finding dress clothes for my 16 year old, especially since he a men’s large and 34×34 pant, pretty easy sizes to find. I’ve had good luck with jeans, too. He doesn’t seem to mind that they are second hand, as long as they fit! I’m really choosy, and only buy things that are gently used. We live in a college town and that really makes a difference! Kids will grow out of their clothes or move back home and get rid of the bulk of their wardrobe at semester end!
Jen, thanks for encouraging us to re-think our shopping habits and get over the historic sigma of shopping a charity stores.
Thanks to your post I have a bunch of new trendy shirts for less than one cost at TJ Maxx. 🙂 Though I’ve started thrifting for myself, I never thought of looking for my hubs. He’s a big guy so I just assumed there wouldn’t be anything. (Which is silly since I’m finding larger sizes for myself.) Thanks for the nudge.
This is so encouraging to me, as I have 8 year old & 6 year old boys. I have outfitted them from the beginning in designer labels from thrift stores, but the clothing out there is definitely getting slimmer as they are getting older. Good to know it can still be done!
When my sons were in their teens a mom at my husband’s work used to send bags and bags of free clothes that her steps sons, who attended an exclusive prep school, had outgrown. Because my boys never knew anything different they considered this the way everyone “shopped” and because we homeschool they didn’t have much invested in the latest brand-name fades.
One day as a new shipment arrived, my son dug through a bag to change from a white tee shirt to a dark tee shirt for soccer practice (because I forbade him to wear WHITE to practice). At practice he caused quite a stir when team-mates questioned why his mom would “let” him wear that particular tee shirt to practice.
“Oh we have a whole bunch of them – its really old,” he replied nonchalantly.
“Man, my mom made me spend my own money to get my STRUCTURE tee shirt, your mom is really cool,”
Heavens! Was my fashion conscious son impressed when he learned that his practice shirt cost around $70 and that STRUCTURE was the must have brand at the local public school!
He enjoyed being the hip kid and so wore it all the time after that – just not to practice!
I loved this post! Your children are such good sports to model the clothing you bought and they’re all so good looking! 🙂 I would love to see more of them and your husband. I currently buy nearly all of my name-brand clothing at yard sales, consignment stores and thrift shops (along with my kids’ clothing (4 and 5 years old) but it’s hard to find nice stuff for my husband. Occasionally I find something from Old Navy or the Gap but I have to admit I’ve never checked out Goodwill. Maybe I’ll have more luck there!
More, please 🙂
I might need to meet you at the Goodwill near you to grab some of the great deals you’ve been finding. Our 6’2″ son is not finding the looks he likes at our Goodwill. Needless to say it has been slim pickins for him. He is a 30 waist and 34 inseam!!! Challenging to find, but it has been done.
Please continue to post about frugal fashionista for ALL family members.
I have saved tons of money on mens’ dress and casual shirts for my hubby by buying at the thrift store. Most of the ones I find are practically brand new and he looks great! I’m only sad I didn’t discover thrift store shopping until after my daughter was in school; I could have save so much money on baby clothes!
As a Mom of three boys (ages 9 and 12), I would love to see more frugal fashion looks for boys! Most of my boys’ designer stuff already comes from the thrift store already. My bil and sil think I spend a fortune on my boys’ clothes, but I really don’t spend a lot. I pass the hand-me-downs to dh’s nephew.
Now that oldest ds is 12 though it is getting harder to dress him for cheap. He is growing like a weed. I just recently started buying him men’s small shirts.
I also recently started buying dh clothes from the thrift store, esp. shorts and pants.
What a great looking family! My oldest son discovered thrift stores while he was in college. He has bought some great looking suits and dress shirts there. H always wants to save money.
Love this post! I buy a lot of my kids clothing at thrift stores, yard sales and consignment sales. My daughter (5 yr old) loves to try on all of the shoes at Goodwill. My son doesn’t care so much to go with me to thrift stores (9 yr old) but will wear what I buy if he thinks it looks cool. (i.e. sporty) I buy this way for myself and some for the hubby too. It’s just so much more rewarding to buy good stuff inexpensively. Gives me a good feeling of accomplishment; trying to make the most of whatever means God has blessed us with. My sister (widow with 2 kids at home) has discovered buying things second-hand too as well as my dad who is in his 70’s. We all cheer one another on for our good finds! Keep up these posts please. 🙂
I would LOVE for you to feature more of yard sale and thrift store finds. They are my favorite posts of yours. I just started shopping at Goodwill for myself and now I don’t think I can buy retail anymore. I have found so many designer pieces for just a few dollars. I don’t do yard sales because they require too much driving, I have to get up too early on a Saturday morning, and I can’t try on the clothes before purchasing. That’s my reasoning for it anyway. With Goodwill I can try them on before buying or return for a store credit if I change my mind. Also, I can stop by anytime of day or any day of the week. By the way, I’m coming to the Becoming Women conference and I’m very much looking forward to it!
I buy about 75% of my kids’ clothes second-hand (mostly thrift stores). With a 16 year old and a 12 year old, it does get a little harder, but it is not impossible. The payoff is that when my son goes to the mall with his own money, he usually comes home empty-handed. He joked last time, “You’ve ruined me, Mom! I can’t buy anything now unless it’s at thrift store prices!” heeheehee–my evil plan has come to fruition :)!
Wow! That is amazing! Thank you for showing the guys clothing as well. I am becoming more and more frugal, but shopping second hand for clothes just hasn’t happened for me yet. I think it’s because I got so used to not shopping for clothes, period. I have plenty of second hand from friends and co-workers, but that’s all girly stuff. I would love to come in to a great find for my husband, and also for myself. You’ve inspired me to hit the garage sales and see what I can find!
Oh, and your guys look very handsome in their secondhand clothes. I think it’s great that they don’t mind it and instead focus on the value you’re getting.
love, love, love the goodwill. I wish my 15 yr old would wear stuff like that, he is more t shirt and jeans . My daughter was dressed almost entirely in name brands from the thrift store for school last year.
I would love to hear more about your kid’s and husband’s wardrobes! I love hearing how your kids are fine with used clothes.
Love this! The closest goodwill is 20 plus miles away and not very good BUT Salvation Army “Sally’s” is Great! I try to stop by at least once a week. I have found great things for myself and my daughter (when she was expecting) and also my husband. Dh is large and these are harder to find but I have come across several great buys for him.Just last week got him 2 t shirts and a pair of jeans for less than $19.00.. Both t shirts still had the store tags on them, $20.00 each. Dh is very hard on his clothes but I enjoy the hunt and savings!
I am a lurker who has read for over a year now – reading this particular post I felt as though I wanted to comment and say how much you have inspired me with your Frugal Fashionista posts. As a SAHM mom in her 20’s with 3 small children, trying to clothe us all WELL on one budget was so daunting. I constantly felt I was scrimping to purchase clearance items for the kids to keep up with their growth spurts and my wardrobe…? Forget it! Reading back through many of your fashionista posts a little over a year ago, I became inspired. Maybe it sounds silly but I had never really considered that with a bit of time and effort, I could find so many terrific clothes at yard sales and Goodwill and other various thrift stores. Seeing your pictures and having you take the time to walk through some of your shopping strategy was SO immensely helpful. As a fellow Christian I don’t think how we look and dress is ultimately of utmost priority in our lives, BUT, nevertheless it feels wonderful to have the family dressed so sharply, in terrific name brand/designer quality clothes for a fraction of the price I was spending before. My husband is thrilled and also appreciates my own updated looks and is always amazed at how far I can make our clothing budget go. He feels like it’s a miracle 😉 Thanks for taking the time to share with other women out there – it’s made a difference!
In an effort to keep our Christian school more “affordable”, our school just hosted its 1st annual clothing “swap”…anyone who donated clothes or had a child going to our school could “shop”…it was so fun to see the looks on people’s faces when they walked out with 6 or 7 bags of clothes and their purchase totalled ZERO! One family had 6 children to outfit! Even some of the moms and dads were able to pick up a few new wardrobe items! Such a fun day! I specifically read your blog for these kinds of posts! Thank you!
I’ve got 2 boys (ages 3 & 6) that have been outfitted with 2nd hand clothing almost entirely since day one. It is a RARE occasion that we purchase new items. The grandparents usually give them new duds on birthdays and Christmas. It’s nice to know that I still have many good finds ahead of me as they grow! 😉 Happy Thrifting!
I love your site. We just moved to the Charlotte area and I am trying to get my bearings on the savings scene here after having an amazing frugal network in Cincinnati. I’m learning a lot from you. I have young boys, so keep up the boy fashion blogs. I love the food ones, too. Thanks.