As a kid, I sort of just rolled my eyes when my family got a a batch of hand-me-downs from family or friends. I would peer over my Mom's shoulder as she carefully removed each article of clothing from the bag spying the random wardrobe treasure and faux pas within the batch. I had no issue wearing hand-me-downs... as long as they were cool. And mostly they were.
As a Mom, my eyes grow wide when I am lucky enough to be given hand-me-downs. And luckily, Gabriel has really gotten a ton of hand-me-down clothes. I have a cousin (I guess it's relevant to mention here that I am the oldest child of my Dad, who is the oldest of his four siblings, so this age difference sort of makes sense) who is just 6 months older than Gabe, and because he is the youngest of his siblings, we have been given tons of little boy clothes. We've also gotten a bag here and there from other generous people, and it has really kept our clothes purchasing to a minimum.
Just recently, Gabe has caught up with my cousin so the hand-me-downs are trickling down less frequently. But I have discovered a whole new fun place to find hand-me-downs for the little ones---- children's consignment shops.
They are a gold mine, and honestly, more for little girls than for boys, but seriously, there are just piles and piles of beautiful, gently-used, nicely-priced clothing in these places. I bought Gabriel tweed pants complete with a sweater vest and button up shirt (with a decent tag) for $18. Bought new, this outfit would have been over $40 at this store. And now Gabe has something to wear to my Grandparents' 50th Wedding Renewal for a price I can handle, and a carbon footprint that makes me smile, too.
Because that's the thing I am getting at here-- Hand-me-downs are not just good for your wallet. They are good for the earth. Instead of heading out and purchasing ((I consider every purchase I make a vote for a product)) new, you can reuse something already made. In the long run, you can think of yourself sending a message to companies that you just do not need the new stuff... and if lots and lots of people start using more hand-me-downs and consignment clothing, demand will decrease. And that's less impact on the environment.
Sounds good to me! Here's a web directory of consignment shops to get you started. Word of mouth is your best bet when finding a real gem of a store, though.