Wednesday, June 12, 2013

eco baby choices: second hand clothing

While I'm the first person to admit to loving clothing and shopping for new outfits, I've always struggled with the tension of wanting new, fun clothing, and the unethical clothing practices of most clothing companies. When I was younger, I was really good about buying second hand clothing for myself, but since living in Montreal, I've sort of lost that focus (partially just because the cheap second hand stores are so picked over in a big city). After the recent Bangladesh garment factory mishap, my desire to step outside of the unsustainable clothing industry was rekindled (it had been percolating for a while though). Ever since we found out that Bean was coming, I've tried acquire as much of our baby goods second hand as possible. 

When my friend Jen and I went shopping for second hand baby clothing the first time, I think that I was somewhat overwhelmed by just how much stuff you could find. At that point she already knew she was having a little girl, so she narrowed it down to the more girly stash, while I suspected we were having a boy but didn't know for sure, so opted to embrace neutrals in both sections.

Obviously you have to look for stains, tears, etc, but overall most of the clothing is in great condition. Let's face it, babies don't wear things for long before they outgrow them. I tried to be selective and filter things judiciously because it's very easy to get caught up in the cuteness of all the outfits. But I'm trying to avoid overly gendered things like trucks and cars, instead opting for dinosaurs, monsters, animals, and bold colours.

Crap, what is it with pastels and babies? And don't get me started on how pink everything girl is. Oy vey! I'm trying to go towards things that I would also dress a girl in but it's hard. The baby industry is very stereotyped, it's redunkulous!


Since then, I've been back to various other shops a few times and have amassed quite the collection:

This is our newborn stash. Everything in the two left piles is second hand. The stuff on the right is new. Ironically I think we have more proportionally new stuff in this category than any other just because a lot of the NB stuff in the second hand stores seems off in terms of sizing. Plus, I've been forewarned by Paul's Mom to look for stuff with buttons, zippers, etc, around the head opening because it's hard to get baby in and out of more fitted clothing because the baby doesn't hold his own neck up. I've taken her advice but it has really cramped my ability to pick up much in the way of second hand items!

We have a lot more in the 0-3 month range:

Everything you see above is second hand. From cute overalls to Paul's Habs jersey, to a ton of onesies (short and long legged), we've pretty much got our 0-3 month stash sorted.

But of course, there were a few impulse new purchases:

Monsters cause let's face it, monsters are fun. Mom and Dad rocks outfits cause of course we're going to totally put Bean in the middle of our face off! And then dinosaurs and other fun sleepers because I was hormonal and Paul gave in to my insta-gratification urges!

Below are things that were either made or purchased by the grandmothers or given by a friend (I'm actually surprised they've been so restrained so far... we'll see how much Oma will have knit when she arrives in July. She'd already knit up a storm by Christmas and I'd only told her a month earlier, she's had another 6 months since):

There are other goodies in the 3-6 month range, but not that much. I'm officially telling everyone who wants to buy Bean clothing to buy it for the 3-6 + stages now. And if it's second hand, trust me, I'm good with that. Hell, I'm great with that!

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