Persnickety GIVEAWAY! Avery Top in YELLOW, size 2!

This just might be our #1 fave this summer, so I’m delighted to be able to share part of it with one of you!  Here’s the lineup – all Persnickety:

So gorgeous – special, but not too frilly.  And playable – you can wear this anywhere!

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Persnickety Avery Top, Lisel Leggings, and Olive Headband.  Shoes are Mini-Melissa “Ultragirls” off a flash-sale at GILT.

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The giveaway is just for the top, which runs $68.00 full price but can currently be found on sale for closer to $50 on both Addy’s Closet and Persnickety.  It is a size 2 and runs slightly small; barely fits Claire and she is a pretty narrow 2 year old.  It is NWOT and there are two minor flaws, too tiny to photograph but the amazing customer service at Addy’s Closet sent me a new one, enabling me to do this giveaway.  I will definitely be doing more giveaways in the future so stay tuned!

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The actual top, Size 2

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To enter, just go to Claire’s Closet’s Facebook Page, “like” the page, and comment on the link to this blog entry by tagging the friend you most credit with having introduced you to boutique kids’ clothing!  You do have to “like” the page to win, but you can unlike after the contest of course.  Today is national Best Friends Day!  Let’s celebrate!

XOXO, Lisa

Featured Outfit: Oilily Daantje Pinafore and Turquoise Trix Cardigan

I stalked Oilily for a long time before finally buying.  The rumors… their prices… everything seemed to be telling me that they were ah-mazing.  Sadly, they no longer have stores in the US and get this:  $45.00 to order off their website where everything is shipped from the UK.

But they kept appearing on Zulily and MyHabit.  So I kept stalking.  Finally I couldn’t take it anymore!  Hoping I could rid myself of the obsession by ordering one outfit and maybe not falling in love, I took the plunge.  I know you guys are on the edge of your seats and will be shocked to learn the outcome:  Against *all* odds, my plan backfired.

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Oilily Daantje Pinafore and Turquoise Cardigan – runs 1 size small in U.S. sizes. LOVE IT.

Yeah, so un unfortunately this set turned out to be gorgeous.  And unfortunately there is no truly cheap way to get Oilily.  With shipping this hit me about $100 (off Zulily) and I think I’ll be lucky to sell it for $40 (resale here would be either Ebay or European Children’s Clothing Resale Group on Facebook).  If by chance you’re new to MyHabit, they still have some Oilily dresses up and you could apply your $20 new customer credit (to any order >$50).

But there you have it.  A few IRL (“In Real Life”) pics for the curious.

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Llum “Petticoat” Dresses

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Cannot.

Say.

Enough.

About these dresses!

Llum is probably my #1 “flash-sale brand,” meaning, a brand that is often featured on flash-sale sites but never seen anywhere else.  It does have its own website, but there’s no way I’d ever pay $90 for a child’s dress (sorry Llum!).

What’s To Love:

  • Stunning prints in striking colors;
  • Soft, playable, high-quality fabric;
  • Cinched waist for definition;
  • Big, gorgeous bow ties in back, and… the real magic…
  • The “petticoat” layer with its different colors and textures:

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Where to Find:

As mentioned, these dresses are $90 if you buy off Llum’s website.  Not happening!  I most often get them off GILT where they run $40-45.  (GILT is just like Zulily, but features higher-end brands… DEFINITELY pay the extra $2 for 30 days of free shipping if you order, I always end up using mine and getting AMAZING deals that way!).  Keep in mind that you will resell for $20, that makes getting them off GILT a $25 purchase, less if you use your free shipping on other items.

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Llum Petticoat Dress: “LadyBird”

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Llum Petticoat Dress: “Silhouette”

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BOY Post! Mulberribush and Janie & Jack!

It’s hard to dress your son boutiquey when he’ll only wear dinosaurs, but I’m managing.  There’s actually lots of great high-end clothing for boys out there and I hope to someday have enough boy posts that my friends with boys can plug “boy” into the search box (up top) and get an eyeful.  Here’s one of our faves:

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The Shirt (Mulberribush):

This adorable shirt – appliqué detailed with white felt “teeth” – is by Mulberribush, a brand often found in the crazy-expensive catalogue CWD Kids.  Thankfully we didn’t have to pay a fortune for it though, because Mulberribush was featured on Hautelook, which is Nordstrom’s flash-sale site.  Guess how much it was on Hautelook?  $8.97.  Hautelook really zings you on shipping, which is $8.00 flat-rate, but their prices are so low that as long as you buy more than one thing it’s still an amazing deal.  Even if I’d only gotten the shirt, I still would have paid just $17.00 including shipping.  Not bad when you consider that these go for $30 on CWD Kids and CWD shipping is also outrageous.  I’ll probably get $7 back reselling, so this shirt was a fantastic purchase.

*If you can’t be bothered to scour the internet yourself, “like” me on Facebook and I’ll post only the very best kids’ clothing deals I find.

The Pants (Janie & Jack):

I can’t say enough about J&J pants!  They are absolutely our go-to, they just look so sharp.  Waist is always adjustable, which is a godsend.  They’re obviously expensive but the basic styles often don’t sell out until they’re pretty reduced, and resale value is great if you keep them nice.  Just last night I got a pair of J&J jeans for under $10 on their clearance rack in the store.  If you’re buying a few or several items, be sure to check Ebay for J&J coupons.  You can often pay under $5.00 for a J&J coupon that will pay for itself many times over depending on what all else you’re buying.

Happy Shopping, y’all!

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Such a great deal. And you can return directly to Norstrom Rack if there’s one near you.

Featured Outfit: Mustard Pie Baby Cozette 2Pc Set – Spa Blue (or Sweet Pink)

Love love love love LOVE!

I stalked this outfit for a long time – it’s technically layette and only goes up to 24 months.  I doubted we could fit it and I worried my daughter was too old to go romper-style.

NEVER happier to have been proven wrong.  This is my daughter in the size 18M (daughter is 35.5 inches and 27 lbs, wears a 2T in most brands).  GORGEOUS.  We’ll definitely get the 24M size next year if they do anything similar.  It is actually two separate pieces, which makes for an easier fit.

Mustard Pie is boutique-only and I can’t tell you I’ve mastered a cheap way to get my hands on it.  But the pink set is on sale for $48 (down from $64) on Addy’s Closet (update:  It’s now only $32!  The blue is sold out but they still have lots of the pink!).  You should be able to resell for close to $30.

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Mustard Pie Cozette Set

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Please ignore the play doh.

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LOVE.

Featured Outfit: Matilda Jane “Happy Hearts” Top (Pink Snow Cones / Pastel Bennies)

I can’t say enough about Matilda Jane, certainly not in one blog entry, so hopefully those who want to hear it all will eventually be able to plug “Matilda Jane” into my search box and see lots of stuff.  But this season’s “Happy Hearts” top is a great place to start.  Somewhat of a dark horse, this top did not sell out right away – and yet it’s fantastic for summer!

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Matilda Jane Happy Hearts Top with Pastel Benny Leggings.

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With “pink snow cones” leggings.

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The Outfit:

  • Matilda Jane “Happy Hearts” top, runs TTS (true to size); current line
  • Pastel Bennies (the blue leggings): older line, wore as pants last fall and winter, now wearing as capri’s
  • Pink Snow Cone Leggings:  older line, bought off Ebay, go with everything.

Why The (MJ) Love:

Here’s the thing about Matilda Jane:  You just can’t beat the fabric.  There’s something about it – it never pills, never fades, and it just feels SO soft.  MJ does a good job of making only limited quantities of each item, so their pieces hold resale value like none other.  I once made $46 back on a dress and stockings set I paid $67 for brand new, even though there was a hole in the stocking and a chocolate ice cream stain on the dress!  You can see the completed Ebay auction here.

The other thing about MJ is that they’ve somehow managed to make play clothes special.  As much as I die over Persnickety and Janie & Jack, you just can’t wear that stuff every day.  You have to slightly cringe as it wrinkles when you buckle it into a car seat, and the newer J&J lines especially are just too stiff to be playable.  MJ is soft and its movement is a huge part of its charm – that’s why you’ll hear so many diehard MJ fans say they never thought they liked it until they saw it in person.

More On the Happy Hearts Top:

This top was easy to overlook because it’s somewhat simple but it’s actually just perfect.  It goes with everything by managing to incorporate lots of colors in a print that still looks fantastic.  It’s also ultra lightweight and breezy so I can tell it will be a go-to once the real summer heat gets rolling.  And again it moves beautifully, which is impossible to capture on film.  It’s a very simple but classically great MJ piece.

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Such a great print!

Tutorial #1: How to Resell

Unless you’re rich, reselling is essential to affording high-end outfits (bonus: it’s a very green thing to do!).  Even just a little goes a long way, and it adds up quickly if you do it right.  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get a Paypal account, if you don’t already have one.  It’s easy to set up and you must have one in order BST (Buy/Sell/Trade) on Ebay and in Facebook groups.  Plus, it’s a great way to keep track of your clothing funds.  There’s no better feeling than using your Paypal funds to buy something you love that would usually be out of your price range.
  2. Get an Ebay account.  Again:  easy, free, and essential.
  3. Start limiting yourself to resellable brands (ideally you should opt for items within those brands that will best hold their value – you’ll develop a feel for that as time goes on).  A few such brands are Mini Boden, Tea Collection, Janie & Jack, Matilda Jane, and Persnickety.  Each of these brands has a highly active BST page on Facebook and a strong following on Ebay.  YES, you can still resell other high-end brands – be sure to put the word “boutique” in the title if you’re selling on Ebay.  But these are your surest bet for really making a lot back.
  4. Get those brands on a DEAL.  Buy them off Ebay or on a flash sale.  Combine vouchers with coupon codes.  Each brand has its own best way of buying and I’ll try to highlight that when I showcase the brand in a “featured outfit” post.  Use the search box at the top of the blog to see if the brand has been discussed yet.
  5. Keep your clothing nice.  I recommend Resolve Max Gel over all other stain-removers, and sometimes I spray it over with Shout as well.  A fabric shaver is also essential – and super cheap (removes pilling) – this is the best one I’ve tried; it’s only $12.  Wash your nice stuff on extra gentle with woolite.  Tumble dry for no more than 10 minutes before removing to air dry.
  6. Carry your camera around, if you can.  Really good “IRL” (In Real Life) pics of your child in an outfit can really help sell it.
  7. At the end of each season, photograph each piece and then store.  Keep a Word (or other) document on which you list each item, its condition and any flaws, its size and whether it runs TTS (true to size).  Always photograph in natural light NEVER with a flash.  Lay things out nicely so there are no wrinkles.
  8. Create two folders in iPhoto (or whatever you use) for storing all those pics.  One for “Spring/Summer” and one for “Fall/Winter.”  Drag all your pics into those folders so you don’t lose track of them.
  9. Once last season’s clothing starts becoming seasonal again, start selling!  All you’ll need is your Word document and your folder of pics – you won’t even have to get out your bin of clothes.  List your spring items in February, Summer items in April, Fall items in August, and winter items in October.  Once you see the big brands roll out their new season line, that’s when you need to get yours out too.
  10. Selling on Ebay:  The biggest bang for your buck is usually going to be Ebay.  Ebay gives you a huge national pool of buyers and allows them to compete against each other by bidding.  It also allows you to relist items that didn’t sell by literally clicking twice.  Ebay does take 10% of your sale but it’s usually worth it.  Listing on Ebay is free as long as you don’t change the standard settings – a 7 day listing with an auction and a buy-it-now price.  Be sure to include as much detail as possible in the title of your listing, so that it’s a hit on as many searches as possible.  Consider searching Ebay for your item and/or limiting your results to “completed listings” so that you can see what other sellers are asking and what they’re getting.  Your auction will end exactly 7 days after you list an item, so list it during times when people are most likely to be at a computer – in the evening, not on weekends.
  11. Selling Elsewhere:  The only other places worth selling are Facebook BST pages.  Consignment is not selling; you’ll keep only a small fraction by consigning.  When you sell in a FB group, be sure to use Paypal to send an “invoice” to the buyer – this protects you in the event that the buyer tries to scam you.  The benefit of the BST pages is that you sometimes get an immediate sale with no commission taken by Ebay.  The very best is to list an item both on Ebay and in the BST – but be sure to take your Ebay listing down if it sells elsewhere.
  12. Shipping:  Purchase a package of poly mailers off Amazon or EBay; these usually work out to about $.10 so you’ll save lots of money.  I usually reinforce the seal with packaging tape, and if it’s a really nice item I might double-bag it with a ziplock.  Personally I just hand-address with permanent marker and drop the package at the post office, but you can also get a scale very cheaply and do all your shipping via Ebay/Paypal; you’ll just need to make sure your mailman knows to take your packages with him when he’s leaving your mail.

If you follow these steps, you’ll soon watch your Paypal account grow.  Every season will be stronger than that last because the money you get from reselling last season’s stuff will enable you to buy more and better stuff that season, which means still better sales next season… and on and on. Here’s a list of some of the best BST groups on Facebook:

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Featured Outfit: Deux Par Deux Jumper & Mini Melissa “Strawberry” Furadhina Shoes

The Outfit:

  • Deux par Deux Jumper, purchased NWT (new with tags) off Ebay ($28.99 – retail $70)
  • Mini Melissa shoes purchased from a flash-sale on GILT ($32 – retail $50)
  • Light blue layering tee, $5.99 clearance rack at Carter’s.
  • Resale:  $20 for jumper, $20 for shoes.

Deux par Deux Jumper and Mini Melissa Strawberry “Furadhina” Shoes.

Why The Love:

This is absolutely going to be one of our favorite outfits this summer.  As I said in the blog’s introduction, dressing my daughter is a means of expression.  Part of that for me means capturing the essence of the seasons.  Once strawberry season hits end of May, I can’t get enough of those classic red-with-shades-of-blue summer combos.  Make it a jumper and you’ve got a double-whammy of classic childhood Americana.

More on the Jumper:

Deux par Deux is an amazing brand; it’s somewhat lesser-known because it’s crazy-expensive and thus only carried in high-end boutiques, but that’s PERFECT for buying on Ebay:  Less competition means lower prices.  The detailing on this jumper is exquisite, down to the stitching of each button done to look like a red flower.  Be aware that the brand runs small.  I should get at least $20 back when I resell on Ebay, making this a $24 purchase for me, including shipping.

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The darling buttons with their flower stitching run all down the back.

More on the Shoes:

We only just discovered Mini Melissa’s and I cannot say enough about them.  They are SO adorable and the designers do a great job of choosing shades of color that can still work as “basics” such that even their colorful shoes still end up going with lots of stuff.  The shoes themselves are plastic, with a slightly built up bottom, and they have their own scent that *screams* summer.  The buckles are faux; it’s just velcro – and that makes them my 2 year old’s favorite shoes because can she get them on and off all by herself!

Mini-Melissa’s are expensive ($50-60 per pair) but they’re often on flash sales on GILT or MyHabit (MyHabit is Amazon’s version of Zulily, and FYI if you’re new and you click here you get a $20 credit to any purchase $50+).  They hold up well, being plastic, and you can get lots back reselling them on Ebay or in the Facebook group “Mini Melissa BST.”

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A few more pics…

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Introduction

Hi, I’m Lisa, and I’m obsessed with dressing my daughter. I spend almost all of my free time scouring the internet for the newest cutest thing and figuring out the best way to get my hands on it. No, we’re not rich; my family of four lives in a two-bedroom apartment! I buy with an eye toward resale value and I’m very diligent about reselling; more on the best ways to do that coming soon!

Why the obsession? Above all else, dressing my daughter is a means of expression. In carefully selecting outfits and color schemes that best celebrate her natural beauty, I’m expressing my adoration of her and my excitement to embrace her childhood in its most visual form. I’m also expressing my own likings and preferences for things too whimsical for an adult to wear. It’s not art per se… but as someone who is not myself creative, it’s a way to create.

So please, fellow addicts, sit back and enjoy as I capture our finds and share my tips for making this affordable. Use the search function box at the top to focus on your favorite brands. Let me know if you see something you like OR something you disagree with. I’m all ears – thanks for reading!

– Lisa

Claire'sCloset