Two Birds, One Stone

old-navy-wedges.jpgI’m thrilled to introduce new contributing writer Sarah, a mom of two and lifelong fashion addict. Today, Sarah shares a clever idea that will stimulate your child’s crafty and categorical skills while sprucing up your spring wardrobe:

“I’ll admit it: I dread April school vacation week, with its unpredictable weather and crammed museums, libraries, and movie theaters. To cope, I have devised a family activity that will keep the kids occupied and help you achieve the very thing you want most (okay, other than a good night’s sleep) this spring: a wallet-friendly wardrobe update.
The beauty of this concept is that depending on the age of your kids, your own fashion needs, and your general time and patience, you can make this budget fashionista scavenger hunt as simple or as complicated as you’d like.

The Budget Fashionista Scavenger Hunt

Step 1: Collect your spring fashion magazines and create a list of the pieces you need to spruce up your spring look. My recommendations include: a pair of cropped white jeans, a menswear-style blazer, a bright sundress, a feminine floral top or two, a summer cardigan, a great pair of flats, a sleek tote bag, and platform sandals.

Step 2: Cut out pictures and have the kids help you make a collage; this way, they’ll be more likely to remember what they’re looking for. (And cool, it’s a craft activity too!)

Step 3: Pack snacks and drinks and load up the troops. A well-fed child is a happy child, at least for a little while.

Step 4: Head to your favorite retail establishment. I highly recommend T.J. Maxx, Filene’s Basement (if you can still find one), or Marshalls if you’re really feeling lucky (or you live in the Back Bay). Old Navy also is stocked with cute, reasonably priced (if slightly disposable) spring hits in a shockingly wide range of sizes. Remind the kids of items to look for, give them a time limit, and set them loose! (Follow them and help a little if they’re young; older kids can have at it.) Have them meet you in front of the fitting rooms in a specified amount of time; ten minutes per round is good for starters.

Step 5: Assess the scavenged items: eliminate some items from the running before you enter the fitting room; try on everything else. (Sometimes your kids might find you a winner you’d never pick for yourself, à la “out of the mouths of babes…”) Make sure the little ones have something (e.g., Legos, a coloring book) to occupy them while you’re trying on clothes; nothing’s worse than having to chase a preschooler through the changing area in your jeans and a bra.

Step 6: Score. Hand out prizes for the team with the highest number of winner items, the team with the trendiest outfit, the team with the best bargain (Citizens of Humanity for $29.99!), the team with the most designer duds, etc. Is there a tie? Set up a lightning round in shoes and handbags!

By the time you’ve finished scoring your kids’ finds, they’ll be tired and happy and ready for a break. And with the money you saved on your spring wardrobe, you can afford a treat for everyone.”

Image credit: Women’s Braided Wedges in pewter, from Old Navy