Photograph by Kevin A. Roberts
The baby shower was lovely, and the gifts were perfect: the adorable smocked dress with matching bloomers, the Woman’s Exchange classic with fabric cherries down the front, and the shiny and tiny patent-leather Mary Janes.
The only problem is, your princess grew too quickly, and, well, she skipped that size.
It happens all the time.
Children cruise through clothes like George Clooney does girlfriends, which is exactly why children’s resale shops are continually overloaded with others’ hand-me-downs. The cost of each item is usually no more than half of the original price tag, and often considerably less. We decided to check out stores that specialize in little ones—and to find the best. We narrowed the field to four.
112 E. Jefferson, 314-966-3044
Probably the top of the lot, this Kirkwood store is divided into new items in the front, used in the back. And in the very front are fabulous, thick-with-tulle tutus fit for any budding ballerina. Sizes in resale run from 12 months to size 12; the new clothes start with infants. Labels include Gap, Lilly Pulitzer, Talbots Kids, Hanna Andersson, Ralph Lauren, Mini Boden, and Gymboree. In shoes, we found a plethora of Keens and Asters. The store’s best-selling items are its appliqué T-shirts, which are monogrammed on-site. (Note: The store pays you 20 percent more in store credit than cash for clothes brought in.)
11543 Gravois, 314-843-3888, purplecowkids.com
Purple Cow, run by Laura Maurice, has some new and plenty of used items. With its numerous circular racks, the store is easy to navigate. Brands spotted include Burberry, Juicy Couture, Lilly Pulitzer, Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, and Matilda Jane. “A good 30 percent of what we get in is new with tags,” Maurice says. On the shoe rack, we spied a few pairs of the popular Lelli Kelly brand. “We do a big business in shoes,” Maurice says. (Note: The store pays cash or gives credit for Purple Cow, and according to Maurice, you get more with credit. The actual percentage “varies with the brand, because we don’t want to miss out on anything,” she says.)
Once Upon a Child
Multiple locations, 636-230-2922, onceuponachild.com
Claire Frakes, mother of two little girls, calls Once Upon a Child “the Marshalls of children’s resale.” It’s true: This is a place where you need to be prepared to flex muscles and mush through overpacked racks. The franchise on Manchester Road in Ballwin is considered the best one locally. Certainly, the choices are plentiful, the prices extremely reasonable, and we found both Mini Boden and Hanna Andersson there. The store also has plenty of choices for the older child (up to size 14). And far and away, Once Upon a Child has the broadest choices in equipment. Brand-new cribs and toddlers’ beds are from Million Dollar Baby; new car seats come from Combi USA. (Note: If you take clothes to be sold, be prepared for potential disappointment in terms of both what the store will accept and the amount of cash it will pay. But there is no difference in the amount paid in cash or in credit.)
10030 Manchester, 314-835-9200, kangarookidsonline.com
The focus of this store is helping new mothers—especially on the nursing front. The store had plenty of Gymboree, Carter’s, and Old Navy clothes, but we found them to be a bit more worn than those shown at other resale shops. The store did have the best collection of snazzy new phil&teds and Mountain Buggy strollers. (Note: Kangaroo Kids offers 10 percent to 50 percent off on Wow-Wow Wednesdays. Also look for the $1 rack. As for bringing in clothes, the store will pay cash at the beginning of the season, but at other times, it gives store credit. And at all times, you get 20 percent more with the credit than with cash.)