Where to buy second-hand children's clothes online — with style in mind
Canadian shops where you can find (and even consign!) wardrobes for your littles
In recent years, many more independent boutiques and online shops dedicated to consignment and second-hand clothing and accessories for children have opened across Canada alongside established chains like Once Upon a Child and Boomerang Kids. Stylishly curated and merchandised, these second-hand shops feature a curated selection and a convenient shopping experience comparable to buying new — many of them even offer nationwide shipping!
For expert advice on buying second-hand fashion for kids, we asked Amanda Newman, co-owner of Tokki in Toronto, for her top shopping tips. She suggests starting early and buying sizes in advance of your kids needing them. For example, instead of waiting until after you've had your baby: "A lot of our customers are people starting at three to six months." She continues to say, "I would not be hesitant to buy a newborn second-hand clothes; we now offer a baby registry." Similarly, especially if you're eco-conscious, don't hesitate to gift second-hand clothes that are in great condition (Newman suggests just asking the parent-to-be if they would mind receiving a pre-loved garment), or state a preference for second-hand items on your baby registry.
When you're shopping in-store, Newman suggests checking each garment carefully for minor tears or stains that might have been overlooked by the consignor or shopkeeper. For footwear, she recommends outlining your child's foot on a thin piece of cardboard before going out, and using that to confirm sizing. "Then you can just slide it into the shoe and see if it fits … because trying on shoes with a kid is like herding cats," Newman says. And whether you're buying in-store or online, Newman suggests washing your purchases after purchase just as you would a brand new garment — even if the item was recently laundered. Impeccable hygiene is paramount given COVID-19 but also, Newman notes that the kind of detergent the previous owner or the store used is unknown and may not be problematic for your child.
Here are some stylish second-hand boutiques for kids that you can shop online. (Psst! Most of them also accept kids' clothing in great condition, if you're looking to sell or consign things that your children have outworn.)
This Junction neighbourhood store offers fashionable second-hand clothing, accessories and toys for babies and children up to size 10 — you'll want to follow their Instagram account to see the cutest new arrivals. There is also a small selection of new, locally-made or small-batch accessories and gifts in-store. At this time Tokki is offering contactless pick-up and drop-off, and free local delivery, and cross-Canada shipping options.
Fresh Kids, Calgary
Fresh Kids, which has a store in the Marda Loop neighbourhood, offers "upscale resale" maternity items, baby and kids clothing and accessories up to size 14, and some baby gear. Their speciality is modern, cool designs and local or independent labels, although you'll also find more affordable brands like Zara and Gap Kids on the site, too.
Washed + Worn, Calgary
This cute kids consignment website is online-only for now, although there are plans for occasional shopping pop-ups. Washed + Worn carries second-hand clothing and accessories for newborns and kids up to size 14, including handmade and vintage garments. There's also a small selection of "new with tag" items on the site.
This online consignment site offers local pick-up and delivery, as well as Canada-wide flat-rate shipping. There are second-hand clothes and accessories for kids up to size 10, used books, toys and baby gear, new t-shirts and onesies that are made in-house, and even a line of upcycled garments called 'Refreshed Threads'.
Little White Sneakers, Toronto
Little White Sneakers offers "new and like new," brand-name kids' clothing and accessories at its uptown Toronto boutique and online. Expect to see second-hand apparel from labels like Burberry and Bonpoint for babies and children up to size 14, alongside new gifts, footwear, and items from local labels. Delivery within the Greater Toronto Area is just $7.95, and there's free worldwide shipping for purchases over $100.
This online shop focuses on higher-end, independent brands like Oeuf and Petits Vilains. Mini-Cycle supports the circular economy by selling new, used and overstock merchandise. Clothing is available in size NB to 12. It's also potentially a low-waste arrangement — they will also buy back any apparel that you buy from the store from you when you're done with them!
Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.