I Shop In The Kids' SectionSooner or later, I’ll be ordering from the kids' menu, too.Published: April 11, 2019
At first, I felt like an imposter. I’d hold my breath as I walked past playgrounds and elementary schools, worried that school-age children would point out that I was wearing the same clothes as them. I feared that cashiers would give me the side eye for buying clothes for 11-year-olds. But with time, I’ve accepted that shopping in the kid’s section is perfectly acceptable. And I’m not alone. Others have discovered the sartorial and fiscal benefits of browsing the kid’s aisles. Good things come in small packages—including kid-sized versions of products. Here are the fun-sized (and not always practical) purchases I’ve made recently.
When I first moved to New York, I made the pilgrimage to Target for apartment essentials. As my roommate searched for dish towels, I wandered over to the linen aisle. The spectrum of sheet offerings was drab and boring with dull patterns and colors. Out of the corner of my eye, I was distracted by a promising, electric mint polka-dot pattern. The packaging said Pillowfort, which I later realized was Target’s in-house brand for kids. The price was right and the polka dots were fun. But the color, advertised as “crystallized green,” gave me pause. I convinced myself it was just Target’s fluorescent lighting that wasn’t doing these sheets their justice. Fast forward six months later and I learned that not all purchases should be made from the perspective of my 9-year-old self. It wasn’t Target’s lighting that made the bed sheet’s ugly, they were just plain hideous. I got rid of the sheets.
I needed hiking boots for a trip to Yosemite. I’m a generally sedentary individual that counts my 20-minute walk to work as exercise. I dreaded the idea of shelling out over $100 for shoes that would be used once and then never see the light of day again. In the basement of a local sporting goods store store, I approached an employee and explained my situation. I emphasized “affordable” and “small feet.” She walked right past the women’s hiking boots on display and disappeared into the back room. When she reappeared, I was presented with the Northside Caldera Junior Hiking Boots. Size 5 for kids and Size “These Fit and I Save $100” for me. Sure, I was going on a big-kid’s hike that might have demanded adult hiking boots, but these boots were way cheaper! I scrambled through Yosemite with the vigor of a 9-year-old boy.
Yes, children’s clothes hangers are a thing. At the hardware store, of all places, I stumbled across the pint-sized hangers, which were significantly smaller than their adult-sized counterpart. I weighed the pros and cons, my clothes may fall off the hangers, but I would save money and maybe space in my closet. I bought the hangers and saved $10. They work great for shirts, but—as I suspected—fall short for all my other clothes, which have found a new home on my closet floor.
Upstart luggage brand Away makes a variety of suitcases, whether you need a carry-on for international travel or want to ball out on checked luggage that fits an entire wardrobe. And yes, they even have a suitcase for kids. I was apprehensive at first. The kid’s suitcase is so small, it looked like it’d only fit one pair of jeans. I was wrong, and now the suitcase has become my go-to weekend companion. I’ve become a minimalist roadtripper, as the suitcase has helped me stick to the essentials. People regularly ask me about it when I travel, and I whisper it’s meant for kids the same way someone would reveal they got their faux Gucci handbag from Chinatown.
This story is a part of The Goods™, a series about the stuff we have, the stuff we love, and the intersection between the two.