Top Tips to Hype Hand-Me-Down Coats

PoshMom Editorial Team
Sustainable or Vintage is the New Terminology for Hand-me-Down

Unpacking kids’ winter clothes can send a mom careening down a few paths: nostalgia, nesting and need-to-go shopping. It can also send her younger kids, those set to inherit their older siblings’ castoffs, down their own trajectory. Denial that a long-favorite piece finally fits (um, sorry sweetie, not quite yet) or insistence that a perfectly good one doesn’t. Stand firm that the too-long sleeved sweater needs to go back into storage for another year. And promise amazing results of upcycling others, like very expensive to replace coats, becoming the perfect fit for their new owners.

How to Get Started

How exactly do you make good on that promise? Learn these top tips to hype hand-me-down coats but first repeat after us: It’s not old, it’s vintage. It’s not ugly, it’s retro. It’s not hers, it’s yours but elevated. Then consider looks that work for your little ones. Take into account what activities they are into that season—do you have a budding ballerina or basketball star? Or think about what they’ve always loved whether it’s simply a favorite color or the type of book they have on repeat for bedtime reading. Then start thinking details. Add a faux fur color to that plain puffer to level it up for your glam girl. Have an older son who likes superheroes and a little one who idolizes athletes? Cover the Jurassic chest logo with a sporty patch. Go even further and put a series of sports team patches evenly spaced all over.

If you’re not the crafty type or handy with a needle and thread, no worries. Many of these top tips to hype hand-me-down coats are simple switch-ups. Think hot glue gun and a glass of wine (wine not whine). For other ideas that might feel out of your scope, enlist the help of a local seamstress. Your budget will still come in well less than shopping for new. This way you will feel good about your footprint and your finances. Plus the results are just like custom (dare we say kid couture?). Another bonus is that once you get your little ones in on the styling and, when it makes sense, the execution, they will not only be happy but also proud to wear their new topper.

Add Around the Hems

Take advantage of the bevy of hems on a coat: Around a hood, collar, sleeves, pockets and bottom of the garment. Then determine just how to “trim” them. Think about faux fur in a variety of colors—from white, to brown, black, even pink, rainbow and animal print. Or, consider ribbon like a satin or grosgrain. Look for those that are at least 2 inches wide to get a desired effect. There are also details called trimmings that are loose or pre-affixed to stretches of ribbon, elastic or other backing. These can be faux crystals (in a variety of shapes and sizes), fringes, sports paraphernalia, animals, call outs, fashion icons and more. Peruse online or go to local fabric stores to search for the best. Don’t forget to bring the coat (for matching purposes) and the kiddos along.

Put on Some Patches

Big patches, little patches, oversized, teeny-tiny or a combination of them all can truly customize a coat. And the best part is these iron or sew-on additions come in such a rich selection of styles and colors that you are sure to be able to please even the pickiest dresser. Some ideas we like: sports themed (team logos, iconic equipment, word association), fashion themed (animal prints, garment icons, designer names), animal themed, travel themed, space themed, school themed and more.

Consider Changing Closures

A zipper is amazingly versatile. It’s more than just an open and closing mechanism. It can actually be the star of the show or the top tip to hype hand-me down coats, in this case. Zippers are an easy and inexpensive way to instantly change the look of a jacket. And not just along the center. Change pocket zippers—choose to keep all in sync or mix and match—and even a secret inner zipper too. New zippers can be in different colors, metal finishes and widths.

Then, of course, you can have fun with buttons. If that jacket comes with buttons, it’s simple to change them out. If not, you can add ornamental buttons, as opposed to functioning ones, strategically placed along the closure flap, at the pockets and at the collar. The possibilities for button designs are seemingly as endless as your to-do list. Keep it simple with color choices and different metals or go for themed, bespoke and designs that strut your little one’s personality.

Hide Secret Messages

Sometimes little details just meant for your children bring the biggest smiles. A top tip to hype hand-me-down coats this way is to get them excited about a custom monogram sewn or ironed into the inside of their jacket—in their favorite color. Since we are not fans of advertising their names on clothing and backpacks (stranger danger rulebook!), this is a super fun way to customize their coat. And when the monogram is tucked inside not only is it safe but is also a for-their-eyes-only detail (like the pretty lingerie you wear under your power outfit). If a monogram conjures up too many images of an 80s prepster for you, go for other personalized pieces. Secure a lucky charm or favorite trinket in an inside pocket or pouch. Make that the charm’s place (so they know not to take it out) but it’s always with your little one.

Pay Attention to Accessories

Think of a coat as a canvas and hat and glove/mitten sets as the paintbrush finishing touches. Better yet, regard this coat and accessory relationship as a living piece of art as those finishing touches will be ever evolving with the hats, scarves and gloves on constant replacement (from losing them on the playground) rotation. So while it’s tempting to spend on the mini-me designer duds, we cannot stress enough not to. Another tip, when you find pieces you love, buy multiple, because inevitably one mitten will be lost or just the scarf will go missing. You get where we are going—a seamless replacement will be easiest for everyone.