Summer Cereal Wars
Renaissance Family

Hacking the Back-to-School Hand-Me-Down (plus GIVEAWAY)

This post is sponsored by thredUP. 

photobombin ur sponsorships again yay 

You might think that, with three boy babies, the hand-me-down game would be pretty straightforward. And for awhile, it was! I shuffled onesies and footie jammies from child to child, removing anything too worn out, replacing the modest wardrobe gaps only as needed. As they grew, the hand-me-down bins got a little bigger and keeping them organized got a little more challenging (still never found that missing bin of size 3T shorts, btw!!), but overall, our annual back-to-school closet lift-and-shift system worked. 

And then the babies grew into people. People with opinions

Noah and Ike prefer to live in the standard-issue boy-uniform of Under Armour shorts, Old Navy jeans, and a variety of graphic tees. (Though by the time Noah's clothes shuffle on down the chain, Ike's been ending up with fewer and fewer wearable options.) They're doubly easy because they both like anything that's blue or orange. Any old video-game character will do. They each pick out one pair of (blue) sneakers and wear them until they fall apart, and will happily walk out the door in clothing that's visibly ripped or stained or inside-out if I'm not there to notice and stop them. 

And then there's Ezra.

He prefers collared and button-down shirts and nice pants. He wants a nice dress shoe alternative to his everyday sneakers. He believes in dressing up for nice restaurants and holidays. He likes belts and ties and jackets. His favorite color is red, particularly a specific shade of burgundy red, and the wardrobe makeovers are by far his favorite segment of Queer Eye, which (of course) he loves, because he thinks it's so nice to watch people being so kind to other people. Also, they make everything look so fancy! 

So you can just IMAGINE his excitement when I hand over a pile of Noah's old clothing. Oh goody, more athletic shorts and another Minecraft tee. Just what he wanted. 

So this back-to-school season, I decided to do something different. I boxed up most of Noah's outgrown stuff and stashed it in Ike's closet instead, and hit my favorite mom hack site, thredUP—the world's largest online thrift store, with thousands of brands for women and kids up to 90% off estimated retail—this time, for Ezra (read on for a special discount too!).

(And for Ike, because of Youngest Sibling Fairness Laws and a string of unfortunate Fruit Punch Incidents this summer.) 


Let’s just say my kids walked away with quite a haul (I got 17 items for less than $200!). And I didn't have to drag them around to a single store or dressing room or dig around in picked-over piles in search of their sizes -- I just click on their sizes once and then search by brand, price, color, etc., and bam. I’m done and I didn’t even leave my couch.


The crown jewel of my shopping spree was this AMAZING and practically brand-new suit from Crewcuts (a brand Ezra's long admired but never worn before because ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THOSE PRICES). This would have cost over $150 at full price.

I paid $22 for the blazer and $15 for the pants.

I. Got. Him. A. Hundred. And. Fifty. Dollar. Suit. For. Thirty. Seven. Dollars.

I also got him a Crewcuts leather belt for $14.50 vs. $46 est. retail. This shirt is from Gap Kids and cost $13.50 vs. $30. 


This is Ezra's planned first day of school outfit. Crewcuts shorts for $17.99 (est. retail $46) and a Gap Kids button down for $9.99 (est. full price $25). 


And now back to THE SUIT, this time paired with an Old Navy button down in his FAVORITE shade of red (plz note how it coordinates with his flute case). And while Old Navy is usually my go-to kids' brand, it was nice to pay only $6.80 for this shirt.

(Sorry, it appears that Ike would like some attention. Here he is modeling a great pair of Under Armour shorts [$12.75 vs. $26 est. retail] and an Active by Old Navy tee [$6.80 vs. $19 est. retail].)  

(And yes, those ARE custom-painted portraits of Beau and Poppy dressed up like Renaissance-era royalty. Why?)

And now two of Ezra's own outfit creations, pairing the blazer with Gap Kids khakis ($9.99 vs. $40 est. retail) and two other Crewcuts button downs. ($10.20 for short sleeves and $12.75 for long -- which is much more reasonable than the est. retail prices of $46 and $61, because I have met my children and nope.)

He and I have a special dinner date planned at a local French restaurant to celebrate the first day of fifth grade. He says the bottom outfit is perfect for that. 


Ike's special back-to-school outing will be rollerblading. No word on his outfit selection for that but I really do dig this like-new Nike US Soccer jersey ($10.20 vs. $36), especially when paired with the cat.


Ike's actually a little obsessed with the Nike brand, since "it has my name in it and also you call me Ikie so it rhymes" He's planning to wear THIS Nike shirt ($8 vs. $24 est. retail) on the first day of school "so it'll be easier for people to learn my name." Cannot argue with that reasoning. 


(I asked him if he wanted to do a second funny pose in this shirt and he did this, as if I'M the crazy one for even ASKING.)


I don't think I've ever asked them to pose for this many photos and outfit changes, but Ike quickly figured out how to speed the process up. That kid's a genius. 

And of course. I couldn't resist picking something up for myself...a cozy sweatshirt from Socialite (a Nordstrom brand I am currently obsessed with, typically retails around $36) for only $11. Seen here paired with past thredUP finds from Jewelmint, Gap, Kut From the Kloth and my biggest THE KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOOOOOOL!!! face:

IMG_20190815_164019 (1)

If you need to do some back to school shopping for the family or just want to get yourself some new pieces (treat yo self) thredUP is offering you up to an extra 50% off your first order! That's the same promo I shopped with and I saved SO MUCH on top of the already low prices and took a HUGE chunk of out of our back-to-school shopping. Click here to shop and use code AMALAH at checkout.  (Expires 8/31/19. Applies to new US and Canadian customers only, see site for full terms.)

AND ALSO, TOO! How about a $200 shopping spree? I would not object to that, no? To enter:

  1. Go to thredUP and take a look around.
  2. Comment below with a link to any item you like/want/must have in your life.
  3. I’ll randomly select one lucky winner once comments close in seven days. (So please comment with a proper email address—it won’t be displayed and will only be used if you win, promise.)

And…that’s it! Good luck, fellow shoppers.









My husband would roll his eyes if I brought home yet another B&W dress but whatever, I love what I love!



Yet another striped shirt!

Katie H.

Zah's style is crazy cool! I can just see him being a total style master when he grows up (more!). And Ike is getting wayyyyyy to big now! Happy back to school for you! :)

Michelle B

Pretty fancy dresses like this:



I neeeeeeed this fox blouse in my life and in my closet!


I'm enjoying this cocktail dress!


I'm loving this red bag!

Ally Niphakis

Maybe if I buy cute running shorts I will you know actually run


I love their dress selection!


After telecommuting most of the time for the past 10 years, I am now having to go into the office more (ugh!) and have been eyeing ThredUP to help fill in my wardrobe gaps. Apparently flip flops and t shirt dresses/leggings are unprofessional.


About to have baby 3 and realllly digging all the loose fitting, cozy sweaters for fall!!


But where/how did you have the dog artwork done? Because I need that for my dog.


I love buying Leota brand dresses from ThredUp. I think the print on this one would push my fashion boundaries in a good way:

Kim Penn

The classic LBD, because you can never have too many of those, right?

Alicia CP

Your boys crack me up. And love how they have their own style.

So this spoke to me. 😬



I like this shade of blue a lot:


Does a purse count? Eyeing this one!


Need a decent/actually warm winter coat sooner than later:


I'm a sucker for a great Kate Spade:


I love ThredUP! I keep hoping for a code for not first timers! Right now I’m getting back into my yoga game, so I’m looking at these:


Since I can’t face postpartum jeans, I need fall ankle boots ....


A new dress for work!


Maybe I'd finally be bold enough to try a romper...


This Lauren by Ralph Lauren sweater- I’m on the job market and it would look great with jeans for flying to interviews or for dinners! Plus it’s gorgeous!


Honestly, I need Ezra to come fix my closet.
I like this:


Oooh! I keep wanting to try thred-up (based on your posts) but have yet to pull the trigger.
Loving this Paisley blouse!


I learned about thredUP from you and had so many fun summer dresses for my vacation this summer that I had to make at least 2 outfit changes each day just to fit them in! So now I’m looking at some good fall options and really like this grey skirt.

Kelly Skelton

I definitely think Ezra has a future as a stylist! It's been many years since I've owned a jean jacket, I think its time to get one. If Ezra disagrees please let me know ASAP.


I would totally stock up on some Seychelles shoes!! I bought a pair for my wedding and they're my favorite heels... but yeah. Not paying full price for a pair of these babies again ;)

Judy P.

I discovered ThredUp through your posts a couple of years ago, and bought a full outfit from them for a friend's "thrift store holiday party" where your total outfit couldn't cost more than $30. The sweater I got has become my "Tuesday sweater" as my friend loves the texture of the knit and likes to rub my arms when I wear it. I see him every tuesday, hence the name :)

Have this sweater in my faves but haven't decided yet whether to actually bring it home.


i didnt realize they had kids clothes?

although, here i am shopping for non-kids, lol.

Andrea C

I wish I was that stylish as a kid. Winter is Minne-snow-ta, so definitely these boots!!

June Joseph

I have so many totes but of course I still need a blue tote!


I live in Seattle and this is totally my style:

And this post reminds me - I have a bag of things all packed up and ready to ship to ThredUp!


Your recommendation for Socialite got me searching that brand instead of my usual ones on thredup, and I found this!


Your kids are awesome. I myself am in dire need for really comfy, soft, thin sweatshirts to curl up in when a migraine hits. Something like this:


Ok, I'll post a link because of course I'd like a free $200 shopping spree, but really I mostly want to say how much I love that Ezra's shirt coordinates with his flute case. I love it SO MUCH.

Anyway, gold flats, because my lifestyle of preschool drop off/playground/grocery store is obviously begging for them:

jennifer harris

check out the wooden heel!

Sheryl Smith

Pretty certain I have zero business wearing a jumpsuit at my age, but to hell with it!!

Suzy Q

Well, I saw a maxi dress, silk shirt, and black sandals I liked. I haven’t been able to go shopping for quite awhile since I’ve been under/unemployed for so long. What a lovely giveaway!

PS: Where did Baby Ike go?

Nicole Gas

Mildly obsessed with this loungy dress from Lou & Grey

I hope I win!


I totally need to update my mom “leaving the house wardrobe” - even though my sense of style is 5 years old and I have NO CLUE how to dress.

I think this is cute!


My youngest daughter has 2 older sisters. She LOVES to wear dresses, which her older sisters HATED. Similar situation to you - few, if any, dresses to hand down to her. As such, I would order this for her:

Oh, and go figure - she's even more of a tomboy than the other girls! (No worries, she wears shorts under the dresses, so she doesn't have to worry when on the swings or climbing trees.)


The perfect cozy Fall cardigan! Love it!!! Can't live without the cozy stuff! Happy soon to be Fall!


For a Christmas party I have to go to every year. Looks gorgeous.


This top makes me drool!

Thanks for the chance to win and the reminder that both my kids need back to school clothes.


A Patagonia sweater!


Just about every Coach bag is calling my name, but I particularly like this one for fall:

Elaine C. B.

I'm nearly 7 mos pregnant and I could definitely use some more maternity tops and pants!


Would love this for my little guy!


Love these shoes!


This one for my oldest, who loves both green and skateboards. :)

Rachel Mitchell

So yesterday I killed a housefly and my 3yo told me I was perfect and gave me a Paw Patrol sticker. That has nothing to do with this post, but I didn't want to just post a link. :)


I'm with you on Socialite! Love this sweater:

Christine Treece

Currently coveting this J Crew blazer!

Katie Lee

I feel like I need this weird little cocoon!

Melissa Hall

I started to look for the kids and then I was - like no!! For me!!!

Devany LeDrew

We homeschool so we don't need first day outfits but my daughter would love this!


I am such a sucker for a good deal.

Gillian egan

Loooook at this jacket.


Love this dress!


I hope I have a kid as stylish as Ezra one day!! I could get lost on Thredup for hours but I'm lusting over this cardigan which I could probably just sleep in!


Not going to lie, I would rock the socks off this dress:


I love thredUp! Kids grow too fast for brand new.

Emilia H.

I've been looking for a denim skirt. Something like this

margaret nur

The Bruno Cucinelli dress pants in ivory are what I'd buy!


I'm crushing on these sneakers, but let's be real, I would totally spend most of the money on my three girls (1 month old, 2.5 & 4) because we are SO on board the hand me down train these days. But also, momma needs a new pair of shoes!!

Sidenote: I love seeing your three boys because it gives me hope that one can survive & thrive with three children

April G

Because pink and white stripes are always the right answer;

Holly White

I've hit the "I'm almost back at my pre-baby weight after four kids but all my clothes fit differently and also I haven't even bought new work clothes in about four years." So I need some pants, skirts and tops for work. These are my style:


I would love this: Thanks so much!


Well, clearly I need these Marc Jacobs heels! Yes, I have really big feet... ThredUP is awesome because they actually have tons of shoes in my size.


Many things, and for $200 I could choose quite a few! I like this one to start:


This looks so cozy for fall...

I need to do some back to school shopping for my kids, I will be using ThredUp!

Sue W.

I LOVE Mighty Zah's sense of style! And (N)Ike is quite stylish too.
If you draw my name, please draw another. Pay it forward.

Krystan Krailler

Can’t resist a good Marc Jacobs handbag that I’d never pay full price for!

Lauren A

Threadup is the only way ever that I could get my hands on a pair of $298 Diane Von Furstenburg pants like this!

I’m slowly replacing any and all jeans with comfy pants and I’ll never ever look back


I love this bag (for me!):
But back to school shopping on thredup for the kids is a great idea too; thanks!

Keri Brooks

Love ThredUP! Got a few goodies at the beginning of my pregnancy. Now that I’m near the end, I look forward to wearing non-maternity clothes again! This is something I would love to buy:


life dramz. momma needs a treat.




Loving this dress!


So you have inspired me with Ez's suit and I am going to list two items because I'm a rebel that way and also HOLY COW WHAT A PRETTY SUIT. My current style obsession is CAbi and look, they have the blazer ( and the skirt ( that go together (in spite of the identifiers claiming the blazer is purple and the skirt is pink...?), and even though I mostly work in my pajamas, I feel like I definitely need that, right? Right. ;)

Lucia Frohling

Our youngest is a girl with two older brothers and she LOVES unicorns, JoJo Siwa and all things sparkly! She's also tall for her age so it's hard to find age appropriate clothes. She'd LOVE this dress!


I used to have these jeans and they were my favorites:

Barbara Goutelon

Just two boys here, but suffering the same woes with not being able to hand-me down clothes anymore! One of them likes to dress "fancy" at times, while the other is all sporty. It would be awesome to get this Crewcuts blazer, along with some of the other scores you got for Ezra!


I love this top!


Pants so I can pretend I care how I look at work.

Erin S W

Here are two things that would be great for me and my daughter!

Michelle Samples

I love thredUP! This is currently in my favorites:


Your boys are amazing, Mama. old-navy-pink-dress/57331593


Commenting a second time because my first comment didn’t paste the link correctly.


Those boys are too cute.

Stahhhhp sending me to ThredUp...I have managed to avoid purchasing but look at this cute Coach bag for cheap...


I think this more dressy than casual, but it’s very pretty!

I love how Ezra likes Queer Eye because of how nice everyone is to each other! He’s such a sensitive soul! 🥰

Meghan Housley

Would love this!


Liberty of London
There is a lot to love - Boden, Desigual, Eileen Fisher, never enough Petit Bateau. I need a wool cardigan for my freezing office. My teens need to shop in person though!


My Ike aged kid (I think they're a week apart) needs a ton of shirts, but I saw some super cute Ann Taylor Loft stuff and I would love this:
Either way, when my version of Ike comes back home in a week I'm holding him down in front of my laptop and buying all the shirts, sweatshirts, etc for him. And probably some adorable tops for my daughter, too!


ThredUp is the only way I can afford certain brands, like Eileen Fisher.


I just really want some pants that fit. These look perfect.


I think you've sold me on Kut from the Kloth so I need some!

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