Tea Time: Finding Ethical Children’s Clothing

Walking with Cake: little stream

(A little stream at San Gabriel Park in Georgetown.)

After such a dark, cold winter, the sun was shining on Saturday, and we made a trip to one of our favorite parks in Georgetown.  It was wonderful to be outside, and the recent rains left the river almost full, so the tiny streams and inlets were great attractions for the children at the park.

Walking with Cake: Not quite twins

(Not quite twins.)

I confess I had another plan, too, and wanted to take pictures of the boys in their new clothes.  Since I became interested in fair trade products, I’ve been on the hunt for basic children’s clothing that fits the bill, but it’s really hard to find.  Fair trade and ethically-made clothing is growing in availability, but I haven’t been able to locate much that works for school-age kids.  Lots of stores sell cute onesies and baby hats, but my boys need sturdy pants and tops that can be worn to school and at home.

When it comes to my boys’ clothing, I’m really practical. Each boy has five or six pairs of pants in rotation, with a few more shirts, and I do laundry frequently. They each have one pair of shoes, which we replace as their feet grow.  I buy basic colors and mix-and-match styles, and I’m not a fan of complicated outfits or adult clothing on young children. My boys want to play and be comfortable, and I want clothes that will hold up to their activities, which might include a skinned knee now and again.

Walking with Cake: James exploring

(James checking out the stream.)

After our sixth pair of boys’ pants from a well-known retailer tore recently, I decided to search for a more durable, and hopefully ethical, option.  I haven’t had much luck at local consignment stores, which mainly carry rows and rows of boys’ jeans with scratchy waistbands and hard-to-manage zippers and buttons. Since little guys are hard on their pants (six pairs ripped recently!), there isn’t much inventory available at thrift stores.

I found a few reviews for Tea, and I decided to give them a try.  Tea is very forthcoming about their mission on their site, and while they do not have fair trade certification, they are in direct contact with their clothing factories, maintain ethical sourcing, and work to ensure fair trade standards with their manufacturers.  All of these things are important to me as a consumer and a mom, so I felt comfortable purchasing clothing from Tea.

Walking with Cake: Rhys exploring

(Rhys looking over a rock wall.)

My priority was pants, so I bought both boys two pairs of Knit Playwear Pants in the two colors available and one shirt each, now out of stock. When I visit a new site, I always sign for up the email to receive a small discount, which can really help when buying children’s clothes. I also shopped Tea’s sale, so my choices were more limited (note the matching shirts, which I don’t normally buy).  Still, I saved a few dollars and found pants that are comfortable, soft, and reinforced at the knee.  James said he felt like he was wearing pajamas and Rhys liked the striped shirt. These pieces are soft and easy to wear, and I’m hopeful that those knees will hold up for many months to come.

If you’ve purchased fair trade clothing for your children, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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