I have two little daughters. Everyone envies me. “You can dress them up so”. True. So on the eve of my older daughter’s birthday I walked into Mantri Square to buy a pretty birthday dress for her. There was nothing less than Rs. 1,000 for a six year old. I despaired. I hadn’t planned on spending so much for her dress alone. There was still the party and the gift to be bought. There simply was no princess or mermaid dress to be had for so little. The younger one too would demand to wear a new dress.
At this juncture, I conferred with my friend Usha, a penny saver if I ever met one. Go to Srirampuram, it’s behind the big Mall you are at now, she said.
So I did. A labyrinth, I almost lost my way. After much asking around, I went to the small stores all next to each other. Rows of trousers, tops in wonderful colours stood waiting to be the chosen one. Then I saw a very pretty ocean green dress, with Ariel the mermaid (my daughter’s favorite) on it. It was a Disney dress. Definitely expensive, I thought. 250/- madam, for you 200, the shop assistant said. I was thrilled. I picked a few more dresses-jeans, tops for my little ones. They were all good brands like ZAP, Benetton, Disney, etc. A bag full of clothes for both my darlings and I paid Rs.1000/-.
I never visit big stores now. My daughters have many pretty dresses all that look good and have lasted while they grew taller and plumper. Jeans, winter jackets, summer dresses, and party-wear – my kids have it all without burning a hole in my budget. Now, when someone wants to buy clothes for their kiddos in Bangalore, I ask them to visit Srirampuram. A good wash and press later the dresses are good to go.
I find it wasteful to spend a bomb on clothes, they will wear but for a few months. Once the children are done with them, we donate them and may I add in good condition. Over time we discovered stores that sold menswear. My husband bought a nice pair of jeans at Rs. 550/- as compared to the usual 1000 bucks and above. We have picked furnishing, dress materials and towels too at great prices.
Now when there is an occasion the children need to go to, a new dress is no longer a cause for concern. Look around and ask about. Every city has thrift markets where clothes are affordable and look great too.