What To Buy In The Kids’ Section When You’re A Grownup (Because It’s Way Cheaper) 

Kids vs. adults

Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty

When browsing the kids’ section of a store, whether you’re shopping for your own kid or someone else’s, you might see an item and suddenly think, “Hey, this could work for me.”

It could. Shopping in children’s sections is a well-known hack for our shorter friends, but people of any height can benefit from the practice. You can find all sorts of things at prices that are typically less than the grownup versions – which means more money for lotto tickets, R-rated movies and car rentals, because you’re still an adult, dammit!

Here’s what to look for when perusing the aisles:


BuzzFeed’s Sally Kaplan, who’s been shopping in the kids’ department her entire life because she’s “cheap and also short,” has some great insight about adult-to-child sizing conversions.

Kids’ shops and sections that adults have found success in include the children’s department at The North Face (for example, the signature OSO hoodie is $175 for women versus $125 for girls, and the Campshire pullover is $150 for men versus $105 for boys).

Some tips for shopping for clothing in the kids’ section:

  • Women who wear up to about a size 8 can shop the boys’ section for plain T-shirts, which usually aren’t see-through the way many women’s styles are. Really, what’s up with all the see-through shirts?
  • As She Finds puts it, “tweens don’t have boobs, butts, or thighs,” so if you’re an adult shopping in the girls’ section, choose to “clothe your least womanly parts.” Definitely try on items before you buy them, or make sure that the company has a good return policy.
  • For many, the trickiest part about wearing kids’ clothing is the sleeve length – everything might look and feel A-ok until you raise your arms. Short-sleeve shirts and tank tops may be your safest bet.


Fortunately, shoes are more straightforward. Those little measuring tools in shoe shops measure in both adult sizes and kids! Just stick your foot in one of those to work out what size foot you are on the kid’s chart and begin exploring the more colourful isles.

If you do fit into kid shoes, hooray! You can save some money. For instance, the Nike Free Flyknit 2017 is $150 for the men’s style and $125 for the same kids’ version.

Kids vs. adults

Kids vs. adults

At UGG.com, Classic II short boots are $200 for women versus $165 for kids.


My home decor aesthetic can currently be described as “preschool chic,” and truth be told, I don’t think it has all that much to do with the four-year-old living in the house. There’s just a lot of cute stuff designed for kids that can work in adult abodes in a non-cheesy way, including rugs, lamps, and wall art from sources such as Target’s Pillowfort brand.


While my friends have been showing off their new Apple watches, I’ve been eyeing the GizmoPal 2 by LG, a $100 smartwatch for kids that lets you make and receive calls. It seems perfect for when I want to go on a long walk or hike without having to lug around my phone in case of a school emergency. One reviewer wrote that she bought one for her seven-year-old son and one for her 70-year-old dad.

The best part is that all of these items can also be purchased online, so you don’t have to stand there in awkwardness when you walk into the kids’ section and the salesperson asks, “So who are you shopping for today?”


  • I reckon the kids shoes are cheaper because they don’t need to be built to last as long, since a child will grow out of it quickly anyway, effectively rendering them disposable. You may end up paying more in the long run by constantly replacing them.

    Actually, this may be true of all kid’s clothing. I have no actual data to back this up of course, but I think it’d be worth taking into consideration before just going “ooh, cheaper clothing!”

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