Pants Gap

One benefit of having multiple kids of the same gender is that you only have to buy clothes once, for the oldest child, and the rest can largely wear hand-me-downs. This is particularly useful for things like winter boots and coats or swim trunks, all of which get limited use per year and per kid, so you really get your money’s worth when you have several offspring.

Shirts, socks, and underwear can last through two, even three kids. But pants are tricky. There is what DH and I refer to as “the pants gap” — a  period between ages 4 and 8, where boys’ jeans never become hand-me-downs. They rip at the knees within weeks of being bought; you can patch them, but they also rip through the patches. Somewhere around the age 9 the kids change the way they play and are no longer on the floor quite as much, so pants can again survive to be handed down.

This post was brought to you by today’s rummaging through old clothes, looking for pants for Smurf, and finding (of course) nothing in his size. Plenty in size 9 and up, though.



  1. I always wondered how my younger monster did this. I then went to school to pick him up one day. “Mom! Watch this!” He proceeded to make a running start, flopped onto his knees, and skidded across the floor in a kneeling position. That cleared it all up.

  2. Ha… we’re not there yet, but I am aware of the pants gap because one of my colleagues in chemistry gives us her kid’s hand-me-downs (he’s 4), and all of a sudden recently there stopped being any usable pants. Now I know why! Oh, well… my off-the-growth-curves giant has just about caught up to her half-East-Asian peanut even though he’s more than two years older, so the hand-me-downs have pretty much dried up anyway!

  3. For outerwear, my daughter is stuck wearing her brother’s old hand-me-downs. Someday she’ll get to pick out her own coat. Probably soon, since my son grew four inches this summer alone.

  4. With only one child (a boy) we did not do a lot of hand-me-downs,aside from some from a cousin on the other coast when he was very young. We did do some thrift store shopping.

    We never went through an age when he was hard on his clothes, though—we generally had to take away clothes from him when they were outgrown, even though they still had plenty of wear left.

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