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Monday, March 19, 2012

Kid Clothes: Unsolicited Advice

One of the most exciting parts about being pregnant (for me anyway, but I may be weird) was buying itty bitty baby clothes. You hear a lot about what you should and shouldn't buy and being team green made that even harder. Most of the stuff we got ahead of time were green and yellow sleepers and onesies adorned with ducks and other animals deemed gender neutral. Eventually, we added in blues and reds, along with robots, dinosaurs, and rocket ships.

::sigh:: It seemed so easy back then.
Yesterday, I went through the last of my consignment sale/hand me down stash that I had put away in the closet. I have several bins labeled newborn, 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, etc., the majority of his clothes being in the 6-9 month range for some odd reason.

After weeding out what we could hand down to friends, swapping out too small or winter weight clothing, and surveying what we had for summer, I realized how much I sucked at anticipating what he would need. In reflection of my wardrobe overhaul yesterday, here's what I wish I knew a year ago...

Things you can never have enough of:
  • Pajamas - If you can get your toddler to wear pajamas more than once without getting them wet or dirty, you should win an award. Between his before bed drink, brushing his teeth, and constant drooling, sometimes we go through two shirts in one evening.
  • Socks - Bonus points if they are all the same style/color so matching them is as easy as grabbing any two. Somehow we go through socks like water.
  • T-shirts and pants that mix and match (as opposed to set outfits) - Matching tops and bottoms are super cute and tempting, but if you have a pair of plaid shorts that match NOTHING else, you won't reach for them as often. Solid color pants/shorts were the most used items in his wardrobe.
  • Sweats and track pants (as opposed to jeans) - Tiny kid jeans are ridiculously cute, but still have buttons and zippers on them! Depending on how wiggly your kid is, these can be annoying. We also found that C was much more comfortable in softer pants since jeans have less give in them as he's sitting or crawling around. 
Things you shouldn't waste too much money on:
  • Onesies in sizes past 12 month - We were so used to having onesies as a clothing staple, that we bought them in 12 months and 18 months sizes. Well, he hasn't worn them once. Its just easier to change diapers with t-shirts. 
  • Dress clothes - Unless you know you have a lot of weddings or fancy parties to go to, its not necessary to have nice dress clothes on hand in each size.
  • Sweaters - C had tons of really nice sweaters and wore them maybe once. Babies overheat easily and even in the winter, they are usually either wearing a coat outside or they are inside where it is heated. It was sad to see so much argyle go to waste. 
  • Expensive holiday specific outfits - Getting a St. Patrick's Day or Valentine's Day onesie is super cute, but remember - the chances of you having another kid that will fit in that outfit at that exact time of the year is slim. Spend wisely. 
  • Clothes for too far ahead - Last fall, I scoured the clearance racks for summer clothes in what I anticipated to be C's summer size (18 months). Well, after a few growth spurts, my teeny tiny baby is in 18 months currently and will be in 24 months when summer comes. Some of the stuff I bought will be okay, but a lot of it is going right back to the consignment shop.
As you can see, what I didn't realize about kid clothes was that the baby clothes were the easy part. Sleepers, onesies, and the occasional onesie and sweat pants. We got the overwhelming majority of C's newborn to 9 months clothes at consignment sales and via hand me downs. I was consistently impressed at the amazing condition we found things in; some even still had tags on them. Then something happened. We started shopping for 12-18 months clothes and to our disappointment, they weren't in as good of shape or as bountiful as the bitty clothes.

Exhibit A
Makes sense if you think about it; 12 - 18 month olds (and beyond) aren't exactly gentle on their clothes. I know C isn't (see exhibit A). He gives my washing machine a work out several times a week.

Recently, we've been on the hunt for sales to fill out his summer wardrobe with things that are good quality, but affordable. I totally ruined myself by shopping consignment first; I have a really hard time bringing myself to spent $8-$10 on a toddler t-shirt when I used to get shirts for like a buck. Oh well, at least I know he's going to wear it much longer than he did the smaller sizes. I've heard a lovely rumor that once kids reach 24 months/2T size, they tend to stay in that size for up to a year.

Thus far, we've had luck finding good sales and quality at the Carter's Outlet, Kohl's, and Target. A lot of their things are mix and match so a few shirts and a few pairs of shorts go a long way. Plus, they hold up to lots and lots of washing, which is important.

While these tips aren't for everyone, they will definitely help us out whenever kid 2.0 makes an appearance....and even then, I know there are things we will screw up and learn from them.


  1. So funny what you say about the onesies for after 12 months because I am the opposite, I still use them! It is hard to find them in the 24 months size but I search! I like having him all tucked in without his belly sticking out, especially over the winter! I am totally with you with the Kohls sales! THey usually have awesome clearance and if you get a 30% off it is amazing how little you can spend on adorable clothes!

    1. That's exactly what we bought them for, but just never used them. He gets hot so darn fast, the less layers the better. So, if you want some 18 months ones, we have a bunch! Haha I saw some 24 months onesies at Carter's this weekend, but not plain ones - they all had some funky design on them.

      We did the Kohl's sale + coupon thing yesterday and made out great! Its tough to find 18-24 months stuff at ours for some reason though. Its like they don't stock as much. Its weird.

  2. Haha- I am the bad mom- we never used onesies! I hated them- my mom always told me, I needed to put them on but I never did- rebel me:) I agree- you never can get enough pajamas! We actually ran out:( Great post!

    1. I hated onesies and tried my hardest to find t-shirts in the small sizes, but never could! And for real - I think C has a dozen pairs of PJs at the moment and wears them all. Thanks! :)