August 7, 2007

Dressing a Baby

So what you are telling me is that Old Navy shirts are plenty long, they're too short, they're long at first but then they shrink to be too short; they run a bit small, they run true to size; they stretch out and look floppy, the material is flimsy, they're really nice and they last for years. I ordered four perfect fit tees in two different sizes. Then I also ordered four graphic tees, because I liked them. Whatever doesn't fit, I'll return. Whatever I keep, it sounds like I'd better line-dry.

AND I ordered two more packages of bodysuits in size 3-6 months for poor Henry, whose mother does not seem to know how old he is and so last time ordered sizes like 6-12 and 12-18 months. And I ordered a 99-cent flag tank top for Elizabeth for next year.

Now let's turn our attention to issues other than what I am shopping for. Let's talk about what someone else is shopping for. Sarah asks for our help:
Ok, I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but can you help me figure out what a baby wears?! Currently, my 15 week old son is wearing rompers (today is his first day at daycare so I put him in what I call an outfit, but at home with me, he'd be in onesies!). That's fine. But what about when the weather is colder? He'll be about 6 months then - am I really supposed to dress him in full on outfits (pants, shirt, sweater, etc?) - who can afford that?! Do they make wintery rompers or are they just pj's. What's wrong with wearing pj's to daycare (joking...or am I?). I just spend more money than I care to admit at this Old Navy sale (all for next summer if I planned the sizing correctly - who knows) - but what I really need help with is what you dress a baby in realistically, and where I can find said clothing for not too much money (garage sale is good in theory but a lot of work for slim pickings). Resale shops are ok. Old Navy sales are great.

There are two questions here:
  1. Is there a baby dress code?
  2. Can it be met without selling my body on the streets to raise funds?
I will say how I do things, but I'm hoping you will say, too, since I want to steal your ideas. Unless one of your ideas is the body-selling thing.

Babies can be dressed a number of different ways, from onesies/pjs around the clock up to coordinated pants/shirt/shoes/socks/hat/bib ensembles. I dress little-ittle babies in the same stuff day and night: Henry wears sleep 'n' play type outfits (footed sleeper things sold in 2-packs or 3-packs for about $10 but regularly available on sale or clearance) day and night, and I change the outfit when it needs it, not "in the morning" and "before bed."

When a baby is a little older, I start changing the baby into pajamas at night as part of the bedtime routine. At that point I usually find the baby looks "too babyish" in sleep 'n' plays, and that's when I start dressing him in soft one-piece outfits. When the baby is older still, I start dressing him in jeans/shorts/overalls and shirts.


Now. How to buy the clothes without spending too much. I have changed my clothes-shopping methods over the years. When Rob was born, we lived in an area chock full of consignment shops. I could go into one and come out with a huge pile of nearly-new stuff for practically nothing. So that's basically what I did: I shopped consignment shops.

When Rob was ten months old we moved to an area without such good consignment shops. I persevered with what was available, but when Rob started needing 2T I noticed the stock dropped wayyyyy off: suddenly there were only pilly sweatpants and worn-out character t-shirts. And then William was born, and going to consignment shops with a toddler and a baby was getting rough.

Luckily, by this time I had discovered Target clearance racks. Clearance rack stuff was cheaper than consignment shop stuff, and of course it's new which is nice since it's going to end up being handmedowns (consignment shop jeans have already been worn by 1 or 2 children, so that's 1 or 2 fewer who can wear them at my house). I started buying clothes end-of-season at 75% off. It didn't always work (sometimes there wasn't much in his size or I wouldn't find the clearance until almost everything was gone), but in general I could get a nice assortment of things for Rob that way. I wasn't sure even what I liked him to wear, so I was willing to try things if they were cheap enough.

I also bought AHEAD: if I found some nice basic solid-color t-shirts at $.94 each, I'd buy them in his size 2T but also in 3T, 4T, and 5T. This helps a lot with the "nothing left in his size" problems: if you're looking three years in a row for 5T stuff, you're likely to have a nice stash by the time the child needs it. I kept boxes in his closet labeled 3T, 4T, 5T, etc., to make it easy to keep things sorted. When he went up a size, I pulled out a new box.

When Rob was in kindergarten, I opened up the next box of clothes and found he had only two long-sleeved shirts in that size. I had to scramble to find more shirts for him to wear, and that's when I started finding the fun in buying some of his stuff on sales as well as on clearances, and on more expensive store clearances: not just the $1.74 Target clearance shirt, but also the $4.99 Target sale shirt and the $6.99 Baby Gap clearance shirt. What I do now is buy a lot on clearance ahead of time, but then fill in the gaps (including the "fun to buy a few more things" gaps) with sales while the child is actually wearing that size.

When Elizabeth was born, I made a new policy for girl clothes. The policy is this: "This is the only time in my life I will be buying baby girl clothes for my own girl, and I don't want to be sorry I missed it."


I still buy things on sale, on clearance, and ahead--because I love to do that. But I buy her more than she needs, and if something is only 30% off I might still buy it, not waiting for 50% or 75% off. I've even bought a few things at *hushed tone* full price.

I think the keys to dressing a baby affordably are (1) buying clearance and (2) buying ahead. You can get a baby a cute, extensive wardrobe that way, and it's a fun shopping hobby--especially with online stores, which mean you don't have to hit the mall twice a week to keep up with deals. It's easier when the child is a little older and going up one size per year rather than one size every time you step out to get the mail.

So spill it: what does/did your baby wear, and how do/did you buy it on the cheap?

45 comments:

nikki said...

I consignment shop all the way. I have to drive about 30 minutes for the good stores, but it is well worth it for how fast my kids grow. (Also, I try my best to get the hubby/grandma/whoever to watch the boogers for the day, grab my nearest girly friends and make a day of it.) My 12 yr. old stepson grew 4 inches in two months last year. It gets to be too expensive to pay full price!

I too find the sleep n' plays great when babies are little and then generally switch to the long sleeve onsie type shirts and jeans/sweatpants/etc. when they get older for the colder months.

cindy said...

I'm like you, Swistle - I usually buy clothes for my (girl) twins at end-of-season clearance sales. I also do some shopping at my local twins club garage sale every spring and fall. There's a woman in the club with me whose twins (also girls) are a year older than mine, and the clothes she sells are always pristine, so that works well. Occasionally I buy things at the local kids consignment store, but that tends to be hit and miss, so I tend to sell more clothes there than buy them (which means extra money for more cute clothes!). I built an entire wardrobe for next summer of super-cute things on clearance. I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment.

Also, I sometimes shop at this surplus store online:
http://www.kidsurplus.com/.

Pann said...

Here is another option... if you know any mom's groups / playgroups / breastfeeding support groups... arrange a clothing swap.

We used to do a donate-your-old-but-nice baby clothes to the breastfeeding mom support group, and then sell all the clothes at $1 per item to benefit the group. GREAT deal for the moms, GREAT fundraiser for the support group that helped so many moms through the hard parts.

LoriD said...

From day one, I dressed my kids in regular clothes during the day (pants, shirts, dresses) and sleepers at night. I just love the look of a tiny little baby in jeans and a t-shirt! Everything in those sizes is comfortable, so I never worried about them sleeping in them.

As for shopping, I will buy bottoms almost exclusively at consignment shops and thrift stores, but buy most tops new. I'll buy fancy shoes used, but running shoes and sandals are always new. I hardly ever buy a whole season ahead and stockpile - I'm just not that organized! However, I never pay full price for anything. Ever. I always shop sales and clearance racks. And, I always accept offers of hand-me-downs.

Shannon said...

I think Swistle has it down pat in the baby clothing department.

My daughter, 13 weeks, is also wearing a lot of the romp-n-play footed outfits. She also wears some pants and onesie combos, but I worry that her feet get cold and how in the world do you keep socks on a baby? We also change as needed at this point, not in the morning and before bed.

When she gets older, I will graduate her to pants and tshirts and robeez shooes when out and about. Otherwise, she will be wearing socks or barefoot with whatever she likes at home.

I shop at Target, Walmart, and Old Navy for my kids. Save everything if you think you will have another one. I have a huge tub of stuff I need to wash for Elise and assess what else needs to be purchased as she is almost grown out of the newborn size and into 0-3 month. Watch, it will all be too small.

jen said...

Target, Walmart, Old Navy. Old Navy and Walmart have excellent end of season discounts where you can score stuff for the next year very cheaply, or even sometimes walmart will put out a new batch of stuff mid-season and discount everything that was out. That's how I did our summer wardrobe, since lord knows you don't need summer clothes until august it seems.

Old Navy has awesome "buy more than one, get them for 1.99 each!" type sales. Buy $50 worth. All sizes, all colors.

As for the baby dress code.. a pajama type thing was alwasy okay with me, but when they got a little bigger and mobile/sitting up, I found myself wanting to put sweats and little shirts on them. Those things are cheap at old navy/walmart. Not sweats, more like "cotton pants" and old navy has some cute styles for little boys, walmart's child of mine and target's circo did me well for the girl.

I think you are doing fine... you'll know when you get sick of the rompers, you'll probably have the urge soon enough.

Erin said...

As for what to dress the baby in, I do the same as you, Swistle. Little babies are not subject to social norms about not-wearing-pjs-in-public. PJs all the time, as long as their comfy and cuddly, and changed only when they need to be (which is usually more often than I change my own clothes... darn boys pee through tiny diapers like ALL THE TIME).

I shop pretty much only at Target & Kohls for baby stuff. I also get some things from yard sales/ consignmnent shops, but only if it's convenient. I don't go on used-clothing hunts or anything. I do one big Kohls shopping spree at the beginning of the season, because I cannot predict my sons' sizes beforehand. I am no good at that and end up with clothes way too small or way too big. But a big spree at Kohls is still cheap, especially with their 2-for-1 sales, so it has worked out well.

Shelly said...

I usually do a once once-a-season buy a wardrobe at the Carter's outlet, which is about half the regular price. As for baby outfits, I'm loving the new ones that are onesies with longer legs to create the look of shorts. To me, it looks more like an outfit than a onesie. I feel bad just putting him in a onesie, I feel like he's only half dressed. But the shorts onesies (whatever they're called) are really cute.

Marie Green said...

We do comfy clothes for newborns, like pj's, one piece "outfits", anything all cotton, with few buttons/snaps/anything itchy.

As baby gets older (and if it's cold), we do cotton shirts/onsies and cotton pants. I have all girls, so we have our share of dresses too, but pair these with thick tights and a button up sweater. 1 white sweater and 2 or so pairs of tights is usually enough for the season. (Though I love tights, so we usually have... more than 2.)

I don't like denim on babies because it seems so stiff and uncomfortable. Overalls are so stinking cute, but again, seem stiff and the buckles seem to dig into fat necks. We use denim/overalls sparingly until after about age 1. We own some in smaller sizes, and some days I just cannot resist, but for the most part, we stick with comfy and cotton.

I buy nearly everything on clearance/sale. Since things come into stores so early (like Target has Halloween clothes out NOW, in August), when it goes on clearance it's usually just starting that season. So it works out ok, even if you are not buying ahead. Though I do buy ahead too.

This is the longest comment I've ever left. Ever.

Penny said...

I never had luck at consignment shops in my area. I found they were more expensive than Target/Old Navy, etc.

I had hand me downs from others through the first year, and filled in the gaps carelessly by buying full price from cheap stores.

Finally I got the idea to buy ahead as well, and totally scored at Children's Place and Old Navy season clearance for next year.

Now I'm crossing my fingers that my daughter will be the size I think she will 12 months from now.

Flibberty said...

I don't have babies of my own, but I worked in a day care for 7 years and can comment from that perspective. I worked in the one-year-old room of a very swanky preschool/day care and the mom's and dad's must have spent a fortune on their children's clothing. Unfortunately, one-year-olds tend to get messy and I always felt so bad when the parents came to collect their kids who were either changed out of their adorable outfit and into the less than adorable but ever so necessary "extra clothes" or if the child had a big yogurt stain or some sort of food related blotch on their clothes. I always thought that childhood was great because it was the one time your "peers" didn't really pay attention to your appearance. Of course baby/kids clothes are so cute that it's hard to resist those expensive-ish outfits that they wear for 2.5 minutes. Trust on one thing, they day care teachers just want your kid comfortable and happy, and if that means pajamas then that's terrific.

AndreAnna said...

As an immobile newbie, I had my baby in mostly onesies and one-piece footie things. As she started crawling and such and needing routine, we did the onesies and lounge pants (comfy cotton pants) during the day and changed into jammies at night.

Now, as a 15-month old, I stocked up when target had their sale where it was any shirt, tank, or shorts for 4$ or so. I spent about 75 bucks and she was set for the summer.

I of course have a few obligatory uber-girly dresses that I put her in when we go somewhere, but for the most part, I dress her how I would want to be dressed, comfortable and cute.

Emblita said...

We don't have consignment stores over here in europe... but me and my best girlfriend were pregnant 6 months apart and we have swapped clothes a LOT. My son is older but we both had shopped ahead, and she had inherited things from her sister and I had stuff left over from my siblings. So we have loads of clothes that we can share. Specially since kids use clothes for such a short period of time.
I'm also a huge HUGE fan of sales and clearances and H&M.
As for 'real' clothes. I love overalls, my son has been wearing those since he was 3 months old, they usually last longer bc you can shorten and lengthen the straps as they grow.
So, I guess I'm saying share with other moms and shop clearances/sales.

JMH said...

I agree with all of the discount shopping and end of season comments (right now is a GREAT time to find fall and summer deals where I live...yes! Fall deals before Labor Day!! Kohls, Old Navy, etc) However, I can never buy ahead. It never fails; when I do buy ahead, it doesn't fit when they need it. sigh.

Swistle: I LOVED the Harry Potter book although it wasn't anything like the others. Which death did you disagree with? If you don't want to put a "spoiler" on here, just tell me if it was a human death or not. One death made me sob...wonder if it was the same one? BTW, I fouf this shirt online and had to buy it:

http://harrypotter.wbshop.com/cat/Harry-Potter/Clothing-and-Accessories/Shirts-for-Adults/Harry-Potter-I-Solemnly-Swear-Womans-Fitted-T-Shirt.html

Sara said...

Ok, so it got too long to post here, so I posted it On My Blog.

I love love love love love baby clothes. :)

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, lots of comments already. No matter what I say I'll be repeating someone.

I had lots of clothes from baby showers for my son. Plenty of onesies, but a lot of complete outfits in different sizes. I had something cute to put my son in all the time. Most of the outfits were cotton onesies with pants or one-piece rompers. For the first few weeks I used sleep-n-plays and didn't bother changing for bedtime...like Swistle said. After that it was cute outfits all the time and footie pj's at bedtime. We just had so much stuff. I didn't buy much at all for the first 6 months or more.

For summer if was short-sleeved shirts or onesies with shorts/pants most of the time. Or a one-piece romper. For winter I got several long-sleeved onesies and pants to match different shirts. Then he had a few sweaters, dress shirts, and dressier pants for special things. Sweatshirts and cotton pants were nice too, and they seemed to do well with an active child.

I buy clothes at most of the places mentioned here. This is mostly because that's what is accessible to me. Otherwise, I'd probably spend even more money than I should on baby clothes. And I'm not much of an online shopper. I'd rather go see and feel things first, then buy what I want. Kohl's (especially for a younger baby), JC Penny (not much selection but I like a few things there), Children's Place, Carter's outlet (especially for young babies), and I love Old Navy.

I like to shop clearance and sales, but I haven't been able to buy ahead much yet. Last summer I found a few things really cheap at the end of the season. It was pretty easy then to guess what size my son would need. He was just outgrowing 3-6 month sizes at the end of summer, so I bought 18 month sizes for the following year. Now I'm not so sure. He was fitting into clothes right along with his age, but he's gotten so tall and skinny now. It's hard to keep pants on him when they are long enough. I think for early fall a few of the pants that were too big in the spring might work for a little while. But then I think I'll probably have to buy 24 month size just to keep his legs in them. For now they may fall off too much.

So, this season I'm just buying a few shirts and things as I need them. I just watch the ads and check the stores once a week or so for better deals. And then from here on out, I'll just see what happens. I love all the ideas.

Thanks Swistle for talking about one of my favorite topics again...baby clothes!

Tessie said...

Not much to add that hasn't been said except:

1) Every single daycare I have ever been in has been FREEZING COLD (futile attempt to keep germs at bay), so for little babies I think jammies or footies are the way to go

2)Check eBay for HUGE lots of baby clothes for wicked cheap. Hit or miss obviously, but it's like getting one of those carnival grab bags! You never know what you'll get!

3)I like places like Childrens Place or Old Navy that make a lot of mix and match stuff in the same colors. You can make many outfits out of a few items this way.

4)Also, just ask around. There are constantly people just GAGGING to give you their old baby stuff, I've found.

Karly said...

I'm just a big ol' idiot and when I see something cute I buy it. My husband just LOVES that. Mm hmm. He does.

Mimi said...

For small babies, I love to dress them in anything soft, because they are just laying around all day. Soft cotton pants and t-shirts are perfect for when you need to go somewhere and look cute, because they tend to look more outfit-y than just footy pajamas.

My biggest blessing in the way of baby clothes has been to have a Banana Republic Luxe credit card. That means I can buy baby and kids clothes online at Gap and Old Navy for zero shipping all the time, with no minimum purchase. It has been a lifesaver on so many occasions. Also, being a cardmember you get coupon codes all the time, so I never order without having at least a 20% off code, which can be applied to items that are already heavily marked down. I love this card!

You have to get a regular Banana Republic card and they will upgrade you to a Luxe version after you spend a certain amount of money on it (just $500, I think). Also, did I mention that you also get reward points for money spent on your BR card, so you will periodically get $25 or $50 gift certificates in the mail that you can spend at BR, Gap or Old Navy. It's a fantastic deal!

Mother Kat said...

I'm inspired by your knowledge of baby clothes. What is your position on buying seasonal shoes in the next size up? I realize feet grow at unpredictable intervals, but I just couldn't resist a pair of size 6 sandals today at Target for less than $3.50 (my daughter wears a size 5 now.)

anatomist said...

ok, so, here is my problem... why are all the baby clothes sized differently? i swear, i am trying to box up the clothes that i've been given that aren't going to fit my boy (still waiting for him to be born,.. any day now...) for a while and i keep holding things up next to each other and they all look smaller or bigger than the size they say they are! i'm afraid i am going to box things up and when i think that they will fit, half the things will already be too small.
also, a real question: what did you pack to bring the babies home in? maybe this question has been overdone, but i can't stop stressing about it for some reason... maybe because it is easier to think about baby clothes than labor?

Sarah said...

Thank you everyone for your help! All throughout my pregnancy, this was one of my biggest questions - what do they wear?! Seems silly really, but I couldn't figure it out!
So William is 15 weeks now - up until recently, he was exclusively in footie pj's, until it got warmer, the it was just a onesie...all day, all night. Now since he's started daycare, I've got him in the rompers (either gifts or consignment shop) and they're nice because they look more like an outfit. What I hate is that you can find these great deals on such cute clothes, and then they outgrow them. I'm already shedding a tear for his newborn pj's that don't fit him anymore!
So I honestly spent $400 at this Old Navy sale (but some will go back because I changed my mind on sizing and bought duplicates)....I'm hoping that by next summer (he was born April of this year), he'll fit the 18-24 (originally I bought 12-18). I bought a bunch of tshirts and polo shirts. I'm rambling, sorry!
No one has been gagging to give me their hand me downs - sounds like a nice idea though!
I guess for the fall, I'll look into some of the long legged rompers and then move into the cotton pants/tshirts. I just didn't want the kid to look like a slob in sweats all day - hee!
Thanks again, and please let me know if you see any of these great sales again!

Also, I may have to try that cookie recipe!

Sarah said...

Oh, and also - the consignment shop has the CUTEST girl clothes, but the boy clothes? Meh, not so much. I'm still going there tonight though - I spent so much at Old Navy for next summer, I still haven't solved my current problem!

4andcounting said...

All of my babies up to this point were born in September or October. They wore one-piece outfits almost exclusively for the first several months. You can find cute one-piece things that do not look like pajamas. And, even if they do, who cares? We're talking about a kid who can't walk or talk or do much of anything. I focus on what would be comfortable for laying around. I also like long-sleeved onesies with cotton pants for babies. Add socks and you have an outfit. My kids did not wear shoes until they could walk. If the kid is sitting in a carseat or sling, he/she really does not need shoes. Socks keep the feet warm too, if you can get them to stay on (I have had great success with Old Navy).
As for saving money, I do what Swistle does. I try to buy items on sale/clearance and buy more than one if they have it. The only challenge there is having kids that grow at unpredictable rates (my almost 4 year-old son still wears 9-12 month shorts). If you have good consignment shops they can be a treasure, but it does take time. My kids wear Targer and Wal-mart clothing almost exclusively.

Mrs. Flinger said...

Awesome post. Hilarious AND informative. The perfect combo. :-)

I'd laugh except Mr. Flinger has a strict "once the boy can walk, NO MORE OVERALLS" policy. Apparently it's too much "pansy". I didn't think twice about this except I found out a lot of people felt that way. Who knew?

Devan said...

To save money I shop clearance or at stores that are ridiculously cheap anyway. I buy plenty of clothes at Wal-mart, Target, Old Navy and The Children's Place.
I'm also part of a mom's group and we have a large garage sale. Unfortunately for me, there are more girls than boys and very few sizes above 3T just yet. I did find some stuff though.

As for what to dress a baby in - I put O (who's almost 4 mo) in lots of things. Mostly cute onesies with sayings, or pj's, or those one piece outfits, which are my favorite. It's far too hot for anything with pants or long sleeves though. Sometimes I put him in overalls, which are SO CUTE - but still kind of annoying at this age.
For d - who is 2.5 almost - I put him in regular clothes. Nothing cutesy anymore, save the smart aleck t-shirts. No more one piece outfits or overalls for him, since he's no longer a baby. :(
I do love, love the one pieces and overalls on boys though, and still put him in them until he got to be almost 2, when all of a sudden he just looked too old all of a sudden.
Shoes - not till they can walk. They can wear socks if it's cold.

Kelli in the Mirror said...

I started working at Janie and Jack when my daughter was four months old so I could get a discount both there and at gymboree. After I quit working there I sold a lot of it on ebay and made more than I had spent, even though it was used.

I also shop a lot at Target. It's a lovely place.

I have to admit, I am of the mind that if an outfit has feet, it is pajamas and should not be worn outside. I tend to do onesies and little shorts or one piece jobs with no feet.

I need a new strategy though, because now that my daughter is four, she doesn't fit into many toddler sizes anymore and I'm not ready to shop the area that says "4-16" where she can get something that an eighth grader would wear. I'm having to go back to gymboree for cute stuff that still looks little girly and modest and I can't afford much of it without the discount. They do have good sales though, and gymbucks.

Omaha Mama said...

For daycare, I like COMFY clothes for my kids. I feel like if I'm not there to assure their comfort, I want their clothes to at least not be binding! Teeny babies (like, up to 18 mo) I just can't put in jeans, for the most part. I do the onesie/sweat pants combo a lot. Long sleeve onesies are great to go under summer t-shirts that still fit. Consignment shops, Target, Old Navy, and a couple of outlet stores (Osh Kosh and Carter's) are where I get most of the clothing. Since my kids are now hard to judge on their growth and what size they'll be in, I just buy seasonally.

Great topic! Especially since I've just done fall shopping and have been doing the seasonal clothing shift.

Mommy Daisy said...

Sarah - I was just catching up on comments here. My son was born at the beginning of March last year. right now he can wear a 12-18 month from Old Navy. I bought a few 18-24m shirts from there for fall/winter, but they are way too big now. In fact the things I bought this week, I got in the 12-18m size and they are plenty big. He needed a few new things for fall. (I just posted pictures of my shopping trip on my blog this week.)

Just letting you know after I saw your post. You may need some of those 12-18m sizes for next summer. Of course this is all based on my son, who is skinny and tall...35th % for weight and over 100th % for height for his age right now.

Emblita said...

just wanted to add, that when it is has been cold I've put him in those little soft leather shoesies over the socks to keep his toes nice and toasty.
http://www.cutebabyshoes.com/
They are not too pricy and they usually come in 0-6 months and 6-12 and they are quite roomy (at least on my son) so his 0-6 still fit at 11 months. I looooovvveeee them

Sarah said...

Thanks, Tessie, for the eBay idea. Now my obsessive-compulsive personality has me on there! I won 3 auctions last night (one biggish lot of Old Navy/Gap/Gymboree for $30, and a couple other smaller ones for 99 cents and $7). I need to stop though. I guess I've spent a ton just recently because I'm buying for next summer as well as this fall/winter.
I think I've decided though - for fall, mostly cozy sweatpants with a long sleeve onesie and hoodie. Tra la!
Thank you, and I'm off to get help now!

Swistle said...

Anyone who is discouraged because of buying clothes ahead and finding them to be fit-failures, take heart! It does often (not always, but often) get easier as the kids get older. My 8-year-old and 6-year-old, for example, are currently wearing each size for about a year. So I can safely buy any item in size 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, because even if I don't know WHICH year they'll wear it, I can be fairly confident they'll wear it SOME year. Littler sizes (all the infant/toddler department stuff--until you're safely in the 4-16 department) can be iffier: sometimes kids skip a size, or go up more than you'd expect, or go up less than you'd expect, or suddenly go different sizes for tops and bottoms (Elizabeth is in 18m bottoms and 3T tops).

Swistle said...

Marie Green-- I agree about denim and overalls. Usually I wait for toddler years for those. We do have a few baby jeans and overalls I can't resist because of the cuteness.

JMH-- It was human. If you email me (swistle at gmail dot com), I'll tell you who.

Tessie-- I totally agree about mix-and-match colors! I think that's why I like The Children's Place so much for girls: I can get Elizabeth a whole bunch of stuff that all goes together, and I know that her "bubble" (dark pink) shoes will go with the "bubble" shirt and "bubble" patterned shorts.

Swistle said...

Oh! Also to Tessie-- When I was pregnant with twins, we got so many offers of baby clothes, I had to start turning people down: I got about three times as many girl things (she was my first girl so people were especially eager to donate girl things) as I needed and STILL handed about three garbage bags full to someone else I knew. But I've had no offers with the other babies. I wonder if sometimes people are nervous to offer, like the recipient would feel awkward saying, "No, I think your kid dresses like a dork"? I've considered offering my kids' clothes to people, but worried they'd accept them just to be polite and then put them in a dumpster on the way home.

Swistle said...

Anatomist-- O. M. G., I KNOW. It is SO IRRITATING. Henry is wearing 0-3 in some things, 3-6 in other things. I remember with the twins, there was a time they were wearing THREE sizes at once: some 6-12, some 12-18, and some 18-24. ERRRRRRRRRGGGG. I almost despair when sorting handmedowns: so much stuff gets put in the wrong bin because the label says 3-6 but it's the same size as the other 0-3 stuff. I wish there was some sort of STANDARD. On the other hand, what's nice about all the differences is that if you have a weirdly proportioned kid, you can usually find a brand that fits.

Swistle said...

Oh! Also to Anatomist-- For the going-home outfit, I bring:

1) side-snap onesie
2) eensy weensy socky wockies
3) footed sleeper
4) hat, preferably with ears
5) blankie (for chilly weather or for shielding from sun)

Swistle said...

Mother Kat-- Shoes I find very difficult to buy ahead. I'm on Kid Five and I still don't know how to predict future sizes. For boys, I'm totally all set: I just buy it in every size, and with four boys SOMEONE will wear it. For Elizabeth, I just this week ran into the Sandal Dilemma. I bought the pair I couldn't resist (the white ones with multicolored flowers--are those the ones you got too?) in a size two sizes larger than what she's wearing now. But I don't have any idea if they'll fit her next summer, and I feel anxious about it.

Swistle said...

Sarah-- The way to see the cute clothes again is to have lots and lots of children! I have a few things that, whenever I'm pregnant, I think, "Oh HOORAY! I'll get another baby wearing that cute outfit!"

Swistle said...

Now I will stop commenting on MY OWN POST.

JMC said...

I get a lot at outlets, specifically OshKosh and Carter's for babies and kids up to 6 or 7 (sometimes older). They always have clearance racks there, so I can get high-quality clothes for pennies on the dollar. I have all girls, though, so there are a LOT of hand-me-downs at this point.

Mother Kat said...

I saw the ones with the multicolored flowers but the tops of the sandals were not adjustable. And I actually remember sandal shopping with her at the beginning of spring, seeing these same sandals, and they would not fit in the size 5 because her feet wouldn't go under the top band. So the ones I bought were a pink suede-ish material with flowers...and an adjustable top band. I figure with all that adjustable-ness, I'll be able to make them fit some way (hopefully).

Lorraine said...

Ebay.

Sleepynita said...

We have a Childrens Place outlet about 5 minutes from my house, so I buy ahead a size or two at a time there. In Canada we also have a store called Please Mum (like a cheaper Gymboree) and they have AWSOME sales at the seasons end so I buy a size ahead there too. Also Old Navy clearance rocks. And Granny she rocks too she buys a ton of stuff for Rito.

Jenny H. said...

Absolutely end-of-season clearance sales are the best! Also? Check to see if you have a Kid to Kid store near you. I am not sure where you live. I work there, and it is unbelievable! I get a 30% discount too! We sell "gently used" kid's clothes, toys, etc. We get a ton of Old Navy, Gymboree and The Children's Place. I am in the middle of buying fall/winter things for my boys- 3/4T and 2T.

I loved long-sleeved romper-y things for both of them. The were comfy and as a bonus, looked adorable! Good luck!

Bunny said...

I thought about you this weekend when I bought an entire summer wardrobe for my baby girl for the end of this summer and maybe? next year. I didn't pay more than $4 for any one piece of clothing and many things were 1.99 at the Children's Place!