why we have kids: shopping for baby clothes

If you didn't see this in our "About" page, we write all of our posts separately and then read each other's once we've sent ours to the other sister.  This is one article in which most of our opinions are synonymous, but we hope you can get some insight into how we started looking for clothes and what we think about it now!


shopping for a boy - gen's perspective

I knew Patrick was a boy as soon as I knew I was pregnant. Whenever I pictured my baby, I saw a little brown-eyed blonde or a blue-eyed brunette. I was wrong about his coloring (blonde hair, blue eyes), but when the ultrasound tech announced that we were having a baby boy, there was no shock- only awe, joy, and love.

Of course, we would have been pleased either way. But from the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test, I had connected with my baby as a boy. I really can’t explain why or how. So when his sex was confirmed, I was ready to start painting the nursery I had already mentally designed, with its pale blue walls, constellation map, dinosaur accents.

While I love being a boy mom, it’s been my experience that it is way easier to find cute girl clothes. Whenever I walk into a baby store, my eyes are drawn to the little floral dresses, the Peter Pan collars, the Mary Jane shoes. The boy section is usually smaller, less varied, more boring. This can actually be a positive thing – it’s harder to overspend when the selection is more limited.

Ultimately, this has been a positive for Patrick’s wardrobe. The lack of selection makes me very picky, which has resulted in a smaller amount of items that I actually love. At any given size, Patrick usually has 3-5 outfits which he can wear to Mass or other dressy occasions, 5-10 outfits for errands or casual outings, and 4,372 sets of pajamas which he can wear the rest of the time. I’m obviously exaggerating that last figure, but not by much. The kid loves pajamas.

Speaking of pajamas, for the newborn to 9 month size, I like Carter’s. They often run sales (if you pay more than $9 for a single sleeper, that’s too much), and they usually have a pretty good selection of dinosaur/space/knight prints, which are our favorites. There’s also an offshoot of the Carter’s brand called Just One You, which is comparable in quality and cheaper in price. Other pajama brands which we have tried and liked include KicKee Pants (so soft, expensive, and somewhat pilly), Burt’s Bees (semi-expensive but great quality), and Gap (lots of sales and licensed characters).

Patrick models his "Just One You" by Carters pajamas

Patrick models his "Just One You" by Carters pajamas

After 12 months, Carter’s is less great for pajamas. This is partially because I’m not ready to let go of the one-piece jammies (most of their styles in 12 months+ are two pieces), and partially because I’ve found that the quality just isn’t as good. They fade, rip, and the fit is hit-or-miss, especially through the legs. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that maybe they rip (in the knees) because Patrick is now crawling and walking and generally causing mayhem, and he wasn’t doing as much of that prior to 9 months. Hmmm. Now I’m rethinking everything. Except the ripped pair has only been around a month! I’m sticking to my previous assessment. The next pair I buy will be one of these, recommended by Kath in her baby list, or these.

For dressy and/or casual outings (really any time Patchy isn’t in pajamas), I like Janie and Jack the most. We have a set of adjustable chambray overalls similar to these, just short (size 6-12 months) which Patrick was able to wear from 3-12 months. He wore them so much that I just bought a similar pair in the 12-18 month size. Their sweaters are so soft, and usually there are a couple of one-piece sweater outfits (my favorite) to choose from. I almost always buy from their sale section (in-store and online), and I buy off-season for the best deals. At the beginning of summer, I bought several winter-weight items in the next size up, which I’m so excited to break out whenever the weather is cold in Louisiana for that one week in January.

Overalls from Janie and Jack, as well as the hat

Overalls from Janie and Jack, as well as the hat

Other stores which usually have a decent selection of baby/toddler boy clothes are H&M (good for basics and/or trendy items), Hanna Andersson (another good place for pajamas or casual clothing), and Boden (when we got their catalog, which included their new line featuring castles and dragons and knights, Dalton actually said, “It’s like they want us to buy everything.”) I also like Gap and Old Navy, especially when I can catch a good sale. Etsy is my favorite place for special-occasion items, including monogrammed pieces like Patrick’s birthday outfit.

Patrick shows off his love for constellations in his Old Navy shirt and pants

Patrick shows off his love for constellations in his Old Navy shirt and pants

Ultimately, Patrick cares not at all what he’s wearing. He would actually prefer to wear nothing. As far as I can tell, my responsibilities as his mother with regard to dressing my child include keeping him warm, teaching him the role respect plays in dressing- especially for Mass- and occasionally encouraging him to get his clothes dirty with mud, or paint, or sweat. And every so often, I let him run around naked, the best outfit of all.

Newborn little Patrick in his lion romper from Janie and Jack

Newborn little Patrick in his lion romper from Janie and Jack


shopping for a girl - kat's perspective

Choosing baby clothes is something with which I find way too much enjoyment.  When Jonathan and I found out that we were pregnant, the first thing I did was start looking at baby clothes.  After my first attempt at looking for baby clothes online at certain popular baby clothes stores (and finding too many outfits like this), I decided that maybe I didn’t actually like looking at baby clothes because I couldn’t find much that I liked.  And if that was the case, what was the point of being pregnant?  Isn’t that why we have babies, to dress them up in outfits that we think are so cute that we can’t even handle it?  JUST KIDDING, sort of.

Since Jonathan and I wanted to be surprised about the gender of our baby, when our baby shower rolled around we didn’t actually end up getting much clothes, since no one knew whether to buy “blue or pink.”  We got a few pieces of clothes I had registered for (gender neutral pajamas, white onesies that I never ended up using etc.—more on that to come in a future post), but we also got a lot of things that we really needed like my nursing cover, bouncers, bathtub, you get the gist.

After we had Miriam and knew she was a girl, I received most of her clothes from my amazing Mom whose love language conveniently happens to be gift giving, and since this was her first girl grandchild, we were receiving packages with baby clothes on a daily basis.  So I was pretty set for about the first six months.  She got us some really pretty dresses like this one here, but she got us mostly pajamas from Carters, which were perfect for the Pittsburgh freezing winters.  Once the weather started to change, though, and Miriam needed shorter sleeves, I started looking at places like Baby Gap and Old Navy to find some of her bubble suits (stuff like this, but summery).  What I like about these stores is while the quality is pretty good (not the absolute best that I’ve found, but still better than others), the deals can also be really good, especially online, and since babies don’t have to try on clothes, online shopping is pretty fantastic when buying baby clothes.

Overalls from gap and bubble romper underneath from Old Navy; bow from Happily Hadley Handmade

Overalls from gap and bubble romper underneath from Old Navy; bow from Happily Hadley Handmade

When Miriam was about 3 or 4 months, I received a package in the mail that had the words “Mini Boden” written across it.  The package was sent from Gen, as I had never heard of Mini Boden before.  Well, my life was pretty much changed for the better after that, because ever since then I’ve gotten so many cute outfits for Miriam from Baby/Mini Boden.  Some may say, “$45 for a baby dress?  Isn’t that a little ridiculous?”  To which I respond, “Yes.  But it’s for a queen, therefore, we can’t put value on it.”  In all seriousness, Boden usually has good promotions if you sign up for emails, and they even send coupons in the mail.  I received a catalogue recently of their fall/winter clothes, and I made sure to leave it earmarked with pictures of our favorites (like this and this) out on our coffee table so that if Jonathan gets into spend-y, generous moods (which happens a lot, also conveniently), he can just whip out the catalogue and know what to get his little princess.

I try to give Miriam a hair bow or bonnet wherever we go so that people know she’s a girl.  Because sometimes if she’s in a cute blue onesie — and even sometimes when she has a bow or bonnet on — people (usually old men) like to assume she’s a boy.  I get her bonnets from Briar Handmade or Sweet as April, although my mom sewed us a perfect little white one that I absolutely love.  I have gotten her bows from a number of places, but my favorite shops so far have been herehere, and here (a less expensive option from a fellow Catholic mom!).  I can't forget Little Blooms, where we get these precious berry and flower headbands for Miriam (thanks to Gen for introducing us to it)! While these can be expensive, I plan on recycling them for future children (let's just hope we have at least one more girl so we get our money's worth).

Miriam slays in her bonnet from Briar Handmade; Cardigan is made by Carter's, Jeans were hand-me-downs (also a great source for baby clothes!), and shoes are from Baby Gap

Miriam slays in her bonnet from Briar Handmade; Cardigan is made by Carter's, Jeans were hand-me-downs (also a great source for baby clothes!), and shoes are from Baby Gap

A coworker actually introduced me to one of my favorite clothes options for small babies:  primary.com.  This site is amazing for cute, functional clothes with no words, no pictures, no fuss.  Their pajamas are sturdy, and their baby dresses are all-in-one piece, which for newborns and small babies is great and helps reduce diaper blowouts (as opposed to dresses with unattached bloomers).  Their designs are classic, simple, and can be great layering pieces too.

Miriam knows she's cute in her dress from primary.com and bow from Joey Mae Handmade

Miriam knows she's cute in her dress from primary.com and bow from Joey Mae Handmade

Since we have just started to need shoes for Miriam, I got her a cute red pair of shoes, and I’m looking at getting her some from HM next (this website is also great for baby clothes!).  

I have had trouble with Carter’s recently.  While their pajamas got us through the first six months without hiccup (and for very little money), now that Miriam is longer, the 9 month pajamas are too short, but the 12 month pajamas are too skinny.  I just ordered her some Burt’s Bees pajamas to fill in the gaps until her legs thin out, but I think I’m going to just start buying Burt’s Bees from now on because I think the quality is also better.  Not that I don’t love Carter’s, it’s just not really working for Miriam at her age, height, and chunkiness level (which is the cutest, and in no way am I body-shaming my child).

My philosophy of buying baby clothes is that every baby needs clothes.  But most babies, like mine, stay in their pajamas most of the day.  So get a bunch of good, easy pajamas that you know will last through layer after layer of spray’n’wash, use from subsequent babies, and huge poop explosions or your baby’s discovery of blueberries.  And then get a few nicer outfits that your baby can wear out.  Since my goal is to have a bunch of kids, if I do spend a little more money on baby clothes that will last longer, it’s a good investment for the future (but honestly that’s just how I rationalize spending $35 (coupon used) on a Boden dress).

One of my favorite Miriam dresses from Baby Boden and her folded bow from  Hello Hadley Girl.

One of my favorite Miriam dresses from Baby Boden and her folded bow from Hello Hadley Girl.