Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Buying Toddler Clothes

First of all, I should say that I live in northern New England, so I have the full gambit of seasons. Yesterday (mid February) it was 17 degrees out and extremely windy, but in late July or early August, it can be high 90's with high humidity. If you are lucky enough to live in one of those paradise locations where the weather always hovers around 70, then you probably won't find a lot of this useful.

Also, I am lucky that Natalie was born in late September. That means her full birthday is at the start of fall and her half at the start of spring. That means we can change size and season at the same time, which has been convenient the first two years of clothes purchasing.

  • In most stores, 12-24 months are still considered newborn or infant. Toddler areas sometimes contain designs in 12, 18, and 24 month sizes that are also in the T sizes, but in many stores toddler means only the T sizes. Also, the difference between 24 months and 2T is that 2T is cut differently to accommodate no diapers.
  • At the end of seasons, check clearance racks for way discounted clothes for next year. This is especailly great for seasonal / holiday clothes your child will only way a few times anyway, like Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas themed shirts.
  • When buying for the fall, go easy on light weight pants. I bought many pairs for Natalie that then were too light once we hit December, but not cut right to use as leggings. In the future, I plan to get leggings for under skirts and a few pairs of jeans to tide us over until the warmer things come out.
  • Think through fall or winter skirts. We bought four in late September and Natalie never wore them. Three of them were scooters or skorts on summer clearance. That got to be too many layers with a onesie, leggings, and the shorts under the shirt.
  • Get some of those awesome knit tights. I was so envious of all the other little girls wearing skirts with tights when Natalie was always in sweats or fleece. (If the feet are too slippery, make your own grippers with puffy pant).
  • Being warm is important, but how cold is she going to be? I avoided skirts all winter thinking Natalie would be too cold. But I would see all the other girls wearing them. With nice leggings or knit tights, she would have been fine indoors, and we could put a blanket over her in the car. In the future, I will get her a couple skirts out fits, and just not wear them on below freezing days when we have to walk a long way.
  • Be weary of tee shirts (as opposed to onesies or body suits) for winter on a toddler not yet potty training. They are cute, but always pulling up making for a cold tummy. Consider getting a plain pack of white tee shirt body suits to put under them.
  • Invest in mittens that fit correctly. I've had so much frustration this winter over Natalie's hands not fitting in her mittens. I've strongly considered putting thick socks on her hands because they would be more comfortable and allow her more movement.
  • Don't forget that come winter, you will need sweatshirts or sweaters. I bought Natalie a lot of cute shirts, but come December, we only had a few sweatshirts. And, with the sweatshirts over them, no one ever sees the shirt underneath. Instead, you could get packs of solid colored onesies and layer cute tees over them until it is sweatshirt season. (Tees are cheaper than onesies anyway, but you could use summer tees or buy them on clearance at the beginning of fall).
  • Walmart has Garanimals clothes for around $4 an item at every day price. The sizes run small, though. I bought a pack of 12 month size white tee shirts for Natalie when she was just over 12 months and they barely snapped.
  • Khol's has an awesome line called Jumping Beans. When on sale, all the items are $5. They make all the clothes you need for every day.
  • Shop early when the seasons are about to change. Its February and I'm thinking about Natalie's spring clothes. Its already hard to find full length pants instead of shorts and capris.
  • If you aren't yet potty training, consider buying tank top onesies for summer. Then, the diaper is still covered from most angles if you take of shorts or a skirt. Another possibility for girls is to use the diaper covers you get with dresses over the diaper and let her go topless (during the few years its socially acceptable!). These make it harder to get the diaper off, but hands could still reach in the top.
  • If you have a chubby little girl with an adorable tummy like mine, try to buy baby doll style tops or tunics. That is, unless you like chasing her around pulling her shirt down all the time.
  • If you are a good sower: I haven't tried it yet, but a woman at story time told me you can make toddler leg warmers out of adult knee socks.

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