I feel like mothers-to-be are less anxious about shopping for their daughters compared to their sons. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been dressing ourselves for decades we feel that we have it down pat. One of the indulgences we have as a parent is a transference of our own style, for at least a little while, on the little man or the little lady. I’m sure that there are those who don’t really care but for someone who finds this stuff fun, it was an opportunity.
Everyone will tell you not to go crazy on the clothes because they’ll grow out of it soon enough. That is both true and untrue. If you are planning on having another child the items you purchase now will be the hand-me-downs. So, when you commit to the piece ask yourself, will I care about this one, two or three years down the road? Also, if you’re serious about using it again then you need to invest a bit on quality. Certain companies wear and tear better, minus the paint and tomato sauce of course. There is also the matter of quantity. If you don’t buy enough you will be harder on those outfits and by the time round two comes along they might not be as presentable. So, with this post I’m going to advise you on how to achieve all three things: design, quality and quantity while being smart about it.
First and foremost, if you are having a son your life is easier already. There are fewer options available for boys and you won’t be as tempted by those little dresses. God help my husband if we have a daughter down the road.
It’s a fact that everyone copies everyone when it comes to children’s clothing. The most beautiful is Boden. This British company has honestly the best eye when it comes to creating bright, colourful and aesthetically pleasing pieces. But it comes at a price. The worst value is JCrew kids. Do not even go there, even with the deals. So if you want the style without hurting your budget I would go with the Gap. I always go with the Gap. Their designs are minimalist and beautiful without being too precious.
This is another area in which the Gap excels. Almost every single weekend there will be a sale that you can take advantage of. This means that their price tag is often below Carter’s and Joe Fresh who rarely have sales. The products stand up to multiple washings and even dearly loved items can be extra clothes for daycare or the diaper bag with your next child.
Now this is when you have to watch for sales. Maybe it’s just me but I always find that I buy pajamas and pants in bulk while I practice more careful consideration when purchasing the tops. With a couple of jeans, cords and khakis you are set to go. Old Navy makes excellent pants and Carter’s is the king of fleece pajamas.
I find with boys clothing that they get less cutesy with time. It’s like they have child psychologists and mothers on their design team because your little man will transition from lambs to dump trucks seamlessly. But no one really discusses what to exactly look for at each stage in development. So here we go:
Much of their days in this phase will be spent in pajamas so don’t worry about quality here. For quantity Carter’s offers the best options and their prints are fantastic. They may be cute but don’t get too drawn into the jeans, khakis or flannels. Have a few in hand for outings or dinners but if they hurt your pocketbook don’t worry about it. There will be lots of time to dress like a Beckham. This is also when you should go gender neutral. Beige and white will be your best friends!
Now, this is when you can start introducing the onesies, sweatpants and cotton shorts. Since they are more active they will be most comfortable in these sets and you don’t have to worry about exposed bellies. I also start to incorporate sweaters for special occasions. Brand-wise I would advise Gap or Osh-Kosh.
18 months +
This is the most fun phase and sets the tone for the principles that you’ll follow going onwards. I have two categories: house clothes and regular clothes. When he is at preschool or out in society I dress my son in chinos, jeans or cords. Many of these have cotton lining in them to keep them warm and is soft against their skin. Also, elastic waists work well with their growing bodies. For the tops I purchase graphic tees and sweatshirts. I favor the crew neck because who actually like napping in a hoodie? The long-sleeved cotton shirts are great for layering and for when the weather is transitioning in the spring and fall. In the summer I follow the same guidelines with t-shirts and shorts. When you’re at home the comfy pants come out in full-swing.
Ever since he could speak I have allowed my son to choose between two choices when it comes to his pants, shirts and warmer layering material. This serves two purposes: one, it gives him agency when so much of his life is guided by his parents and two, it trains his eye on color and material. It is never too early to raise a man who knows how to care for himself. This is why I would suggest that you buy graphic shirts because he can identify and name the objects too. Obviously the truck shirt may be more popular than the French stripes but I sneak in the navy and white whenever I can. Of course this is all within the realm of your style too. Lets not go crazy here.
My last piece advice is to know how much you’re willing to spend. Once you’ve participated in a cycle or two of discounts you’ll be able to define this for yourself. For example, I mostly buy shirts within the $6-12 range, pants that are $10-$15, sweatshirts that are not more than $15 and sweaters that are mostly $20. Once you know your parameters it becomes a breeze and it’s fun. Easy peasy.