Is it me, or are babies now the best-dressed people on the planet? From Baby Phat to Baby Gap, it seems that no little person now can now be seen in anything but the latest designer gear - even Gucci now has a range for 2-year-olds!
It’s probably just the natural consequence of the self-obsessed times in which we live; the The New York Times once offered an explanation for women's obsession with baby fashions, in an article titled "Dressing Up Mini-Me." It blamed rivalry and narcissism run amok and showcased society babes in nothing less than Gucci booties and DKNY cashmere sweaters.
The explanation usually given is “Why not – it looks really cute,” followed by a more defensive rationale such as, “I want my child to have the best and if I can afford it, why not?” Well, call me old-fashioned, but it seems we are getting priorities a little out of place here. After all, can anyone explain the sense in buying an expensive biker jacket for a 2-year-old, who will grow out of it in a couple of months?
Fashion has its place and – yes – it’s nice to see cute little kids running around in pretty outfits, but c’mon! Let’s remember that the MOST important criteria when it comes to buying baby clothes have nothing to do with how nice they look – they are comfort, safety and functionality. Here are a few of the issues you really should be thinking about when you are buying baby clothes:
1. Fabric – organic fabrics are best. Babies have extremely sensitive skin, so make sure the material is soft. It should also be flame-retardant and free of bleaches, pesticides and heavy dyes.
2. Ease of use - make sure it’s easy to put on and take off and that your child can move around comfortably when wearing it. Snap crotches are great for ease of diaper changes and necklines are usually best when stretchy or with a snap or two to widen the opening around your baby's head.
3. Size – buy something that your baby will grow into. If not, you will be shocked at how quickly they will outgrow their duds.
4. Season – you need to buy clothes relevant to the current and upcoming seasons, but also try to keep your purchases season-neutral as much as possible. For young babies and toddlers’ daily summer wear, onesies made of lightweight cotton are a great alternative to pants and shirts. For winter wear, bundling babies in layers is a good way to combat the difference between heated buildings and the outside. Warm socks, mittens, and hats are also essential for keeping in most of the baby's body heat.
One final tip – don’t be afraid or ashamed of hand-me-downs. Babies grow fast – real fast! This means that you can usually get you can usually get several babies worth of use out of an outfit and if you really do want your baby to look like a fashion model mini-me, this is probably the most sensible and cost-effective way to do it.
But however much money you want to spend on your little one – or however cute you want him/her to look - remember that when it comes to buying baby clothes, “cute” is no substitute for safe and comfortable.
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Michael Barrows' website has great info on baby names, baby name lists and lots of great baby resources. Get your free ebook packed with baby tips for new parents, visit the baby clothes website.
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