One thing I wasn't expecting when I was looking forward to having a baby was the frustration that baby clothes would cause me. Waaaaay back when I was pregnant with Eli, I ordered a whole bunch of clothes for him in the 6-9 month range. I found skinny jeans for $4 and shirts for $2. I stocked up with what I *thought* he would need, spending about $30, but in the end, I think Eli wore maybe two of the shirts I bought him and his chubby thighs never even fit into the oh, so trendy skinny jean.
Beyond basically skipping the 6-9 month clothing stage, Eli has crazy chubby feet, and while we received a couple adorable pairs of TOMS sneaks and Minnetonka Moccasins, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to get his feet into them. I've been trying them on his feet once a week for at least two months and while the length should work, his little bricks are just too wide to fit. In addition, because we knew we were having a boy, we were gifted with an insane amount of baby boy clothes in the 0-6 month range from generous friends and family. While Eli was super well dressed, he rarely needed to wear the same outfit twice and I felt like I ended up boxing up clothing that was basically still brand-new. I think I have two huge tubs of clothing in the basement, most of it in perfect condition.
I've been thinking a lot about baby/toddler clothing lately and what the best strategy is surrounding it. It's great to plan ahead and find sales, but I've found that I've actually wasted some money on super-sale clothing, because it seems like you never really know what size your child will be. Will you have a chubby baby or a skinny baby? You can't predict that. Eli was a chubbers, and essentially skipped the 6-9 month clothing, and to accommodate his thighs, he wore pants that were two sizes bigger than his shirts - meaning he never wore many of the pants we purchased or were given to him. Plus, he didn't really wear shoes until he was in size three since he was a late walker - but then again, from what I hear, he sorta has small feet and kids his age seem to be more in size five. So again, you can't predict.
I have friends that are masters at the garage sale, but the drive, hunt and search method really isn't my thing and I do think I can find pretty good deals while sitting my pretty little self on my well-worn couch cushions. And as I've talked with them, many of them have admitted that their children never wear all the clothes they purchase - so even if they are $.50 or $1, they're still wasting money.
I'm not sure which is better - not wearing 10 $1 shirts or not wearing three $4 shirts. Okay fine, the garage salers still probably win, but I suppose I like to count my time and sanity as worth some money since the garage sale isn't as enjoyable for me.
I've been toying lately with the idea of a capsule wardrobe for kids. I've looked around online a bit, and haven't really seen anyone doing it - particularly for babies and toddlers. At this age, they do run through a lot of clothing, so I know know it'd have to be quite a few pieces, but I think it could be done. I've been sort of amazed at how well stains come out, particularly with lots of my DIY laundry detergent and a solid shot of Tide stain remover here and there.
At this point, Eli is wearing all 12-18 month clothes and we're running pretty skinny with 10 casual shirts, three dress shirts, two hoodies, one sweater, three pairs of shorts, three paris of pants, three rompers, three p.j.'s, and one pair of shoes (sandals). That's 29 items, about the typical 30ish piece capsule wardrobe, but I still think it could be less. It's a little tough because we live in Minnesota, which means while there are definite seasons, you still need warm clothing in the summer because it can get pretty cool some days.
He's been lengthening out a lot over the past few weeks, and I can tell he's going to be moving up sizes soon - but instead of just going out and buying whatever I think is cute and on sale, I want to be smart about it and feel like every piece that comes into our house has a purpose. I know that as he continues to get older, he'll naturally move less quickly through the sizes and hopefully will have time to actually "wear out" clothing, but I'm curious what the best method for this stage is. In addition, I'd like to do the same thing for baby girl. Since we dress Eli pretty "boy" nothing but the white onesie is going to cross over, so I know I'll need to get her a wardrobe. The other day I was on Gap.com shopping for her and I had my cart loaded with about eight items, all $4 or less, but I just couldn't bring myself to purchase anything because of how wasteful I felt with Eli.
I'm not sure what the right answer is here, and likely I'm just over thinking it. But I'm curious - anyone out there find a good method of outfitting their littlest ones without going overboard? I'd love to hear any tips for streamlining the wardrobe of babies and toddlers and where you find the best deals! Plus, if it's of interest, I'll keep you all updated on where we end up!