I make no apologies about my love for shopping for baby clothes and dressing Scout up. (Did I really google, "baby groundhog day onesie"?) It's like real life paper dolls, and it's much more fun to shop for Scout than it is to shop for me. I hate shopping for my own clothes.
I've been playing around with Polyvore, which may be as addictive as Pinterest, and hence this new series was born. I'm not an expert and I don't think I have the world's greatest taste. But this is so much fun. My idea is that from week to week (sometimes more, sometimes less), I'll show you Scout outfits that I put together on Polyvore. These won't necessarily be things I ever plan to buy, but things I think are really cute. Sometimes there will be themes, sometimes not.
But before we get started in the next week or so, some thoughts on baby shopping.
You can seriously spend ridiculous amounts on baby clothes that are worn for a very brief period of time and/or are covered in bodily fluids (I know, because Scout's a puker). I take this into account when I'm shopping and have limits on what I'm willing to spend. I'm also a bit picky about what I'll buy. I like baby clothes that are comfortable for her to wear and for me to hold, preferably cotton and machine washable, lots of color and prints, and nothing fussy or overly frou-frou (technical term). I don't buy a lot of "outfits" but instead lots of onesies, pants, and shirts that we mix together with varying degrees of cuteness success. I could write an entire post about how Rykert mixes her clothes together on mornings he takes her to day care after I've left for work. For the most part, however, her clothes are pretty plain and for day care that's perfect. Honestly, she could wear nothing but a diaper, and we'd still think she was the most perfect baby ever.
So where do I shop? The short answer is everywhere. I do a lot of looking, and I fill a lot of online shopping carts, but I truly don't buy that much.
- Hand-me-downs and Gifts. My sister had twins 10 years ago and kept a lot of their clothes. As Scout sizes up, I go through and wash the hand-me-downs and take stock of anything we might need like jeans or pajamas. Baby clothes don't go out of style and if you buy good quality to begin with they will last. We also have very generous family and friends who have given Scout clothes.
- Consignment/ Thrift. I always read blogs of people who do this amazing thrifting and find a Burberry baby dress for $3 or an entire set of vintage pink Pyrex for 50 cents. We don't have a ton of quality thrift and consignment options locally, but I try to stop in periodically to see what's available. I have a complicated mental algorithm I use that considers cuteness, condition, quality, and price to determine whether it's worth the consignment price. It's hard to define, but I know it when I see it. I've found a number of really cute, nearly new dresses for a small fraction of the price.
- Target. We live way too close to Target. I cannot walk by a Target without ending up with an entire cart full of stuff I didn't know I needed. You can buy everything at Target, and sometimes I stop in for formula and end up with an entire cart full of groceries and clothes.
- Etsy. Etsy is a big, overwhelming place. There's tons of really cute stuff listed, and there's a lot of mediocre stuff as well. I sometimes get lost. But for personalized clothes, headbands, and accessories, I like to support Etsy sellers, and I have a few favorite shops that I follow. Unfortunately, Polyvore doesn't allow "clipping" from Etsy, so you won't see much Etsy stuff.
- The Usual Suspects at the mall.
- Old Navy. For the basics. Our local store is always picked over, so I usually buy online.
- Baby Gap and Outlet. We don't have a Baby Gap here, but I like to shop their outlet and sale racks.
- Crazy 8. The poor man's Gymboree, I think. Like Gymboree, they have release "lines" that follow a theme. I find a lot of it to be a little too cutesy and matchy-matchy for my taste, but it's generally pretty cute.
- Gymboree. Again, a little cutesy and matchy-matchy for my taste. But I like bits and pieces and especially their tights and leggings. I think their prices are high based on the quality but they seem to have lots of sales. The physical store, however, drives me insane as it is poorly planned, claustrophobic, and it takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to check out (and the person in front of you is almost always writing a check). I blame Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. (Wikipedia note: I didn't know that Gymboree also owned Janie and Jack, which generally speaking just isn't my style.)
- Children's Place. For pajamas with zippers. I'm not sure I've ever bought anything else there, but I look around on occasion.
- Carters. I think the quality and cuteness of Carters has improved in recent years. They have lots of cute, bold patterns, and for basic play clothes, they are solid. I usually pay outlet prices or on sale at the local department stores. I think Carters is perpetually on sale though, and their listed prices are, therefore, over inflated.
- Online. What was life like before online shopping? I'm serious, because I can't remember. When I online shop, I rarely pay full price or for shipping thanks to the coupon codes and the email offer spam. I've found new online shops through searches for specific brands (see #8 below) or through Pinterest links. I also like Mini Boden, Hanna Andersson, and flash shopping sites like Zulily, Totsy, and a few other sites here and there.
- Ebay. See algorithm for consignment above. I try not to over-bid on ebay, but I picked up a couple of lots of brand new with tags clothes in relevant sizes (I wanted one specific little dress and ended up with an entire lot: so goes ebay). And I've learned to just stay away from vintage toy searches, because the next thing you know I'm bidding on a vintage Kimberly doll from my youth or a 1978 Wilton Wonder Woman cake pan.
- Zutano. I'm a big fan of the brand Zutano, and I think their clothes are high-quality and some of the best prints available for babies. By shopping around at various places online (I have a list of online sellers) I've been able to pick up discontinued prints at half-price or even less.
- Handmade. I haven't made a lot of clothes for Scout outside of Halloween costumes. But I'm hoping to change that. As she stands up, I'm envisioning making lots of circle skirts with elastic waist and maybe some leggings (if I can find knits in cute prints). A lot of my shopping and Pinterest-ing is looking for ideas for clothes to make. Now to find a couple extra hours in the day to get it done.
Where else do you shop for baby and kid's clothes?
Stay tuned for some Polyvore, "What Would Scout Wear?" fun.