Thursday, 19 May 2011

Clothes you need for children

It's very easy to get carried away and end up with wardrobes and drawers full of clothes which hardly ever get worn.  Even for the messiest child though, you only need a more limited stock of clothing which can be worn and loved.  Of course, some of this will depend on how often you get your laundry done.  If you wash once a week, you may need a couple of extras so that you don't run out while everything is drying on the line.  Also you may need a few more clothes for the bottom half during potty training (or do laundry more often at this time).  

Here's my list of clothing required for children:
  • underwear - 7 vests for toddlers and pre-schoolers, older children may or may not wear them.  10 pairs of pants and ten pairs of socks (I've seen advice that suggests getting socks in all one colour at any different size so that pairs can be more easily and correctly made as they come out of the wash).  I personally avoid tights like the plague and think if it isn't warm enough for socks with a skirt then put them in trousers, but for a girl you may wish to have 3 or 4 pairs of tights as well.
  • tops - about 10 in total, some vest tops, some t-shirts, some long sleeved, allowing for changes through the week in all seasons.  Set one or two aside for rough wear (in the garden, camping etc.) or if you have a younger or messier child then go the other way and keep one or two aside for smarter wear (not for art work, baking, garden etc.)
  • bottoms - again about ten in total including shorts, jogging trousers, jeans/combats, tidier shorts/trousers, skirts for girls (some of which could be teamed with leggings to extend their wearability).  Same goes as for tops with keeping one or two aside for messy/tidier wear.
  • Jumpers - it depends on your climate and how warm your house is.  We live in Scotland and during the winter heat the house enough that it isn't cold but a jumper is comfortable so about seven jumpers/sweaters is reasonable to allow a change every day if required.
  • occasion wear - a smart/pretty/dressy outfit for weddings, christenings, smart parties etc. - get one for summer and one for winter.
  • Apron/overshirt - for artwork/baking.  
  • Swimwear
  • Seasonal wear - sun-hat, warm hat, scarf, gloves, waterproof coat, summer coat, winter coat
  • Footwear - smarter / everyday shoes, messy shoes / trainers for playing, wellies for puddle jumping / camping / gardening, sandals for summer
  • nightwear - a couple of pairs of pyjamas or nighties (one to wash and one to wear), possibly different ones for winter and summer depending on your climate and how temperature controlled your house is. Dressing-gown and slippers.
  • Uniforms and sportswear - whatever clothing and equipment is required for school / pre-school / any clubs or activities that your child enjoys.
For babies up to 1 year:
  • 8 vests with poppers (long and short sleeved, white and coloured); 8 sleepsuits (all the time for the first month or so, then for night time); 10 outfits - t-shirts, tops, dresses (if you insist, though please don't put a dress on a crawling baby - this is tantamount to cruelty), trousers, leggings, dungarees, shorts etc. which can be worn in lots of combinations; 8 jumpers; a few pairs of socks and/or bootees, a sun hat, a couple of warm hats, a couple of bibs, a warm jacket/coat, an all-in-one mega-warm suit for really cold occasions, mittens in winter, swimmies, an all-in-one waterproof suit which includes the feet so you can put them on slightly damp grass once they are sitting/crawling, a little pair of soft shoes once they are pulling up to standing / cruising.

How to get the best of this list:
  • Take hand-me-downs but don't feel you need to keep/use all of them, just take the bits that you need and hand back or pass on the rest.
  • Shop for the age range twelve months ahead - while your child is wearing age 3-4 you can pick up any bargains that you spot for age 4-5 during end-of-season sales and so on.
  • Use charity shops - particularly for babies many of these clothes are hardly worn.
  • If you have a boy and a girl you don't need to get a whole load of new clothes.  Pink clothes for girls are not compulsory and there's nothing wrong with putting both genders in the same clothing, especially if they are reasonably gender unspecific.  I've started early - my baby girl is wearing trousers and t-shirts that were her big brother's.  I usually have one item of clothing - a top or the trousers which give the indication that she's a girl, but actually don't mind if people have to ask, they are usually strangers stopping to tell me she's gorgeous. 
  • Use "the system".  I've mentioned this in my clothes post.  Every spring and autumn (probably the Easter holiday and October half term) we would pile all our clothes into mum's room and she would bring out a suitcase full of clothes ready for the coming season, either clothes that the older ones had outgrown the year before or hand-me-downs from cousins. A trying on fest would follow until we all had a set of clothes that fit us ready for the coming season.  We would then sit with mum and go through a mail-order catalogue, while she listed the page and catalogue numbers of items we liked.  She would judiciously use charity shop finds and the catalogue to fill gaps in our wardrobes, knowing that she was getting stuff that we liked.

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