Babies' clothes - Shopping Smart
Babies are expensive, there are no two ways about it. I’m a total sucker for a good gadget to entertain, help feed or encourage sleep. However, one area where I really try to hold back is clothing. With little Bella growing at a ridiculous rate I am often flabbergasted at how quickly she grows out of her clothes. So with this in mind I refrain from buying every cute thing I lay my eyes on.
In the early days I didn’t by Bella any clothes, as we didn't know the sex of our baby all I bought before she was born was a couple of vests and an outfit for her to wear home from the hospital. I knew we would be very lucky and inundated with copious outfits from our lovely generous friends and family. Once I started shopping for her clothes myself I quickly learnt and stuck to some valuable points:
1. Neutral core items
When it comes to items like coats, hats and socks I really try to stick to neutral colours, greys and whites are my favourite. It may sound boring but I wouldn’t invest in an obscure coloured coat for Bella that doesn’t go with any of the other items in her wardrobe. The same applies to socks, particularly as there seems to be a magic hole in our house where all of Bella’s socks fall into. At least if Bella ends up with odd socks they are the same colour!
2. Buy a selection of items that sit together
...or in other words buy into the 'story'. This is my old buyer jargon coming out here, to put it simply: each season the buyers for whatever shop you happen to be in will buy ranges in 'stories'. Each story will have moodboards, swatches of fabric, images, samples of knitwear yarns and most importantly a colour palette that each item in that range sticks to. Everything within that 'story' will sit together nicely and you can mix and match items in the range. See below some examples that I found on Pinterest.
What I tend to do when I walk into a store is buy a few bits that I can mix and match easily. Below shows a selection of clothes I bought for Bella last autumn, 90% are from Next and Zara with some gorgeous F&F booties. The first range consists of neutral tones with creams, beiges, dark teals, dusky pinks and taupes with tan highlights (boots and buttons):
You can see in the two images below how these items can form at least four different super cute outfits:
The next group if clothes is again mainly from Next apart from the red F&F cardi. All the items were on the same 'Mod' or section of the shop. The clothes are predominately blues with highlights of white, yellow and red. Again it all goes wonderfully together and makes up multiple outfit choices.
So when you enter a shop try to avoid picking random bits from around the store that you love as you may get home and find you only have one or two other items that go with it. The chances are the shop will be merchandised in a way so that items sit amongst the products they go with.
I'm sure any mum can relate to the mild irritation when the bambino splatters their lunch on a pair of leggings they have been wearing for 20 minutes, but if you shop like this you'll have another item you can switch the ruined leggings for which will go just as nicely without having to change the entire outfit.
3. Sale Shop in advance
This is particularly key for holiday shopping when you need lots of hot weather items, swimming cossies, hats etc that they might not wear a great deal in the UK. So for example last summer we booked our holiday to Dubai for Christmas. Now, I knew that come December the last thing the shops would be full of was baby summer clothes. So in September I ransacked the Next sale online and got so many lovely items at a fraction of the original price. AND the double bonus is that a lot of it still fits Bella now and she may well be able to wear through this summer!
4. Regular clear outs
A friend of mine introduced me to flat packing and I'm addicted. At one point Phil joked that I might flat pack him if he's not careful. Every couple of months I get all of Bella's clothes out and set aside what doesn't fit her anymore. I then flat pack and store away for a potential 2nd baby. It also means I can have a look at any gaps in her wardrobe.
5. Facebooks groups
Living in St Albans which is pretty much baby central means there are a lot of pages on Facebook for buying and selling items second hand. If I'm honest I have used these pages mainly to buy toys but I have sold some bundles of clothes on there. Mainly items that I don't want to set aside for a potential baby number 2 or bits that haven't been worn.
6. Sharing is Caring
We have been so lucky in that Bella has been lent some gorgeous bits from friends which once she grows out of are quickly returned and visa versa. Sharing clothes amongst friends is a great cost saving initiative and personally I love seeing others in little Bella's cute outfits.
Hope this was helpful....if only I could be this sensible when it comes to my own wardrobe....