Buying clothes for your child’s first year of life can be exciting, but also confusing. When trying to determine the right clothing types and sizes for your little one’s wardrobe, it’s normal for new parents to feel puzzled by the huge variety of options on the market and the terminology used to describe them.
You may have been advised to look online for more variety, great deals, and review-backed clothing options, but this can also add to the confusion of the situation if you don’t know where to look, or even what you’re looking for.
In this guide, we’ll give you a quick crash course on buying baby clothes online so you can start to put together your little one’s wardrobe with confidence.
Terminology for Baby Clothes Online
If you’ve been searching for baby clothes online for the first time, it’s likely your first barrier has been: clothes names, terminology, and definitions. Not only do parents blur lines between different clothing types, but major baby clothing brands sometimes have their own take on exactly what a “baby romper” or “baby onesie” is — leaving you uncertain about what you actually need.
To help you out here, below are some of the most common handles that popular baby clothing products go by these days. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good framework when searching for baby clothes online.
The baby swaddle is one of the first clothing garments parents will use with their children. It is used for recreating the comfort and security of the womb while your child adjusts to the outside world. Typically used from 0-3 months of age, this is simply a thin blanket used to wrap the baby firmly.
You can also find a number of pre-made or ‘modified’ swaddle blankets like our Zippy-Swaddle that are designed to offer additional practicality and comfort. Whether it’s the choice of materials or the way the fabric is cut, these swaddle products aim to take the age-old swaddle method to the next level through careful baby clothes engineering.
The baby romper is one of the most important items in your child’s wardrobe. They generally provide a useful base layer for your little one and can be paired with several different items of clothing.
The baby romper will cover the top half of your baby, with either short or long sleeves, and a clip or snap between the legs. These rompers don’t usually come with sections for your baby’s legs, so many parents add other layers on top to add warmth and extra coverage. You’ll find babies around the world rocking the romper from 0 to 1-year-old (and sometimes beyond).
Alternative names include:
The baby romper, which is often referred to as a baby bodysuit, is one of the most important items in your child’s wardrobe.
Baby Sleep Sacks
Baby sleep sacks are a bag-like garment that your baby can wear over their rompers for extra warmth and comfort during sleep. What this looks like exactly will depend on the brand and manufacturer. Some will look like tiny baby sleeping bags, which will contain all of your baby's limbs, while others will have dedicated sleeves or sections for your baby’s arms and feet.
Alternative names include:
*Baby sleeping bags
The baby onesie is a lot like a romper or a baby bodysuit, but also comes with short or long sleeve leg sections. These can cover your babies hands and feet, or be open-ended, allowing their fingers and toes to pop out at the ends. Different from the baby romper, these iconic baby garments are often used well beyond the age of one.
Many children love wearing a onesie during the day and when they sleep, up to the age of two years. If you’re interested in the different styles and types of baby onesies you can get, take a look at our Zippy-OneZs collection.
Alternative names include:
We all know what pajamas are. You probably wear your own pair each night. And when it comes to children, these clothing items aren’t very different at all. They will typically come as loose-fitting tops and bottoms, either with long or short sleeve pajamas trousers.
Some baby pajamas will have tighter fitting bottoms that are more like long johns or leggings, which is good for younger children as this will offer added comfort. You can also find pajama hybrids and variations, such as Sleeping Baby’s own specially designed Flying Squirrel pajamas with foldover cuffs and a handy zip down the chest, to make it easier to put on and take off.
Pajamas typically come as loose-fitting tops and bottoms, either with long or short sleeve pajamas trousers.
Swaddle Transition Products
There are a number of baby clothing items out there that are known as Swaddle Transition products. These sometimes look a little like baby onesies or sleep sacks, but depending on which brands you choose, will typically come with their own special tailoring to help with the transitioning out of the swaddle stage.
These swaddle transition products, like our own Zipadee-Zips, are perfect for bridging the gap between the baby swaddle and items of clothing suitable for older children, such as pajamas. They help to create a womb-like environment for children and reduce their ‘startle’ reaction (Moro reflex), while also allowing for added flexibility and movement.
Alternative names include:
*Baby sleep sack
Baby Wardrobe Essentials
Without some pre-planning and careful thought, your child’s wardrobe can grow disproportionately. For example, you may end up with way too many baby rompers and not enough baby sleepers, as a result of ad hoc purchasing, or receiving gifts from family and friends.
To remedy this, it’s good to know what a basic baby wardrobe should include so you can use this as a foundation for adding any new and exciting garments to the mix. Below is a rough guide of baby clothes that will get you through the first year of your baby’s life.
*4-8 baby swaddles
*4-8 base layers (rompers/bodysuits)
*4-8 baby sleepers (baby sleep sacks/sleepsuits)
*4-8 onesies/overalls (long & short sleeved)
*4-6 pairs of trousers/leggings
*1-2 layering pieces (sweaters or cardigans)
*1 baby hat
*6-8 pairs of socks
Some parents refer to this as a baby capsule wardrobe, which will feature a collection of essential items that you can mix and match easily. Having a capsule wardrobe in mind when buying clothes online can help you to reduce overspending in areas that aren’t necessary and make sure you always have the basics covered!
If you’re wondering which patterns and colors to choose for your baby’s wardrobe, take a look at our blog: From Baby Onesies to Baby's Swaddle Transition Suits - Does Color Matter?
Important Factors when Choosing Baby Clothes
Before deciding on specific baby clothing items, it’s good to run through a few important criteria to make sure each garment you buy is actually the best choice for your little one.
Warmth and Breathability
You don’t want your baby’s clothes to make your child too hot or too cold. When buying baby clothes online, make sure you do a bit of extra digging to figure out how suitable items will be in terms of keeping your baby cool in summer, and warm in winter. To do this, you can take a look at the kind of materials that are used, or their tog rating, if the information is available.
For example, the most common baby fabric is cotton, which is good for offering both warmth, breathability, and comfort. While some parents prefer keeping it completely natural, various cotton and synthetic blends offer greater resilience or stretch than pure cotton alone.
Other materials like cashmere or linen are also great, but they’ll fetch a far higher price and may not last as long once they've been through the wash a few times. The main things you should avoid are hot, prickly materials like wool, which can be far too rough for newborns and can easily scratch their skin and lead to overheating.
Comfort is always more important than style. As long as you choose items that are actually made for babies, and not just for pleasing parent’s need for adorable, frilly, or eccentric outfits, you should be okay here.
Most baby brands will bake comfort into each of their garments, but it’s good to do an extra check of user reviews when buying baby clothes online, to make sure that specific items are actually comfortable for babies to wear. Soft, cozy, fitted, and flexible are all great keywords to look out for.
Most baby brands will bake comfort into each of their garments, but it’s good to do an extra check of user reviews when buying baby clothes online.
The main problem with buying baby clothes online is you can’t actually touch the products with your hands and test its features. This can sometimes make it hard to determine how practical items will be in the day-to-day.
For instance, if the baby onesie is warm and cozy but it has a tight or restrictive neck area, or the cuffs are too small, then you’ll have a difficult time removing the item from your child, potentially leading to discomfort or pain. Both are not ideal when you want to settle your child down for a nap or bath time as part of their evening routine.
To overcome this, make sure you pay attention to measurements and read plenty of reviews and testimonials from other parents who have already used the product. Also, check that all your baby clothes are machine washable before you purchase them!
Where to Buy Baby Clothes Online?
According to Statista, revenue in the Baby Clothes segment amounts to US$47,152m in 2020 and the market is expected to grow annually by 6.4%. This means the sheer number of sellers offering baby clothing products is huge, and growing steadily.
Simply searching for ‘baby clothes online’ in Google will turn up a huge number of results that might not be right for you, whether it's brands you don’t like or clothing items that are outside of your price range. When you’re looking for best buys online, it’s good to look in a number of places and follow advice from other parents, to properly understand the landscape first before making any commitments.
Whether you’re in Japan, the US, or anywhere else, there are a number of major retailers and baby clothing brands that will have online platforms where you can browse their full ranges. We recommend creating a list of your favorites, or recommendations from other parents, rather than randomly shopping from brands you’ve never heard of. While it’s good to explore new things, size and fit vary quite a lot between different companies, so you might end up with something less than perfect.
More specialized and niche retailers will be harder to find, but perhaps more rewarding platforms for buying baby clothes online. There are a number of brands that differentiate themselves due to their unique patterns and styles, or even the way their products are designed, to offer added value to babies and their parents. Again, recommendations are a good way to find out which brands are worth exploring.
Amazon and Ecommerce Platforms
Amazon and other e-commerce platforms like Yahoo! Shopping are places where all kinds of brands sell their products. As such, you’ll discover a huge range of different baby products simply by searching for key terms like ‘baby onesies’ or ‘baby sleep sacks’. Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll get a decent idea about price ranges and styles by doing this.
Amazon and other e-commerce platforms like Yahoo! Shopping are places where all kinds of brands sell their products.
While many parents are not keen on buying baby clothes online through platforms like eBay, there’s actually a great deal on offer for parents who are happy to recycle the preloved items of other children. After all, baby clothes are worn for a ridiculously short amount of time before they’re too small, meaning you can find items that are still in pretty good condition.
How to Choose Between Baby Brands?
When using the above methods to buy baby clothes online, you’ll still have to make some hard decisions about the kinds of brands you choose. There are so many luxury and boutique clothing brands for children out there that you could end up spending more on your little ones’ wardrobe than your own if you’re not careful.
For the budget-conscious parent, certain items will likely be seen as an unnecessary stretch. Especially when baby clothes are such a temporary fixture of your child’s younger years. The trick is balancing quality and affordability and never forgetting the role that practicality plays. Of course, if you feel like splashing out on a few extravagant pieces once you’ve covered your wardrobe essentials, then, by all means, go ahead.
Many parents prefer to stick to a few brands they love, and where they know the quality is up to scratch. Others will shop more widely from different stores and brands whenever they’re children are in need of new clothes. Both options are fine, but just make sure that you’re still applying the same criteria for good baby clothing whenever you’re picking up some new pieces for your little one’s closet!
3 Top Tips for Buying Baby Clothes Online
With just a few tips and tricks, you can make sure your child’s babywear budget goes further.
*Buy Large - When in doubt, always buy kids clothes in a slightly larger size. As well as lasting longer before your child is too big for their garments, you will reduce the chance of clothing items simply not fitting at all when they arrive in the post.
*Consider The Season - If you live somewhere with minimal seasonal change, you’re lucky in this regard, but other parents should be careful that their clothing purchases are closely aligned with the seasons. If you buy a bunch of baby sweaters in late July, you might not get much use out of them...
*Avoid Irritants - Clothes often come with various irritants like tags, zips, tassels, laces, and so on. These things can frustrate your child’s delicate skin, so make sure you look out for these unwanted elements, or quickly snip them off before you let your child wear them.
How Much Should I Spend on Baby Clothes Online?
Despite your fears, you don’t actually have to spend a fortune on baby clothes online. Even if you stick to a minimal budget, you should be able to build up a good base of garments for your child’s wardrobe that will keep them comfortable, healthy, happy, and adorable.
As well as focusing on balancing quality and budget, choose versatile items that are designed to last for longer periods of time. Armed with some of the tips and advice from this blog, as well as your natural parenting common sense, you should be able to build a decent wardrobe for your child without breaking the bank.