How to buy baby and toddler clothes

It may surprise you, but buying the right clothes for an active toddler can make a real difference in your everyday life. Imagine clothes that are easier to get in and out of, items that fit properly, and having just the right article on hand in the event of a growth spurt or a sudden change of weather. We talked to Jenn Falik, a style expert and mother of one, and celebrity baby trend expert Rachel Florio-Urso, to get their top tips on choosing apparel that won’t break the bank, will survive anything your tot gets into, and will suit your kid’s developing style.

Look for easy on and easy off

Believe it or not, your toddler will (hopefully) soon be dressing himself. But before that, he’ll probably run around like crazy when you’re trying to get him ready to head out the door! Make it easy on yourself with stretchy clothes that slip on and off without needing too much cooperation from your wriggly tot.

Keep potty training in mind

Entice your toddler with underwear that features her beloved cartoon pal, favorite color, or cute animals. Urging your little one to “Keep Dora dry” can be much more motivating than anything else you can say!

Outsmart stains

Toddlers are notoriously messy, and while you can try to fight it, you’re better off finding clothes that can weather the pint-size storm. That means nothing too delicate or precious, lest you not be able to give it a thorough scrubbing. Also, look for reversible clothing.  You can get messy at the playground and flip the outfit over and head straight to lunch!  You can also find many “cover me” types of bib tops that go on top of a child’s outfit during feeding and playtime.  Simply take the top layer off and the original outfit remains clean!

Look for pants with adjustable elastic bands

This ingenious invention allows you to customize the fit of pants like jeans so they grow with your child – as well as ensure your skinny toddler’s pants aren’t falling down while a kid with a thicker middle isn’t squeezed too tightly.

Add festive items

Many kids at this age relish twirling around in a tutu or trying on a pair of dragon wings, so check out thrift stores, costume shops, and toy stores for a few fun items to tuck away for rainy days – or any day!

Pay more for workhorse pieces

If you know your child will be wearing a thick, puffy coat or waterproof boots regularly from November through April, it’s well worth it to buy the best quality you can afford. The right materials and proper fit will keep your toddler warmer and more comfortable, and the clothing will last longer. (You may even be able to hand it down!)

Look for DIY closures

Toddlers are notorious for wanting to do things themselves – to a fault, sometimes! And while you want them to learn how to button, lace, and tie things, you also want to get out of the house without too many tantrums or delays, so look for things with smoothly gliding zippers with oversize pulls and easy-close snaps. Steer clear of trickier button-front shirts and drawstring waists.

When in doubt, size up

Kids can grow fast, so if you’re deciding between something that might be too snug in a few weeks or a tad big for a little while, choose the larger size. You can always cuff sleeves and pant legs or temporarily nip in a waistband. Exception: Pajamas should fit snugly, as it’s often more comfortable for little ones and safer in the event of fire.

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