You will need:
- To sign up for Gymboree rewards program (free)
- To sign up for email promotions with Carter’s and Gymboree
- Gymboree coupons from printed sources (Parents, Parenting magazine)
- Carter’s coupons from sample goodie bags, in-store, online or print sources
My favorite brands of baby clothing are Gymboree and Carter’s (the Carter’s brand).
I love Gymboree clothing because they use high quality cotton and have themed clothing which makes it easy to mix and match. Baby looks really coordinated when wearing Gymboree.
Gymboree can be very expensive so shop only during sales, with coupons, and only shop the sale or clearance rack which sometimes has a lot of 0-3 and 3-6 month clothing–perfect for the new parent! Their clothing is on sale after the season, so stock up if you dare. I did.
Their clothes tend to run wide (perfect for bigger babies) but Gymboree clothes do tend to shrink in the dryer. I just line dry them. Keep in mind that is easy to find smaller sizes in the sale rack and that will get harder and harder to find larger sizes as your baby grows–difficult but not impossible.
Gymboree clothing is marked up, way up. As a new line gets older, it will be discounted more and more, so if you can wait to purchase, wait. Pay close attention to the clothing lines and you will be able to identify “older” lines soon to be put in the sale bin. Summer clothing can be found at 60% off during the Red Balloon Sale at the end of May or early June, but the deep markdowns during that sale will be winter clothes.
Carter’s is a classic kid’s brand. I feel like I am getting the most out of Carter’s clothing because the clothes run bigger, though thinner (than Gymboree) and does not tend to shrink.
I’ve noticed that Carter’s clothing comes true to size generally but cotton ribbed knit stretches better than jersey, therefore wears better. Target and Wal-Mart have Carter’s lines but they are not exactly the same (Just One Year and Child of Mine). I think they are a slimmer and longer fit, so if you have a skinny baby they may be a better fit–so you might want to wait and see what size of baby you have.
Carter’s clothing is also marked way up. The best price is generally 50%-60% off plus 20% off coupon; never pay more! If you can score free shipping online, then the deal is even better. But Carter’s prices stay more consistent. Unlike Gymboree, I generally disregard the clearance rack in-store as I don’t think the clearance prices are that good; however, you will sometimes find a sale on clearance items, an additional 20% off, but remember the coupons will not work with clearance. Carter’s clearance selection is usually (but not always) picked over; the online clearance selection is sometimes better.
I received many other brands (used clothing, so already washed and worn) from friends and they were shrunken, worn out and ill-fitting. The Carter’s and Gymboree clothing I received in used condition still looks great–it is really quality stuff.
I personally like 100% cotton (ribbed knit) clothing rather than fleece or terry, but that’s just my preference. I feel like cotton is breathable and has the perfect amount of stretch. But if you live in a frosty climate, fleece and terry cloth are good options for winter.
And remember, gently used baby clothing is the most cost effective (and environmentally friendly) way to go. Get it free or cheap by finding nice friends, garage sales, consignment stores, thrift stores, etc.
Moneysaver Tip: Carter’s has sales (often around holidays) and 15%-25% coupons and coupon codes. Don’t ever buy anything from Carter’s full price–its merchandise is marked up. Search online! Don’t settle for anything less than 50% off MSRP. Here’s an example of Carter’s sale of bodysuits when pairing a coupon with a sale.
Moneysaver Tip: Always keep your Carters receipts! Rumor has it that Carter’s will return your purchases with a receipt, no matter the purchase date, as long as the items are new and unused. I actually did this once—and I think it is still the store policy—I was slightly baby-crazy a year before getting pregnant. We moved near a Carter’s store and I bought some baby girl clothes, thinking I could just gift them if I didn’t get pregnant. Well, I didn’t get invited to any showers and I didn’t have a girl. So I returned it with no issues (though the cashier girl was a little amused by the date on the receipt!)
Old Navy is my #3 brand and quickly gaining momentum as Baby grows older. I never even went into the baby section until Baby was wearing 24M. I went in for toddler sized socks (as Carters seems to never have any) and there was a huge display of them. While I still love Gymboree socks, the Old Navy ones were a lot cheaper and still pretty decent with the grips on the bottom.
Old Navy is usually very affordable, but shopping sales makes the savings even sweeter. I especially love Old Navy pants for babies and toddlers as most have elastic waistbands for comfort and long use. I also like that most of their clothes are very basic (like a school uniform) so it’s easy to mix and match; compare that to Gymboree, whose designs are sometimes cute, sometimes horrendous!
Besides socks, we have bought lined pants (a necessity for winter) and regular jersey cotton pants that we even use as pj bottoms when the weather is decent so I’ve gotten a lot of use of each one.
Gymboree and Carters sales and designs are best for 0-24M but I feel Old Navy sales rack is excellent up to the toddler age; $2.99 for a polo shirt in size 2T, $4 for shorts. I didn’t even need coupons!
Have I missed any great baby brands? Please share!