Okay, okay, I know I said I'd be sharing my ethical resource guide today (and I sort of am - the kids edition!) but I've gotten a lot of questions about how I apply my minimalist mindset to kids' clothes, and how I shop ethically for my son, so today's post is all about that!
Honestly, keeping Xavier's wardrobe minimal has been pretty easy, because he's only 13 months old and doesn't have opinions about his clothes yet. I simply get to decide what we keep and what we don't keep, and how many things to store in his drawers. The number of items has changed as he's grown and his needs have changed, but in general we have kept his clothes to a bare minimum and it's been awesome. Getting him dressed is a breeze, his laundry is a breeze, and I don't feel like I'm constantly drowning in a sea of tiny clothing. Win, win, win.
So, how much does he actually have? How much do babies really need? Answer: it totally depends. Helpful, I know ;) If your baby is a big drooler or major spitter or prone to blowouts, you might need more clothing. But if your baby isn't any of those things, you can probably get away with a lot less than you think. Xavier was never much of a drooler and thanks to cloth diapers, we've never really had issues with blowouts. He was a spitter though, so we did lots of outfit changes in the early days because he would spit up all over his clothes 18 times a day. Thankful that those days are behind us!
In general, here's what I include in Xavier's wardrobe:
- 5 white onesies, long sleeve
- 5 white onesies, short sleeve
- 3-5 colored/patterned/slogan onesies
- 3-5 tshirts (mix of short and long sleeve)
- 3-5 pair of knit pants
- 1-3 pair of "nice" pants (right now he has one pair of jeans, one pair of corduroys and a pair of dressier, olive green pants)
- 2-4 "playsuit" type outfits - those all-in-one baby things, overalls, etc.
- 1 or 2 "nice" shirts, like a collared shirt for church or special events
- 1 or 2 sweatshirts
- a jacket
- a handful of socks (he has 8 pair or so)
- one pair of shoes
- 5-7 pajamas
In the summertime, he had one swimsuit. He also has a Colts jersey. That's really it! Babies really are so simple. They don't need fancy, coordinating outfits. They don't need 6 pair of shoes - especially if they aren't even walking! They don't need 5 collared shirts. Solid onesie + knit pants + socks has been my outfit formula for Xavier since day one, and it's worked great for over a year.
I know it will probably get more complicated as he gets older and has opinions, and Lord help us if we have a girl! I'm hoping to maintain the same minimalist mindset though, and only keep a small number of mix-and-match separates for each kid. But what about the Minecraft and TMNT and Lego tshirts kids obsess over? I love the idea of letting kids pick out their own pajamas, complete with whatever obnoxious characters they want, and leaving their play clothes character-free. We'll see how that goes!
SHOPPING FOR KIDS
As far as shopping for kids goes, my number one tip is to shop secondhand. Babies grow SO FAST. They truly might wear something one time and then not fit into it when you go to put them in it a week later. You can often find super high-quality items at kids' consignment shops and sales for a fraction of their original price and in great condition. Stores like Once Upon A Child and consignment sales like Whale of A Sale (local to Indianapolis) are awesome. Also, sites like Schoola.com and Thredup.com carry kids' clothes, so I've gotten Xavier a handful of items online.
In addition to secondhand, there are a handful of ethical clothing brands for kids that have me SO excited for when Xav gets a little bit bigger. You might get some sticker shock looking at these companies, especially if you're used to H&M and Old Navy prices. And I get it, paying $30 for a tshirt your kid will likely stain/rip/wear out might seem hard, or even irresponsible. But, when you buy from these companies, you aren't just spending money on expensive advertising and one million catalogs and super involved product staging and photoshoots. Most often, your dollars are going to support at-risk families who are given the opportunity to earn a living wage, which in turn translates to food and clothing and education for their children, and change for their whole community. Your dollars are oftentimes going to end the multi-generational cycle of poverty that exists for many in the garment industry. And when you go minimal, you can afford to buy higher quality/ethical items, because you're buying less! And they're often higher quality, so they hold up better to washing and wear.
I researched a bunch of brands, and have my top picks for ethical kids clothes for you below!
- Wildly Co - Wildly Co. was started by my friend Hayley Morgan and her husband, Mike. They make adorable kids' clothing that is made here in the US and are truly changing the face of the kids' fashion industry. Their capsule wardrobes are amazing - I cannot wait to get Xavier his first one! Their sizes start around 2T/3T.
- June & January - I've followed this brand for awhile on Instagram and love their fun, bright basics for babies and kids. Their website mentions the clothing is made in the US and overseas, so I reached out to them to get more clarification. Here's what they said, "We currently manufacture our products via a U.S. sister company located overseas. All production is managed by U.S. standards of quality assurance processes and adheres to CPSIA standards and recommendations. While our manufacturing is now done overseas, having it done ethically is important to us and something we have researched and we work directly with the manufacturing team to ensure. Our choice to move our production was simply because the limited USA cut and sew shops were not able to meet our needs in the quantity needed at a level of quality we wanted to extend to our customers. Our business is still a small USA based business, employing a staff of women across the country, mostly mothers who work from home affording them the opportunity to have an income while being with their families." So awesome! I'm definitely going to be adding some June & January to Xav's wardrobe now, too.
- Everlane Mini - classic minimal Everlane style, ethically produced, in miniature! So, so cute. I'm definitely not going to buy my four-year-old a cashmere sweater (hello, mama needs one of those first!) but their tshirts and other basics look awesome for a minimal + ethical kids' capsule wardrobe.
- All Good Living Kids - fun, graphic onesies and tees for boys and girls, made in the USA! I love the bright pops of color and bold designs.
- Krochet Kids - this company is awesome, and not just for kids clothes. I love their adult clothing and their awesome hats, too. They have a limited selection for kids' but if you need to stock up on winter items, this is your place.
- Tea Collection - This brand has super cute, Japanese-inspired clothes for babies, boys and girls. Bright, graphic prints and patterns. Think Hanna Anderssen, but ethical (Hannas used to be made in Sweden, but are now made in China/Vietnam/Bangladesh). I especially love the boys' rompers!
- Red Creek Kids - this line is PRICEY, and I'm honestly not sure I would shell out this kind of dough for something my child is going to probably spit up on and poo in. But it's beautiful, and handmade, and might be a good option for a special occasion or photos!
- Serendipity Organics - this line is also pricey, but it's all organic cotton and the products are made at the same source as where the cotton is grown, which is cool. The knit items are created in the tradition Bolivian way, and I think it's awesome that this company is honoring that culture and their traditional craft.
- Kate Quinn Organics - I am in LOVE with the styles from Kate Quinn!! Super cute pieces, organic cotton, Fair Trade sourcing and production, and affordable!! Not a combination you find often.
- Ava & Luc - A limited capsule collection of cute, bold patterned pieces for boys and girls, ethically produced at a manufacturer in India. Super cute stuff and not super pricey.
- Alpine Baby Co. - I stumbled across this brand on Instagram and fell in love with the adventure-themed pieces. The clothes are made here in the US and I love that when you buy from Alpine Baby Co, you're supporting another mama's dream. I've been eyeing this mountainscape tee for months!
- Rylee & Cru - I'm waiting on an email back from them, because they don't actually mention where the clothes are made on their website, BUT I did find a blog post from 2014 when Kelli, the founder, introduced her new company that said all the pieces were made in the USA, so I'm fairly confident in including them in this list. The clothes are a bit pricey but they are so unique and so beautiful. How cute is this floral romper for a little girl? Very Rifle Paper Co. And I love all their sweet jumpsuits too, especially this one.
In addition, here are three more brands that only carry girls' clothes: Max & Dora, Magpie & Mabel and Matilda Jane Platinum. All ethical and all SO cute! Humble Hilo also has a small collection of dresses and shoes.
I'm sure there are tons more companies out there that I'm missing, too. If you find a brand or a little shop that has stuff you like, just reach out to them! I've had nothing but positive responses so far. I usually send an email worded like this, "Hi there! I just found your shop and love your adorable clothes for kids. I'm trying to only add ethical items to my son's wardrobe, so I'm curious where you garments are made? If they are made overseas, what kind of oversight do you have on the manufacturing to ensure the production is ethical? Thanks so much for any info you can share!" It never hurts to ask, and I've been pleasantly surprised to learn just how many brands ensure their clothes are made in an ethical way.
Hope this helps all you mamas out there who want to go minimal + ethical, but don't know where to start. It IS possible, and I'm cheering for you! xoxo!