I love new clothes! Since I was a child, my favourite activity was to go back to school shopping. That was the only time I remember being offered new clothes, all the rest I am pretty sure were hand me downs. I continued the tradition with my children. My children’s fondest times were back to school shopping, as we made it a whole day event, even a couple of times a week-end excursion.
As a grandparent, I am even more excited to buy clothes for my granddaughter, Delaney. But I do have to restrain my enthusiasm because, I know that she will not wear dressy clothes often, if at all and certainly not for long. It is unlikely she will wear out her clothes, anything other than t-shirts, that is. While I love clothes, practicality wins over my shopping urges. In fact, I am quite happy to shop in secondhand stores for those ‘cutsie’ things, because the racks are full of barely used items. But try to find fall and winter outdoor wear, and the selection is quite limited. Those things get used everyday and as soon as a baby starts to crawl and walk, the knees take a beating.
Rain suits, snow pants and wind resistant jackets are essential clothing for Canadian toddlers. I am prepared to spend more money on those items because our little ones need the protection from the variety of weather we encounter in a Canadian fall and winter. Moreover, toddlers need to be outside as much as possible. The exercise and fresh air that comes from running in the fall leaves, splashing in puddles, rolling in the snow, making snow angels (sorry, it is too soon to draw this picture?) is crucial for healthy development.
And once again, practicality wins out as my buying strategy when it comes to buying outerwear. I look for outwear that will serve for at least two seasons. Even in one season, a child can grow out of the size they started the season wearing. There are many features that can achieve easy fitting for a growing child. Not like in the day when I was a child. I was simply dressed in hand me downs that were too big for my frame and eventually, became too short and tight as I grew, fitting for a brief time in between. The Jan & Jul line, created by Canadian Moms, that we carry in our store have perfected the all the features that I want for Delaney, designed with lots of room to move and grow, but not look baggy. Other features I look for are:
- Waterproof and machine washable fabric designed to keep the wind and rain/snow out, while being breathable at the same time!
- Full cover bib pants but not bulky; they easily roll up to fit inside a diaper bag or child’s backpack.
- Adjustable shoulder straps on the bib pants make it easy to size up and down through growth spurts
- Cuffs are soft with wide elastic that is simple to adjust, the shoulder straps connect with snap closures for easy on and off.
- Elastic foot stirrups that adjust with buttons at the cuff, keep the elements out by placing the elastic under the foot or boot.
I have given the Didi (Delaney’s name for me) stamp of approval on all the outwear, including the mitts, hats, booties and rain/snow suits.