May 14, 2007

Clothing for Children: Chapter 3, part 1

I am going to do a series of posts on Chapter 3 because each section deserves its own emphasis. This is perhaps the best chapter in the book. It discusses standards, layettes, diapers, various pieces of clothing, etc.

The first section of the chapter is titled Standards for Infants' Clothing, pages 103-104. Most of the information is still relevant today and designers should keep these things in mind when designing. If you have an opinion or question of how these standards apply today, please leave a comment.

1. A baby's clothes should be made of material that is soft, pliable, and absorbent. Garments worn next to the skin, especially, should not be irritating.

2. The material should be durable, easily laundered, and, whenever possible, it should not require ironing.

3. The clothing should be light in weight but sufficient to keep the body at the normal uniform temperature of 98.6 degrees. The material and garment should both be constructed to allow ventilation.

4. The design of the garments should make them easy to put on and to remove. If you plan to make the garment, the design should be one easy to make.

5. The garments should be comfortable and allow freedom of movement.

6. The clothing should be well constructed with smooth flat seams and have easy simple fastenings.

7. The design, as well as any decoration, should be simple. Trimming should not add to the bulk of the garment. Baby's clothing should be attractive, but this does not depend on elaborateness.

8. The garments should be designed to allow for growth and development of muscles.

9. The garments should be safe.
Most of the standards seem pretty straight forward and practical. You can read my blog entry on Clothing for Children, Chapter 9 for my opinions about standard #7. I am not sure how to take standard #8. Most of the designs I have seen that allow for growth (such as an extra deep hem, tucks, etc), have been ugly. Plus, by the time a child has grown, the garment is worn out. I would like to see a practical solution to allowing for growth.

From a practical stand point, #2 is true for the majority of children's clothing sales. But as your price point moves up, the more likely that your customer may be willing to buy a dry clean or hand wash item. A higher price point customer expects specialty fabrics and they are willing to buy them despite special care. Still, I think higher-end designers tend to go overboard with feather boa trimmings and sparkles. There is a happy medium somewhere.

The point of #3 is that babies need to have their temperature moderated. Not too hot or too cold. It would be easy to assume that babies need to be bundled up all of the time, but it is better to remove or add layers as needed.

Finally, the authors give some sage advice. They suggest buying minimum amounts of clothing before the baby arrives. It is hard to know the size of the baby until born, plus babies grow fast. It is wiser to invest in clothing as needed. At baby showers moms are overwhelmed by lots of clothing sized 0-3M. If you do buy clothing to give, try buying clothes sized 6-12M as that size is mostly overlooked.

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