Why Are Baby Clothes So Expensive and Are They a Waste of Money?

Whether it’s for sustainability reasons or simply to save money, you may have some serious reservations about shelling out major cash for outfits that probably aren’t going to be needed for more than a few weeks or months. Why do baby clothes cost so much, and is it worth it?

Despite how quickly babies – especially newborns – will outgrow their clothes, parents, grandparents, other family members, and even friends all seem to love buying tiny, adorable outfits to dress your little baby in. While some people may see this as a waste of money, others are happy to spend more for brand recognition or a unique design.

Keep reading for more info on why baby clothes are so expensive, which baby clothes last longer, and how to clothe your baby for cheaper.

Why are baby clothes so expensive?

It is somewhat of a myth that smaller sizes should be cheaper to make.

The materials of a garment only make up a small percentage of the overall manufacturing cost. There are a few more important factors that can affect the expense of manufacturing baby clothes instead. Increased labor time for more intricate designs, the need for additional testing to ensure that safety requirements for children’s clothing are met, and the potential for wasted material can all drive up costs.

While the price of baby clothes can vary depending on the brand and the manufacturer (think Garanimals vs. Michael Kors), many parents are shocked at the high prices of baby items. In addition, the more unique the clothing item is, the higher the price typically is. Boutique baby clothing can run upwards of $100 per piece, a pretty penny for a tiny piece of fabric that won’t last very long before it is outgrown.

The simple reason for this is supply and demand. Brands know that parents are often tempted to buy cute baby outfits they don’t necessarily need and that many consumers are willing to pay for the latest designs. These brands target parents who don’t want their baby to look like everyone else’s kids with clothing from the big box store.

Sometimes, the higher prices can be worth the cost if the quality of the materials is superior. For example, if you are purchasing a 100% organic onesie that can stand the time test, a higher price can be justified.

Are baby clothes a waste of money?

When you first become a new parent, you will likely receive a TON of baby clothes. Between your baby shower gifts, random gifts from family and friends, and impulse purchases that you and your partner will make, your baby will likely be set for the first few months of life.

It can be tempting to spend more money than necessary when you see all the cute outfits available, especially if this is your first child. But are baby clothes a waste of money? Is it a waste to spend money on a bunch of clothes you don’t need?

Only you can determine your family’s budget, and if you have the means to shop for clothes and find it fun, by all means, enjoy it. But if things are tight you may feel like buying so many clothes is a little bit of a waste, especially since your baby will outgrow them quickly, and so many baby items are sold at high prices.

There’s nothing wrong with buying a few basic onesies from a retailer like Walmart or Target and calling it a day.

Either way, your views on baby clothing can be justified, and it really is a personal decision how many clothing items to buy and how much to spend.

Are all baby clothes brands expensive?

Luckily, not all baby clothes have to be expensive.

Many parents are on a budget, and retailers know this. Mall stores like Children’s Place, Carter’s, and OshKosh have been selling quality baby clothing at reasonable prices for decades.

H&M Kids, Baby Gap, and Old Navy also are well known for their kid’s clothing. Best of all, Target has the popular Cat & Jack brand, while Walmart offers Garanimals.

Do expensive baby clothes last longer?

When you find an item with a high sticker price, you may wonder if the expense will be worth it. Will the item last longer? Are expensive baby clothes made with higher quality material?

In general, many clothing brands use the same materials and offer the same durability as other manufacturers. For example, if an item is 100% cotton it may not be worth paying any extra. With these clothing items, you are only paying for the design or brand recognition.

However, the price may be justified if the clothing is truly made from higher quality material such as bamboo, linen, organic cotton, or muslin.

What matters most is the quality of the material used, not the price of the clothing item.

Is it cheaper to make baby clothes?

For those who have the skill, equipment, and materials – making your own baby clothes can be a cheap and fun alternative to shopping for your child’s clothing in the typical ways.

To do it right, with high-quality materials, it may not necessarily be cheaper than bringing home a cart full of onesies from Walmart, but you can make a few high-quality pieces that last longer instead. And if you already have the fabrics on hand, you may come out ahead anyway.

If you like the look and feel of homemade clothes, but don’t have the time or resources to do it yourself, a plethora of homemade baby clothing is available online via marketplaces like Etsy.

Where to find less expensive baby clothes

Thankfully, there are many ways to find baby clothes at much more reasonable prices.

Parents looking for a deal can score cute clothes on the cheap through these methods:

  • Consignment stores – Buying and selling clothes on consignment is a convenient and cost-saving way to clothe your little one. Parents bring their unwanted and outgrown baby items to sell on consignment, meaning they will receive a portion of the proceeds IF the item sells. Many stores offer parents a higher percentage back if they choose store credit over cash, incentivizing the purchase of more clothes from their store.
  • Secondhand stores – These stores are similar to consignment stores, except parents are paid upfront for their clothing items. Both consignment stores and secondhand stores can be a great way to find quality clothing at low prices, as long as you don’t mind buying used. Sometimes you will even find pieces that still have the tags on them.
  • Online marketplaces – Another great way to find deals is through the use of apps like Mercari and Poshmark, or local marketplaces like OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor. Parents can sell their outgrown baby clothes to other parents directly without the middleman. ThredUP offers a similar model for online consignment shopping.
  • Yard/garage sales – For dirt-cheap prices and buying baby clothes in bulk, your best bet is a good old-fashioned yard sale. You will most likely find better deals through in-person sales compared to online sales. Don’t forget to check community sales and church sales too!
  • Discount stores – For name-brand clothes at more affordable prices, many parents enjoy shopping at discount retailers like Marshalls, Ross, Burlington, and Nordstrom Rack. Don’t forget membership stores like Costco and Sam’s Club!

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