My part-time business involves creating and dyeing tie dye and batik onesies for babies. Since I have used most brands of onesies available to the general public, I have noticed a few similarities and differences among them. In this guide, I will explain some of the pros and cons of the various onesies on the market.
Carter's premium packaged onesies Carter's Child of Mine Onesies
What is a onesie?
A onesie is a one piece baby garment, also known as "wiggle in undies", "one-piece underwear", "infant bodysuits", "infant underwear", "underclothing for babies" and "packaged layette" underwear for babies. Although they are known by all of these different names, the garments are designed in a similar way. They are all lightweight undergarments designed with snaps at the bottom for ease of diaper changes.
What are the types of onesies available?
There are several types of onesies for sale, and most of the differences depend on the sleeve length. There are long-sleeved onesies for the winter months and for newborns, there are tank onesies for the summer months, and there are short-sleeved onesies for any time of year. In addition, onesies come in a variety of patterns and colors. The ones that I'll be talking about in this guide, though, are the packaged white onesies available for purchase in retail stores around the country.
What brands of onesies are available?
The onesies that most of us with babies are familiar with are the ones manufactured by Gerber (called "onesies") and Carter's ("bodysuits", "wiggle-in undewear", and "one-piece underwear"). However, it is important to know that Carter's manufactures onesies under several brand names available at different retailers. Their Tykes and Just One Year brands are available at Target, the Child of Mine brand is for sale at Walmart, and Carter's or Carter's Basics brands are available at Sears, Babies R Us, Carter's outlets and other retailers. Although Carter's sells bodysuits under a variety of brand names, the onesies are all manufactured in similar sizing. However, Carter's onesies are sold under very different pricing. Carter's basics cost the most, and can retail for up to $22 for five onesies. Child of Mine Onesies sell for about $11 at Wal-Mart for a pack of five, and Just One Year onesies are sold in packs of four for around $10 at Target. There is a reason for the difference in pricing, however, and I will discuss that later in the guide.
Carter's Basics (Premium) Onesie Spencer's Onesie
In addition, onesies are available in store brands. Little Wonders bodysuits are made for Sears. Baby Connection is a brand made for Wal-Mart. Circo is a brand made for Target, and Miniwear bodysuits are manufactured for Babies R Us. Also, other brands are available at a variety of stores. Curity bodysuits, Spencer's bodysuits, Fisher Price underwear, Gumballs, and Pampers onesies can all be found at discount retailers such as Dollar General. In addition, there are several other brands available.
What sizes of onesies are available?
The most common sizes for onesies are small (0-3 months), medium (3-6 months), large (6-9 months), and extra large (9-12 months). Some brands also offer 18 and 24 month onesies (Miniwear calls these XXL). Gerber is the only brand that I know of that offers 3T onesies, but they are very hard to find. Wal-Mart recently discontinued them, Target does not sell them, and neither does Babies R Us. If you're lucky, you can occasionally find a few packages on eBay, but they are quite expensive, as they are hard to find.
What are onesies used for?
The great thing about onesies is their versatility. Onesies can be worn alone, or they can be worn under clothing. In addition, onesies can be worn with a pair of pants, a diaper cover, a pair of shorts, or a skirt for fast changes. Some parents choose to use short sleeved onesies under all their infant's clothing, and in that capacity, they serve as underwear. Other parents use them for layering only when an infant is going outside. Although Grandma might try to tell you otherwise, you should know that SIDS research shows a correlation between the temperature of a baby at night and the instance of SIDS. In other words, I am not suggesting that anyone should EVER layer a baby at night unless they have checked with a physician first. However, onesies can serve as a great layering piece or a stand-alone shirt for the outdoors, depending on the weather and the season.
What are some differences between brands of onesies?
There are a few main differences between brands of onesies. The first difference is the feel of the cotton. All brands of Carter's onesies are superior to others in terms of softness, but the downside to this is that they can occasionally look worn faster than brands that are not as soft, like Gerber. The second difference is in the placement of the snaps and the leg opening. As you can see from the picture below, the Carter's onesie on the left is very different from the Gerber onesie on the right when you compare the leg openings. I prefer the Carter's onesie in this capacity; aesthetically I think the Carter's onesie looks more finished since it is more round than square.
Another difference between brands is how the sleeves are finished. The picture below shows three different brands of onesies. The top onesie, made by Gerber, is finished with a double seam. It looks nicely finished. The middle sleeve is the Carter's Child Of Mine onesie, which has a more casual finish on the sleeve (a serged finish). The last sleeve is a Carter's basics onesie. Its sleeve is also more finished. As you can see, the finished sleeve is one of the main reasons for the difference in Carter's brands and pricing. Child of Mine onesies are considerably less expensive than Carter's basics, and it shows in the finish of the sleeve.
You should use caution when purchasing Carter's onesies on eBay. Although they are my preferred brand, the company has changed the manufacture of the onesies in recent years. As a result, a few older packages or lots of onesies may have different sleeve finishes. The picture below shows the old finish (pink onesie on top) compared with the newer design (orange sleeve on the bottom). While both have been sold under the Carter's basics label, the top serged sleeve looks more feminine. Although it was sold as a unisex bodysuit, consumers preferred a more unisex look, so the sleeve finish was changed to accomodate these customers. If you have any questions, be sure to contact the seller before bidding to ensure that you are getting the sleeve you want.
Finally, the cost of the onesie is another difference. My motto: "Never pay more than two dollars per onesie." You can find onesies at very good prices on eBay, and you can also purchase onesies on sale. Unless they're on sale or on eBay, wait to buy them until you can get a better deal. Store brands tend to cost less than Carter's and Gerber's onesies. Most store brands are comparable to Gerber onesies. Gerber onesies are a bit thinner than Carter's, so keep this in mind when you buy them.
As you can see, there are many different kinds of onesies available. When you are purchasing onesies, keep the following things in mind:
1. What will you be using the onesie for? If it's for layering, then a thinner store brand or a Gerber onesie will do. If you plan on using these to wear as part of an outfit, then a more finished Carter's onesie may be for you. Use Child of Mine onesies for layering, and stick to Carter's basics for the nicest-looking stand-alone onesie. If you are going to let your child run around in a onesie in the summer with just a diaper underneath, then consider the look of the leg opening. While Gerber onesies look more like underwear, Carter's onesies look more like clothing. This is important to keep in mind.
2. How much do you want to spend? If cost is important to you, then keep in mind that Tykes, Just One Year, and Child of Mine onesies are the best value for your dollar. They are better than the average store-brand onesie and they cost a little more (about 30 cents more each, on average), but they will last longer and hold their shape better.
As you can see, there are several things you should consider when buying a onesie. One more thing to consider now...
...what to do with them once you've got them!
As you can see, they do dye up nicely...so you may want to tie dye a few of your own!