POSTED ON JANUARY 2, 2008:
I Got You, Babe
The childless shopper's guide to everything baby
Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk. Your baby can't just have the cutest outfit. He/she must also rock the best accesories. Brookside's Gaga-A-Gogo features a collection of baby, toddler and children's clothing and accessories from American and European designers.
Yes, another year has arrived and it has brought the birth of Baby New Year. I have no idea what this means or why we say this phrase, but apparently, nine months ago, Mother Earth and Father Time got together just in time to bring in a new baby for the New Year. Tradition states that Baby New Year is always male and generally wears a diaper, top hat and sash representing his birth year. This really shouldn't be the standard for modern-day babies. Formal attire aside, the baby should wear something more than a diaper, although I would enjoy seeing more babies in top hats. In honor of Baby New Year, I have scoured our city in search of the finest wear for the little rug rats.
There's no need to sugarcoat it--I'll be the first to admit I'm not a baby enthusiast. This baby clothing advice comes from a childless lady without the first instinct of what to do with a baby. They cry and have sticky jam hands (wait, that might actually be toddlers) and they have to rely on you at all times, which I can't fit into my busy schedule of being concerned only for myself. But I do have a few ideas and thoughts about dressing a baby, and that is because I like the idea of dressing something up and giving it a cute name.
Now, thanks to the boom in dog accessories, a person like me doesn't have to subject an actual child to my horrible parenting. Instead, I can adopt a dog and fulfill my dream of having an adorably dressed living animal doll named Jasper or Amelia.
Those with maternal instincts may find themselves pregnant now or in the near future and will need to know where to shop for the best little baby clothes. Obviously, just like adult wear, you'll find tiny sized items in super stores, department stores and millions of chain retailers. And because all parents assume their baby is the cutest/most adorable/sweetest/most fill-in-the-blank-with-the-best-adjective baby in the whole world, shouldn't his little wardrobe reflect it?
Instead of the obvious places, I took the liberty of finding great baby-centric boutiques throughout our city. They're a perfect source for mothers-to-be, current mothers, and doting family and friends because they offer more than the light blues and light pinks that bore the crap out of anyone who's ever attended a baby shower. They're also great for baby-phobics like me because they are so similar to adult clothing boutiques.
Mommy in Miniature
As a non-baby owner, I'm not entirely sure what average parents are looking for in clothing. I'm assuming pieces easy to take on and off-- especially bottoms given the frequency of diaper changes. Certainly items need to be washable. I'd imagine that babies don't do much damage besides spitting up and the whole diaper bit, but in case they do, you'll want items that wash well.
And lastly, baby clothing should be adorable. For that, you can head in two directions. There's certainly the traditional idea of baby dress, which means light blue items for baby boys and light pink items for baby girls. I do know a little about precious baby girl items because in my family there are five granddaughters and only one grandson. Traditional baby girl items celebrate the "sugar and spice and everything nice" concept with ribbons, bows, lace and frills, all in light pink. Boys get less frill, but equally as sweet fabrics in soft terry cloth or that light velveteen fabric in light blues. Graphics might include puppy dogs or teddy bears.
The other direction baby clothes can go is looking like they were made for a teeny tiny adult. These are items like t-shirts and jeans that you might wish they had in your size. They aren't made in pastel colors, but in bright shades found far across the spectrum. They are just as hip as clothes for a teenager, only with snaps for easy diaper changes and no buttons and zippers (choking hazards).
Both categories of baby clothes can be found at Brookside's Gaga-A-Gogo, which opened in April 2006. Owner Brooke Hamilton has assembled a collection of baby, toddler and children's clothing from designers from the U.S. and Europe. Besides carrying what I hear are the baby prams by Bugaboo and baby jewelry by Trina Tarantino, the store carries an assortment of baby goods for the precious and for the miniature moms and dads. There is the Harajuku Lovers line by singer/designer Gwen Stefani with baby shoes and boys waffle knit outfits emblazoned in black and white graffiti. There are onesies with footies in terry cloth and onesies in solid white or onesies that look like t-shirts with graphics. There are wholesome girly graphics, but also pink shirts with motorcycles and purple shirts with a bulldog.
I assumed I would be interested only in what looks like tiny adult outfits. Yes, the jeans in pint sizes were terrific, especially paired with little boy striped sweaters or tee shirts featuring Nirvana, Guns n' Roses, Run DMC and Pink Floyd (with cashmere long sleeves), but I was equally mesmerized by typical baby wear. Perhaps it was because these typical baby clothes were made from cashmere. Yes, Gaga-a-Gogo carries baby cashmere onesies and baby blankets by Clementine Petit. Impractical? No more so than the dozen frilly dresses I was presented with on the day of my birth. If cashmere is a little over the top, try the line Petit Bateau. This line features tiny well-drawn animal characters with phrases in French. Other baby clothing lines featured in the store include Liberty, Albert, Avocado + Egg and Milk on the Rocks.
Gaga-a-Gogo, 3516 S. Peoria, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm or 24/7 at www.gaga-a-gogo.com.
Crawling in Style
If you like a store where you can find something for baby and something for yourself, then you'll like Ribbons on Peoria, also located on Brookside. I set sail directly to the baby section, where I found Star Wars hoodies and velour track suits for baby girls. Ribbons on Peoria is filled with baby winter wear with cable knit sweater hoodies in bright pink and orange and cable knit pant onesies in chocolate brown.
While the winter collection was still prominent, the spring collection showed the very girly and tough as nails boys sides too. That ole reliable cheetah print was mixed with pink florals and zebra outfits were piped in bright pink stitching. Little lads had onesies featuring dump trucks and pirate ships. Though not currently in the stores, the spring collection will also feature graphic tees with "green" slogans like "Give a hoot--don't pollute."
Pop culture is prevalent with OU-themed tees, including decorative rhinestones, and the Junk Food line that features cartoon children with "Little Miss Birthday" and "My Daddy is Mr. Perfect" phrases. There are pajamas featuring things from cowboys to argyle with hearts.
But your baby girl can't just have the cutest outfit. She must also rock the best accessories. Let's be honest--sometimes people not associated with your child may get its gender confused. Although I was dressed in the frilliest of fabrics, my poor mother was often questioned with "What's his name?" She solved that problem with earrings at six months.
For a pain-free solution, try hair accessories. If said baby lady is not sporting lots of fuzz, there are headbands, too. And because no child of any age likes receiving clothes alone, there are also bowls, blankets, shoes with animal faces and jack-in-the-boxes featuring pirates and monkeys. Ribbons on Peoria is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
These are just two of the local places to find great gifts for baby and mom. As I've mentioned in past columns, X&Y Clothing Unique at the Jenks Riverwalk has baby couture pieces in addition to unique finds for moms. So does All Access Clothing, 8922 South Memorial Dr., which offers something for daddy, too.
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