Tips for Buying Vintage Baby & Children's Clothing

  1. Keep your eye on the size- When buying vintage baby and children’s clothing, keep in mind that babies and children of today are generally larger than they were 50+ years ago. A 1950s romper marked 6 months will often be on the smaller size for today’s 6 month old, or not even fit them at all. I ran into this issue with my daughter and a precious 1950s yellow romper that had been worn by her Grandmother, Hope. Even though the tag was marked 6 months, the size was drastically off for my little girl. I was able to squeeze her into it long enough to take a photo, but wished I had known it would run small. Most vintage baby and children’s clothing made before the 1940s will not be labeled with a modern size, so get ready to whip out that tape measure!
  1. Doll clothing isn’t just for dolls- If you come across doll clothing at your local vintage or antique store, sometimes it is actually newborn clothing that has been accidentally mislabeled. I’ve also come across a lot of vintage doll clothing that could comfortably fit a newborn, and I snapped up a few of these doll dresses before my daughter was born. If you are shopping for a newborn, don’t be afraid to browse the doll section of your favorite vintage or antique shop. Doll clothing is often cheaper than baby clothing and is absolutely adorable!
  1. Be careful with buttons and attachments- Modern baby clothing is typically made with metal snaps or reinforced buttons to prevent accidental choking. Vintage baby and children’s clothing was typically made with regular buttons that could become loose over time. If you’re buying for a young child, you’ll want to make sure that buttons are reinforced or removed altogether and replaced with snaps. Painted buttons could be covered in lead paint. Inspect any vintage baby garments carefully for any appliqués or beading that could be ripped off easily by curious little hands.
  1. Stains, stains, go away!- No matter what type of vintage clothing you’re shopping for, you need to be realistic about stains. White cotton clothing that has yellowed can often be soaked with a stain remover like OxiClean, but stains on color or print fabric could be more difficult to remove. Study each stain carefully before buying.
  1. Start with a slip- Vintage cotton dresses for babies and little girls are often sheer. Make sure to find a sturdy white or cream colored slip (vintage or new) as a base for all of your vintage finds.

If you like vintage style baby and children’s clothing, but don’t necessarily want to go through the hassle of everything I just posted above, you’ll be happy to know that lots of retailers are selling vintage inspired clothing for little one’s. Feltman Brothers has a full line of precious traditional baby and children’s clothing. I love their take on a classic sailor dress for a baby girl.

Sailor Dress 
Feltman Brothers

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Alison Hetherington

For the modern girl who loves everything vintage.

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