If it’s Boden, you want to keep up with the Sloanses. And if it’s a collection of royal-themed wear, you’re not a royal.
Poor Kate. As if worrying about her own wardrobe choices wasn’t enough, she’s now got to think about George’s too. For, make no mistake, the clothes that you put on your baby say as much about you and your socioeconomic status as your own attire. Fortunately, new mothers are granted a grace period of four weeks, during which their baby is not required to work anything more taxing than a neutral Babygro. But after that it’s time to step up to the stylistic plate. So, before the new prince commits any serious fashion faux pas, here’s our handy guide to what your baby’s clothes say about you.
The keeping up with the Sloaneses: Baby wears Boden
Cute T-shirts with appliqué trains on them, flippy polka dot skirts, daisy chains reposing on sun-kissed curls — what’s not to like? Boden is more than mere clothes: it epitomises a lifestyle, a jolly Enid Blyton fantasy of Norfolk beaches where the sun always shines, except when there’s a thunderstorm — which means that you can run around laughing in your patterned wellies. You think wearing Boden says you have a rowing boat for Swallows and Amazons adventures and a big friendly retriever that accompanies your offspring on exciting night-time trips to the woods where they will sizzle marshmallows around the campfire without fear of encountering dogging parties or setting the countryside alight.
Actually, what it does reveal is a certain keeping-up-with-the-Sloaneses anxiety. You are middle-middle class and insecure. (And possibly divorced, which is why this happy family fantasy speaks deeply to your soul.) You have moved house to send your child to the good state primary and you love it when someone else rocks up with her baby wearing the same outfit. That glance of recognition shows that you belong. Your daughter is Sophie, and if your son isn’t called George, you’re regretting it. When Prince George goes out wearing Boden, as he undoubtedly will, you will know that you have finally arrived.
The Notting Hillbilly mum: Baby wears ilovegorgeous
Saffron looks exquisite in a floaty grey-green chiffon frock; and later this month she will be romping around the beach at Ibiza’s Cala d’en Serra in some lovely turquoise cotton knickers with lace trim detail . . . ilovegorgeous isn’t cheap, but you appreciate the subtle colour palettes — you were so revolted by the obligatory pink infesting most baby clothes shops that you almost decided to set up your own range. Fortunately, Lucy Enfield, the wife of Harry, did it first and you’ve been loyal to ilovegorgeous ever since you started buying the clothes, along with Claudia Schiffer, Stella Tennant and Sam Taylor-Wood. In short, you are a Notting Hillbilly. Your husband is in the music business; you are a former model who now runs her own company that makes organic soap. You moved out to the country five years ago because you thought it would be better for the children you continue to pop out; fortunately all your W11 friends came too. And Babington House (sister club to your old haunt Soho House) is just up the road in case you get withdrawal symptoms.
The old raver parents: Baby wears No Added Sugar
You live in North London or Manchester. You work in TV or technology. You put off having children until you reached your late 30s because you were so afraid of becoming boring. You staggered to Glasto in the advanced stages of pregnancy in your Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans. And you swore to your Twitter friends that your clubtastic night-owl lifestyle wouldn’t change.
Alas, although the spirit is willing, the flesh is inexplicably weak: since Django saw the light of day (elective Caesarean) you haven’t enjoyed largeing it nearly as much as you used to. Thank God for No Added Sugar, which still tells the world that you’re groovy. Django sports mock-tough stripy T-shirts with the distinctive rabbit and crossbones logo; the Happy Bunny one takes you straight back to your Ecstasy-fuelled raving days. Meanwhile you’re happily free to head off to bed at 9pm with a cup of herbal tea and your iPad.
Live in the suburbs: Baby wears John Lewis
All first-time mothers are legally required to shop at John Lewis. The sleepsuits are admittedly rather utilitarian, but a lovely sense of comfort and solidity comes free with the green and white carrier bag.
The clothes are a different matter. The prevailing aesthetic is solidly middle-of-the road: smocking and spotted dresses for girls; cord trousers, quilted jackets and cable-knit cardies for boys. Your mother-in-law is probably buying them for you. If it’s a personal choice, then you live in the suburbs, are on maternity leave from a good job in middle management and your husband is very proud of the ride-on mower he’s just bought for the back garden.
The hedgefunders: Baby wears Bonpoint
Couture for babies. This French brand offers cashmere in Farrow & Ball shades, aimed at people who think nothing of spending more than £40 on a baby’s T-shirt and certainly aren’t going to be doing hand-washing to get rid of the posset stains. You are either an oligarch or a hedge-funder, or you are divorced from one, or you are a celebrity. You live in London, LA, New York, Moscow and on the boat in the summer. And you are consciously downshifting, aware that when you and your offspring get papped, buying from a baby range will be seen as more socially acceptable than splurging on Baby Dior or Hermes mittens for $275 (£180).
Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt have both worked the Bonpoint look, and Harper Beckham is a devoted brand ambassador. However, there is a cut-off point. If Alexei is happy to continue wearing Bonpoint into late childhood (think Jeremy Irons-style floppy scarves, linen waistcoats, orange shorts and straw hat) it’s only because he’s too petrified of your ex-husband and his bodyguards to refuse. Hedgefunders who tire of Bonpoint look to the still more expensive Marie-Chantal, founded by Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece.
The ecoworriers: Baby wears Little Green Radicals
You’ve been suffused with guilt since the stick turned blue. Should you even be adding another person to our hard-pressed planet? On the other hand, Skylar (you wanted a unisex name to avoid all possible sexist stereotyping) might grow up to be a powerful force for good and a new world leader. And if s/he doesn’t it won’t be your fault. You spent weeks weighing up the relative downsides of terry nappies versus organic hemp disposables. S/he was born at home in a birthing pool with the aid of a doula (agony despite the auto-hypnosis, but you haven’t admitted that to anyone) and carried everywhere in a sling, which has done your back in. Fortunately Simon is comparatively helpful and has moved back in to help with the night feeds. You are probably vegan, live in the West Country and work for a campaigning charity where you assumed your colleagues would be like-minded, caring types. Now you’re so appalled by their shameless backstabbing, your secret dream is to set up on your own as a Reiki healer.
Sometimes you are worried that all this anxiety has made you lose your sense of humour, which is why you dress Skylar in Little Green Radicals organic clothes: they have slogans like “I recycle my tantrums” and “I only eat organic chips”. (That’s a joke, of course: nothing but your own breast milk will pass Skylar’s lips for years.)
The Francophiles: Baby wears Petit Bateau
Your fantasy is to have a well brought-up French child, the sort who eats artichoke hearts, never answers back and only plays with Montessori-approved toys. Instead, your walls are splattered with rejected broccoli and your two-year-old has not yet mastered the words “thank you”, let alone “merci”. Still, every time you buy one of the velour sleepsuits in subtle shades of off-blue and brown, you dream of un enfant bien élevé.
The squeezed middle: Baby wears Mothercare
Brilliant for multipacks of baby vests. Everyone buys them here. Otherwise: meh. You can find more interesting cheap clothes elsewhere; so you’re probably a huge fan of Jools Oliver, whose Little Bird range is basic Boden on a budget. You are devoted to Strictlyand are saving for a gas-fired barbecue.
The control freaks: Baby wears Little White Company
You gave up your public sector career to be the perfect mother. And now you are afraid. Very afraid. Of germs, of mess, of clashing colours. You had your kitchen shelves designed to fit your favourite cereal brand exactly. You squirt your worktops with Dettol every hour. You may be feeling depressed and that your life is sliding out of control. And you dream of a world of serenity where your baby matches your sheets. Enter the Little White Company, whose pared-down pale aesthetic makes no concession to beeping plastic toys, overflowing nappies or midnight tantrums. It’s as unreal a fantasy as the one purveyed by Boden, but it makes you feel briefly calmer.
The celebrity obsessed: Baby wears Aden and Anais
Any new baby can expect to receive at least one hilarious bib or T-shirt embroidered with variants on “Mummy’s little prince” or “Born to Rule” this summer. But if you’re going exclusively royal with your own little heir, you are an avid reader of heat magazine and celebrity websites. You have already jumped the gun by giving your offspring a made-up name beginning with K (well, if it’s good enough for the Kardashians and the Rooneys, it’s good enough for you), and now you’re keen for a bit of royal glam. That doesn’t mean copying George’s style (that bird-print muslin swaddle by aden + anais was a bit boring and you’re not sure what to do with a muslin anyway). Instead, you are paying homage with brilliant pink or blue slogan shirts (everything in the wardrobe is rigidly sex-segregated) teamed with purple crested nappies and headbands with little crowns on. You will post the photographs on Facebook. You are in your twenties, are rather conventional — despite your fondness for extreme beauty treatments — and live in Essex or Cheshire.
People like us (ie, hand-me-downs)
Are you dressing your darling in charity shop finds, stained rompers with the feet cut off and the occasional drying-up cloth when you run out of other options? It’s the spare, not the heir.