In one of the yahoo groups that I'm a part of there is a recent string of posts about economical ways to dress babies/toddlers/kids. It is expensive in Japan to buy many things and kids clothes in particular seem to cost more than they should! We have a Nishimatsuya near by and I watch both Uniqlo and Nissen for sales. Here are some of the "what to buy" tips that work for me. The basics in our house are all things that can work for either a boy or girl as we have one of each.
In each even number size (80, 90, 100 etc.) I buy the following:
Plain t-shirts - 1 black, 1 white
long sleeve t-shirts - 1 black, 1 white
1 pair of jeans (in sizes above 100cm look at Uniqlo and GAP for the adjustable waistband)
1 pair of brown or khaki pants
1 pair of sweat pants
2 warm pajama sets
2 pairs of dark color shorts
4 pairs of socks - 2 dark, 2 light
6 pairs of underwear
1 light weight coat
1 dark color cardigan sweater
1 nice dress-up outfit (something that will work for both weddings and funerals)
1 turtle neck shirt
A rain coat or poncho - I have been using the same one for 3 years now by rolling up the sleeves for when the kids were little. Getting a bigger one means it can be worn over a coat on the cold, rainy days too.
Shoes are something we have a hard time with as my kids will wear them out
quickly at times and barely use them at other times. I watch for sales and try
to get a simple looking pair in each whole size (13 cm, 14 cm, 15 cm etc) as it
is important to have foot ware that fits well. Our rain boots are in even number
sizes as we don't use them as often.
For my daughter I also get:
2 pairs of tights - 1 white, 1 black
1 pair of black leggings
A pink shirt (I don't love pink but everyone here seems to think girls need to
For my son I also get:
2 button-up dress shirts
2 polo shirts
Of course we own a lot more clothes than just these but I find that if we have
the basics then anything beyond can easily be added to the wardrobe. We do a
lot of layering of clothes - t-shirt over turtleneck, skirt over leggings. I
have also found it a challenge to find things out of season here (swimsuit in
winter?) so even if I think the kid will grow out of the size before the next
season I still try to have things on hand for all seasons - especially since we
try to visit warm places in winter and cool places in summer!
A friend of mine with 3 boys suggested buying more clothes in the 80 cm size than the 70 cm size since her kids stayed in that size for nearly a year at age 1. That has worked out well for me too. She also pointed me to Hard Off (in the Book Off family) for nicer clothes at a good price. Thrift shops and bazaars at churches and yochiens also helped her save money on clothing and toys.
This year Zilla fell in love with Uniqlo heat tech in the kids sizes so I've been buying up the basics at the end of season sales. They are great for layering!