As an infant in the late 50’s, the only clothes available to us were hand stitched jhabli or soft cotton mulmul dresses lovingly made by grannies or aunties and passed on from baby to baby. These unisex garments made of gossamer thin cotton were soft and comfortable on tender skin, open at the back with tie ups to protect the infant from sharp poky buttons or hooks. And when we grew out of jhabli, we graduated to rompers or one piece garments which we wore either with or without a vest underneath.
A generation later, I had the option of dressing my newborns in the traditional handmade jhabli as well as the newly introduced babygrows, made out of cotton hosiery material that stretched, making it easier to slip on the baby. It was also quite thick making swaddling quite unnecessary.These babygrows had snaps on them and the whole effect was like that of an astronaut. As a matter of fact I used to call them spacesuits and shop keepers would look at me strangely when I asked for spacesuits!
The evolution of the onesie.
Yet another generation later, my grandchildren are dressed in jhabli made of hosiery that were crossed over with tie ups(now long retired and remodelled with button down fronts) and bodysuits. Once again made of stretchable hosiery, these button down at the crotch garments are easy to slip on with their ‘envelope’ necks. These bodysuits are also called ‘onesies’ signifying that it is a ONE PIECE garment.
Onesies are meant to be worn as inner garments especially when the infant is no more a newborn. But very often with their cute prints and messages, are worn just as they are, especially in hot climes like Mumbai. The other day I was looking for onesies for infants aged 3-6 months and was told that no shop stocks the plain sleeveless, legless ones as Mumbai babies are covered up with long sleeved onesies which even covered the foot as most babies (at least the kind who wore onesies) had to deal with two things- the air conditioning and the mosquitoes! This came as quite a revelation to me but explained why most infants I see these days are wearing clothes that almost cover them up entirely.
It was difficult finding simple onesies till a friend gifted me a set from HOPSCOTCH ‘s in house brand called SnugBugs.
Hopscotch itself is an online shopping portal for children that has special ‘stores’ where one can get stuff which is normally pricey at better prices.
While I’m not a regular shopper at this portal, I may just become a convert thanks to the SNUGBUGS my grandchildren received as a gift. These little onesies are just the ones I was looking for: smart and comfortable body suits that infants can wear in a regular mosquito free environment.