While we’ve covered a number of products already that originate from my home country Germany or other parts nearby in Europe, today’s onesie of the day has traveled much further – from China, to be exact – yet in a way has quickly become a “German Classic” in its own right ever since everybody’s favorite diaper dealer SaveExpress added it to their lineup. We are going to talk about the AO 1021 which they are selling under their Airoliver label, which incidentally was their original company name that still exists as a subsidy today.
Before we delve into the details, let me preface this with a warning: This article is exclusively talking about the 1021 series, not any of the other diaper suit/ onesie products you may also find on their website. If you intend to get one of those, you will have to work things out on your own, I’m afraid. Things like sizes and fit may be completely different, after all.
Colors and Patterns
At the time of writing this article there are like 20 different patterns for this product and only a few are illustrated in the images based on what I have in my clothing cabinet. It would simply be financially impossible for me to buy them all nor are all patterns relevant. In my mind I still have my eye on a few of them like that polka dot pattern with dots in different colors and light green seam liners that popped up only recently, but it’s an open question if I will ever get them for a number of reasons you will find out about later.
The basic product design is always the same – white textile, the patterns printed on using sublimation/ inkjet printing and contrasting seam lining ribbons, matching a predominant color of the pattern where relevant. That’s in itself okay, but the real issue is of course with the selection of patterns. To cut to the point: Most of them aren’t that great in my opinion.
One of the problems is the choice of subjects to begin with. These products coming out of some Chinese mega-factory many of the designs have a definite Asian touch and influence and as a result some of the shapes and colors used feel odd compared to a more traditional European aesthetic. It also stands to note that this often makes things look very girly due to lots of light rose tones and other pastel colors being involved. That’s okay if you are into that a bit, it’s just not really my thing, give or take the occasional cute design one can’t resist.
My designer niggles aside, which are a matter of personal taste and preference, anyway, the bigger issue for me is that many of the patterns feel rather crammed and – dare I say it – sloppily placed. Some of them are scaled so tiny that you can’t help but get the impression the designer was paid by the square inch and how many flowers, birds and other shapes he can squeeze in. That’s almost tragic, as funny enough some of those things would actually look pretty decent had they chosen the opposite direction and made them reasonably large, more loosely spaced and with different colors.
It also wouldn’t hurt if some of the patterns would be a lot less perpendicularly arranged. As a graphics design person I feel that some fundamental principles like the Golden Ratio or certain rules of angles like they are commonly applied in traditional painting have totally eluded whoever cobbled those patterns together. There’s really nothing worse than an all too obvious repetition of some tiling.
Overall the patterns are a bit odd. That’s terrible to say, but I deem most of them unsuitable for wearing anywhere else than at home. Even the versions with the stripes could look quite weird and potentially embarrassing in public. It’s really a case of “If only they had…”. With a little more thought poured into it and some better decisions on the colors I feel this would work better.
Size and Fit
One of the reasons I started this series is the eternal struggle over finding the right size and this product is a good example how way off Asian sizes can be (a future article will show that this can be even more whacked out). All examples in this article are in size XL. I also had one in L quite some time ago (a white with blue borders if you must know), which I long have gifted to a much skinnier guy because it was too small for me. It was just impossible to get the buttons to close.
With those bits of info dropped into your laps you might already guess that this is once more a case of a tight fit. That’s what I prefer, anyway, but I would just love to one day a size L product that really deserves this attribution and fits me off the bat. Since I’m already at XL, the potential to go further up is limited. There are a XXL (2XL) and a XXXL (3XL) version, but I would predict that a 1.95 meter person would exhaust those options easily and then it’s end of the line. My usual disclaimer of “My barrel tummy costs me half a size.” of course applies, too, so there may be some headroom left.
On the downward scale things go as far as an S and looking at the measurements table this should fit people around the 1.55 meters height mark if they aren’t too cuddly or bear-ish, if you get my meaning. In light of my experiences with the size L I would be wary with an M as well. It may not fit a 1.70 meters person like it actually should. In the end you have to try, but consider yourselves warned. To me it definitely appears like the sizes are always 10 centimeters body height short – quite literally.
The actual fit is okay, even if the proportions of the product appear a bit odd. Due to having to use a larger size it feels rather square and even in my case there’s still a bit of room left on the main trunk. The sleeves on the other hand are a relatively tight fit, which I attribute to the way they are tailored and sown. This could definitely be a bit better, but more on that further down.
The leg holes have this interesting curvature which hints at the main parts going quite a bit down, offering good coverage of your posterior parts as well as almost fully hiding your diaper. Depending on what kind of diapers you use the broad flap section can be a bit disadvantageous at times, since it tends to absorb sweat and moisture vapors when it sits too deeply in the skin folds in your groin area. Due to osmotic effects it may in fact also “suck out” more moisture from a diaper with breathable surfaces, building up an undesirable stench that may make you want your onesie immediately.
Diaper fixation is a bit of a mixed bag for me due to the various circumstances. On a basic level this will do just fine, but if you are a victim of those triple-damned sizing issues and caught halfway between fire and flood things get a bit more complicated. For the most part these stem from the cloth itself. It is a very plain, basic cotton textile which you usually would probably only use for T-shirts. That being the case, it doesn’t offer much in the way of being particularly stretchy or adaptable. Once it has worn out, it really has worn out and won’t snap back into its original shape fresh like when fresh out of the bag.
In addition to the normal loss of shape things get even more annoying if it really gets soaked for whatever reason. In such a situation the cloth loses almost all tension and resilience and to make things worse, the many tiny manufacturing issues (more below) then add up and reveal the true nature of the product. Even the seam ribbons don’t help much here.
The button placement is kind of okay, but doesn’t feel like someone cared much, either. It is pretty uneven and this becomes even more apparent if you put up different examples of this onesie side by side. It’s literally like the are merely eyeballing this. One of the undesirable side effects of this approach is that the whole button row tends to be a bit too far left or too far right on some models, resulting in a somewhat crooked fit in this area. To be fair, though, the shifts in position are only a few millimeters, so not all is lost.
What is really disconcerting is how the buttons (and in turn the claws they are held with) are hammered in at the very edge of the seam ribbons, producing those very visible indentations. On one of my examples they clearly missed the ribbon and as a result the prong of the back ring caused a whole in the tissue which due to the stress when wearing has now turned into a loose thread. It’s not the end of the world, but not nice, either, and could have been easily avoided.
The buttons themselves are the usual 9 mm standard and hold nicely even if there are “only” four. Having five like on the Kiddo seemed a bit excessive, anyway. On the other hand I’d gladly trade those in if they were better quality. The buttons deteriorate noticeably in relatively short time. First they get dull after a few washes and then the chrome plating comes off entirely, revealing the brass material. If you don’t use your onesie regularly and thus also wash it as often this could turn into nasty black stains when the copper part of the material oxidizes.
Materials and Manufacturing Quality
I’ve said quite a bit in the previous chapters already, so a quick recap should suffice. From the selection of the cloth to the issues with the buttons this product has “cheap” written all over it. This line of thinking continues with the way it’s put together.
It is evident from the images that not too much thought is given how the patterns line up when the separate pieces are sewn together nor how multiple layers of textile may form undesirable thick bulges where they meet. The sleeves are one such area, hence my concerns earlier about them being perhaps a bit too tight.
The seams don’t fare that well, either. Many of them are uneven and all too clearly stitched in rapid fire mode. Even some of the edge ribbons already curl up and the less said about the “China twist”, the better. Really every single piece I have of these is warped in some way which makes folding them cleanly for stowage an exercise. Trying to spread them out evenly for photographing therefore wasn’t as simple, either.
Pricing and Availability
Since SaveExpress is a reasonably big outlet that has lots of storage space you can be reasonably sure that a handful of prints are available at any given time with this model. Conversely you should be able to find something in any size, though the two factors might not always work out in all combinations. It’s quite possible that your favorite pattern may not come in your size and vice versa.
The bad news here is, that it can take forever before everything is back in stock, should they really run out. It simply takes a while for those containers from China to arrive and based on my experiences they only ever re-order at the last minute and if there is a large enough number of back orders to justify the cost for transport and storage.
The pricing follows a “one for all” approach and is firmly pinned at 19.99 Euros a piece for every size and every design. Depending on what your actual size is that could be a bargain or a more costly proposition than what you pay elsewhere.
Unfortunately this is a rather hum-ho product. While it does the trick, the quality issues are way too obvious and combined with the odd selection of designs and colors the practical use is limited. You can wear it at home or secretly as an undershirt, but aside from two or three patterns perhaps I can’t imagine using this onesie openly as a T-shirt substitute.
In my heart I therefore already have kinda decided that I’d rather focus on other products and spend a few bucks more if and when the time comes to get replacements by the time my current ones are just a bunch of old rags. The only reason to get another one of the AO 1021 models would be an extraordinary pattern that I can’t resist or some problem makes it difficult to obtain stuff from other vendors in a timely manner.
This week’s edition of our onesies article series brings us yet another of those “German classics”, that is a regionally produced and distributed product. Sanetta are a well-known brand for higher-class children’s clothing and they even have their own stores in some bigger cities, but the larger size onesies we discuss here are exclusively available at Inpetto Reha, one of the specialized outlets for handicapped people.
Colors and Patterns
These onesies come in a variety of plain colors and simple patterns, though not as many as the pictures may give the impression (see comment further down). The striped versions are one of those standard patterns that have been around forever. In addition to the ones displayed here, there are e.g. a blue one with green-ish/ cyan alternating stripes, a light blue one, a pink-ish one for the girls and so on. Some of these are however not necessarily available on all shapes/ cut patterns nor are they available perpetually, so this is a bit all over the place and depends on the timing of your shopping spree and selection of your products.
With the solid colors the situation is somewhat similar. There are a few standards that you can purchase at any given time without issues and then occasionally there will be seasonal colors and “special edition” items that are only around for a limited time. In the picture below that would be the hot pink, or as they officially call it, “fuchsia” onesie. When I just checked this morning there was a nice lilac/ purple long sleeve, a light turquoise sleeveless, a light pink with short sleeves and a couple of others. So there’s certainly a choice, if only circumstantial.
With my limited technical equipment I tried to match the colors as best as I could, but on a quite general note most of them are rather muted with the odd exception from the rule like my fuchsia one. The dark blue is really very much on the almost black-ish side as shown and even in the striped version it comes across more as a dark grey with a blue cast. The red is more on the orange-y side, but also slightly washed out. An additional effect with the striped suits is that the white never actually appears perfectly white. This is in part a perceptional thing, in part the colors bleeding slightly over at the borders after a few washes. The spacing is simply too narrow to make it appear pristine and clearly separated.
Size and Fit
When I got my first examples of this brand size 176 was the largest one they had. Those are depicted in the first image in the previous paragraph. At some point so many people must have bugged them with inquiries that they must have decided to just get over it and add another size on top, so the second image shows the products in 188. To me that is a minor distinction, as both sizes remain a tight fit, regardless.
The older size 176 took quite a bit of courage to actually put on fresh out of the bag back then because I was too afraid to damage it. It took quite a bit of force to pull on the flap to make it stretch out enough for buttoning it up. This gets better over time as the whole onesie adapts itself to your body. For me the real limitation is that despite this there’s not enough room left if I take my arms up above my head and I can sometimes hear the buttons pop open under my pants. It’s okay for more ordinary tasks like sitting on the computer and all that, though. As you might imagine, with this tight it’s not a good idea to wear excessively thick diaper packages underneath, but for my daily standard padding it’s just fine.
The size 188 versions fare a bit better, if only by a tiny margin. For me this merely eliminates the exploding button problem and allows slightly thicker diapers to be worn, but ultimately it doesn’t feel like a different size. The jump is not distinct enough in my case. With that said, I don’t think a person who genuinely is taller than 1.85 meters will be able to wear this, even if he/ she might be a lot skinnier than I am.
As the pictures in this article hopefully get across, the overall shape is very narrow, which furthers my point about this perhaps being not suited ideally for people who exceed certain parameters, to put it diplomatically. That’s not just chubby kids like me, but also if you are bulking up too much at the gym. Even getting your arms through the sleeves might be difficult then since they are in line with the overall rather snugly fitting design.
Of course this makes sense on some level as it prevents wrinkling, thus avoiding pressure marks e.g. in bed. It just limits the user base in terms of size, as it were. Speaking of size, while 188 may be the ceiling, in the other direction you typically can go down to size 116, so smaller people shouldn’t have a problem finding the right one.
The lower half appears similarly triangular to the Kiwisto, but in my opinion this works better here for the simple reason that due to the longer shape the back part reaches further down. When wearing the product it ends up being a bit more convenient with less risk of unwanted diaper exposure and more coverage on the rear parts.
One point where the slim shape works to full advantage without any “buts” and “ifs” is the winged body/ American collar model. There’s just not as much material that can flap around and curl up.
As you may already have concluded yourself from the previous paragraphs, diaper fixation is quite good with this model due to the tightness – within the restrictions already mentioned. With the rear part also wrapping nicely around your bum this also helps to press the absorbent pad against your body and keep things airtight, in a manner of speaking.
Surprisingly, Sanetta onesies use the smaller 7 millimeter diameter snaps. Back then I didn’t make much of it because I didn’t know better (the Sanetta bodies were actually my very first even before the Kiwisto), but when you see everyone using bigger buttons it still has you wondering. However, any fears of this being inadequate can quickly be alleviated, because “it simply works”. It can be a bit fiddly to match up the separate halves of the buttons, especially if you have big and clumsy hands, but once they are in place, they secure everything nicely.
As a nice touch all of these onesies have the rings with the claws varnished in a tone matching the actual cloth. This is not essential and in fact may only ever be noticeable on the lighter colors (dark colors simply tend to “swallow” silver rings and make them disappear), but it gives the whole product a nice aura of high quality and classiness. It’s also neat for the button rows on the long-sleeved versions and makes them less visible in case they may be visible under your sweater (but then again, you might also wear visible chest hair to distract audiences *lol*). Talk about going the extra mile!
Materials and Manufacturing Quality
The basic material for these onesies is a 100 percent cotton stretch. It’s very finely woven/ knitted, light and thin. This contributed considerably to my reservations when I first got those products since it seemed too easy to poke a hole into the material, which only goes to show how inexperienced I was and completely misjudged the situation. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Despite mangling and stretching the material quite a bit over time, the usual laundry cycles and not always being gentle it seems rather indestructible.
The seam linings add quite a bit of strength and keep everything in shape, though in some areas they appear slightly crooked, which is even noticeable in the above images. I know that sewing things straight is difficult, but my Asperger-ish, pedantic brain just wants all those lines to be in parallel or perpendicular. ;-) The sewing is spot-on, which of course you would expect from a continental European product put together with care and attention. Even the cross-connections under the sleeves that have a lot of force to bear due to the tight fit so far hold together well.
For some of the the special run products an alternative textile containing a portion of Lycra thread/ Elasthane in addition to the cotton is used. It’s even finer in its texture, but obviously the better stretchiness is beneficial to guys like me that tend to bulge out things. I can’t tell you how durable these materials are, though, since I haven’t had those models long enough. If it wasn’t for my odd liking of intense pink tones in fact I might not even have a sample, since this seems more addressed towards the female crowd.
The very fine cloth in both flavors neatly avoids excessive sweating and dries quickly. I often wear these onesies during my physical therapy and aside from keeping things covered like a gymnastics suit (no belly buttons popping out when laying on the mat and doing a few crunches, if you know what I mean), it’s just nice to know you won’t be wearing a sweaty towel by the time you get up.
Pricing and Availability
Prices for these products are in the usual range, beginning at around 17 Euros for smaller sizes and then ramping up to around 25 to 28 Euros, depending on the material. Occasionally there are promotional or cleanout sales where your can save a few pennies. If you are lucky, you might also snatch some B-Ware (second rate products with minor defects), but this really is a lottery and you have to hit their shop on the date. Which brings us to a point…
Availability is a real stinker and I honestly mean it. I totally understand that any outlet that isn’t named Amazon cannot have a stockpile of all products in all sizes worth thousands of Euros, but c’mon! It would be perfectly acceptable if the large sizes would run out from time to time and you have to wait for a month before new supplies arrive, but doing my occasional checks I definitely get the impression that even smaller sizes share the fate of being totally absent from the online store and unavailable for considerable periods. That’s not good in my opinion.
While it’s a fine product, getting your hands on it can be an exercise in patience and tenacity. I think I tried to get my hands on those three size 188 onesies on and off for a few months because when one was available, the others seemed to be out of stock again. Spontaneous Sunday afternoon shopping? Get out of here! Still, if you are willing to wait and give it a try there’s nothing speaking against it, especially if you are looking for some subtle colors that go well together with other daily attire.
Quickly progressing our little series we’ve already arrived at our third actual onesie product, this time from our friends at Diaper Minister under the Kiddo brand/ label. This one came in that nice package I got a while ago when I was updating people about the ABU and Bambino diapers. So thanks to our French buddies for providing the sample! :-)
Colors and Patterns
At the Diaper Minister online shop they have two patterns available right now – the one with the planes depicted here and another in white with pine trees and bears printed on. Of course it’s possible that at any time in the future there may be additional colors and prints, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now let’s focus at what we have.
This particular onesie is rather unique in that it features genuine silkscreen textile printing, which is a rare thing these days since the more cost-efficient sublimation/ inkjet direct printing methods have pretty much taken over (in addition to indirect transfer methods, of course). There are a few advantages in this as there are of course also some downsides.
Perhaps the most apparent key benefit is that such a method allows to print on colored stock, in this case a fully dyed light blue-ish/ cyan-ish cotton cloth. Even the white clouds are printed instead of being left out regions of white material (negative space) like with the other methods. So the color is there from the inside as well and not just shining through from the outside like on a painter’s canvas. As a result you have much less risk of colors fading all too heavily in a short time and this onesie will probably still have a nice sky color next year.
Even still, the question of course is whether the prints will last equally long and that’s another story entirely. One of the less favorable properties of these kinds of textile colors is that they form very dense, impenetrable, plastic-y areas and close up the “pores” of the tissue as it were. The white is ironically particularly bad. Not only does this affect the “breathability” of the overall product, but like all these things the surfaces lose their elasticity and get brittle after a while, meaning they start to crack and the color may flake and peel off. You can also see how it affects the tension of the cloth and forms those discernible patterns on the inside.
The aircraft pattern also has a slight design flaw in that someone forgot to print black outlines on the green planes, but that is a minor thing. I’ve been a bit of a (military) aviation buff all my life, so I’m glad that such a cool onesie even exists and this imperfection can be overlooked and forgiven easily.
Size and Fit
Based on past experiences with other products and my gut feeling (after reading the sizing chart, of course) I asked for a size XL and when I first tried on the product my hunch was confirmed. It felt very comfortable and fitted like a glove, that is it’s tight enough to not flap around too much, but at the same time loose enough to not turn dressing into an exercise. Looking back, though, I tend to think that a size L might also have done the trick.
Contributing massively to the almost perfect fit is the shape which is somewhere between the Kiwisto and Pien & Polle we tested previously. The angle of the lower section is not as obtuse as the latter, but also not as steep and triangular as the former. For me this gives just the right amount of coverage. It doesn’t cover up your diaper completely, but I always like to think that some bits of your nappy peeking out looks kinda sexy, so that doesn’t bother me too much. It’s still definitely better than the Kiwisto. If I wasn’t wearing this one almost exclusively at home for bedtime I’d feel reasonably confident that it would go down far enough my pants to not reveal too much. That said, obviously the print doesn’t lend itself too much to be inconspicuous in public.
Another thing that likely makes this less of an alternative to your daily T-shirt is the “American collar” or “Wing body” as we call it in Germany, meaning the neck hole isn’t actually a hole but rather a slit formed by the specifically shaped front and back parts where they overlap. This makes it easy to climb in and pop your noggin through. However, it also represents a slight inconvenience here. Because there is no stitching to secure the overlap in place it tends to roll up and you need to spend a bit of time to straighten it out again.
On a whole this is still very comfy for what I’m using this onesie for – cuddling myself up for sleep. The spacious nature of my size XL also allows enough room for those extra thick diapers when you just want to sleep in on Sundays. ;-)
Given the very good fit as per the previous chapter you should expect this product to hold up your diaper nicely and indeed it does. The cloth is more on the heavy and slightly thicker side when it comes to the cotton stretch variety which allows for some strength and resilience. Additionally the seam linings provide another bit of strength and retention, so you can bet a penny or two that this won’t give in so quickly.
That notwithstanding, the open neck piece might somewhat diminish this effect, especially if you have narrow shoulders and the sleeves are sliding down further. It may in fact be a good idea to spend a home crafting afternoon and apply a few stitches to that much-mentioned crack to make it work mor like a conventional onesie or shirt.
As the images show, there’s plenty of buttons for you to close everything up (or alternatively ruin your fingernails when opening it up again). Because I requested an XL, there are five buttons. Other sizes only have four, but that’s still enough to keep you busy and ensure a tight seal. The placement is even and precise and on my example I did not notice any damage caused by the buttons or their prongs.
Since this onesie buttons up from back to front (or bottom to top if you will) the rings on the reverse piece match the color of the seam linings, making them a bit less pop out. One might not think it from the pictures since the flap appears rather short, but it’s easy to handle and ends up in an accessible area, allowing for convenient diaper changes if necessary. The dense placement of the buttons also provides a good grip and stiffens things up a bit, further facilitating procedures. Their only downside really is that they appear to be just a tiny bit too strong. That makes things a bit tricky the first few times you open and close them.
Materials and Manufacturing Quality
As I already mentioned casually in the previous chapter, the textile is very robust and should last you very long if you don’t damage it in some way. The same goes for the seam lining ribbons. The sewing itself is mostly okay. There are a few slight kinks here and there and some of the areas where multiple parts are joined together look a bit bumpy, but nothing too dramatic. This onesie passes with flying colors in the “Chinese factory twist” category, meaning it has none and was put together in a way that allowed the materials to relax and produce straight lines.
So far I have not noticed any stitching starting to unravel and as far as I remember there weren’t too many remnants of cut-off thread falling out when releasing the product from its package, so the quality could be considered very good within the bounds of its manufacturing origin. If this holds up in the long run, the crumbling print will really be more critical to making it look shabby.
Pricing and Availability
The pricing for this onesie is extremely reasonable. At 21.90 Euros it’s almost a steal, I dare say. I’ve paid more money for lesser products in my time. Diaper Minister being a small outlet you should expect availability to be somewhat erratic at times, though I’m sure they are doing their best to always be stocked up. It may just take a few weeks for their resupply to arrive if they run out. That being the case I would recommend to contact them beforehand, especially if you plan on buying multiple items or your size is no longer listed as available in the online store. It helps to be patient and not in a last-minute rush.
Overall this is a nice product and it seems to me that Diaper Minister have made a good catch and proven a lucky hand picking out this onesie for their customers. Even if you are not into planes (or bears for that matter) you might consider one of the two available patterns and who knows, perhaps soon there will be even more to choose from. I definitely like the fact that for the foreseeable future this will hold up nicely in light of its good quality, though I might find those color flakes on my sheets occasionally. You could definitely do worse and spend your money on not so great products (which later entries in this series will show), so this is a onesie you might consider as an excellent alternative.
As the second item in our series I’m going to have a look at yet another classic. I’ve had the Pien & Polle (or Pien en Polle) onesies for quite a while and yes, they are still the ones I wrote somewhat excited about when I got them. I haven’t gotten any additional ones of the same make in the meantime, which for numerous reasons perhaps I should one day, but more on the “Why?” in the relevant sections.
Colors and Patterns
Similar to the Kiwisto onesies in our previous review, these are manufactured by a small company catering to provide clothing for handicapped children and the like, so you would expect some limitations in the range of their portfolio. Funny enough, it is much broader than that of their German competitor, perhaps owing to the nature of this venture being a bit more personally motivated and focusing on clothing while at the same time not being as big a company yet. Who knows?!
In any case, you can choose from about ten solid colors at any given time. The usual standards are included such as white and black, but as is evident from the picture there are lots of other colors like marine blue, petrol/ aqua blue, apple green, dark green, red, hot pink/ fuchsia, purple, grey. From time to time, apparently depending on what supplies they have, there are also other colors popping up. I for instance clearly remember an olive green version being available for a time.
In addition to these uniform colors they have patterned onesies that are tailored to look like regular T-shirts with the lower section covered up by some overlapping material plus a number of different models like e.g. a girly one with shoelace shoulder strings, so there’s plenty to choose from. At least for the T-Shirt onesies I would assume that the fit is quite similar to the ones we are talking about in this article, anyway. If you have your eye on some special combination of colors and cut pattern I’m even positive they would be willing to custom-manufacture it for you.
Size and Fit
This is one of the points that I may have to revisit some time in the future as hinted in the introductory paragraph. When I got my examples back then I was quite inexperienced in these matters and to play it safe I ordered them in size 188. As it turns out, I could have gone one size smaller (176) without any issues whatsoever because this particular diaper suit is rather “roomy” for lack of a better word. This means that it’s in fact quite large, though you have to consider that I’m just 1.80 m in size, so the 188 (cm) size attribution might actually make some European Union clerk in Brussels happy for perfectly adhering to standard size.
An additional benefit of this is naturally that larger people, possibly up to 1.95 m height might be able to wear these products without any critical fit issues and if you’re a real spindly, skinny type that range may extend even further. In the opposite direction these onesies can be ordered down to toddler sizes, so even if you are pocket-sized like my mom you should find something suitable.
The actual fit is, as illustrated by the images, overall very “square”. Those onesies are very wide and allow for a large circumference. That’s good if you are carrying around a slight (well, not so slight) tummy like I do and may also be advantageous to people sitting in wheel chairs, allowing for more freedom of movement. It could look a bit too lofty on the already mentioned slender people with too much loose cloth flapping around on the other hand. That is of course very much a matter of personal preference just like with T-shirts, so you have to see if it works for you or whether you prefer a tighter fit.
The bottom section is a lot flatter than on the Kiwisto onesies, meaning that the cloth in the back will wrap farther around your bum. This should prevent any accidental diaper exposure even in the most awkward situation (you should literally be able to bend over with your hands touching your toes and there still being enough textile coverage). The long back piece is also crucial to the way the flap goes through your legs. Since it’s shorter than on the Kiwisto, you wouldn’t be able to attach it otherwise. As a result in the intimate regions this feels more like a conventional boxer brief than a sunga/ speedo kind of underwear and it keeps you a bit warmer than perhaps some other products. Due to the very soft and fine cloth overall movement is not impaired, though.
This is the second thing where from today’s perspective I’d go with one size smaller. As it is, the large-ish size 188 I have combined with the supple 95 % cotton/ 5 % Lycra mix textile isn’t a very resilient combination for the onesie holding those nappies up all by itself. By the time the diaper starts to really sink down the onesie alone won’t save my bacon and I’m in trouble. That’s luckily not exactly a big problem for me, since I’m always wearing my diapers in full dress, meaning with additional fixation/ protective pants, anyway, but if you’re not that way you might have to rely on the strength of your diaper’s own adhesive powers. I really strongly feel that for me a size 176 would work better here.
Actually closing up the product is a very unique experience since this is about the only product I know that uses those small plastic snaps like you typically would find them on bras and other lingerie mostly. I was very skeptical at first, but in a way it’s ingenious. It’s much stronger than you would suspect and since the buttons are punched onto a separate piece of strong textile ribbon you get a very effective and simple method of mating the two sides. You basically simply try to line up the regions and press and one way or the other one of the buttons will snap into place and the others follow suit.
Personally I don’t care much for the buttons being hidden under the flap, especially since this has the downside of making it slightly curl up as you can see in the pictures further up, but it’s an interesting approach, regardless. The white segments also add strength and the buttons do not puncture and damage the actual tissue like so often happens with metal buttons and their sharp claws. An additional advantage is that should this ever require maintenance like replacing a broken button it should be easier to remove the textile strips in their entirety and sew them back on (or their respective replacements) with relative ease. There’s a lot going for this.
Materials and Manufacturing Quality
Pien & Polle use Oeko-Tex certified materials compliant with European standards, so in terms of possible contamination and toxicity this is as safe as it gets – there should be none (at all). A downside probably is that the colors don’t look as vibrant as might be desirable – to my eyes at least. They always look a bit pale or muddy (most of them, anyway) and made color-correcting my photos even more difficult (notwithstanding the eternal tale of my inadequate photo equipment).
The other things that slightly irks me as that despite containing Elasthane/ Lycra the cloth doesn’t feel as smooth and tender as on some other products using a similar combination. It feels very much like a plain cotton product. Mind you, not wrong in any way, I just have a different expectation. The quality of the textile is otherwise very good. There’s no knots or missed weave lines and I already mentioned its very smooth quality.
The sewing is very well-executed and the seams are mostly straight with the exception of the button strips. Since those are a placed in a tricky area that curves however, I find it forgiveable that they aren’t as perfect as the rest. On my examples I’ve never seen a loose thread or even cut off yarn leftovers falling out, so someone is clearly taking care to provide the best possible quality. There’s no twisting, either, though of course these elastic textiles are more forgiving. Still, somehow it always shows where something was made, does it not?
Pricing and Availability
Prices are very similar to Kiwisto starting also in the 17.95 Euros range and increasing with size to up and around 25 Euros with the long-sleeved variants adding another two or three Euros to that and the T-shirt onesies are even more costly. As far as my experiences go and as my occasional probing for products when I stop by their online store every now and then seems to indicate, product availability is very good. It appears they don’t allow products to be out of stock for more than a few days and most of the time you should not even notice when something might not be instantanuously ready for delivery.
As far as I remember my package came with a FedEx courier (which is rather unusual in Germany, being that other services are more predominant and common) , but at the time I think that was the regional cooperation partner of the Dutch post. Things may be different today, but I’d have to look it up to be honest. In any case, shipment was as rapid as can be expected and it took about ten days for the parcel to arrive. That should be room enough even if you order stuff at the last minute, though other regions may take longer.
Since there’s generally no free shipping (even inside Holland) you have to be aware of this extra cost and plan accordingly. For Germany that’s an extra 12.50 Euros and I could only justify it to myself since I ordered all four onesies at once. I’m not sure if that applied back then, but these days four pieces is also the magic number where you are getting a “mass” discount. Despite that, for some parts of the world it may simply not be cost-efficient unless you include lots of other things to rationalize a 60 Euros surcharge on products worth 900 Euros or something like that.
I swear if I’m ever going to work out those size issues I’m gonna love them, but until then these Pien & Polle onesies I own kinda hang over me as a reminder of my early mistakes and I have to see to it to wear them out so I have an excuse to order new ones. They are not bad, their size just isn’t right for me. That said, I’d still give them a huge thumbs up for the simple fact that you get good quality + a reasonably large selection of possible color combinations and everything is tailored in such a fashion that it might pass as regular clothing. These are real products to wear in “normal” life situations, not just while cuddling up in your bed or secretly under your sweater. It shows that some thought has been given to that and that the people behind the products enjoy their work and make an effort. The only real downside is that it could get a bit expensive depending on where you live. They are currently looking for regional resellers across the EU, so that may actually improve one day.
To kick off our series on onesies, I will be using a classic (here in Germany, anyway) to establish a standard structure for the articles and provide a base reference. I chose the Kiwisto onesies in particular because they are made regionally and thus reasonably adhere to established standard clothing sizes, which later on should make it easier to figure out how other products relate to them.
In order to make it quicker to find the relevant points and incidentally also perhaps create a consistent experience in this series, I’ve divided everything into paragraphs/ sub-sections with matching headlines. This also helps me to lay out my thoughts without having to worry too much about getting all too lyric. ;-)
Colors and Patterns
The Kiwisto onesies come only in a handful of colors, those being white, black, rose/ light pink, light blue and ultramarine blue plus two print patterns – the triangle one as seen in the image and one with some cute turtles, whose seam linings are in blue.
These colors have been around for ages and while I understand that the logistics can become complicated when you want to stock up more colors in all sizes, I wish they would add some more to choose from. This year would have offered a fine opportunity to do just that, because it’s their 10th anniversary. Some nice lime green “special edition” sounds like a good idea to me and of course having a red onesie in your standard portfolio might not be bad, either.
The colors themselves are a bit over the place as far as I can judge them. The light blue isn’t really light and more of an intermediate white-ish blue with a hint of grey, while at the same time the rose/ light pink at times appears almost completely white. In all the time I haven’t managed to get my hands on the darker blue tone, since whenever I visited their online store, it was out of stock in my size. Black is of course black and white is white.
The good thing about these onesies is that their colors barely fade if you follow washing instructions and that’s true for the solid colors as well as the prints. This is something you can’t take for granted on many products.
Size and Fit
These onesies are made to European children/ adolescents clothing sizes as they are meant for handicapped children and youths primarily, so the measurements are pretty straightforward. Since at 1.80 m height and a weight of around 90-ish kilos I’m a bit of a chubby boy, I’m using size 188, which is also the biggest one they have on offer. If you are larger, then unfortunately you are out of luck, but sizes go down to 110 in some cases, so they can be an option even if you are midget-sized.
This product is more of a tight fit, which is why I’m using the size I’m using. One might even say that despite following standard children’s sizes it is a bit on the small-ish side. This doesn’t only extend to the fit on your abdomen, chest and butt, but also includes snug arm tunnels. If you do not like this, you would have to buy one size larger (if possible in relation to your body size) or look into products from other companies. If you are impaired, the small neck hole might also be a bit difficult, though on the other hand it makes the thing look almost like a normal T-shirt when you have it on.
In the crotch & bum department these onesies are rather triangular and have high-cut leg holes, which gives you a lot of freedom of movement and allows enough air to get in. The downside to this is that despite wearing a onesie your diaper may peek out, especially should you be wearing some low-hanging jeans. If you mind you have to be mindful of it and either wear different pants or use another onesie, if you get my meaning.
Being made of 100% pure cotton, Kiwisto‘s products offer good strength to not give in to the weight of your diaper under the influence of gravity. The material is a bit stretchy, but not so much that you’d have to worry about a saggy piece of cloth flopping around between your legs.
The cut pattern is such that the actual flap is a considerable extension of the back piece, making it easy to put on the onesie yourself. You can easily grab it, tug it through your legs and button it up in an accessible region of your lower abdomen. If the flap for whatever reason is too short, Kiwisto are also offering inserts/ extensions to make it longer in colors matching the onesies themselves (for the monochromatic ones at least). I wrote about that in this article and I actually own two such extensions in light pink, but stupid little me forgot to take a photo and I only now realize that it would have spiced up this article while I’m writing it. Too late now! :-\
As you can see in the images, there are three buttons. They are strong enough to hold things together well enough, but you can’t defeat physics altogether, so there’s a slight issue here: Under tension you get a “mouth” crack between the buttons, which can look slightly odd. That’s why I prefer models with four or more buttons, actually.
Materials and Manufacturing Quality
As I already wrote, the products are produced in-country (or nearby like Poland or the Czech Republic) which with our rather strict standards ensures that the materials are free of critical substances because it would already be impossible to buy the raw cloth if it had some toxic dye for instance – it would be impounded and burned. Of course Kiwisto themselves also take care to ensure maximum quality. It’s a marketing point, after all.
The sewing is good with rarely ever a loose thread hanging out somewhere and the seams are regular and even. I usually take this as a sign of the sewing machines not running at those insane turbo speeds like in Chinese factories, which is the cause of so many quality issues.
One of those is also the products being pressed and ironed into shape afterwards to cover up their contortions introduced by too taut stitching fired out too rapidly. This is not the case here and since I’m not ironing my onesies (I’m simply too lazy to waste my time with something that seems redundant), the pictures should speak for themselves and confirm my point.
Pricing and Availability
At Kiwisto‘s prices for these onesies start at 17.99 something Euros for the small sizes and in my size they typically are 24.99 Euros. There are also long sleeve versions that cost a tad more. Overall that’s an okay price and really not much more than some imported products from Asia (unless you have a way of avoiding duty fees and import taxes) while at the same time you get good quality.
Availability is a bit spotty, as my little issue with obtaining an ultramarine blue version shows. I’m sure I might be able to get it one day, but you never know when this day may come as it will really be just a lucky coincidence. It’s really like they ever only have three or four of them fabricated in size 188 and then you have to wait for two or three weeks to try your luck again when they may resupply. This is also true for other colors, but in fairness it really comes down to which size you want to order. Smaller sizes seem to be readily available almost always and in larger quantities.
If all else fails, one might try to contact their customer support and reserve/ custom order your desired items. They are usually very forthcoming, so one day I might do just that if I don’t have a lucky catch directly in the online store.
While I wouldn’t call them my number one choice these days, I have several of these onesies and they do their job just fine. Most notably I have the black and light blue ones to wear with my regular clothing since they look like normal tees. All things considered, there aren’t that many uniformly colored products on the market that would qualify to begin with (not to make it sound like choosing the lesser evil in a bad situation). I also appreciate the quality since even after quite some time of wearing them they don’t show any signs of damage like on some other products.
On the slightly questionable side for me it’s really about the fit, regardless of the fact that I’m always willing to blame it on my not so stellar figure. ;-) In addition, somehow I’m at odds with the three buttons for similar reasons. The whole thing just explodes when I’m wearing too thick a diaper. Naturally none of that may apply to you, so if you are in the market for something that passes as “normal”, this might be just the ticket. If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, colorful and flamboyant, hang in there and wait for some later articles in this series….
Though I don’t go crazy about chasing for the magic unicorn – that is the ultimate colored diaper – my infantilistic tendencies go far enough to find myself thinking “Aww, that’s cute!” more often than I would like to admit. As a result not only is my flat plastered with wall and window decorations that better belong into a children’s room/ nursery, but occasionally I end up chasing unicorns, after all. If it wasn’t for my background in graphics design/ arts and an educated restraint and distaste for the all too tacky, I’d probably completely go nuts over this stuff. That being the case, it’s a good thing when a product can manage to satisfy both sides of the equation and thus the Tykables Overnights have been long on my mind and incidentally make for a nice treat on an Easter weekend such as this.
But wait – it wasn’t exactly the Tykables, but rather the product under its old Snuggies name, which then of course had to be changed over some silly copyright thing in the United States. Regardless, these diapers have been rather elusive here in Europe no matter their name so I put off getting them forever. It always seemed like you could only buy leftover packs in the wrong sizes or even only limited numbers of single pieces at hefty prices, making it even less attractive to actually get them. I only took the plunge when our friends at Diaper Minister filled up their stock and to be on the safe side I ordered both sizes.
As a graphics/ design/ marketing/ advertising person I’m a sucker for good branding and it gives me some pleasure and satisfaction to see a vendor make an effort, beginning with the package. It’s just so much nicer having something colorful to look at instead just a white plastic bag. The “Bedtime Checklist” gave me a slight grin when I first noticed it, but sadly there’s no actual cardboard-printed complementary version inside the package to put to use. Still, I bet the stacks of packs look nice on the shelves at Tykables‘ little shoppe and playground, which unfortunately mostly has made headlines being scandalized by some less than understanding residents in the area where it’s located.
Having ordered both sizes, I was slightly puzzled when I actually pulled some samples out of the packs. In light of what I just said, it’s quite odd that the actual prints on the diapers not even closely match the colors on the pack and to boot there’s a distinct difference across sizes as well. That thing with the stars, which are supposed to be fade-away wetness indicator print, might be intentional, but even the pattern shows slight variations. Assuming that both come out of the same factory, that is indeed rather confusing.
Getting to the good parts, of course the overall design is what made me try this product out one of these days. The sleepy animals in their simplistic graphical style are just right. Not too refined to have you wondering about what details you might explore looking at your diapered bum in the mirror, but also not too crude and ugly. The size is also chosen well and the placement executed tastefully enough to not look like an afternoon hack job done in MS Paint. As I already mentioned, the colors could be a bit stronger, though arguably their pastel-y quality is beneficial to prevent ink rubbing off and dirtying up your precious protective pants on top.
Adding a slight exclusive touch is the colored inner lining, which is reminiscent of some MyDiaper versions. That also in a more general sense reveals the heritage of the product. It’s really nothing more than the ump-teenth spin on the “China-made standard diaper, model no. 1”, which is slightly disappointing, all things considered. Now of course this might have been different with the original Snuggies and my eternal procrastination might just be biting back, but still, given the marketing buildup by the distributor I would have expected something a bit different. The only saving grace (in addition to the more sophisticated design) is that a little more care seems to have been taken with the choice of ingredients and avoiding manufacturing issues.
As can be seen, the adhesive tapes are transparent, avoiding that ugly “white blob disturbance” feel found on other variations of this kind of diaper. They are also slightly broader, which is of course useful for getting a strong fit. Otherwise they settle down on the same transparent sticker front panel we’ve become so accustomed to. Speaking of fit, it is in line with my experiences with other such products. A size M (size 1 here) tends to be slightly small-ish for my bodily proportions and a size L (here 2) is preferable, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly, either, since it ends up being a bit oversize then. I’ll probably never get over having to compromise in these situations. ;-)
As could be seen in the folded-open shot, the pad is your standard variety as well, though I get the impression that newer releases of these products tend to be a bit softer. Older versions of comparable products used to be rather stiff in this department with the negative side effect of the first few doses of liquid not penetrating the pad’s tissue as fast, thus resulting in those bad “surface flow” situations where you couldn’t move immediately until everything had sunk in. I find this is much better now and I feel more confident actually maxing out the absorption (with the overall volume still being in the upper class), though it’s of course a subjective judgement and could be totally circumstantial.
Sadly, if it wasn’t for the unique design and other design-centric aspects, this would be pretty much your bog-standard imported diaper from some unnamed Chinese factory. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, but all things considered you can have similar products much cheaper if you forego the print. This only really depends on where in the world you live – it may be easier to get this specific product in the US, but over here in Europe the market is flooded with other derivatives already, not making this an essential buy. It’s a bittersweet irony that Alibaba allows everyone to have their own diaper produced with relatively little fuss (as long as you can pony up the cash upfront for a sizable production run to fill a container), but in the end they are all the same…
One of the things that have long been on my mind is that I always wanted to do some more in-depth articles on special care clothing, more specifically diaper onesies/ diaper bodies. I shared some thoughts on this quite a time ago in my introductory article series and after collecting experiences this long-gestating project is now about ripe to see the light of day. In the weeks and months to come I will therefore try to give you the skinny on products from different vendors, interspersed with our usual other articles. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
What are Onesies good for?
The reasons why you might want to or even should be wearing onesies or similar careware are numerous and naturally not all of them apply to everyone. I’m gonna run down some of them that are important to me and let you take a pick. If you have additional thoughts, you can always share them in the comments.
- Onesies are cosy. This of course is an utterly subjective assessment, but I’m of the opinion that if you are wearing diapers, you might as well make yourself as comfortable as you possibly can. This is even more the case if you are wearing for medical reasons and not just for fun.
- Onesies fix certain issues (associated with wearing diapers). I wrote about this in my old article already, but one of the key benefits of using a onesie at night is losing that feeling of nakedness and a drafty breeze around my waistline. This is of course caused by the temperature differences between the bare skin areas vs. the thermally “insulated” regions covered by the diaper. I find that having a onesie on provides a means of “easing in” in the transition zone and makes for a more pleasant experience.
- Onesies are for diaper fixation. As you will find out, this is a bit of an ambiguous matter and the degree with which this is achieved certainly varies a lot, but quite generally this is one of the original ideas behind this kind of special apparel. In particular at night this can be handy when you may not want to wear additional fixation/ protective pants. Even if that isn’t an issue, a onesie can be useful simply because it absorbs some of the torque and shear forces when you roll around in your bed, preventing the diaper from being mangled too much or moving out of place.
- Onesies keep stuff in. This is not per se one of the intended functions, yet having a onesie hold your diaper package has the added advantage of also sealing in smells to some extent. The fumes are held close to your body and will only seep out through the pores of the textile after they have weakened. In a crunch, the cloth may also save your behind when your diaper starts leaking as it also absorbs some of the liquid. It’s arguably easier to just wash your onesie than having to change your sheets and blankets every second day.
- Onesies can replace your daily T-shirt. Depending on what style of fashion you prefer this is of course debatable, but to me it doesn’t really make much of a difference. A good quality Tee costs just as much as your average onesie, so I’m liberally using the latter as a substitute for the other when the opportunity presents itself. The limiting factor then really only becomes your purse and the available patterns and colors.
As you can see, there’s quite some good reasons to wear onesies and by extension other medical care attire, though in the end it remains a matter of personal preference and how deep you are in the diaper mindset. As someone wearing protection around the clock at this point it’s naturally more easy to adapt to this and get over some inner reservations than if you are an occasional user. No shame in admitting that. After all, some of my experiences are informed by and have come about only because I have to wear diapers, so I might as well share my thoughts and perhaps prevent you from making costly wrong purchases.
What’s the fuss all about and what are the caveats?
Similar to diapers themselves, onesies are no exception in that everyone seems to have their own interpretation and opinion on what’s best. Ultimately that’s the thing that compelled me to even begin this major undertaking and it is nicely illustrated by the image below.
Yes, everyone has their own version of pink and different vendors use different cut patterns, resulting in a veritable mess of different fits, different handling and often completely wrong size assignments. At times this makes buying a new onesie a rather nerve-wrecking venture, mostly for the fact that you have to dip into it blindly. Unlike going out and trying on your new blue jeans (which in itself can already be an aggravating process when spend hours in different shops) you mostly have to rely on ordering this sort of thing online and you have little chance to judge the fit before the package arrives.
I’m hoping my little series will make this a bit less confusing and much more straightforward, so check back as we progress. As usual, there are still things moving behind the scenes and I’m trying to get my hands on as many different products as I possibly can, but if you feel you want to contribute and make things easier, feel free to get in touch. At the moment a sizable OnesiesDownunder gift card (or in fact several) would make me very happy, but there surely is plenty of good stuff to be had on Amazon and elsewhere as well. ;-)