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.