Good things come to those that wait and aside from the usual difficulties with editing my photos (someone please make a decent camera fall out of the sky *lol*) this time around it indeed took a while to get my hands on the products from Onesies Downunder. It’s a wild combination of actually mustering up the money and deciding to take the plunge of an expensive order from Australia plus some of the products not having been in stock when I finally ordered. All these factors contributed to the delays but here at last we have a go at it.
Colors and Patterns
If people are supposed to order stuff from a land far, far away there must be a good reason, or is there? Indeed there is – a distinct uniqueness in the designs or more specifically in this case the prints. I’m not going to be pretentious about it – this article is likely going to be quite biased because I’m so enamored with some of the prints. That no doubt is going to influence my judgement even about more practical issues as much as I may not want it to. On some level to me these onesies are works of art and collector’s items, so it’s easy to be more forgiving and overlook some issues. Regardless, I will try to apply my usual thoroughness and give you as detailed a picture as possible.
For the most part the pictures should speak for themselves. While one might put this off as “your standard printed China product” and at least in terms of the onesies being manufactured there this might be considered a valid statement, the reality of it is that here it is taken to a whole new level. It literally smokes the competition and gets ahead by leaps and bounds.
The decisive part is that these are custom patterns that you can’t get elsewhere (at least not to my knowledge, but there’s of course always the chance there’s some dark corner on Alibaba where they can be had just as well). They are designed with consideration to how they will appear visually in terms of size, pattern repeat and element distribution plus they make an effort to be artistic and appealing to Western tastes instead of relying traditional Asian elements and graphics styles. I’m in particular pleased that they dare to use most of the designs at large scales, reducing the risk of all too obvious pattern repeats and also allowing the individual elements to stand out instead of being barely recognizable specks of color.
At any given time there are about 15 to 20 different prints on offer and the portfolio is expanding rapidly with one or two new prints being added every two or three months. One of the latest additions for instance is a onesie with some cute otter babies. For understandable reasons it’s impossible to have them all, so I focussed on the ones that look reasonably “neutral” and appeal to my inner child without skewing too much into “little princess” territory. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, naturally, so your preference in the matter may vary.
In addition to the regular prints Onesies Downunder bring out holiday-themed special editions every year, namely for Christmas and Halloween. I haven’t yet ordered one of those, but I can’t wait what they may have in store for this year and perhaps it opens up an opportunity to add one to the collection that has pumpkins, Santa or polar bears on it. ;-) Some of the designs get reused for complementary materials such as these pacifier clips shown in the pictures below. Since I don’t have much use for them, I’m giving them away in a little contest, so keep an eye out for a separate post.
Funny enough just about three weeks before writing this article another addition to their collection popped up by ways of solid colored “Basic” onesies. At some point in the past they already had a black one that they never restocked, but as I’m told they intend to make this now a more permanent offering. Currently there are the usual black and white versions plus red, a mélange grey and light blue and light rosé (a.k.a. “baby blue” and “baby pink”). More colors are sure to follow and perhaps I finally get my will and some nice sunflower yellow and lime green/ chartreuse will be available.
Size and Fit
Like so many products originating from China even these onesies aren’t immune to that annoying “shrunk size” issue. You always have to buy them one size bigger than what you would expect to be your regular size. In my case this again meant I had to get them in XL instead of L despite being only barely under 1.80 meters short/ tall. Alternate sizes currently range from S to 4XL, meaning you should definitely be able to find something that fits on both sides of the spectrum.
The overall shape is very similar to the SaveExpress AO 1021 suits that we discussed in a previous article. This comes as little surprise, given the origin. There are some small differences, though. Most noteworthy is the fact that these ones here are a bit more elongated, resulting in a slightly better behavior in your crotch area and around the legs due to being a bit more triangular-ish. It’s a subtle thing and the photos barely show it, but it’s something you will notice during actual use.
The overall fit otherwise is what you would expect from a tight-fitting product. This is immensely helped by the cloth being a 95% cotton/ 5% Spandex mix which not only makes it feel soft, but also helps to retain the shape no matter how much stretching occurs. In particular it also prevents the sleeves from feeling too narrow even though they actually are just as close to your skin as the rest.
The “winged” version is actually more or less your regular onesie in this instance because the overlapping neck parts have been stitched together where they overlap. Arguably this prevents the product slipping down your shoulders, but could be a bit counterintuitive if you were hoping for that genuine toddler diaper suit feeling. It’s a minor point, though, that could be debated endlessly. Some prefer it that way, others not.
Update: I forgot to mention that there are also some tank top/ sleeveless versions for those of you who prefer this style.
One of my greatest peeves with pure cotton products always is that they often do not tend to be the best option for keeping your diaper in place unless they really fit perfectly and very tightly. It’s always like you have to compromise – have tight fit and buy a smaller size to accept the fact that freedom of movement is impaired on your upper body and arms or have a loose fit with almost no extra support for your incontinence product. Having the extra elastic mixed fibre cloth thankfully allows for both and solves this dilemma in a simple, yet elegant manner. Of course there are still limitations and personally still always wear extra protective and fixation garments underneath, but at least for a normal not too heavy diaper this will do just fine.
The similarities with “that other product” encompass the snap buttons as well, though here they are slightly bigger. They also appear to be of a different make, which could mean that they are more durable and their coating doesn’t come off as easily. Since I haven’t had these onesies as long as some others I cannot corroborate any of these assumptions, but there’s always the chance that one day there will be some follow-up articles exploring the long-term effects.
Materials and Manufacturing Quality
As already mentioned, this product uses a cotton/ Spandex (Elasthane) textile. It’s very fine and smooth, but perhaps could be a bit thicker/ heavier quality for my taste. Not by much, mind you. I just feel that about ten to twenty percent more would give that extra bit of tension and pizzaz that I so like. Again of course an utterly subjective point and down to individual preference. At least for me I guess my years as an ardent cyclist and wearing Lycra suits all day must have had an influence. ;-)
The prints themselves are applied with a direct printing method via inkjet/ sublimation, which means that they need to be handled carefully, especially when applied across the entire surface. The clothing tags advise hand-washing and turning them inside out, but I found that a normal thirty or forty degrees C machine wash will not harm them. Just make sure to use a gentle washing agent specifically aimed at this kind of textile, use a program with lots of water so the peices can float and don’t overstuff the tumbling drum. Else you might end up with patchy discolorations here and there. Within reason the color stays on nicely otherwise, though.
As much as I like the product, one point of criticism sticks: The evil China twist is back! It’s pretty hit & miss – some onesies are perfectly straight, others quite warped – so it’s hard to predict what you will end up with. It’s not the end of the world, but just saying… It would be nice to one day not have to deal with this stuff even though in this instance the elastic nature will make it almost unnoticeable once you put the onesie on.
The seams on my examples were mostly okay, though there is the odd exception where especially around the arms multiple threads have been sewn back and forth a bit carelessly and leftover loose yarn my require being cautiously removed from underneath those interior thread lines. The seam ribbons fare better in that regard. While they are pretty much standard, they are ever so slightly wider compared to the SaveExpress and appear to be from a different source. As a side-effect the placement of the buttons is also slightly better.
Pricing and Availability
Now we’re getting to the part that might bring tears to your eyes. Yes, sad as it is, getting those onesies is going to cost you a hefty penny or in my case Euro cent. It’s not so much the products themselves – at about 40 Australian dollars, which depending on the current foreign exchange rates translates to about 30 US dollars (USD), 20 British pounds (GBP) or 27 Euros (EUR), they fall within the limits of what you would and should expect. However, on top of that you have to add almost the same amount for shipping or even more. In effect this always means you come up short if you haven’t padded your budget accordingly – you may have planned for three, but can ultimately only buy two since the other third of your money is gobbled up.
That’s why it’s much better to buy in bulk and get as many products as possible at once – at least that’s what you may think. but hang on a minute before you call up your friends for joining in and sharing the cost. There’s another caveat here – Australia is not part of the EU, the United States nor a Canadian province (at least last I looked), so customs/ duty fees, import taxes and possibly other extra cost may be incurred if you exceed the limits stipulated by your government’s regulations. Not only that, but it may also make for an annoying trip to border authorities when your package gets impounded/ held up at the customs office until you pay your dues. You definitely need to keep an eye on this and do the math.
Aside from these technical issues, availability is usually good. Most of the time supplies will run out quickly when a new design comes out, but your chances increase with later batches when items are restocked. Often the store lists them again only a few days after they became unavailable, meaning the shipment from China was already on its way. As a worst case scenario you should have to wait six weeks, so you should plan for this contingency and be patient. If you have your eye on a specific design in a specific size that is currently unavailable you can also contact the team and make a reservation/ pre-order. They’re very responsive.
The extra wait also extends to delivery even if the products are in store. Things have gotten better since they switched their logistics to use DHL, but you still have to allow for ten days at least on international orders. All of this means that you should have a plan and be aware of these limitations. Ordering one of these onesies as a gift three days before someone’s birthday very likely isn’t going to work out.
What’s not to like? At least from an artsy/ artistic point of view these are the most beautiful onesies you can buy (not counting custom-made offerings from smaller outlets). The quality is okay even if not 100% perfect and they are just a joy to behold. Granted, the extra cost is a hurdle, but nothing you can’t overcome by saving a bit of money for that month longer. I’ve been biding my time and then jumped the chance and if I can do it, you can do it, too. The team at Onesies Downunder have been most helpful in getting me the products I wanted and making it financially feasible (yes, running such a blog sometimes has its perks), so allow me to extend my thanks to them. They also have provided stuff for the giveaway, so you can share in their generosity. Stay tuned for that!