Baby clothes names, definitions and terminology for the confused mom!

If you’ve been looking at baby clothes for longer than about 5 minutes, you’ve probably run smack dab into a frustrating problem: baby clothes names, definitions and terminology are all over the place!

The big brands can’t seem to get it together and decide on a standard for the different types of baby clothes and names.

They all seem to have different names for different things… which makes things terribly complicated for the first time mom to be. How do you know what you’re supposed to get?

Don’t worry – I had the exact same issue. What’s more I have even more issues seeing as we actually call a good half of these things different names here in Australia… singlets anyone? So, I thought I’d better start keeping a list of the different names and types of baby clothes for my reference as well as yours.

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Baby Clothes Staples

Let’s get back to basics and talk about these baby clothes staples – yes, they’re the ones you’ll find on every single ‘what to buy your baby before he or she is born’ list. 

The Baby Onesie

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“It’s like a t-shirt (sleeveless, short, or long sleeve) with a snap up crotch flap.”

The baby onesie is the baby clothing staple – it comes in many variations and can be warn under other clothing for warmth or alone in warmer weather. Most onesies feature an envelope style neckline which makes changing baby much easier, though you may also be able to find them in kimono style with side snaps.

Variations include: 

  • sleeveless
  • short-sleeve
  • long-sleeve
  • flutter-sleeve
  • kimono style

Also known as: bodysuits, side snap bodysuits (for the kimono style)


The Baby Coverall

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“It’s a long-sleeved, long-legged outfit that covers all – with a zip or snaps down the center.”

Usually used as baby pajamas, the coverall is also perfect to take your baby from sleep to play (hence one of it’s many names – the Sleep ‘n’ Play). There are lots of different styles and variations within this category. To muddy the waters further, there are items described as a coverall, but are sleeveless or short sleeved – I personally consider these to be a variation of ‘rompers’. 

Variations include:

  • footed or footless
  • zipper closure or snaps
  • kimono style
  • mitten cuffs
  • buttons at the shoulder

Also known as: sleeper (not to be confused with sleeper gown), pajamas, pjs, footed pajamas, one-piece, footie (for footed styles), one piece jumpsuit, Sleep ‘n’ Play, union suit, babygro, overall


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Wearable Blanket

“It’s a warm outfit worn for sleep – most look kinda like a t-shirt that ends in a sleeping bag.”

Apart from pajamas or coveralls, there is a whole line of wearable blankets, sleep sacks, suits and gowns… and they come in many many variations. Wearable blankets serve two purposes depending on the age of your child:

  1. to keep baby warm in a safe way – loose blankets in the crib are considered a SIDS risk for younger babies and it can be hard to keep a blanket on a wriggly older sleeper.
  2. as a wearable swaddle for younger babies.

Variations include: 

Also known as: sleep sack, sleep suit, sleeper gown, sleep bag, sleeping bag, swaddle suit, bundler




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“Kind of like a onesie… but more dressy and they usually have a little more leg than a onesie.”

Rompers come in a whole boatload of different styles – especially for girls! Any neckline goes for rompers, however, they usually have a bit more coverage around the crotch with either short legs or a skirt. 

Variations include:

  • off-the-shoulder styles
  • skirt/dress rompers
  • long-leg versions

Also known as: jumpsuit, one piece, sunsuit, romper bodysuit, playsuit

More Reading on Baby Clothes


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