We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Count your t-shirts

So, how many pairs of pants does a six year old need? How many pairs of socks will a four year old go through in a year? What sizes will my kids be wearing in 14 months?

In the US, I was always aware of Bug’s clothes: what fit, what was getting snug, what was dirty, what was clean. It was easy enough to pick up a couple pairs of shorts from Old Navy or Target when he grew out his old stuff.

Living overseas, without access to decent quality, affordable clothes for my growing boys, means shopping ahead when I’m in the US or in London. But I haven’t really figured out how to do this well.

Bug wears some hand-me-downs, but Giggle wears out many of his shoes and shirts and pants (with help from our heavily chlorinated water) before he outgrows them. So I can’t always count on having the next few sizes up.

Also, Giggle is still growing like a weed. He’s almost too tall for his size six pants (though the waist fits fine–I might be looking to buy Old Navy slim fit next time).

Add in the complexities of what these kids actually like to wear, and it’s tough.

Right now Bug has plenty of t-shirts but only one pair of swim trunks that fit–and the boys usually go through two or more swim trunks in a season. Last summer I made lists, but they weren’t specific enough. Instead of jeans, I need to specify sizes and quantity.

And part of this is figuring out how much I need in what sizes.

So, assuming we can get laundry done pretty regularly, what do you think? How many socks, shoes, pants, t-shirts, and underwear do kids need?


18 January 2009 - Posted by | bug, expat scene, giggle, shopping


  1. Why not count what the boys have now, of each item, and ask yourself what they are always out of?

    We could probably get by with 6-8 each of pants, shirts, and socks (we’re still in diapers). In actuality we have more like 10-12 of each, though some favorites are worn all the time, and some never hit the body.

    Comment by Phoebe | 18 January 2009

  2. I always figure it is better to be safe than sorry with underwear. Each kid probably has 20-25 pairs at my house. We never ever run out. Socks, I would safely buy maybe 15 to 20 pairs of all the same kind because we are always losing and making holes in them.

    For pants, M is almost six and she has started being really rough on the knees of her pants. I would normally keep 4 pairs of jeans, but now I would say 6 because she has torn 2 pairs that she got when school started in the fall. An added complication is that M is on the border b/w slims and regulars. When she thickens up, she needs regulars, but when she grows she definitely needs slims. It is a hassle. We also wear a lot of dresses in warmer weather, so we don’t buy more than 2-3 pairs plain denim shorts for summer.

    We keep 2-3 bathing suits on hand because we swim a lot all year round. And I always like to have 2-3 pairs of shoes available. One pair sneakers, one pair nice-ish mary janes and one pair sandals or boots depending on the weather.

    Comment by American Family | 21 January 2009

  3. I’m late responding, but this was really helpful–thanks to both of you. Giggle has also been tough on the knees of late, especially with his sweatpants which he really likes to wear. A friend just came from the US, and we had her bring about 20 pairs of socks and ten pairs of underwear, to fill in til this summer.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 23 March 2009

  4. […] each summer. But it’s also in part because I have been feeling homesick. Also, the boys are growing out of their clothes. And, Tanzania and Kenya are looking to be more expensive than putzing around in the […]

    Pingback by Looking ahead to summer « We Four in Egypt | 23 March 2009

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