[a.k.a. "Layette", for the pinkies-up crowd]
Clothing is one of those strange things that I actually don't recommend you register for, per se.
Why? Because a) you will get a TON of clothes as gifts anyway (whether you like it or not). Hopefully you will also get hand-me-downs from relatives or friends and b) there are probably more imperative things that people should spend money on and c) what's available at one store location may not be available at others, blah blah blah.
Homecoming & the First Two Weeks
Your baby will be sporting his umbilical cord stump for the first 10-15 days. In these first couple of weeks, I recommend that you steer away from one-piece outfits like onesies and jammies as they can rub against the stump and prevent air flow.
In addition to folding down her diaper (so as to not rub against the stump), stock up on a few "kimono" tops, which wrap around and snap on the side, and also (fortunately) prevents you from having to pull something down over your baby's head, which can be a little intimidating in the beginning.
If the weather is warm, make it easy on yourself and get some adorable baby leg warmers. These make for the easiest diaper changes EVARRR (not to mention they are freakin adorable, gah!). If it's cold, go for some footie pants. Footie pants are the BEST, but for some reason are very hard to find.
It's nice to keep a hat on your baby's head for the first couple of weeks (godforBID you leave the house with a hat-less baby, all the old-timers and Chinese women will scold you). Most hats you will buy or receive as gifts are simply too BIG for a newborn. The crappy ones from the hospital work the best; steal as many as you can. Also, get some scratch mittens too to cover those sharp baby talons (did you see Edward Scissorhands?).
** Some say newborns should have access to their hands to soothe themselves (to suck their hand, thumb, etc), so a better bet might be to keep their nails trimmed instead!
Onesies are the staple of baby clothes (most stores call them "bodysuits" because Gerber owns the word Onesie). People use onesies instead of regular shirts because they snap at the crotch, thereby preventing them from hiking up and exposing sweet, kissable baby bellies to the cold. Unless you live in a warm climate, long-sleeved onesies are preferred to keep those pudgy little arms warm.
You should have at least several onesies for each stage of development. You can buy them in 3 and 5 packs and they're not terribly expensive. Diapers.com has a great selection, as does Target (reminder: Circo runs heee-yoooge). However, the mommies agree that our favorite onesies are from BabyGap. They hold up very well in the wash and are stretchy around the neck and shoulders, which makes for easy on and off.
There are a TON of onesies out there. Too many to list. If you have a sense of humor, try Cafe Press. Where else can you get a "Does my butt look big in this diaper" onesie? Ha-larious!
No explanation needed here.
If it's not warm, you'll need pants to accompany the aforementioned onesie. Jeans are a great staple because they go with just about anything. My favorite spot for jeans is Old Navy. BabyGap also has cute pants, although just a warning they run very slim and tall -- not great if you have a hunky chunky baby like me.
A note about baby pants..... they're not the easiest thing to get on and off. It requires a bit of juggling, which leads me to the KING of all clothing necessities....
C. The **FOOTED ONESIE**
The footed onesie: Remember it: write is down, take a picture of it.
Make no mistake about it, the footed onesie is the most awesome, easy, useful piece of clothing you can buy. Forget about: a onesie, pants, socks, shoes and mitts. The footed onesie takes care of it all! For practical (and lazy) mommies, this is the way to go.
Listen up: the problem is.... the clothing industry simply cannot decide what to CALL this piece of clothing, so what happens is they lump it in with other types of clothing: onesies, jammies, dresses...you name it, and they get lost in the mix. Because of that, they're kinda hard to find. I clearly remember having difficulty finding them when we finally declared war on Lucie's wardrobe (after her socks and shoes fell off 17 times in one day).
There isn't much distinction between footed onesies and jammies, per se, except the ones that look jammy-esque are called jammies. Potato, po-TAH-to. At the end of the day, who really cares?
So stock up on..... whatever it is you want to call them.
Jammies are easier to find because stores just call them pajamas, unlike the aforementioned situation. Footed jammies are the best to ensure those little feet stay nice and warm.
For newborns, you can also get sleeping gowns.
The benefit of the sleeping gown is easy middle-of-the-night diaper changes, so they are good for the first month when your baby poops every couple of hours and needs EASY, frequent nighttime diaper changes. After about 4-5 weeks, the pooping-frequency slows waaaay down and nighttime changes are not as critical. The downside of sleeping gowns is that they tend to hike up around baby's tummy, which is very annoying. So to ensure warm feet and legs, sleeping gowns are best used in conjunction with a swaddler or swaddling blanket. Speaking of...
In the first 4 months, you'll want to swaddle your baby. In the post-swaddle era, I highly recommend a wearable blanket, which I've written more about here.
Footwear for newborns is strictly for warmth. Let's face it, they aren't exactly running around in the street, right?
If your baby is not wearing a footed outfit, you'll need some socks to keep those feet warm -- and if it's pretty cold outside, some shoes or booties. The problem with baby socks and shoes is that they really, really do not stay on very well, with a few exceptions.
The socks-that-stay-on-the-best award goes to My Best Ever First Socks by Hannah Andersson. Trumpette makes the cutest little socks-that-look-like shoes for both girls and boys that stay on fairly well. Another highly-rated sock according to the mommies are those from Gap.
When it's cold outside, you'll want a jacket and/or a heavier coat, especially if you spend a lot of time outside walking, going to the park, etc. If you're in a milder climate, a simple hoodie may do the trick.
For your stroller, I loves me a good footmuff (insert "that's what he said"). Blankets do not stay on well, but a footmuff will stay in place and allow you to zip it up around your baby (this is sometimes also called "bunting"). The BundleMe by JJ Cole is the quintessential footmuff. It can be a little pricey, so see if you can get one used.
Brands and Stores
I asked 40 of our mommies what their favorite brands are. Here are the results:
1. Zutano Blue at Target: Cute and cheap. Runs: normal.
2. H&M - No link because you cannot BUY H&M Online -- YET (coming Fall of 2012, rumor has it)
3. Old Navy. A baby chick sez "cheap, cheap cheap!". Runs: slightly small.
1. Baby Gap. My favorite all-around brand, but hey, I'm a boring, white chick, so no surprise there. Runs: tall and skinny (ahem).
2. Gymboree Runs: big.
1. Janie and Jack (Gymboree's high-end brand). SO precious. They have great sales. Runs: tall.
2. Tea Collection Runs: small.
3. Baby Boden Runs: true to size.
Onward. Time for.... 9. Playtime!