Amicie, 6 mois
Creative Commons License photo credit: Frédéric de Villamil

The baby “Onesie” is actually a name given to the baby bodysuit, creeper, snapsuit, or diaper shirt by Gerber Childrensware, Inc. Over time the term has basically become standard American English, much as “Kleenex” is now the norm instead of “facial tissue”. Baby onesies have really been around for quite awhile, in some form or another, effectively rendering them a tried-and-tested option for your baby. Fortunately, all this trying and testing by mothers for a hundred years, coupled with technological advances, has brought about many spiffy improvements over what your great-grandma wore.

The 1920s-style romper is the ancestor of the baby onesie as we know it, though in the 20s, most babies (even the boys) were still sporting the dress-style of clothing, probably for ease. Although the snaps that make onesies so convenient were invented in 1885, it was by a German inventor named Heribert Bauer and they weren’t quite the type we know today. Thus, this onesie uses buttons and what appears to be very scratchy material, rather than the snaps and soft cotton models we get to dress our babies in now.

By the 1950s we had our beloved snaps on the baby onesies, plus a little color. The fit wasn’t quite the same, but chances are good that babies of the day didn’t notice or care, though their mothers really should have noticed the granny-panty (predecessor of the “Steve Urkel”) look of it. Chances are also good that they didn’t have nearly as many to choose from, as these onesies were made more intricately and thus were more expensive (relatively speaking… after all, we’re talking about a time when gas was $.27 per gallon).

And currently we have the final product, the pièce de résistance of baby onesies, the stylish, comfortable, convenient conglomeration of the past 100 years or so of trial and error in the baby clothing world. It just makes the spine tingle blissfully to think about.