I have a question regarding this sentence

Yesterday, I went to the mall to buy child clothing/clothes for my baby.

Is it wrong to write it this way? Or should it be children? Because I always see this phrase "Baby Clothing" on every commercial/advertisement.

I looked up the internet, but the majority use "Children Clothing", but I don't know why 'child clothing' is wrong.

  • 1
    Those are nouns used as attributes of other nouns, not as adjectives. And I can't believe anyone says "children clothing". That sounds completely unnatural. It’s either "children’s clothing" or else "child clothing".
    – tchrist
    Feb 26, 2018 at 22:06
  • 2
    You have come across an idiosyncrasy of the English language here. It is often impossible to predict idiomaticity on the basis of known patterns. Baby clothing, using the singular-form attributive noun, is idiomatic. But children clothing isn't. Traditionally, children's clothing, but increasingly childrens clothing, is the correct choice. Feb 26, 2018 at 22:07
  • @EdwinAshworth Shame on you and all your childrens too.
    – tchrist
    Feb 26, 2018 at 22:07
  • @tchrist They were probably conceived in working mens clubs. Feb 26, 2018 at 22:08
  • Related: What is the correct plural possessive of kids?. Feb 26, 2018 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


It IS redundant to define the kind of clothing in this particular sentence. You only need to write "I went to the mall to buy clothing for my baby" and the meaning is clear. Alternatively you could have "...buy baby clothes".

In the UK, clothing stores have departments: menswear, womenswear, children’s wear, ladieswear, kidswear. There’s also children’s clothing, ladies' clothing. Note that in all of these, the person part is plural. It is wear (or clothing) for all children (or men, women, babies). There is an exception to this in "baby": for some reason baby clothes and baby wear are acceptable, and I’ve never seen a babieswear department. Wiktionary.com gives it as a rare synonym. The only reason I can give for this is the verbal sound: men, women, children all end in "n", and the "s" follows naturally. It’s slightly less natural after "baby". Alternatively, it’s because of the accepted use of "baby" as an attributive noun An adjective or a noun?

  • 1
    It's by no means redundant to use 'I went to buy childrens [with or without the apostrophe] clothing for my baby as we won't have the shops available where we're going for the next five years.' Feb 26, 2018 at 22:37
  • My sentiments exactly. baby clothes (the acceptable exception). And children's clothing. And I know because a family member had a store that sold children's clothing for 22 years. Yes, there is an exception for baby clothes. :) And I would not write children without an apostrophe s if followed by clothing or clothes. The entire answer applies to AmE as well. I guess the distaff side knows more about this....
    – Lambie
    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:10

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