Dress Up For Boys

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



Yesterday during the time I normally allot for prepping for the following days blog post I was perusing the online retail site, Smallable. I innocently followed a pinterest link and was subsequently sucked into dreamland of all the cute outfits I could get for my boys; well my little ones that is - my big boy has officially shopped in the mens section for the last few years. I have to say it's not as easy to find clothes for boys that evoke that same feeling of "aw!" that I get when I pass through the girls section. M+L also seem to gravitate more towards the girls section when we are shopping too. The clothes are usually softer, more comfortable and more colorful and have things they like - like sparkles. Which I am totally fine with, but it's nice to find some nice and stylish basics. I find that boy clothes at your regular box stores seem to be pretty heavily gender specific in a way I am not really into. In fact I am just more of a gender-neutral dresser for little ones. I like the innocence of these years where gender truly means very little in being and learning who you are in the world around you. I remember when M+L first started in speech pathology and the speech path asked me if they knew the difference between 'boy and girl' and if they 'knew their gender' (they were 3 at this time). And it felt like some test and for a moment I was like oh, shit they are going to fail this. And then I snapped out of it and said, "no, but that's on me, and it's not important to me. It is important to me however that they just know who they are. That they can like dolls if they like dolls, or like pink if they like pink (they happen to love both). They can like cars and trucks and wrestling too and it simply has to do with them - not their gender." Don't get me wrong I love being a female and I hope they love being a males, but I think the confines of gender can be more confusing and sometimes limiting if we just go off of societies norms and expectations. Especially for those as free-spirited as kids.

So without further digression, I just was so happy to come across a shop that has so many lovely basics. Lovely girl clothes and boy clothes and lots of just kid clothes too. Nothing with gratuitous statements on childhood or gender - unless fashion is your statement, then it has that in spades (and just for fyi, this is another 'i wish it was a sponsored post,' because it's not. I just really like their vast selection). After the two hours I spent there I decided to just turn it into a blog post of its own and do some virtual shopping, where in which, I would buy all of these things and much more. Now I just need to narrow it down to a few things for real-life shopping; maybe for under the tree? I like to use christmas as an excuse to buy kids clothes that I would wear and call them presents, which works because they all love clothes. That bear sweater is definitely topping the list right now. And the grey cardi . . . and the duffle coat . . . and the tiger shoes (they would love those shoes) . . . and there's a lot more I didn't add to this list. 

15 comments:

  1. I was glad to read this. You know when I was younger I really loved my brother's clothes much more than mine. White tennis shorts, big rugby striped shirts. I tried wearing them once and got in so much trouble. Who knew that this is pretty much how I'd dress as an adult. I agree, it's so important to let children just develop as people rather than a particular gender. There will be enough of that later on. More importantly did you get the bear shirt?

    xo Mary Jo

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    1. i like to say 'when i was little boy' because i pretty much was until i was about 8. in fact i looked a lot like a little boy (my hair was slow growing), i dressed like a boy and wearing tights made me angry. i had robots and stretch monsters and remote control cars and race tracks. i mean let's face boy toys are cooler. i find a lot of joy in just seeing my kids pick things that they like and everyone thinks they are girls even when they are clearly dressed as boys, so for us clothing really has no affect ;)

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  2. Really cute clothing, some items I can even see myself in. Hello gray cardi and hoodie. Sometimes I see prints on kids clothing that I find downright offensive and would never let my kids wear it. I remember there was an outlash at a kids clothing chain when they came up with tees for girls that read something along the lines of my best subjects: shopping etc. As if I want my kids to be squeezed into stereotypes...xo

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    1. oh my gosh, you know target does a pretty good job, in fact this summer they had a ton of pink clothes in the boys section which m+l bought out, but still i pass those shirts that have slogans like 'i am a princess' (for girls obviously) or 'don't make me punch you in the face' (for boys obviously). that kind of stuff just drives me crazy! and, yeah, i'd wear almost everything on this list. xx

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  3. If outfit #5 came in adult sizes, I would wear every piece of it in a heartbeat. I'm surprised the boys' speech pathologist would push the issue of gender identity at age 3! Who cares about that at that age?? You're doing such a good thing by letting them play with whatever toys they want or wear clothes from any section of the store they like. Some parents are really hard-lined with that sort of stuff and it doesn't make any sense to me, honestly. I'm not a parent, so maybe I don't get a say :) xo

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    1. ha! as i started making that outfit i kept thinking about you!! the pants and shirt seemed very twinsy to me ;) yeah, that particular question really caught me off guard. in order to qualify for speech they have to show a delay, and they test for both speech and developmental so they can offer the best course of action depending on their needs. and for a moment i was like wait a minute are they testing children's development on whether they have a grasp of their gender at 3?! but of course she totally accepted (and agreed) with my explanation. i know a lot of parents that are hard-lined about it and some kids seem all boy or all girl too - whether that is intrinsic to gender, well, i'll leave that for scientist and psychologists and anthropologists to investigate, but i personally think it's a mixture of both nature and nurture. and for me, i just want to nurture my kids to be kind, confident and strong humans whether they are in pink or blue or both ;)

      and even though you are not a parent yet, i think it's a much broader issue, so of course you can have an say on that!

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  4. First of all this shop is full of such lovely boy and girl clothes! Cute, basic, kind of European (which I like)...the Gymboree clothing can get a little loud. Second, totally agree about genders feeling confining. Mila wants a tractor, dump truck and train for Christmas. The first thing I thought was: those are kind of boyish toys. But then I quickly thought...who cares? Why am I thinking this? She's 2.5 years and so what if she likes trucks and trains when she's 16...30? And quite frankly I'd rather play with a toy train than a doll anyway. ;) Good post Christine!

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    1. milo wanted nothing more than a barbie a couple months ago. and one of the things i said many years ago, before i was a parent, was "i'll never buy barbies for my daughters." well, first you learn as a parent that you will do all sorts of things you didn't think you would before you had kids, because it's not as black and white as it may seem. and i didn't have any girls so i didn't think i'd have to worry about, but milo proved me wrong. so then the barbie became less about the "female image" that girls see and more about "do i not get my son a barbie?" i got him a barbie. she's naked all the time . . . just like ours were, haha.

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  5. fantastic post. most of my friend either just had or are about to have babies. and it's frustrating to watch what's going on. most of them are like you. they don't buy into the pink/blue divide. but all the presents they get are divided into just that: pink & blue. all the girls get dolls, the boys little cars. how backwards???

    I love this selection here. in particular the polar bear sweater :)

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    1. when i had fisher my oldest, this was back in 97 and i was only 22, i ended up with so much baby stuff that was dark blue and bright red and had baseball bats and tools and tractors and airplanes and trucks . . . so when i had m+l 5 years ago i request non-gender specific clothes - i ended with everything mint green. so apparently that's the gender neutral color of choice ;)

      that sweater is my favorite too :)

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  6. Before I had my daughter- I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to raise Nora to like both pink and blue. That if she played with more a kitchen set, she would also play with a tool set. I still can't give her a doll, but I am ok with stuffed animals. I think what's hard is that I don't want her to make her own definition of the sort of person she is meant to be not what she is supposed to be.. if that makes sense.. maybe I shouldn't be reading blogs after 2 glasses of wine :) lol

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    1. i agree. i really try not to steer them in any direction. my big faux pas is when they do play with their dolls i will sometimes refer to them as mama and i am like "gah!!!!" and the fact that i love seeing them play with dolls is to see them being nurturing humans, and then i go and blow it with using the word mama. of course i correct myself but it's so irritating how ingrained we are. the only thing i am really off limits about it guns, but i don't care as much if they play a game or watch a show that has guns (not like terrible violence or anything but like legos star wars or something). it's like if they see someone smoking and drinking it's a lot different than saying "here's some fake cigarettes and a fake beer" now go play.

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  7. When I was pregnant with Cal we didn't find out his gender and everyone, EVERYONE I knew thought I was having a girl. (except me) So no matter how much or often I said, "We don't know yet," people were convinced. I even had a boss, a good friend, say, "Oh she's having a girl," to someone who asked. So at my baby shower almost every single gift we received was pink.

    Anyhoo, not sure where I'm going with this except that the stereotyping starts BEFORE birth and backfires even then. ;) We were like you, and to this day Cal wears a ton of pink (like this morning, for example), mostly because he likes it and it looks good on him. I agree with one of your above comments, being kind and strong and good-hearted is way more important than whether you're dressed in pink or blue.

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    1. i didn't know fisher's gender either until he was born (one of the best most magical moments of my life btw.). everyone was convinced i was having a boy (because i really mean while i was pregnant and people liked to say i was filled with testosterone), but i was convinced i was having a girl because how could i not? what would i do with a boy? so i didn't really get very much until after he was born and i think the fact that it was so exciting to find out he was actually a boy everyone went overboard with the boy clothes. i can't believe people preemptively bought you girl clothes! that's too funny. xoxo

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  8. Uhhh I'm going to be really really really pissed if they don't make all of these things in adult sizes. I struggle with gender specific clothes even now as a grown woman - good on you AND your boys for liking what's comfortable and what makes them feel happy, regardless of what section they find it in

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