Monday, October 25, 2010

My Beef with Children's Clothing Manufacturers

I'm sure that this will come as no surprise to parents of boys, but there is some serious inequality in the availability of clothing for baby boys versus baby girls (and I expect that this trend continues somewhat as children get older).  Go into any baby department in any store, and you'll notice pretty quickly that the girl's section is about three times as large as the boy's section.  I'll be honest - most of the time, I kind of like this disparity.  For one, I'm a terrible decision maker, so having limited choices is really better for me.  For another, baby/toddler girl clothes are kind of hard to resist - even Jason can't contain his oohs and awes when we happen to wander into the girl's section.  If I had a little girl, I'd be way too tempted to spend money on things we don't really need.

However. There are times when limited choices are a major challenge.  The difference in availability of clothes seems to be even more pronounced when it comes to dressy outfits.  And herein lies the heart of my beef with clothing manufacturers.  It would seem that, unless it is Christmas or Easter, baby boys only want, no, only need,  to wear play clothes or clothes that make them look like tiny versions of some very hip male adult (who is most likely, not a father).  They do not ever need to attend weddings, funerals, or even church.  Unless of course their parents want to spend half a paycheck at some high end children's clothing store.

Not only do we go to church (almost) every Sunday and in fact have relatively formal expectations for our attire, but our family has had four major events to attend since Cyrus was born, all of which required something nicer than a pair of jeans.  For each event, I've struggled to find something that looked nice enough for family pictures, but didn't scream the nearest holiday occasion.

Now that Cyrus is walking, I've reached another level of frustration - dress shoes! Go to Target and there are rows of cute little Mary Janes in all different colors.  For boys you have two choices - a pair of inflexible black lace up shoes (which anyone with a 15 month old knows is just a tantrum waiting to happen) or brown suede loafers with a thick white sole. Hmm.

Our most recent occasion for needing dressy clothes is, unfortunately, the funeral of my Grandfather.  I wanted something nice, but understated, and I didn't want Cy to be all decked out in red and green.  Believe me when I tell you that my mom and I spent over 4 hours searching for something that was a) appropriate for the occasion, b) was not a cheap polyester suit and c) would have more than one use.

Fortunately, we eventually found an outfit, including shoes.  None of it was cheap, but I think we'll get several uses out of it.  Plus, I happen to think he looks pretty dashing!  All the more reason that there should be more options for dressing up little boys.  Just try and tell me this isn't as cute as a little girl in a party dress!

Excuse the tags.  This was the "make it sure it fits in case we have to take it back" wearing.  Also, notice the cell phone?  It's an out-of-service one that my parents had lying around and it's pretty much his favorite toy.  I hope this isn't foreshadowing...


  1. Since I have girls, I'm on the easier side of this, but I have also noticed the disparity. You did a great job--Cyrus looks great!

  2. Your son does look dashing!
    My friends who have boys always have the same issue - it's incredibly hard to find boys clothes that are nice quality and affordable, and that also look good. I think more companies are popping up online to address this, but local stores just don't seem to be catching on.


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