Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Children's Clothes & why I stormed out of Primark.

I'm sure I've mentioned on many occasions now that things are a little tight around here, with the extortionate cost of childcare and my new part-time status, we are cutting back on a lot of luxuries. So when I noticed that a few of Zoe's t-shirts were looking a bit worn/short I decided to head to primark to pick up some cheap ones for her to wear to nursery. She often comes back from nursery covered in paint/mud/food etc... So I don't want to put her in her nice clothes.

Anyway, so I nipped into Primark in Newcastle (which I not somewhere I usually shop to be honest, but its cheap) after work and headed straight for childrenswear. Annoyingly in some sort of 'genius' marketing ploy Primark force you to walk around the entire shop floor twice to actually reach the second floor. (If you are reading this Primark, it doesn't make me buy more, it makes me want to shop with you less)

So when I finally reached the second floor, I found myself in the boys section among a sea of batman/spiderman/minion t-shirts and super cool dinosaur hoodies. There are two full tables of Tshirts in bold and bright colours, with eyecatching slogans and designs. I head for the girls section hoping to see something similar, and find one table of t-shirts nicely folded in varying shades of neon pink and purple, mostly emblazoned with slogans like 'Little Princess' and 'True Love'. I find myself thinking, how come the boys get cool superheroes and tshirts about adventure and being awesome and girls get slogans about looking cute, or covered in princesses. Don't get me know there were a couple with cute illustrations of ice creams and a few simple stripes, but most had added glitter or 'bling'.

Now I know some girls love the whole princess thing, and I am sure in a year or so Zoe will be asking for the latest disney princess costume, which I have no issue with. However, what I do have an issue with is there being no alternative. Why can't a girl go on an adventure or be a hero, or even like dinosaurs or football?

Oh and don't even get me started on shorts, why on earth would you want your nappy wearing toddler in a pair of tight denim hotpants is beyond me, a bulging nappy out the side is not a good look for anyone. Boys get knee length board shorts, and girls get hot pants. Baffling.

What I would love to see is a range of clothing for toddlers which could be worn by either boys or girls, why do we need to restrict things at such a young age. I hate hearing people tell boys they can't play with dolls or girls that they shouldn't play with cars. So why should clothes be any different, if a girl wants to wear a spiderman t shirt, or a boy wants a Unicorn t shirt, why stop them? Is it really that big a deal?

With my designer hat on I decided to have a go at creating something along these lines, and yes it is harder than I thought, but this is what I came up with...

I'd just like to say I have zero experience in designing kids clothes, so these aren't great, but you get my point

I have to admit that there has been a rise in the number of high street brands making more gender-balanced clothing, with Next and M&S both making girls clothes with dinosaurs and more bold/primary colours; which is great. I wouldn't say I was necessarily looking for complete gender neutrality, I'd just like to see a lot less stereotyping of girls and boys gender roles. Here are a few of my top picks out there right now;

T-shirt, Shorts, and Dress from Boden.

All from Gap, I love the fit and style of their girls clothes.

Dino T-shirts from Next, 2-pack T-shirts from H&M, and Cool T-shirt set from M&S.

So, what do you think? Am I over-reacting and need to just chill out a bit? Or do you agree that the gender stereotyping of kids clothes is ridiculous?

I'd love to hear others views on this.



  1. Completely agree with you. My dinky one has worn some of my son's baby clothes that I felt were gender neutral as it would be a waste to buy more clothes for her even though they were well cared for in the 14yrs between uses. It's disgraceful girls are set up to 'conform' before they've even had a chance to formulate their own opinions, and don't get me started on crop tops & provocative clothing!

  2. That dino dress is immense!!! I'd 100% wear that.

    Katie xoxo

  3. Love it Helen - well said! I remember the same problem when my two were little. Your point about the escalators in Primark resonates too - it drives me mad that you have to go up one, then do a lap of the shop to get to the next escalator! Your designs are fab - when will some retailers catch up and realise that we are a long way from pink for girls and blue for boys these days. When my girls were small and went to play group/nursery, the first toy they headed for was the garage or the fort, and the boys usually headed straight for the little kitchen or the dolls prams - even if they were pushing some play-doh around instead of a dolly!

  4. Totally agree. Gender stereotyping is so pervasive and starts so young. We have to vote with our purses!

  5. Hari OM
    I LOVE your designs!!! I think clothing is one of those products which does speak to what one pays for it; the lower the $$ the more naff the design, never mind the quality. I am always aghast at what is charged for kids clothes anyway - talk about captive market!!! My sister had the right idea I think... for clothes that could be worn for those times where mess and muck might be a challenge, trawl the op-shops for quality items, pre-loved, but at about the same price you'd be pay P. YAM xx
    (...oh, Aussie-ism.. you'd know them as thrift stores/charity shops)...

  6. Me too! I often think this about kids clothes.

  7. The funny thing is kids have no clue, they are purely taught by us that blue is a boy colour and pink is a girl colour etc... Kids couldn't give a toss until they are taught what they can and can't do. .

  8. I do frequent our local charity shops and have found some bargains. :)

  9. Yes, I totally agree with you (as a big dinosaur fan, I always found it tricky to find anything until I began making my own clothes). Also, have you seen the Let Toys Be Toys site? You'll agree with their sentiment and I'll point out your post to them.

  10. I hate Primark at Newcastle....By the time I get to the kids clothes I'm done I just want out of there. lol
    I agree with you and I let my girls choose most of their own clothes....My youngest has been know to wear "boys" clothes before. Especially the t-shirts.
    Your designs are awesome and I love that dinosaur dress. I want it myself. :D x

  11. I hate the fact that everything for girls is pink! I like to go for different colours if I can. Oh and if you don't dress your girl in pink everyone thinks she is a boy...

  12. Thanks for sharing the let toys/clothes be on twitter, really interesting.

    Also dinosaurs rule!

  13. Have you checked out Polarn O Pyret in Fenwick? None of their range is gender specific and it's really well made, I've bought some adorable outfits for friend's kids from there. I'm sure you'll love their ethos! http://www.polarnopyret.co.uk/polarnopyret-quality-kidswear

  14. disqus_NvwYtsif4t21 April 2016 at 17:27

    All kids clothes should be the same design, let's stop gendering kids when they are so impressionable

  15. Newcastle Family Life22 April 2016 at 21:05

    I hate the Primark you are on about it takes forever to get where you need to be. I don't shop in Primark for children clothes as I find them a bit tacky as it is all bling and skimpy and not really toddler friendly like you say. I love Next as they do lovely gender neutral stuff as do Morrisons , there kids clothes are so cheap and lovely we get all are little girls nursery clothes from there xx

  16. I love some of the super cool dresses you can get for girls but on the whole,
    I often find myself glad that I can pick from the boys clothes which seem to be a lot more diverse! We didn't know what we were having & so people bought such cool gender neutral stuff (we said we didn't want white!) and it really made people think. My little niece wears lots of boys clothes as she loves Spider-Man just as much as Peppa! Shame that you have to go to the boys section though! Think your post was totally right.


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