Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based blogger, mama, creative, coffee-only with my oxygen, vegan, plus-size fashion lover and feminist.


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.