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It’s no secret that when you enter any retail store and head to the baby or child section that there’s an immediate and noticeable disparity between boy and girl clothes. Why, oh why, are there racks and racks of choices for girls but somehow boys are left with barely a table?
Then there’s a whole other discussion surrounding the gender stereotypes that plague boys and girls clothing. Why do boys have to be reduced to dinosaurs, construction machines, superheroes, and robots and girls to ballerinas, princesses, pets, pink frills and tulle, and dresses? The slogans and words on clothing also perpetuate stereotypes of the roles of boys and girls. I recognize that, yes, there are boys and girls out there that have those interests but it’s 2021 now…shouldn’t we, as parents and consumers, deserve better choices for our children?
So, what’s a mom to do?
I took to researching and hunting for the best alternatives to these issues surrounding gender stereotypes in children’s clothing and found a few I’d love to share!
Alternatives for Baby/Kids Clothes
Turning my frustration into action, I’ve discovered some great companies that provide appropriate clothing for both boys and girls that solve a lot of the issues we’re seeing in today’s stores.
- Maisonette – founded by females and former Vogue employees, this is an up and coming family brand that has a curated collection of baby and children’s clothing (in addition to gear, toys, decor, and more).
- H&M Baby/Kids – I’ve always enjoyed shopping here for Greyson because of the affordability aspect, but also their selection of basics for baby/kids. Although it’s fast fashion, they are making more of an effort to sustainably source their materials – so, go with your gut on this one.
- Primary.com – Another female founded company, Primary provides quality clothing for babies and kids without the gender stereotypes, slogans, logos, or labels.
Sidenote: don’t be afraid to jump the aisle and shop for your child(ren) in the opposite sex’s section. I just bought this adorable Baby Yoda onesie set for Olivia and it is technically in the boy’s section at Target.
Girls are allowed to like Star Wars, too…
Developmentally Appropriate Shoes
Okay, now let’s talk kid’s shoes.
The number one thing I hear my mom friends ask recommendations for are shoes for their kids. Either the “affordable” shoes (read: cheap) they bought are already beginning to break down after a few wears or the super adorable more expensive shoes with the superheroes or sparkles on them are so narrow in the toe that the child doesn’t even want to wear them. Either way, something needs to change about how accessible appropriate shoes are for developing children.
On a personal note: Greyson has always had wide, chunky feet (thanks to his Dada) and finding shoes that fit him appropriately had always been a struggle. My husband also has wide feet and has experienced frustration his entire life in finding shoes (even as an adult) that were stylish, but comfortable. Thankfully, he discovered Ten Little and we’ve never looked back.
The only shoes worth discussing, in my honest opinion, is the brand Ten Little. They’re a female founded and owned and are moms who set out to develop shoes that are developmentally appropriate. They took the status-quo and flipped it by designing shoes that fit appropriately and foster proper foot development.
- they are sustainably manufactured
- approved vegan by PETA
- medically approved by advisors
- they’ve partnered with Soles4Souls where they encourage customers to send back their child’s outgrown shoes and donate them to communities in need.
As busy as Grey has always been, these shoes have stood the test of time. In our experience they’ve been durable and easy to put on. I also love that the insides help him remember which shoe goes on which foot for independence when getting dressed.
There you have it!
It will always take a bit of digging to find those alternatives when going against the grain of societal norms – but it’s so worth it when you stumble upon something great. There’s a lot of work still to be done here in America as it relates to gender stereotypes and gender roles for boys and girls, but at least the discussion surrounding the issues are being brought to the forefront.
However, for real change to take root it takes consumers like us to really make an impact. Therefore I couldn’t encourage you more to support local if you can, sustainable, and be mindful about the messages you’re sending (and supporting) when buying your children’s clothes.