Perhaps this question is asked a lot or there is a good and obvious reason (if so apologies), but why do almost all the high street shops I love split their baby and child clothing into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ online and in-store?
On a practical level it’s frustrating and when you see the split in terms of the patterns and designs it starts to look strangely out of date. Why can’t clothes just be divided by clothing type eg babygrows, t-shirts, skirts & dresses, jeans & joggers etc, and grouped by colour/age/price? That way we could head straight to one area to see everything on offer and then, for example, focus on the green section or the patterned section of the jeans & joggers area etc.
My daughter (like a lot of girls) loves blue, green, dinosaurs, robots and fire engines, as well as pink, red, birds and bunnies etc, and I know that my nephew has a similar range of tastes. Sadly, clothes with covered with cars, trucks, fire engines, rocket ships, aliens, monsters, planets, boats, trains and planes all tend to be in the boys’ section. As are – annoyingly – the warmer and more hard-wearing trousers and shoes. On the other hand, if you want brighter colours or pastels, or prints with birds, bunnies, flowers etc you need to go to the girls’ section. Clothes there tend to me more light-weight and pretty but not as inspiring or as practical for outdoor clambering.
As adults we wear our favorite colours, whether that’s brown cords on a woman or a pink linen shirt on a man. Why can’t babies and children (& their mothers!) have the same options.
Why can’t they have access to all the designs and prints out there rather than being told certain things are not for their sex? And what makes cars, planes or fire engines ‘just for boys’ anyway?! Pretty sure women drive them too, just try and stop us! Last Christmas, I was looking for joggers and jumpers for my toddler and my nephews when I realised how annoying it was to have to search two different web pages for the same item – simply because a retailer couldn’t imagine that a girl would love navy joggers with a bus on them, or that a boy might like yellow joggers with bees.
Time is precious, and no one wants to spend it on needless scrolling. It also worried me that silly assumptions were being made about (and then forced upon) the children I loved. Since then I’ve actually managed to go to physical stores a few times (will miracles never cease?!) and found the in-store divide even more annoying because my toddler has to actually deal with it too.
Following a visit to the local fire station with her childminder my daughter wanted to become a firefighter! I suggested she might need to wait a few years, but in the meantime we could look for some clothes with a fire engine print. We went to the usual suspects on the high street, but each time we were told (sadly in front of my daughter) to ‘check the boys’ section’. Cue ‘I’m not a boy, mummy?!’ & ‘Why are we going to the boys’ section?!’ queries from my daughter. In the end we found some nice grey joggers with a fire truck on the side and I repeatedly assured her that the shop assistant had been confused, fire trucks were definitely for boys AND girls.
I understand that some people feel that bunnies, butterflies and hearts are for girls and vehicles and planets etc are for boys, and I have no problem with my child if she wants to dress that way, or if others want to dress their kids that way, but why can’t children have free choice over what colours and patterns they want to wear? Why should shops make that call?
Physically there’s not much difference between the sexes when children are very young, so why can’t they (& we as parents) have access to the full range of designs? It feels like a totally outdated, and potentially damaging, idea from another time which we’ve somehow forgotten to sort out; telling our girls and boys – from birth(!) – that baking and bunnies are for girls and trucks and toy soldiers are for boys.
It feels a bit like obvious and yet unnoticed #everydaysexism.
Plus it’s also a real pain from a practical point of view when you have to search both sections in case you miss something. In the last year or two, some stores have made an effort to provide dinosaur or robot prints for girls as well as boys. They’ve created gorgeous fun dino prints which I’ve bought whenever possible and which often seemed to sell out fast! (Though I’d suggest these prints don’t always have to feature pink – but hey pink dinosaurs are better than no dinosaurs!). Sadly those same stores still seem to have separate girls’ and boys’ clothing sections online and in-store. I am however happy to note that John Lewis seem to have thought about this a bit and actually have both options – you can search under boys/girls BUT they also have a tab on their website marked ‘All baby and toddler clothes’ where you can further filter down to things like ‘baby and toddler trousers and jeans’. That’s exactly what I’m looking for!
Come on high street shops, let’s get this sorted once and for all! It can’t be that hard to get your web designer bods and your floor managers to show us your whole range of toddler jogging bottoms in one place – you can do it! This way you’ll help time-poor parents and sell cars, trucks, bunnies or rainbow prints to any kid who wants them!
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