On a Rampage…About Boys’ Clothes


I should have realized sooner, I suppose, that sexism begins on day one. But I’m not going in the direction you might think. No, today I’m on a rampage about boys’ clothes.

I have never had to buy very many clothes for my kids; we’ve been the grateful recipients of several tons of children’s clothing over the years, so shopping for baby clothes is sort of a novelty! I went to Target on Saturday (yes, one week before Christmas, having forgotten the stroller, which meant I had to carry Michael in my arms all over that madhouse of a mall…didn’t think that one through very clearly) in search of a Christmas outfit for a newborn boy. Target had nothing dressy-Christmasy, but I did find some of those cute fleecy outfits: one cream with red reindeer and brown pants, one light blue with a polar bear.

“Those are cute,” Christian said when I got home, “but they’re really not dressy.”

I sighed and shrugged. “Well, I have to go to Barnes & Noble for Mom on Monday,” I said. “I’ll go over to Penney’s. They’ll have that kind of stuff.”

So yesterday I trekked back to the Mall (this time with stroller!) and excavated the baby department in search of dressy Christmas clothes for a baby boy. Would you like to know what I found?


There were a dozen and a half different styles of super-frilly, satiny, shiny, sparkly dresses for newborn GIRLS–all on the clearance rack, I might add; apparently as of December 19th, Valentine’s Day is the pre-eminent holiday…I could go on ad nauseam about that, but it would be another post…but the only clothes for boys on that rack were onesies that said obnoxious, offensive things like, “WHATEVER SANTA DOESN’T BRING ME, GRANDMA WILL!”

I’ve always loathed what I call “attitude” clothes, but I’ve never seen them for boys before. It’s always girls’ clothes with words plastered across the derriere or the breasts, proclaiming “SPOILED! I’m perfect! Worship me! Princess in training! AVAILABLE!” Things that set girls up to be insufferable or objectified (or both).

The exporting of “attitude” wear to boys’ clothes is not attractive.

But even more irritating is the dichotomy between girls, who are dolled up within an inch of their life beginning in the newborn stage, and boys, who apparently are never expected to dress up at all. What’s wrong with this picture?

If I complain to J C Penney headquarters, I’m sure I’ll get some bland, polite note back saying “We offer what people buy; there is no market for dressy boys’ clothes for Christmas.” But I don’t buy this argument. After all, it’s not like anybody’s offered us the opportunity to buy dressy boys’ clothes for Christmas, is it? I took a quick look online just now and the dressy outfits seem to start at 12 Months.

Well, on some level I can understand; it’s hard enough to get those tiny arms and legs into a sleeper, much less a shirt and vest and pants. But then, we seem to think it’s an acceptable sacrifice to make for girls, so why not for boys?

(Close rant.)

Just Write

7 thoughts on “On a Rampage…About Boys’ Clothes

  1. AMEN! I have had the hardest time finding something for Vincent. I’m stuck with a button down shirt I got hand-me-down and a pair of khakis that just barely fit for Christmas. They had suits at Sam’s for Dominic’s size about three months ago, but I didn’t pick one up…now I regret that. I can’t find anything.

    I had three girls first and never had a problem…not only could I always find something frilly and dressy for my girls, no matter their ages, but GRANDMA was always stocking (still is actually) their closets with clothes and they have so much, that a frilly/dressy dress gets worn once or twice or something. But yet, she isn’t loading down my boys’ closet with suits and nice Sunday shoes! (Not that I expect her to clothe my children…but I hope you understand what I mean)

  2. Carrie

    As the mother of 4 boys, I agree wholeheartedly!!!! My daughter had zillions of options for cute clothes, while for the boys it was really hard to even find a pair of khakis and a polo at times!! It gets a tiny bit better as they get older, but not a lot. 🙂 When they get older and want to wear a tie, you can only find them in ugly prepackaged outfits or at Dillards or Von Maur for $30.

  3. Carter’s has cute dress up outfits for boys. And Macy’s does too. Also, Target was pretty much sold out of everything when I went last week. I think people have scooped up all the good stuff early!

    I have two boys so I can relate. I try to find clothes that just have stripes or are a plain color. Those shirts are few and far between. Most of them say stuff on them.

    • I thought about Macy’s but in the past Penney’s has always served me well…and Macy’s isn’t in the mall,so being on babysitting time made that a hassle I wasn’t ready for. 🙂 We don’t have a Carter’s store locally.

  4. As the mother of two boys, I completely empathize. We rarely require “dressy” clothes for the boys, but I recently did attempt to find something nice for my eldest to wear to the ballet. Got a sweater from Target. Not fancy, but it’ll do.

  5. As the mother of five boys (and no girls), I definitely agree! When my boys were newborn (many years ago), it was a challenge to find dressy clothes for them. I figured things had changed since my youngest (12) was a newborn…I guess I was wrong…

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