Before Mac was born, we purposely didn’t find out whether she was a girl or a boy. I love surprises and Andrew was nice enough to go along for the ride. I found it interesting how annoyed people got by the fact that we didn’t find out. I kept hearing complaints about how that made it soooo hard for them to shop for the baby because how would they know whether to buy pink stuff or blue stuff. Of course once Mac was born, we were given plenty of girly, frilly things for her to wear, but we continued to do most of our shopping from the “boys” section. Read on to find out why we don’t limit her to only girls clothing.
I’m going to let you all in on a secret: another reason we didn’t find out whether Mac was a boy or girl is so that I wouldn’t get a bunch of gendered clothing. I’m planning on having more children, so I figured if I could get mostly gender neutral clothing, I could save money in the long run. When I made my baby registry, I added some clothes that were pretty neutral. I was then accused of “knowing I was having a boy” because I put a flannel, button-up onesie on the registry. Apparently only boy babies can look like lumberjacks?
Now, I am not against pink, frilly clothing. It can be cute and Mac loves a good tutu to twirl around in. (In fact, the picture below is a good example of a Mac outfit: t-shirt, sweat pants and a tutu.) But there are several complaints I have about “girls” clothing and “boys” clothing. (Also, I use quotation marks because honestly if a boy is wearing a pink flowery shirt, it is a boys shirt because a boy is wearing it. I just call it the “boys” section and the “girls” section because that is how the store and people label them.)
The biggest complaint I have that has kept me shopping in the “boys” section is that everything fits so much different. “Girls” shorts are micro tiny while “boys” shorts are knee-length. “Girls” t-shirts are skin-tight uncomfortable while “boys” t-shirts are comfortable, loose clothing. And why is that? As we become adults, that becomes the way we are “supposed” to dress, but why are we forcing that on toddlers? Especially when they are just learning how to move and walk and run. Boys can be comfortable enough to run and play while girls have to struggle to breathe in their skin-tight shirt. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the general idea.
When Mac was around a year old, we went shopping for a few t-shirts because summer was coming. We picked a t-shirt from each clothing section. From the “girls” section, I picked a Little Mermaid shirt. From the “boys” section, Andrew picked a Star Wars t-shirt. Both were the same size (12 month) but fit totally different. The “girls” shirt was so tight that we only put it on her 2 or 3 times before we packed it away. She still wears the “boys” shirt even though she is now 2. You can see her wearing it in the picture below. (And if you’d like more information about the water pouring activity she is doing, make sure you sign up for my e-mail list. By signing up, you’ll receive my free e-book “Mostly Free, Montessori-Inspired Activities” where you can learn more about water pouring.)
Walking through the “girls” clothing section, everything seems to be either pink, sparkly, or frilly. That is fine every once in a while. But when we want a Star Wars shirt for Mac, we don’t want a “girls” Star Wars shirt. It doesn’t have to be pink or have an attached tutu or be sparkly. We just want a plain old Star Wars shirt.
Now that Mac is older, we have started to buy her underwear. We don’t watch a lot of television besides PBS, so I didn’t really want to buy her underwear with licensed characters. I figured a few pairs with flowers were okay. But I didn’t expect every “girls” pair to have flowers or be pink or have some kind of princess. I walked over to the “boys “section and there were plenty of packages with just plain pairs or striped pairs.
(Check out my toddler gift guide to see the kind of plain clothing I’m talking about. It is from the “boys” section, but looks just fine on Mac too.)