Monday, September 27, 2010

Dress your baby in corduroy and drool

I am spinning off the bottom link from that last post into its own post because I decided I liked it too much to leave it a footnote. It's someone's ruminations on baby clothes and particular rules for that family's babies.  I agree with many of the observations and rules.

On gender and clothing:
A bright red outfit with a whale on it is a boy outfit. I would have guessed "girl", because I always thought red was a girl color, but no, it's "boy", because it's red, and because fundamentally everything relatively gender neutral is considered boy clothing. It's only girl clothing if it's pink or frilly.

Not that boys are any better off; 90% of boy's clothing is themed around war or sports, with a sprinkling of things with big engines and large, carnivorous animals, and the occasional 'miniature adult' outfit. All sorts of colors may be "boy" colors, but nonetheless, 90% of boy clothes are navy, orange, army green and khaki. I do buy my daughter mostly boy clothes, but I have to work hard to find them, and people are less worried by this than they would be by dressing a boy in girl clothes. Besides, it's possible to make any color or print acceptable for a girl by making it into a skirt (or, sometimes, just a frill) -- no similar transformation is possible for boys. If you take that pink flowery fabric, and make a perfect set of miniature army fatigues, embroidered with guns, tanks, and slavering lions, you have just made a perverse girl's outfit. No number of "boy" signifiers will make something sufficiently boyish if it contains even one strong "girl" signifier.
So true!  I'd also say that of the "neutral" yellow and green options, yellow is girl-neutral and green is boy-neutral.

I will disclose that I have PLENTY Of super girly clothes - including a recently purchased but absolutely necessary orange tutu.  I kind of hate myself for it, but I love it on Fidg. So there you go.  But I think a trip through a baby clothing section should convince people of early-age coding and disabuse them of this "biological preference for dolls or trucks" nonsense.

On their own clothing rules:
  • No war. If she wants to wear a uniform, she can join the military. Or even the girl scouts. Neither of which will take her before she masters sitting up!
  • Frivolity is good. Babies can get away with wearing anything, so why not man-eating flowers and rainbow tie-dye? She is not going to interview for any jobs, and nobody will take her seriously until she can talk more and drool less, no matter what she's wearing.
  • Opal does not have a waist. It's not her fault; that's just what babies are like. But it does mean that those cute little blue jeans are either going to cut into her or fall off; there's really no middle ground. And, while we're at it, that cute little T-shirt that goes with it will ride up under her armpits within seconds (if it were tight enough not to, it would be impossible to get on.) Why people make these things is beyond me. Overalls and shirts with crotch snaps are the only way to go.
I haven't seen "war" on clothing too much, but I guess baby uniform type stuff exists. Fatigues do. Or, excuse me, BDUs.  I know my lingo, yo.

I totally agree with the pants issue, however. I can't seem to find a way to get a pair comfortably on the kid.  Dresses would make more sense for girls AND boys, frankly.  I think all baby clothes should be dresses with snaps all the way up the front.  No trapping the baby's head inside, no awkward waistband placement.


  1. Yeah. This drives me crazy. We haven't had to buy many clothes for Lola since we were deluged with clothes upon her arrival. Ninty percent of it is pink. When we do shop for her ourselves, we get her a lot of stuff from the boys section. And someone explain to me why my child needs bootcut pants at 3 months? We got some of these. Not because they're bootcut but because they're polka doted and striped. So cute. But she can't walk and doesn't wear shoes, let alone boots. ???

  2. I think when we were small, baby clothes and kids clothes were just that - baby and kids clothes. Now, there seem to be more (mostly?) shrunken grown-up clothes.

    I just bought Fidg a sweater dress from Old Navy that I totally would wear (if I had the figure for it). I am part of the problem.

    At least they were boot cut and not skinny.

  3. Boy clothes suck. Unless I want Alex to wear tractors, monsters, that ugly Paul Frank monkey, etc. Dinos and animals are ok. Girl stuff is so much cuter and there's a much bigger selection.

  4. Lily is mostly in cotton pants. There are oodles of options which is great. Dresses just don't seem to work for rolling around.They have some really cute skirt pant combos that are great for rolling.

    The worst to me are some of the patterns. I swear some of these manufacturers were dropping acid. There truly is no other explanation for the designs.

  5. I find myself (without thinking about it too much) dressing the kid in mainly functional clothing. At her age that means clothing for crawling and wriggling around in. So onesies and pyjamas for her average day. The colour is purely secondary and usually whatever is on top of the clothing pile.

    I'll often dress her in something smart for going out in, but just as often I won't.

    If we lived in Tahoe she would never be out of a tiny one-piece ski-suit. It would be neon pink but only because I'd want it to look like the 80s.