This is a guest post by Sara Upton.
Battles with your opinionated preschooler over the day’s outfit.
Mountains of laundry to sort between the kids.
Clothes they outgrow faster than greased lightning.
When it comes to kids, sometimes clothing feels like a necessary evil; they have to wear them, of course, but it sure can cause a lot of fuss!
But what if there were an incredibly simple way to make the process of obtaining and selecting children’s clothing a whole heck of a lot easier?
What if there were a way for kids to explore and celebrate their own personal style that kept the entire family happy?
Enter gender-neutral clothing.
How Gender-Neutral Children’s Clothing Keeps the Whole Family Happy
It’s no secret that clothing tends to be fairly gender-specific, with separate collections, sizing, and store sections for men and women (or, as the case may be, boys and girls).
But as the gender-neutral parenting movement gains traction, the ‘pink is for girls’ and ‘blue is for boys’ way of thinking is slowly starting to shift. A greater number of fashion brands and retailers are beginning to produce and sell unisex clothing that is stylish, practical, colorful, and hardwearing.
Here are just a few of the ways gender-neutral clothing appeals to both kids and parents—because we all know the magic (and rarity) of finding something the entire family loves!
More Choices = A Smoother Morning Routine
As most parents of preschoolers know, getting your child dressed in the morning can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. Between the ultimatums, the tantrums, and the piles of discarded clothing strewn over their bedroom floor (and sometimes the entire house), it’s often a miracle you make it out the door at all!
While gender-neutral clothing won’t eliminate the drama of getting dressed altogether, it could help reduce it.
Consider this: when girls can only select between various pink and sparkly outfits—and boys are told they should only like blue and dinosaurs—it doesn’t take long for them to get the message that there’s a right and a wrong way to dress.
By eliminating this dichotomy, you’re getting rid of the idea that there are certain kinds of clothing kids must stick to or choose from. That’s not to say pink and blue clothes shouldn’t exist, but there should be a range of choices that aren’t solely dictated by gender.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
While the three R’s were originally created in an effort to help protect the environment and conserve natural resources by cutting down on the amount of waste we throw away, the idea can also be applied to clothing.
This is especially true considering the rate at which kids go through clothes (courtesy of those constant growth spurts and various unidentifiable stains)!
This particular benefit of gender-neutral clothing comes down to plain old practicality: hand-me-downs are far easier when they’re unisex. For the first decade or so of life, girls and boys have pretty much the same body shape, and, therefore, the same clothing needs. It only makes sense that if you plan on having more than one child, buying gender-neutral clothing from the start will end up saving you some serious money.
The ability to reuse your first child’s clothes when that second bundle of joy comes along—regardless of gender—gives you the flexibility to choose quality over quantity as well, ensuring (most of) the pieces you buy will last a bit longer.
Freedom to Explore
It’s easy to forget that, just like adults, kids have their own personalities, preferences, and opinions—including (and sometimes especially) when it comes to what they wear.
It’s important that we allow our children every opportunity to explore their identity. No matter our age, clothing is one way of expressing who we are as an individual. Experts say gender-neutral parenting encourages kids to learn and develop with more choices and fewer limitations. It allows them feel comfortable expressing themselves without being held back by what boys or girls “should” or “shouldn’t” do. This includes clothes, toys, imaginary play, and, eventually, bigger life choices.
By middle school, many girls have already internalized messages that higher math and science aren’t really for them, which could affect their potential career paths in the future. By encouraging kids to think independently and explore what they like—rather than what society tells them they should like—children will be able to go after what makes them happiest, whether it’s an outfit or a job.
Ready to add some gender-neutral (and adorable!) clothing to your child’s wardrobe? Here are five favorite brands to check out!
Tootsa is an “award winning unisex brand for children. Our kid’s clothing and accessories are stylish, practical, colourful, hardwearing and designed to be worn by both girls and boys alike.”
Primary is “a happy revolution in kids’ clothing. No logos, no slogans, no sequins. Just awesome colors in the softest fabrics we could find, all under $25.”
3. Jill and Jack Kids
“Jill and Jack Kids designs kids’ clothing that inspires the next generation of leaders to think beyond pink and blue. We offer playtime-worthy clothes that change the messages we’re sending to kids.”
4. Rabbit Skins
Rabbit Skins offers basic blank t-shirts, body suits, sweatshirts, and more in a wide variety of colors.
5. Jessy & Jack
Jessy & Jack makes “clothes without cliches for happy little humans…We believe dividing children’s worlds into ‘boy stuff’ and ‘girl stuff’ is silly, so we make clothes with themes that all kids can love.”
About Sara Upton
Sara is a freelance writer who loves all things related to fitness, technology, and fashion. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Sara and her writing services here.