Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Boys Clothes Rant

A rant on children's clothes:

Toby is out of long sleeved shirts that fit him. He has three turtlenecks and another shirt that he will grow out of in a few months. I thought I was ahead of the game by buying long sleeved shirts on sale last year, but apparently the sleeves are like 2 millimeters too long and thus Toby refuses to wear them, even though he wore them last year.
So it's not as though he needs a new wardrobe, but it's in the back of my mind to check out long sleeved shirts whenever we're around kids clothes.

Stop #1 was Zellers because it's closing and everything was on crazy-sale. All they had left was the obnoxiously graphic emblazoned plastic-like shirts that I avoided buying anyway.
Stop #2 was Joe in Zhers, because I love everything they have. However, of the 4 styles they had that would actually fit Toby, only one seemed suitable enough to consider buying.
Stop #3 was Wal-Mart. I try to avoid Wally World, but you have to admit... they have everything...Everything that is except a suitable long sleeved boys shirt.

I loved boys baby clothes. I loved the brown and blue and green in simple stripes and minimal graphics. It brought some ease for my pining away for a girl, because aside from the adorable sundresses, I actually liked the boys clothed better.
Toddler clothes were pretty good too. Joe, Zellers, and Wal-Mart all had incredibly reasonably priced clothes that I (and Toby, which is saying something) loved.
Last winter I began to realize that I wouldn't be able to shop in the toddler section for long.
This winter I am now realizing how much I hate boys clothes.

What I find most annoying is that every single shirt for ages 4 and up has obnoxious slogans, full-length graphics or is made out of terrible material.
Even as we found ourselves in Bonnie Togs today I smiled at the Halloween shirts up front, before realizing they were all girl cut....and then saw the boys rack which was full of grotesque pictures of goblins and skeletons. Why cant boys have a shirt like the girls with just two cats eyes on the front? Not completely terrifying enough??
Even in the boys section i was hard pressed to find anything I'd actually buy. "Here comes Trouble!" "Loud, Louder, LOUDEST" "Mommy's little Monster".....And we wonder why boys are stereotypicaly harder to control?? Giant growling dinosaurs, angry fire breathing dragons, ATVs kicking up mud, race cars spinning their tires to be "First to the Finish"....
Toby stood in front of one rack for a while before asking "Mom, why is that guy putting everything on fire?" I said that I guess that's just what some dragons do.....it's pretty silly, eh. He said it was kind of mean.

On one hand I get that the fashion industry had this kind of code of 'What's Hot and What's Not' for each season...but the fashion industry also had the ability to push an image and make it sell.
What kind of boys are we breeding by pushing scary, fast, obnoxious things in their faces as soon as they're able to form a sentence? How hard is it to just include one plain striped shirt in your line? What about a hyper graphic tree design? I've seen some great ones on adult t-shirts that still look 'manly'. What about real animals like bears, owls, turtles or foxes?
In contrast, the girls clothing at this age DOES seem to include basic stripes and plains, but the graphics are lazy cats, make-up clad cartoon 'dolls', and sassy slogans like "So Spoiled" "Daddy's little Princess" and "So Cute It's Scary". What is THAT teaching our girls??

Maybe I'm just the odd duck out. There does indeed exist tree patterned tees and earthy toned striped, but they usually are made by pricey organic companies that I'd most likely have to buy from online.
As much as I would LOVE to support those small businesses, I don't have the means, and neither do many many others.

I just think that in a world of growing peace and equality, that at least ONE line of clothing should be easily available that doesn't promote hate, winning, or laziness. My fear is that even if there were more "bland" shirt available, it's the parent who is the one going "Don't get the sissy tree one....HEEYY LOOK AT THIS SICK DIRT BIKE!!"

Boys will be what you shape them to be. Complaining they're hard to handle, lack focus and literacy, or aren't 'gentle' like girls (and I know a few moms who will laugh heartily at that stereotype), is all lead back to YOU and how YOU allow them to be perceived. Clothing is an enormous part of how humans shape their identity...I just wish the children's clothing industry took that into account past the age of three...