Sometimes when shopping for baby clothing it can feel like there are too many beautiful items to choose from, and other times it can feel like there is nothing that will suit. I don’t mind gendered clothing, but I struggle when I walk into a store and the only options are princess pink and car racing blue. Aside from the obvious issue of gender stereotypes, I just find it really boring. Many of my friends opted not to find out the gender of their child prior to birth. When shopping for baby shower gifts, I was often annoyed by the limited choice. If you strike out gendered pink and blue, you are left with insipid pale yellow. Don’t get me wrong; I love yellow, it is my favourite colour, but when it is pasty and you have a whole wardrobe of it, it can be sickening.
Since the birth of my son, I have been on a mission to find him clothing that doesn’t scream ‘I AM A BOY!’, but is also appropriate for him. I think it is fine to have differences between boys’ and girls’ clothing, and we should celebrate those differences. However, I also want my kids to feel like they are more than a department store stereotype. It worries me that so many products produced for boys have aggressive cartoon faces. Similarly, I wonder if the ‘pink explosion’ in the girls’ department will allow for little ones to develop their own tastes.
Thankfully, clothing designers are beginning to respond to this problem; and when researching for this post, I was amazed by the options out there. I have two friends having babies soon, and so I have been trawling the net for unisex items. In some ways, it is much easier to find gender-neutral clothing on the internet. Australian designers really lead the pack when it comes to funky kids clothing.
I think whatever we buy, we need to have fun. I like to buy items that are playful, because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what my child is wearing as long as he is able to express himself. I want him to grow up knowing that he has the power to alter, play and form his own look according to his whims. While he is still too young to choose his clothing, I am aware that my choices may subtly influence his own later down the track. So while he is young, I am making sure he is not saturated with one image of what a boy is.
If you are looking for something for a new baby and are unsure where to start when it comes to gender-neutral clothing, try the following:
Go bold: Choose a bright colour or a funky pattern.
Break rules: One of my favourite pieces that was bought for my son was a plain cardigan with neon stripes, including bright pink.
Mix it: Buy neutrals such as grey, black and white and mix them with bright colours.
Look in the boys’ section: Girls clothing, unfortunately, is often more obviously gendered. Browse the boys’ area of the store for gender-neutral leggings and tops.
I found it hard to choose, but I have narrowed my list to a few key items that would be great to buy for a coming winter baby. At Bubba West, we love to support local makers and sellers, and so the designers I have picked are all Australian, are based in Melbourne, or are stocked by Melbourne boutiques.
1: Acorn – Elfin Beanie 2: Minti – Zig Zag Cardi 3: Minti – Crawler Trackies 4: Acorn – Giraffe Beanie 5: Lil Missie – Lil Smile – Stripe 6:Kapow Kids – Kaleidoscope Harems 7: Pici Papucs – Handmade leather shoes 8: Baobab – Green Abstract Shapes 9: Hoot Kids – Rock that Rainbow onesie