Why is there so little choice on the high street, when shopping for kids’ clothes? There are unlimited amazing colours in the spectrum, so why are we limiting ourselves – and our children – to blues and pinks?
I don’t tend to write about contentious issues – I figure that there are plenty of other people out there doing a good job of debating and making political statements, so I prefer stick to the funnier side of parenting life.
However, there are certain “pet topics” of mine which I can’t help but have a strong opinion about – and this is one of them. Below is a doodle I drew ages ago and which has been sitting unpublished in my notebook ever since – until now.
If you are lucky enough to be the owner of two fully-functional eyes, then you will be aware that the colour spectrum is unlimited in its beauty. Just look around you (outside of a high street clothing store) – you’ll see reds and purples and greens and oranges and yellows – and yes, pinks and blues.
Why oh why, then, are kids’ clothes on the high street more-or-less limited to just two of those colours?
I have two boys, and get so frustrated when all I can find are clothes in blue, grey, brown, and that sludgy-shitty green. I have to really hunt around for something more interesting. The Little Bird range by Jools Oliver in Mothercare does a pretty good job of providing lovely bright colours, but otherwise I find myself looking online at Scandinavian brands and small, unique retailers (and crying at the cost, usually).
I am far more into practicality than style for my feral kids (and myself), and given that they spend most of their time in the garden digging in their “mud pit”, I don’t really want to spend a fortune on their clothes. As I result they can normally be found sporting grubby, holey supermarket joggers – but it would be nice to have the option, at least, of bright and cheerful outfits on the days when I’m keener for them to look less like a pair of street urchins…
If I had girls I know for a fact that I would be equally maddened by the insistence by retailers that we should dress our “little princesses” (vomit) in pink, or, at a push, purple. Don’t even get me started on the practicality issue of styles for boys and girls – that’s another topic for another post, on a day when my starting blood pressure is slightly lower.
Many people would say that “they’re just colours”, but it’s about much more than that. I happen to quite like blue, and pink is ok too. This really is symptomatic of a society which is determined to define us all, from the moment we’re born, into neat little boxes.
Yes, I can dress my boys in pink if I want to (and I have/do). But when my four-year-old comes home from nursery telling me that “pink is only for girls”, that makes me sad. And mad.
What is your opinion on this topic? Do you like to dress your kids in “traditional” colours? Or do you try to push against stereotypes? If you know of any great kids’ retailers that showcase the whole rainbow, please let me know in the comments!
p.s. If this is an issue close to your heart, please check out Let Clothes Be Clothes, which is a brilliant campaign.