The Battle of Blue vs Pink

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?

Little doodle of a rainbow, with "Love all the colours" written underneath


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  Below is a doodle I drew ages ago and which has been sitting unpublished in my notebook ever since – until now.

A doodle of the interior of a kids clothes shop - showing pink "princess" clothes on one side, and blue clothes "for your prince" on the other.

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.

 

24 Comments

  • Dadsanerdblog 11/07/2016 at 7:16 am

    Was a good little read. I highly agree, my daughter looked smashing in her blue ‘Super Baby’ outfit. And it is a little cringe worthy to look in some stores, seeing the colors seperating like cracking paint.

    Reply
  • jamesyboy1978 11/07/2016 at 7:43 am

    Clothes shopping for male toddlers is pretty much about walking past the 7 racks of girl’s outfits before deciding which of the 1 half-empty rack of blue things to buy this time!!

    Reply
  • Erica 11/07/2016 at 7:43 am

    This topic has had me worked up this week especially.
    The rails upon rails of girls clothes in varying shades of pink then the smallest section of boys clothes. It’s not even blue that particularly bothers me anymore (though it really used to) it’s the browns, greys and sludgy greens you mentioned. He’s not even a year old, I want to dress him like a baby in baby clothes but all I can find are miniature cargo pants and crappy green t-shirts.

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  • Mouse, Moo and Me Too 11/07/2016 at 8:00 am

    Brilliant as always. Let’s not also forget the “neutral” baby section when you have no idea what you’re having, apart from it more than likely being a baby. There’s your whites. Your creams. Your soft yellows. Perhaps a muted grey. More white. Sadly no rainbow spectrum here…

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    • Erica 11/07/2016 at 11:21 am

      This!
      I didn’t know what I was having and the only choice seemed to be plain white (no details or embellishments) or white with beige details and trim. Even if you think that pink is for girls and blue is for boys there are SO many more colours than what are used in baby clothes. It’s crazy.

      Reply
  • sparklymummy 11/07/2016 at 8:01 am

    As a parent who is trying to embrace gender neutral parenting and also as a girl heavy superhero loving household this is a never ending source of annoyance – we don’t want ‘I love a man in uniform’ Tshirts and since when did supergirl wear a pink super suit? I have always bought clothes from both departments, H&M is a particular fav of ours it’s boys department is full of retro band Tshirts and cool superhero Ts that Mimi has a wide selection of. And believe me when I say after having 3 girls I have learnt it is possible to OD on pink!!!

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  • Suzanne 11/07/2016 at 8:02 am

    It makes me so mad that I have to search do hard for non-pink clothed for my daughter. And font even get me started on shoes! A few months ago I got the Child some new trains (blue/green with aeroplanes on) and she can home from nursery upset because they were boy trainers. I told her they weren’t boy trainers they were her trainers and to tell that to anyone that told her otherwise. She’s 2 and it made me do sad that someone had said that to her.

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    • The Adventures of Beta Mummy 11/07/2016 at 8:10 am

      That’s such a shame! They are sadly so influenced by the people around them – it’s a constant battle from us as parents to redress the balance! Girls’ shoes are always really flimsy looking, too, I’ve noticed…

      Reply
  • Laura: Adventures with J 11/07/2016 at 8:11 am

    Couldn’t agree more! I am not a pink girl at all and why should I be? Fashion is so limited and dull and the designers need to have more imagination in what is supposedly a creative career. It is especially frustrating the amount of clothes girls have available compared to boys. I’m sorry, is my child supposed to run around naked because he is a boy? Clothes shops should stop stereotyping and genderising our children! They are far worse than TV programmes.

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  • Lissa 11/07/2016 at 8:31 am

    Absolutely agree! I too have a son and the colour “selection” available infuriates me, particularly as his favourite colour is orange. One of the only places I can get bright colours for him to wear is from Morrisons supermarket, although it was easier when he was younger than it is now (he’s only 6). I recently had the displeasure of finding chocolates for boys/girls!!Needless to say DS wasn’t amused as the orange wrappers were in the “girls” bag of chocs
    It’s so silly and unnecessary, setting kids up form an early age to feel judged and worry about what others will think if they prefer a colour outwith their gender specific spectrum.

    Reply
  • Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine 11/07/2016 at 8:33 am

    Haha you know I’m all over this one. I am so damn bored of boy’s clothes – I wrote a blog about it too a little while ago. Buying for a girl is much more fun (even if you refuse to buy pink there is SO MUCH ABOUT) but boys are limited to being captain mucky, trouble, or fans of vehicles. I mean in actuality it turns out my son is all of those things but hey.

    Reply
  • mellyh83 11/07/2016 at 11:53 am

    It’s not just the colours… I recently contacted a popular supermarket with a pic of my daughter wearing one of their ‘boy’ dinosaur tops… the cut is much looser, longer and generally less skimpy than the ‘girl’ ones… 😕

    Reply
    • mellyh83 11/07/2016 at 11:57 am

      Oh wait… and the themes… girls like clothes with pics of cakes, ice-cream, kittens and flowers while boys like dinosaurs, big vehicles and bugs. Good one!

      Reply
  • Sassy 11/07/2016 at 12:49 pm

    I completely agree! This is such an annoyance of mine! Why can’t there be a selection of big bright colours for both sides? I understand that pink and blue are good for the first few weeks for friends/family buying the baby items… But why does this happen for every age range?

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  • Laughing mum 11/07/2016 at 1:01 pm

    It used to infuriate me when the girls were little (although of course there is much more choice for girls) but I steered very clear of pinks, not only because I don’t like pink, at all! but I refused to be conformed (burning bra as we speak!) it’s easy now of course, the girls choose for themselves so I get less angry but I hear what you are saying completely! Oh and just to add… The preteens favourite colour is pink! (Nothing to do with me) 😉

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  • Single Mum Speaks 18/07/2016 at 10:25 am

    Oh yes, this is one of my pet peeves too, and I’ve written several (angry) posts about this very topic in the past. I always thought the easiest way to deal with such things would be to put my money where my mouth is and refuse to buy blue stuff for Piglet, but THERE ISN’T ANYTHING BUT BLUE ARGH ARGH ARGH! I agree that the Little Bird range is fab. I get a lot of Piglet’s stuff from there. Oh, and love the new site by the way! #puddinglove #triballove

    Reply
  • Karen : TwoTinyHands 18/07/2016 at 11:39 am

    I got loads of stuff handed down to me for my boy so I kind of just had to go with it. THere was so much though that I had to re-box and never worn, I did pick out the better colours and different clothes from these piles. Gender colours is just rubbish really, I definately have seen some better colours recently, maybe they are listening. Ha, just remmebered though, even in blue some old ladies still ask if he’s a girl! #puddinglove

    Reply
  • Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope) 18/07/2016 at 1:23 pm

    I usually buy our clothes from ASDA. I love the designs that they have and we dont have any dominant colour in my son’s wardrobe. More than the boys section I can see a dominant pink clothes in girls section in any store before. But when the Frozen fever started and with the colours of that movie being blue, there are more blues in the girls section. #puddinglove

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  • Rachel (Lifeofmyfamilyandme) 20/07/2016 at 7:42 pm

    My eldest loves crazy bright coloured tops which i can buy in most shops. My youngest loves sparkles and pink. I don’t mind buying them because my kids kind of choose their own clothes to wear to an extent. I do understand the colour limit though, it can be tough. Thanks for linking up to #puddinglove

    Reply
  • Coffee & Bubbles 22/07/2016 at 2:08 pm

    Yes! It is so true. I am now actively avoiding blue clothes for my boy. Especially as I wear a lot of blue we both walk around looking like a couple of Breton striped blueberries! Terrible!

    Reply
  • Petite Pudding 23/07/2016 at 6:40 pm

    I love buying things from boutiques or handmade of etsy which gives me a bit more choice. But the stereotype starts so young – my boy now wont even consider wearing pink (although he his quite happy to wear an Elsa dress, I know go figure…) But the general stores are very much as you say pink or blue. #Puddinglove

    Reply
  • The Spanish Mom 13/09/2016 at 1:23 am

    My stepdaughter gave me a pink onesie with the following message “Pink is for tough guys” as a gift for my little boy. I love that onesie!
    Problem is that every time he wears it there’s someone asking me how old is the girl… sigh…

    Reply
  • Jemma Anglesea 04/11/2016 at 2:22 pm

    Colours don’t bother me so much. I do prefer brights but what bothers me, as a mum of two boys, is the lack of options for boys. Rails and rails and rails of all things girl. Three t shirts and two pairs of pants for boys. So irritating!!

    Reply
  • Bec @IshMotherBec 18/01/2017 at 1:47 pm

    When I just had my daughter I used to look enviously over at the boys section which always seemed so much more colourful – now I have a boy I realise that while there are more colours to choose from, they’re colours as if seen in a darkened room. I’m with you – give me something bright for goodness sake!

    Reply

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