What the Fuck is With Baby Clothes?

The other day Chris and I went to the Gap to return some clothes a friend of ours got for Zoe. She's already in most of her 3-6 month clothes (and has been for the couple weeks despite not being 3 months yet) and before I really even realized it she was too big for the outfit they had gotten her before she could wear it once :( Thank goodness for gift receipts.

Because she's growing so damn fast we decided it would probably be best to buy clothes for when she's older. We have a TON of clothes up until about 1 year old (hooray presents!!!) but not too much for when she's older than that. Off we went to the sale rack to look for 12 month+ clothes. I'm a super fan of the sale rack, especially when it means I can spend $5 on something she'll grow out of in 3 weeks instead of $30.

Immediately I was totally pissed - what the fuck was with these girl clothes? Now, granted I was at the sale rack so maybe all the cool moms already bought the great girl clothes, but basically everything was either pink, had ruffles all over it, or had text all over it talking about how cute something is. I was highly annoyed. I'm not against pink, but I find the plethora of pink highly annoying. If Zoe wants to like pink, that's totally fine, but I don't want her to be forced to like pink because that's the only fucking color of girl's clothing that they make. Because it certainly seems like that sometimes.

I didn't take any pics while we were there, but from their website I would just like to make a comparison. Here is a "boy" duck onesie

(found here)

And here is a girl's camel onesie

(found here)

I guess only boy can like ducks. Girls have to like hearts.

When you look at their socks, what do you find? Well, the first 5 pairs of girl's socks have ruffles and out of the 9 sets you can get, 5 are fuuuulllll of pink

(found here)

There are actually 16 sets of boy socks (I guess they like their feet covered more?), and they've got a greater range of colors: green, maroon, gray, orange, yellow, white, blue, teal, black, red. Why can't these be girl socks as well?

And why is this even specifically a boy or girl onesie?

But can you guess which one? Ohhhh, boy. Because girls apparently don't like camping.

It was so infuriating. Out of all the stuff we got, we only actually got one "girl" item of clothing (a green tank). The other items? "Boys." And the hilarious thing is that they were totally not gender specific items: one had headphones on it (I guess girls don't like music), there was a baby blue onesie that had balloons on it and said "let's fly," and the most hilarious things - a white tank top and an orange tank top. Really, a thick strapped, plain color tank top is specifically a boy shirt? I was amazed. We also got her 5 pairs of socks. Again, all "boys."

Now, conversely, there is a great store in Oakland called Oaklandish. They make awesome onesies and toddler clothes. And none of them are even marketed as "boys" or "girls," it's just, hey, here's a onesie. And they're awesome


(godzilla found here)


(acorn found here)

California Beard

(california found here)


(bridge found here)

Different colors, different images, different styles. All can be for a boy or a girl. And I love that they actually get that. 

I have friends who have boys that say the opposite - shopping for boys is no fun because there isn't a lot of variation or the clothes aren't as fun. I guess no matter which way you go there's something worth complaining about. I just wish they made a girl's onesie with a big fat saw on it. You think I can find that?

Zoe would sure like it.


Cheryl Brodzinsky said...

I don't think I've ever commented before, but I found your blog when the Chronicle did its piece on you and I've enjoyed reading ever since!
Baby clothes can definitely be frustrating. They reinforce old gender stereotypes from the moment of birth. Luckily at that age I don't think there's any real difference between a boy onesie and a girl onesie, so you can buy what you like but the marketing irked me. I LOVE those onesies from Oaklandish -- when I have kids in the future I definitely will need to visit that store!

Emily said...

We're still mostly living on gifted clothes too. But for girl #1, I shopped a lot from the boy's clearance too.
I remember when my brother (who was also expecting his first daughter) looked at my baby registry and had to call me about "boy stuff" being on there. Aye! Now I have a Princess Tomboy who loves Hello Kitty and dinosaurs, princesses and Legos. My niece is still dressed like she belongs in a magazine and is afraid to get dirty. I can't count the number of bruises on Fallon's legs.
And hurray for consignment stores! I found a good one near us.
Good luck!

Brandy Escott said...

All I have to say is that I sincerely hope you bought the duck onesie. It's awesome!

Jessica said...

I have the hardest time finding tops for my 18 month old daughter because I don't want words (especially about how she's cute or a princess or a cute princess) and I don't want a big picture of a butterfly or whatever on there. Target is usually good for finding solid-colored tops and not overly frilly dresses.

I also had to go to a few different stores to find plain white socks, and I actually never did find them for babies. I bought the 18 month size when she was less than 3 months old and they fit just fine.

stpaulhaus.com said...

I have already decided that if I ever have children, everyday they will wear white onesies with whatever colored pants. Baby fashion (or fashion at all) is not my forte.

Heather said...

I am always disgusted when I see a girl wearing a shirt that says "Drama Queen!" or "Daddy bought it but I got it." It's like we're trying to encourage women to be useless and everyone to view them that way. It's like we're encouraging young women to be Real Housewives.

Megan said...

I totally agree! Baby girl clothes are for the most part trashy and horrible, unless they're ridiculously expensive. Something might be okay, but then they smack a glittery bow on it... or put "Darling Cupcake" or something else that makes me want to puke. Most of the stuff people gave us with the exception of my aunt was pretty terrible. We have the Bay Bridge onesie :) I've found tons of cute Zutano stuff for cheap on ebay. Lauren's Closet in Alameda seems like it might have okay stuff for decent prices, too.

It seems like the options get a little better once you hit 12 months. Our Zoe has quite a few boys things, too. I need to go through her dresser (it's really a wine rack we shove clothes in) to pull out the little stuff soon. You're welcome to it :)

Megan (Your garden blogging neighbor)

Zoe Million said...

I totally agree! I have an 8 month old. And it drives me NUTS. For one my biggest issue is why is it just as expensive as adult clothing? And I agree 100% if Jolene wants to later on like PINK thats fine. BUT I dont HAVE to make her wear pink. I dont wear pink and I have a vagina.... so she doesnt have to wear pink just because she is a girl.....

Kathie said...

Meryl, If you can't find a baby onesie with a saw on it let me know and I'm betting that between the two of us we could make one! I love my silhouette cutter which I use to make all manner of decaled shirts for my kid. And my sewing machine buzzes non stop for him too. His favorite lately are his japanese beetle shirt and his owl treasure pocket pants. There is jack out there for boys and if I had a girl, I think I'd be in the same boat that you are!

Laurie said...


maybe this person does baby clothes, too!

1914house said...

We picked out a lot of "boy" clothes for our girl, too. I want her to like dinosaurs, man. They are cool! Purple is still her favorite color, though. (She's three now.)

Anonymous said...

By the time my daughter was a year old, I was sooooo sick of pink and lavender. I used to buy gender neutral pajamas, jeans, etc. so I could pass them down to her brothers. Until she was 12! Whats the dif? My mother-in-law was not on board with this tactic though!

Bunny @ 86n It said...

Preaching to the choir!
Man, I hate girl clothes. Franca just got handed down a huge stack of Star Wars t-shirts. She loves them, but she also loves her pink ballerina PJs. Balance I guess.

I do want to start a campaign for girl's star wars underwear. I've had to stop myself from buying her the boys several times (I would, but I think the front seaming would be uncomfortable.)

meryl rose said...

Sing it sisters! :) Maybe we could all pool our money together at start a bad ass baby/girl clothing line ;) Full of star wars, blue, green, tools, sports, camping and everything else that girls like too :)

Kathie said...

Or just market it as gender unspecified...cause the choices of boy's clothing are abysmal usually too. Especially as they start getting past the wee stage. I've had more moms stop me and ask where I've gotten . They're upset when I tell them that I made it. Send me your saw graphic for Zoe's onesie and I'll make it up for you. :D

meryl rose said...

You make an excellent point Kathie, they should totally just be "baby" and "toddler" clothes. After all, boys can like pink as much as girls can like blue damnit! :) I will totally send you a graphic!!!! My email is meryl.phillips@mindspring.com

Meg Knopp said...

I completely disagree. I like for my daughter to look feminine and for my son to look masculine. We live in a world that all too often blurs the lines. Sure, I like my daughter to wear yellow and green, too, it doesn't have to be frills and foo foo all the time. But by putting hearts on the girl onesies, and ducks on the boys, I think the company is merely trying to play to the natural qualities of - yes- distinct genders. There is a pervasive misconception that being feminine means being weak...that pink cant be strong. Wrong. Sorry. I don't want my newborn looking androgynous. Just my two cents.

meryl rose said...

Hey, every opinion matters, even if it's different from mine. I appreciate you sharing yours and sticking up for yourself.

I completely don't think Pink = weak, and I'm sorry if this post made you feel like that. But as a tomboy growing up it sometimes doesn't feel so great that the clothing industry makes you feel "bad" because you don't want to wear the clothes they think you should. I wore my brother's hand me downs for a large portion of my childhood and still to this day have a few shirts of his that I still wear.

I'm glad you shared!