Remember the days before gender reveals? When you found out the sex of the baby at birth? Yeah … All I remember is lots and lots of yellow. Back in the day, when you wanted to shop gender-neutral for your kid, it meant lots of yellow. But times have changed, and we’ve evolved in our thinking about what it means to be progressive, especially as it relates to children. And with that evolution, more and more new parents, large chain stores, major brands and small shops are embracing gender-neutral apparel. But even with the expansion of gender-neutral apparel, you might still find yourself a little confused. I’m here to help! Below I’ve highlighted six tips to help you shop gender-neutral and have fun and make an impact while doing it.
- Look for subtle designs.
Subtle designs don’t have to mean subdued or undersaturated imagery you can barely see. It simply means look for patterns that aren’t too extremely feminine nor extremely masculine. It includes such include such things as text-only, geometrics, lines, arrows, shapes, animals and color themes. I always find STEM centered designs to be fun. Because even though my daughter doesn’t know what any of the letters of the acronym means, I want her – and others – to know, she can be just as successful as a boy or a man should she indulge in the sciences at any point in her life.
Subtle designs also means avoiding the frills. Yes, the frills. The lace. The sequins. The glitter. The frills.
- Avoid messaging that is gender specific.
If it’s gender-specific, it can’t be unisex, right? So avoid clothing with the following words:
- Mama’s Boy
- Daddy’s Girl
- Be ready to pair with your favorite bows or other girly accessories.
They’re babies. Sometimes their hair hasn’t grown in yet. Or maybe their ears aren’t pierced yet. And one of the downsides of gender-neutral/unisex shopping is that people will pretend to be more confused than ever about the gender of your baby. So while you’re shopping gender neutral or unisex, accessorizing with bows is a fun and easy way to let the world know that the baby in the stroller with the navy blue romper with whales on it is, in fact, a bouncing baby girl.
- The tees from the boys section will last longer because they don’t have the built in shape and even shorter sleeves that girls tees tend to have. They also run a tad bit bigger. So even if the t-shirt shrinks a little bit, no biggie.
- For boxy sweaters that may even be a little too big (no more than one size), just roll the sleeves one time and pair with jeggings or tights.
- Sweats and camouflage are gender neutral. Look for these in both the boys and girls section. I’m committed to having my kid’s camouflage apparel collection be as big as mine. It literally goes with EVERYTHING. So why not?
So I’ve talked about design, messaging, shape and size. But what about color? Next to messaging, historically, color is one of the ways we’ve used to separate the boys from the girls – pink and purple for girls, blue and green for boys. And if you’re a girl, your black probably came with one of the aforementioned frills. But here’s the good news, and probably my favorite part. Are you ready? Shopping unisex means your black can be … just black – no frills. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel bubbly inside, like a Sprite commercial in my belly. The bad news? Realistically, I’d say pink is still feminine. And it might be hard to find clothes for your little that’s pink, but doesn’t have girly messaging or frills.
The great thing about shopping gender-neutral/unisex nowadays though is that companies have started to regularly introduce other color themes into children’s apparel that help with shopping. These color schemes include neutral tones like shades of creams and greys, earth tones like the various shades of brown, sage and olive, and even burgundy, and bright colors like marigold, peach and apricot.
So, as you can see, the unisex shopping journey is easier to tackle than ever before. And while I don’t have time to address all the benefits of shopping unisex, you can enter the unisex journey knowing that you’re bettering the planet through sustainable shopping practices, and those hand me downs can have double and triple the memories.