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The Dress

Next week we will find out the gender of our baby, providing the baby cooperates. Honestly, I have no preference. It is assumed we want a girl because we only have one girl and four boys. Okay, I might have a slight hope for a girl, but it isn’t because we are in need of more estrogen. Ask my husband and he will tell you between my daughter and I there is a surplus, enough to overwhelm the five guys. It is because if I don’t want to have to wash more boring boy clothes. Here’s a post I wrote a year and a half ago about this very subject, from November of 2004. I called it “Why did the dinosaur drive a race car across the football field? To be on my son’s shirt”:

This dress is stuck in my head: Gorgeous dress for a litte girl

I cannot shake it loose–I keep seeing this darling arrangement of silk floral fabric enveloped around my daughter. Two things make that scenario impossible. It does not come in her size, and it is too expensive. I need either a baby girl to put the dress on or a winning Lotto ticket. My Magic 8 ball says that neither is in my future.

So I will remember the blessings that I do have–a daughter who is seven and developing her own fashion tastes as the minutes tick by, and four sons. I love my boys, but I am tired of their clothes. There are a limited number of themes allowed in the world of boy “fashion”.

Dinosaurs/Reptiles: A paleontologist’s dream dig could occur in the dressers of my boys’ room. There are T-Rexes, Brachiosaurus and Pterodactyls represented in all their snarling glory. Lizards, alligators, crocodiles snap away on their shirts. Snakes slither, newts do what newts do. Why do the cold-blooded creatures receive such status as boy fashion-icon? Why don’t boys like ducklings? Sweet little yellow ducklings?

Sports: Footballs, baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls. How tiresome it is to see balls on boys’ clothing. As if a two month old has a clue what a basketball is for–to him, it could be a giant breast or daddy’s bald head. My boys have countless shirts with sports equipment emblazoned across the front. It does not make them more athletic. It does not make them look athletic. I challenge anyone to find a REAL football player who would wear a shirt with a picture of a football on it that has the word “Football” underneath it. He doesn’t need to. Why must boys sport sports?

Transportation: Yes, boys are fascinated with things that go “vrrroooom!” So why don’t they make clothes with pictures of vacuum cleaners on the front? Or hair dryers? Trains, planes, and automobiles, a few speedboats, and even bicycles–my boys could go around the world in style with all the transportation modes represented in their clothes. And they could go fast! Sammy has pajamas with flaming race cars. This is something I want him to avoid at all costs. I might as well dress him in pajamas with a fun knife-juggling motif, or teddy bears drinking bleach.

A Combination of All Three: The worst in boy’s fashion is when all three of the over-used motifs are represented. Picture an iguana wearing a football helmet landing a plane on an aircraft carrier manned by soccer-playing Raptors, with the word “dude” on it somewhere. Why do you never see a t-shirt in the boys department with a chess-playing bunny, or a duckling riding a tricycle to the library?

And finally, Stripes: When the “designers” of boys clothing are stumped, they turn to the classic Stripey shirt. We have striped shirts in every color. Some are thick stripes, some are thin. Some are a flashy combination of thin and thick. What do stripes represent? Why stripes? I think of the old jailhouse jumpsuits, black and white striped. Maybe to prepare them for a life of crime and punishment? Football fields have stripes, military uniforms, the street, race cars, and tigers. Stripe City!

Closely related to stripes are the Plaids–stripes that aren’t limited to horizontal boundaries. Plaids are stripes set free to run vertically too. How rebellious is plaid! Stripes gone wild! Not to put down all the contributions of the Scots, but did they ever imagine that their famous Tartan designs would be relegated to flannel shirts and a look known as “slacker”?

At this moment, Joel is wearing a navy blue shirt with varsity-styled numbers on the front. Apparently, he is #43. There is a football-shaped patch on his shoulders. I can attest that Joel has no clue that he looks like he is ready for the big game. I may have commited some sort of boy-clothing sin by mixing motifs, however. His pants have a dump truck on the leg. Tommy’s shirt is also football jersey styled. It simply says “Athletic Squad” and he is #15–a Quarterback, perhaps. Sammy is Stripe-Man today, black, red, and white. Ryley is at school, wearing a sweatshirt that declares he is head of the pit-crew. He is not.

13 comments to The Dress

  • “Head of the pit crew”. LOL. As the mother of one daughter after three sons, I COMPLETELY understand. Sometimes I’m ashamed of how much I enjoy dressing her. It makes me feel much better to know you feel this way!

  • I love that post. It’s a classic.

  • Having 4 girls and 1 son, I have to say the same about boys dress clothes. Come on, at Easter, Christmas and such there is a plethora of adorable dresses and outfits. Boys get the pants, striped button-down shirt and knit vest for Easter and the same for Christmas, except the vest is satiny or something. Where is the cute? And now I have a grandson that I keep wanting to be oh so cute. I agree, the dinosaur theme is not cute. I’d go for the ducks!

    P.S. Hope your babe cooperates!

  • Oh, I know exactly what you mean. Maybe that’s why I have such a good time shopping for my 13 month-old son’s clothes, because I have to look so hard to find things that are different or cute, and when I find it I’m tickled pink…er, blue? I don’t mind the stripes or vests, though…could be because I only have the one son. Maybe after a few more boys I’d get tired of them. 🙂

  • I’m so tired of blue I can’t stand it. You are exactly right about the genres of boys’ clothing, and it gets very boring. I’ve had to embrace the stripes for my one year old. Stripes and sweat pants.

    I really enjoy your blog, by the way.

  • Laura

    Ha! I dress my baby in all the preppiest clothes I can find, with ducks and doggies and other peaceful themes. I figure for as long as I get to pick his clothes, I’m going to choose the cute stuff, and leave the sports for later, although sometimes you can’t get away from it.

    Aidan needs a girl.

  • It is SO true!! I’m glad it’s not just a problemm here in our country. When you go to shops, they have rows and rows of girl close and just a little bit of boys clothing. URGH

  • goslyn

    Oh my goodness, I am laughing so hard I can’t breathe. You need to get some sort of award for this post. I TOTALLY know what you mean. All of Tom’s clothes have trucks, dogs, or baseball motifs. The only one of those I particulary like are the dogs.


    Btw, hang on to that picture of the dress. You are so totally having a girl. (I have no idea why I just went all Sweet Valley High. But like, way cool.)

  • I think you’ve named just about every piece of clothing my boys wear. Girls’ clothes are SO much more fun to shop for!

  • You made me laugh out loud, again. No small feat, for you, nor do I have. You should submit that article for print publication somewhere, assuming you want to. Do you wanna?

    Saw the “Wheel” was in Denver last night. I guess you didn’t make the cut or we would have read about it.

    Thanks for making me laugh. I need to start a file of “Things that Made Me Laugh Out Loud.” You would have a few entries in there, right next to Elaine dancing.

  • mopsy

    Thanks, everyone—this is one of those infinately relatable topics if you have one or more little boys.

    Lexie, of course I wanna. Hee hee. Who? Where? How?

    Yep, “Wheel” is in Denver. They filmed the episodes back in March. Denver is kind of cute and still a small town in many ways, because it was front-page news when they were filming. I was not there in any capacity.

    Someday, I’ll be saying “I’d like to buy an E, Pat.”

  • I’m not sure on the where, when, how, but I’ll keep my eyes/ears open since I know you wanna.

    I also aspire to be on the Wheel. Maybe we should get them to do a “Bloggers Week” or a “Web Week” or something…maybe on “Online Friends.” Hmmm….

  • If you have a girl, I have an abundance of dresses that I can pass down. That is, as long as she doesn’t mind “Repeat Boutique” for her fashion needs!

    As a mother of two girls…I think girls clothes are much more creative and fun!!!

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