More and more parents these days are making the conscious decision to raise their children in a gender-free way until they are old enough to choose what gender they identify as. Others just don't want their kids to conform to the limiting societal expectations when it comes to certain issues around gender.
One of the ways that this non-conformity is expressed is through the clothes your little one wears. Dressing your child in gender neutral clothes that have been designed without either boys or girls in mind sets them free in a lot of ways. It allows them to enjoy being kids without any labels.
Gender neutral clothes mean rejecting the "normal" baby pink for girls and baby blue for boys. However, this doesn't mean that you should dress your kids in dull and almost colorless palettes.
If you are a parent who wants to start dressing your child in a gender-neutral way, you probably have no clue where to start. Well, that's where this article comes in. Here is an age by age guide to gender-neutral clothes, along with some tips on how to get the best gender-neutral clothes for your child.
Why should I dress my child in gender neutral clothes?
Here are a few reasons why gender neutral clothes are a good idea:
- Gender neutral clothes make perfect hand-me-downs. By shopping neutral, you don't have to worry about buying an all-new wardrobe if your next baby isn't of the same gender.
- They are more affordable. After comparing prices in some stores, parents noted that sometimes, clothes that come in pink are usually more expensive than clothes with the same design but in another color. Gender neutral clothes will help you dodge this bullet and save you some money.
- They are part of raising your child in a gender-neutral environment, which means you won't conform them to any identity and this gives them the freedom to be who they want to be.
Gender neutral clothes by age
As promised here’s a guide for some of the clothes you can dress your child in while not giving a gender bias.
These are kids aged between 0 and 2 years. If you are looking for some baby unisex clothes, you can go for onesies that are not made in the conventional baby colors. One of the most common colors used in gender neutral baby clothing is white.
You can also look for swaddles and shawls that fit this box. The baby will also grow a lot during this period so affordable baby wear is the way to go. For photoshoots and when you leave the house, you can get hats and little booties for the baby.
In addition to maintaining neutrality, ensure the clothes are made from a breathable fabric. This can come in handy especially in the summer. They should also be made from a safe material since your baby’s skin is very sensitive.
Toddlers are more active and they will need more flexible clothing. You can get some sweatpants with elastic waistbands for easy access if they want to go potty. Also, invest in some graphic tees and prints.
Just because it is gender neutral doesn’t mean it has to be dull. Some of the colors you can go for are yellow and green. Also, if you want to maintain a gender-neutral look, you might want to stick with jumpsuits, overalls, pants, and shorts. Although baby boys can also wear skirts, dressing you girl in one can water down the whole purpose of gender-neutral wear.
You will also need to get some winter wear for the cold days. Here, you can go for duller color if that’s what you like. Get some gray, navy blue, brown, and black winter coats, jackets, hats, and mittens.
For footwear, you can opt for sneakers and flip flops to complete that gender-neutral look.
These are little ones aged between 4 and 7 years old. For them, they might start to have an opinion on what they like and want to wear concerning the clothes' colors and designs. At this point, it is important to consider your child's opinions both when putting together an outfit for the day and when shopping for clothes.
Also, children of this age bracket have started going to school and this means interacting with more children. As such, you need to also talk to the school if you are choosing to raise your child in a gender neutral way. Your little one might also want to get clothes based on their favorite shows and as a way to try to fit in with the other kids.
The color scheme for gender-neutral clothes for children of this age is still the same as the ones listed above. Since they're only just starting to figure out how to dress themselves, make sure that clothes are easy-access. The jackets and hoodies should have large zippers and buttons. For bottoms, avoid those with fly zippers and small buttons since they can only frustrate your child when it is time to go potty and there is no adult around.
Tips for buying gender neutral clothes
In most clothing stores, there is only a boys’ section and a girls’ one, with nothing in between. For this reason, getting gender-neutral clothes can be a hard task. Take a look at some of the tips you can use to source some of these clothes.
1. Go thrifting
One of the easiest ways for you to find gender-neutral clothes is to go to a thrift store. In some thrift stores, clothes are grouped by their color and not their gender, so it makes your search a lot easier.
Also, clothes bought from a thrift store are less expensive than in stores. For this reason, you get your baby clothes for cheap while keeping them gender neutral. Besides, if you are starting out or experimenting with gender-neutral clothes, you might want to play it safe and use cheaper options.
2. Accept all hand-me-downs
If a friend or a relative offers you some clothes that they no longer need, do not stop to consider whether they are meant for girls or boys. By choosing not to be picky, you might end up with a few nice pieces for your child.
Hand-me- downs also almost always come with a cute backstory, which is another reason to never say no to clothes.
3. Don’t stick to one side
One of the reasons behind gender-neutral clothing is to ensure that the clothes you put on your child do not conform to one particular gender. Therefore, you should never shy away from looking for clothes in the other section that's not your child's gender.
If your child is old enough to choose clothes with you or by themselves, you should not shy away from taking a look at the other side. You might be surprised at how many cool pieces you will find hidden there.
Shopping from both the boys’ and girls’ aisles gives you the best of both worlds when choosing gender-neutral clothing.
4. Pay attention to the wording
As much as colors are used to group clothes by genders, another thing you should be on the lookout for is the words printed on the clothes. Getting your child a shirt or a bib that is neutral-colored but has words like “mommy’s little man” or “daddy’s princess” cancels out the whole concept of gender neutrality.
If you insist on having clothes with words, ensure they don’t lean to a particular gender more.
5. Keep it simple
If you are just starting out shopping gender neutral clothes, a safe bet would be to buy simple clothes. Go for pieces with fewer prints and wording.
Also, if you are shopping for a newborn, there is no need to go extra. You can shop for mostly onesies and rompers since they are faster options. The minimalist aesthetic is always a winner and you can never go wrong. Newborns also don’t have an opinion about most things that toddlers would, so you can get away with dressing your child in plain clothes.
6. Go for characters and jerseys
Since a team can be supported by both boys and girls, a sure way to be gender neutral is to get your child a jersey of their favorite team. This is also a great way to get all those cute photos during football or basketball season. Plus, with time, wearing the jersey can even turn into a family tradition that everyone can enjoy.
Cartoon characters are also a perfect way to go if plain clothes seem too boring. Most kids shows and movies make merchandise featuring their characters. If your child is obsessed with some of them, you can get clothes with their favorite characters on them. This is yet another simple way to pick gender-neutral clothes that will make both you and your child happy.
With these tips, dressing your little ones in gender neutral clothes should be a walk in the park. With time, you'll also realize that making the switch is one of the best decision you'll ever make. Ready to get started? Start here!