Friday, August 28, 2009
Now, clothing for the kids!
Okay, I'm a bit obsessed with clothing right now, so I hope you will all bear with me. Now, clothing for the kids has practical issues (they grow out of it so fast, I need to stick to a budget, and it needs to be stuff they can really play in and get dirty). But then I have two special issues, different for the different genders of my children.
It is sad but true that after you graduate into toddler sizes there is less and less "cute" clothing for boys and more and more clothing depicting violent images. In a standard, low-end store (any of the marts, Target, etc.), I have a very hard time finding stuff for Carbon that is OK with me. I'm fine wth dinosaurs, fish, sports images, and large trucks, but even that is limited and gender biased.
There isn't a whole lot of creativity open for boys in the standard clothing that is out there, either, and that is another gender-bias that I want to avoid. Carbon has always enjoyed dress-up and playing at sewing with me, and I want to encourage him to see clothing as a form of creative expression for himself. An easy solution is for me to sew clothing for him, letting him pick out the fabric and have input. This resulted in a famous pair of polka dot pants that he wore when he was 2-3 years old until they literally were more patches than pants. He loved those pants, even though most people thought he was wearing his pajamas.
Like this post from Giddy Goat, many parents I know are disturbed by the early sexualizing displayed in girls clothing. Once again, I see this being worse at the box stores, where the clothing is more affordable. A recent family trip to Target to look at girls clothing sent my husband and me out of there very disturbed by all the, frankly, sleazy clothing that was being sold in a size 4.
There are a few solutions that address all of these issues.
I can sew my kids' clothing. I am fortunate to have the skills and tools that make this a fairly easy process. But, it's still time consuming and I frankly do not have the time to sew all of their clothing as they grow.
I can shop at higher-end stores. Gymboree, Baby Gap, and The Children's Place have all been places that I could find cute clothing that didn't offend my sensibilities either with sexualization or violent-imagery. If I cruise the clearance racks, I can just about afford to shop there. But really, this option is too expensive for growing children.
I can carefully sift through thrift stores. And I do, sometimes finding great items. It's like a treasure hunt, and it's fun, but once again I don't have time to get all their clothes this way, and I can't guarantee finding something when we actually need it.
I can order from catalogs. I love CWDKids, Hannah Anderssen, and Lands End Kids. Once again, they are expensive, but the kids and I enjoy flipping through them and ripping out pictures we like. It might inspire me to try and sew something like it. Or, every now and then I might order something. (I think tights are a must to order - cute tights and I can just whip up a simple skirt to go with them).
What about you? How do you dress your kids?