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Iceni Magazine | November 13, 2019

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3 reasons to forget gender stereotypes with kids’ clothing

3 reasons to forget gender stereotypes with kids' clothing

Children learn gender stereotypes from an early age, and the type of clothing they wear can reinforce these stereotypes well into adulthood.

Here, Steve Cochrane, Managing Director of Childrenswardrobe, discusses why you should let your children pick out clothing that reflects their personality, regardless of gender.

From the very minute we’re born, our clothing is gendered. We dress baby boys in blue and baby girls in pink, and that trend continues throughout our lives. But every child is different, so it’s only natural for them to want to dress in a way that reflects their personality, which means letting them pick clothing regardless of gender stereotypes.

The idea certainly isn’t new. David Bowie’s androgynous style took the world by storm in the 1970s and, more recently, celebrities like Harry Styles, Tilda Swinton, and Jaden Smith are fans of breaking stereotypes when it comes to fashion. And others like Adele, Angelina Jolie and Kate Hudson have all been reported to give their children complete freedom when choosing their clothing.

Below, I’ll be going through the benefits of giving children the freedom to pick their own outfits, no matter what gender the garment is labelled as.

It helps them develop their own style

Not all young girls like wearing dresses and some boys might feel more comfortable in a skirt. They might also prefer wearing a certain colour, so try not to be restricted by the usual blue for boys and pink for girls. It’s all about giving them the choice to pick something they want to wear, rather than buying them something you feel like they should wear. Giving them this freedom provides a chance for them to work out what they like and what they don’t like, and they can develop their own sense of personality and style from that.

A lot of gendered clothing can be restrictive to children’s interests too. Boys’ clothing tends to lean towards cars and dinosaurs, while girls’ clothing usually centres around princesses and unicorns. But these might not always be what your kids are interested in. If your son likes the pastel-coloured unicorn T-shirt, let him wear it. If your daughter is a fan of the blue racing car pyjamas, why not buy them for her? Let them express their own interests and develop their own personality, regardless of stereotypes.

It can boost your kids’ self esteem

It’s always important that your children feel confident in what they wear. So, letting them pick out something they feel comfortable in, whether that’s physically or emotionally, can help them to feel more confident with who they are. Let them express their personality with their clothing, no matter if they’re in the boys’ or girls’ section. This way, they’re more likely to maintain this confidence into adulthood and are more likely to express who they are later in life.

It gives room for practicality

Sometimes, dresses just aren’t practical. When playing, it’s a lot easier for children to run around in trousers and shorts, so it makes sense to let your daughter unleash her inner tomboy with her clothing. So, you could let her pick out sweatshirts, jeans and leggings for those more active days. However, in the summer, loose fitting clothing, like dresses and skirts, can be more comfortable in warm weather, so ask your son or daughter if this is something they’d prefer.

The same goes for shoes, too. Many boys’ shoes are designed with comfort and durability in mind, whereas girls’ shoes are created to be pretty, but this isn’t always the best option. So, try to pick things to suit the occasion rather than your child’s gender.

You children want to wear things they can feel confident in. By following the tips in this guide, you can help your little ones feel more comfortable, both physically and emotionally, in the clothes they wear. Just remember to give them the freedom to choose whatever they want, without putting any pressure on them to wear a certain garment.


 

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