Gender Neutral Baby Clothes: A Guide to Understand What Gender Neutral Clothing Is
Gender has largely influenced fashion for hundreds of years, but within the past few decades we have seen some changes in how we stereotype and categorize clothing. Genderless, or gender neutral, fashion is on the rise as younger generations enter the industry. Now we see gender norms being challenged, which ultimately creates a new sense of freedom for children growing up today. We are moving past the basic understanding of what “should” be made for girls and boys to allow all freedom of expression.
While there is a lot to learn about what gender neutral clothes consist of, we’ve created a guide to better understand the history and options to choose from.
Picture It With Piccolina: Gender Neutral Baby Clothes
What Are Gender Neutral Clothes?
Gender neutral clothes can be understood as being designed with the person in mind, not the gender. Many clothes are tailored to children based on assumptions that girls should like the color pink and that boys should like the color blue. However, as time has passed we have realized that perhaps there are alternatives to these strict binaries.
This has become especially true as more initiatives are enacted to dispel certain assumptions based on gender. For example, we have found that research shows that as young as 5 years old, many girls develop self-limiting beliefs. This pushes them to think they’re not as smart or as capable as boys. Many boys are urged to like “traditionally masculine” subjects and things such as fields relating to science, technology, engineering, and finance among others.
If girls are left out of the equation or told to like “traditionally feminine” subjects such as English, art, fashion, or beauty then this does a disservice to the point of equality.
The major aim of gender neutral clothes is to allow freedom of choice and exploration at an early age. If we combat stereotypes by enforcing positive feedback and encouragement to do anything, then perhaps we can lessen those self-limiting beliefs and ultimately re-frame previous stereotypes in the years to come.
A Little History On Girl/Boy Colors
According to Reader’s Digest, pink and blue were not always gendered as they are today. Actually, this only began after World War I when baby boys were told to dress in pink. Yes, that’s right, pink. A stark difference from what you were expecting, but history is never as cut and dry as we expect.
This came after 1918 when the Ladies’ Home Journal published an article pushing for boys to be dressed in pink because it resembled the color red, which was a more masculine color at the time. Girls were told to dress in blue because it was seen as a softer color, similar to the sky.
This went on for some time until it switched in the 1940s to what we all know today: pink for girls and blue for boys. And while this has been upended numerous times in the following years, many of us still absentmindedly associate certain colors with a gender.
It’s also interesting to note that thanks to the women’s liberation movement throughout the 70s and 80s we saw a rise in unisex baby clothes. This led the way for additional clothing in colors such as green and yellow among others.
Gender Stereotypes And Baby Clothes
The history of gendered clothing still has an impact on how many are pushed to dress their babies. Namely, this extends to more than color. Many girls’ clothing is seen to have flowers, rainbows, and additional frills while boys’ clothing has more animals, machines, and generally more perceived masculine additions.
However, thanks to a 2018 study on challenging gender stereotypes, 92% of parents surveyed believed it was important to treat both boys and girls the same. This study reinforces those changing attitudes and beliefs compared to the 1918 article. Perhaps with additional resources and education we can all work to eliminate previously held beliefs before childhood.
Why Choose Gender Neutral Clothes?
Similar to the parents surveyed, we are entering into a different age where we are all learning to treat one another and our children differently than previous societal expectations allowed. Many parents, especially those with girls, are urging them to be confident in their choices and that there are no limitations for subject matter. This also extends to boys as well who have often been told that they need to go into traditionally masculine jobs and wear less feminine colors.
This entire idea has shaped how Piccolina looks at clothes and the passions that children have. Take our two major collections: Trailblazer and Discovery. Both collections are designed with the idea that parents can use clothes to spark or support an interest and start important and engaging conversations with their little ones in topics that range from science to social justice. :
Trailblazer Collection - Introduce your little ones to strong female role models who broke barriers in fields from space exploration to civil rights!
- Leaders in STEM
- Civic Leaders & Activists
- Artists & Authors
Discovery Collection - This collection was created to encourage little ones to question, discover, explore and learn, highlighting interests like: :
- Space Exploration
Choosing gender neutral clothing allows your child to naturally find what inspires them without feeling limited by outdated stereotypes.
It Fights Gender Stereotypes
To reinforce individuality, gender neutral clothing tackles stereotypes head on. Your child’s passions should drive expression, not societal expectations. You can also think about the utility of clothing and how it should be comfortable for children to play sports or interact with their chosen activities.
Kids Get To Express Themselves
Self-expression is a beautiful way to learn about the world we live in. If your daughter is interested in construction or your son is interested in music, then they have the chance to fully express themselves without the influence of traditional gendered clothing. They can play with color and interests to find what speaks to them rather than being told what is the norm.
Helps Save Both Money And The Environment
Think about how great it would be to have clothes that can suit boys and girls. You eliminate the task of going to different stores or your child outgrowing a specific stage by allowing them to wear clothes that are meant to spark their imagination. You can also hand down gender neutral clothing to younger siblings or other family members, which is right in line with great sustainability practices - and it’s much easier on your wallet!
For additional sustainable practices, take a look at our Trade-In Program where you can trade in any outgrown, clean, damage-free clothing items (any brand, kid sizes 0-12).
Kids Can Play As Rough As They Want
Kids love to play no matter what. They simply enjoy life for the sake of enjoyment, not the expectations that society puts on them. If we all pay more attention to how we treat our children, we can better understand how they are limited by certain clothing.
In any case, easy clothing that can get dirty and be easily washed is the best way to dress your active child. Look for clothes that are breathable like cotton and easy to wash. Take one of our Trailblazer Tees like the Jane Goodall Short Sleeve, it’s a best-seller because of the role model it represents , but also because of the 100% cotton material and unisex fit. This is a great option for play and to celebrate your child’s love of animals.
What Gender Neutral Clothes Are Out There?
At Piccolina we believe in the power of putting people first. That’s why our brand is committed to core values of social justice, equality, and inclusion for all. We incorporate these values into all of our collections to allow children’s curiosity to run free, especially from expectations and stereotypes.
Gender Neutral Colors
While you should always look for what your child likes to wear, maybe you’re also thinking about potential gender neutral colors to pick from. We believe that blue is also for girls and pink looks good in boys, but other popular unisex color choices are:
- Muted Colors - Tan, Brown, Gold
Dressing for the Future with Piccolina
As you continue to brainstorm gender neutral baby clothing options, we recommend checking out some of our Trailblazer Dolls for your little one. We designed these dolls to inspire and honor some amazing role models that your future trailblazers can look up to.
We also urge you to check out our Trailblazer Collection for Women for a mommy and me twinning moment with your little ones.
And with Halloween sneaking right up on us why not take a look at some DIY Halloween costumes from our blog like: