Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I was Just Going to Say That!

(That subject line is for my mom, I hope she appreciates/understands it).

For a while now I've been thinking up a blog post that addresses the way girl's clothes fit. Each night when I sit down without anything to "say", I hash out this topic but choose not to write it. Mostly because I know my writing will come off as whiny. Also, proving my point with more than anecdotes would take a lot of effort.

But seriously, who thinks two-year-olds prefer fashion to comfort?!?!

Anyway, I've discovered someone beat me to punch. Which is great, because she covered just about everything I had on my mind much more eloquently than I would have attempted. And, in her follow up post she did put a great deal of effort into going beyond anecdotes. Check out the photos comparing boy clothes to girl clothes. Outrageous.

However, I do still want to share the personal experiences I've had this fall that have pulled me into this topic.

At the beginning of the summer Nell was transitioning out of infant sizes and into toddler sizing. This pivotal moment is when the nightmare began. See, all clothing manufacturers seem to recognize that babies want the same level of comfort regardless of their gender. No matter which side of the store you are on, when it comes to baby clothes you are going to find the exact same style and fit, just in opposing colors and designs.

But somehow once a little girl hits two, all clothing manufacturers (not just Target) assume she wants to look sexy. At age two, a boy's summer short inseam should be about five inches long, a girl's only needs to be point-5. Yes, there are girl shorts being sold with less than a full inch of inseam, all across America. And mom's are buying them because there are too few options. Sadly, bermuda shorts are going out of style (sniffle, sniffle) Also, we deflect reason, "a two-year-old can't be immodest, so it's okay her undies show a little. She's just a kid."

But it isn't okay. It isn't okay that our daughters aren't offered enough fabric to adequately hide their underwear.

But I digress. I said the real problem began this fall, when I started buying Nell her cold weather clothes. Remember, she started summer in size 24 month? So imagine my surprise when every 3T outfit I bought her this back to school season was way too small.

It gets worse.

I upgraded some of the 3T tunics to 4T, and they still squished her little toddler belly. I took her to the store to try on denim jeans and none of them got past her thighs. Even the manager of one store said "I don't know why they make skinny jeans in toddler sizes, toddlers aren't suppose to be skinny!" But they are suppose to be protected from the cold, so how am I suppose to adequately dress my daughter for a Midwest Winter when the only thing I can pull over her thighs are leggings?

After about a zillion trips of buying and returning tunics (finally gave up on those) and trying out every stretchy pant ever made, I finally have about five outfits Nell can play comfortably in. They are all a size 4T. I finally accepted the idea that my little girl had a huge growth spurt over the summer (which she did), but I just had a hard time accepting the idea that she is bigger at age two than Reid was at age two. He wasn't in 4T until he was almost 3 years old. She's barely 2. How could this be?

Then, Reid and I dug out the Halloween decorations. Tucked away was this cute Frankenstein shirt he wore two Autumn's ago.

3T shirt on my two year old boy, Oct 2012
Desperate to increase Nell's wardrobe, I put it in her drawer. This would be my chance to see if she really was bigger than Reid at this same stage in life.

Spoiler alert: She's not. The shirt is much looser on her than it ever was on him. She hates wearing it (and therefore I have no picture for proof) because it is a little too scary for her taste, but I can assure you that a boy's 3T is plenty big for Nell. Yet girl's 4T's are not.

This is beyond frustrating. When I go shopping for Reid I know what I am getting into. Loose jeans and loose T-shirts, all great for running carefree, just as childhood requires. When I go shopping for Nell I have no idea what I'm getting into. I have to bring everything home and see which t-shirts will squeeze her belly and which ones will hit her knees like dresses. I have to choose one or the other. A squished toddler belly or an overgrown gown.

For now we've opted for the gowns. We have to cuff all her sleeves and pretend all her t-shirts are tunics --which works because all her "playwear" pants are as tight as jeggings.

It took some effort, but her fall wardrobe is working out just fine. My real complaint is the message we are sending our daughters. As early as age two our market (a reflection of our society) is already telling our daughter's that fashion is greater than comfort. That looking sexy is more important than playing freely. How heartbreaking.


And here's a related blog post I recently read, adult gender sizing from a man's point of view. 


Troy and Lisa said...

Amen! My 4 year old girl is tall and is already in girls size 5 to cover her stomach. I was stocking up at kohls at the end of summer for next year and bought some 3t things for my boy. She loved the Jake and the Neverland Pirates shirt I found him. I let her try it on and it not only fit, it was big! I compared it to her shirts and it was wider and longer! What made me mad is the price. Leaving the toddler section for her means more $ when she fits in a boy 3t. The other thing is that her only options are pink princesses. She likes those, but also loves sports and pirates! So she currently wears a few of his shirts :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog about Nell, with a picture of Reid?!?!

Mom said...

Yes, I did get and understand the subject line!!! I was just going to say that myself!

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