Riding in Shopping Carts with Boys

I’ve committed myself to one of my least favourite tasks with my son these school holidays, clothes shopping.

It’s never been easy with this one, he is fussy but consistently inconsistent in his choices. He carefully selects random items that meet his approval. He’ll love something one week and then detest a similar item a week later. But he definitely knows what he wants. He could never be accused of being indecisive, it’s just hard to be the shopper for someone with such particular taste.

My job has been made even harder because of the lack of options for boys, are boys supposed to just all wear the same thing? I get that girls get a couple of extra options with skirts and dresses, but is that any reason for them to get a clothing section considerably larger than the boys?

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I remember when my first son was born and I was bursting to shop up a storm after waiting to find out his sex before buying clothes. It was disappointing to say the least. I came to know the woman who worked in our local boutique quite well, I was in there all the time desperately hoping for some variety just like the girls appeared to have.

But if anything, the boys section has shrunk considerably in the nine years since I had my first of three boys.

I once needed shoes for all three children and questioned where all of the options were for boys. I may have been ranting slightly, but there was so little to choose from and I needed boy shoes, x3!

I was appalled when the manager of the shoe shop told me that they only stocked a limited supply of boys shoes because boys “aren’t into shoes”. Well maybe, but they’re not really into stepping on glass or needles either so they actually need them. And they need options other than gumboot, sandal and running shoe. And I happen to have 3 boys who are very much into shoes, thank you very much.


We’re not some crazy consumers that have to have a zillion clothes for each child, but it would be nice to have a few options. I’ve watched the boys section of our most frequented store shrink over the past few years, the sea of pink, purple and tulle slowly creeping in and taking up what’s left of the tiny pond of shorts and shirts.


That time we went to the snow and we literally had to buy girls pants.


My son made his Communion last year, and as he often does, had a very clear vision in his mind of what he would look like when he received this important sacrament. I’d like to say he was doing it all for Jesus, but he wasn’t. This was his opportunity to wear a jacket and a tie. Thank you, Jesus.

Perhaps it was divine intervention- a higher power trying to teach him a lesson, but there were no jackets to be found. We searched, oh did we search. He’s a skinny little thing with not much to him and sizing can be a bit of a challenge for his weedy body. We found size 6, cute. Size 10, sure. But size 8- not a thing. It got to the point that I would have paid more than I wanted to just to get the blasted coat for his vision special day.  We searched the shops and eventually had to settle on a jacket-less shirt and tie ensemble. He’s still not over it.

It’s not just clothes either. If boys are meant to be the simple one-style shoe, shirt, short wearing dirt eaters the big shops want them to be, surely their basic-ness applies to everything. Right?

We needed a card for a friend’s birthday on the weekend. We decided to splurge and get a number card, he was turning 5 and we decided that deserved a badge. But there weren’t any 5 badges left for boys. There were FOUR badge options for five year old girls- seriously! But only one space for ONE “5” card for boys. It sucked. The girls’ card section was three quarters of the stand.

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“Excuse me, where can I find clothes for people who aren’t girls?”

Are girls more interested in “stuff”? Are boys supposed to be less interested in “stuff”? Because if they are, I have been ripped off. I have one very particular little fashion lover who will one day tell of his tales of being trapped in a world as a boy with limited options and no coats. I can see the movie version already.

I don’t think I’m alone here, I’ve heard other people say it. Some days I feel like we’re cartoon characters just pulling out the same outfit day in, day out. One of the reasons people often gave me for “trying for a boy” was so that I’d have someone to shop with. It felt like an extremely lame reason to bring life into the world, and a lot of pressure on that life to love shopping. All of that would have been wasted on my shopping hating self anyway, and my strong dislike of the whole shopping experience is exactly why I’d love some options. But even despite all of that, I seem to have landed myself a shopping loving boy. Fancy that.

If there had been just one coat there that day, we could have just bought it and got on with our lives. We just needed one. The girls had lots of variety in everything. I know that because we had to trek through the dense collection of options to reach the piddly section at the back of the store for the non-girls.

So big retailers, listen up. Not all boys like the same things. Not all boys can find something they like with such limited choice. In all of the world’s problems this seems small, I get it. But I’m begging you for some choice. That’s it.  Can someone just try a little bit for the boys, please?

Go on, do it for the boys.


The easy way to dress 3 boys



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