Parenting sometimes brings about difficulties in ways you may not expect. Besides all of the sleepless nights, food struggles, tantrums, and potty training, the trickiest parts of parenting often involve the personalities of your kids. Managing your kids' individual passions, behaviors, and inclinations is one thing, but managing all of those in light of societal norms and expectations is another. Clothing and shoes, particularly, can be a struggle if your kiddos don't identify within the constraints of typical gender-based norms. So a bit of bright news today? Abercrombie has a gender neutral kids' clothing line coming out, and it's so needed.
As a mom of two little boys whose favorite colors are purple and pink, I spend so much time looking for well-designed, well-made clothing with unique style and in a variety of colors. I always shop in both sections, because as all moms of boys know, there's some good stuff on the other side that you could miss out on. My frustration only grows with every shopping season as I search endlessly for pink shirts without dainty bow-lined necklines or a flare at the waist, or purple shoes without glitter or hearts. Or, as I'm learning with my latest foray into potty training, boy undies with female characters (like Peppa Pig or Supergirl).
Abercrombie's latest kids' line, Everybody Clothes, is in response to consumer demand and includes clothes for kids ages 5 to 14. All of the items are meant to be standard sizes, but without any differentiation towards gender. The line is currently small, but hopes to expand for summer and back-to-school.
Currently, the line consists largely of hooded sweatshirts, long sleeved tees, an adorable bomber jacket, and a few sandals and hats. The colors are either nuetrals, pastels, or camo, and almost every piece is with typical A&F branding.
My personal favorites are the logo hoodie in a soft, washed pink, and the camo print bomber jacket — both of which I could see my boys wearing happily.
Abercrombie, obviously, hasn't been without very controversial practices in the past (some of which, like labor practices, are still current) and a lot of people, myself included, are hesitant to shop there. That's all understandable. But, I do believe in evolution and change, and the idea that companies, just like people, can be capable of both of those things. I'm keeping an open mind towards Abercrombie's new gender neutral idea because the concept is necessary, and I love the fact that I can buy pink and mint colored shirts for my boys. (I also love that shopping the collection online doesn't involve having to first choose a "boy" or "girl" section).
Though Abercrombie's new gender neutral clothing line is certainly far from solving all of my shopping woes, I'm so hopeful for what this could mean for the kids' clothing industry in general. If other companies begin to follow Abercrombie's example, it could mean immense change in the way we parent, and ultimately, in how our children develop and grow. Allowing our kids to grow into their own personalities without imposing any socially constructed gender norms on them through clothing could greatly change the ideals they grow up to believe — which would change the world they grow to live in.
It's funny to think that something as simple as gender-neutral clothing for kids could be that dynamic, but I truly believe it could be. That would my job — to raise my boys to challenge societal norms and the world around them which is so much easier. And, as a mom, I'm always looking for something in parenting to get easier.
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