How to Buy Unisex Baby Clothes For A Colourful, Stereotype-Free Wardrobe
Posted by Hilary Lloyd (Founder) on 23rd Feb 2022
Would you like to buy more unisex baby clothes but aren’t sure how to go about it? Are you fed up of the pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys divide in the shops, but don’t want plain white either? Are you wondering which colours are unisex? Struggling to find stores or brands that have what you want?
Then this blog is for you. A common-sense guide to unisex baby & toddler clothes, what they are, where to buy them and how to create a colourful wardrobe where gender stereotypes are well and truly banished!
What are unisex baby clothes anyway?
Let’s start with what we mean by unisex baby clothes. In adult clothes ‘unisex’ means a garment designed to fit both men and women, regardless of body shape. But all baby clothes are unisex in this sense, because boy and girl babies vary very little physically. A onesie in size 0-3 months will fit almost all babies of that age, boy or girl.
So what we’re really talking about is the look of the clothes and whether they’re ‘meant’ for a boy or girl. Apart from the obvious fact that dresses and skirts are usually worn by girls, this gender coding into ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ sections is very subjective and, sadly, has a lot of old-fashioned gender stereotypes baked in. Some examples:
Pink, purple, pastels & lighter colours predominate for girls; blue, red, black & darker colours for boys
Sweet and cute for girls (princesses, unicorns, baby animals, flowers); active and dynamic for boys (vehicles, dinosaurs, wild animals, superheroes and space)
Decorative ribbons, frills, bows, glitter etc for girls; plain and functional for boys (try finding a proper pocket on trousers marketed for toddler girls these days!)
All this amounts to is the same old story that girls should be pretty and caring, and boys should be brave and strong. Is that the 19th century calling? What’s going on?
(You can read more about this in our earlier blog ' What are unisex kids' clothes and why does it matter'.)
In contrast, unisex clothes avoid gender-based stereotyping. They aren’t labelled as ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’. They go beyond the standard colours and designs you see repeated time and time again on the High Street. They offer choice and variety in a very heavily gendered market.
Gorgeous unisex dungarees with rainforest print
What colours are unisex?
I would always say that all colours are for all kids. After all, no one suggests that adult men can’t wear pink shirts or women blue trousers - so why should we limit our own kids’ wardrobes?
However, big clothing retailers tend to play it very safe with unisex ranges full of white, grey and ‘neutral’ colours like beige or yellow. That’s not to say these colours aren’t lovely, but it limits choice. And by channelling all the blues, reds, pinks and purples into their boy/ girl sections, they keep maintaining the crazy gender divide in kids’ clothes. (Which is obviously in the retailer’s own interests, since if boys and girls don’t wear the same clothes, they stand to sell more clothes!)
Any colour can be unisex - even with pink, the colour most associated with a particular gender, you can find styles that are unisex. It’s the combination of colour and style. A simple pair of pale pink trousers is very different to a pink fluffy onesie with a princess on it.
My little boy would rock these with a colourful shirt :)
I’d encourage you to just buy the colours you love, although that may mean finding some new places to shop (see ‘where to buy’ below).
If you’re buying unisex baby clothes for someone else and you’re not sure what they like, here’s some ideas based on popular gifts from our store:
- Sleepsuits or leggings in colourful, gender neutral prints like animals, stars, stripes, clouds
- Rompers or dungarees in shades of yellow, purple or green
- ‘Interesting’ neutrals - white or cream with an eye-catching pattern, cosy knits
I love this sugar mice print - a retro take on the classic white babygrow
Where to buy unisex baby clothes?
I won’t say that you can’t find colourful unisex clothes on the High Street - but it is a bit like looking in a haystack for a haystack-coloured needle! You’ll probably also discover that it’s much harder to find unisex options after the baby years, from say 18-24 months onwards.
In fact, that’s how I came to start Brave Young Things - because I struggled so hard finding clothes that my boy & girl twins could share. I didn’t want to buy a whole different wardrobe for each of them and I wanted them both to have equally fun, colourful and vibrant clothing. We’re a small business and most stores that specialise in unisex baby clothes will be as well.
While I’d obviously love for you to take a look at our clothes while you’re here, I can recommend two other great places to find unisex kids’ clothes (we’re listed in both):
Let Clothes Be Clothes Approved Retailers - brands approved by the Let Clothes Be Clothes campaign against gender-based marketing in children's clothes
Not Only Pink And Blue Directory - brands that offer products for all children with no boy/girl filters
You can also search the #unisexbabyclothes tag on Instagram, or browse on platforms like Etsy.
Are unisex baby clothes expensive?
Not necessarily - it depends what you’re comparing them to. Clothes from smaller brands and retailers tend to cost a bit more than mass market options like Primark, simply because they’re producing much smaller volumes.
Our leggings start from just £10 each, tops from £14.50 and rompers from £19.50.
These gorgeous leggings start from only £10 for sizes under 12 months
How can I create a colourful, stereotype-free wardrobe for my kids?
Once you start seeing gender stereotypes at work, you can never un-see them. So if you want to keep stereotypes out of your kids’ wardrobe, here’s some tips on how to go about it:
- Before you buy, ask yourself if you'd put the clothes on a child of the opposite sex. If not, why not? Especially if the clothing is a unisex style like a body or romper, what is it that makes it 'for girls' or 'for boys'? And are you comfortable with that?
- Tell your family and friends that you prefer unisex baby clothes! Have the conversation with them and explain what you mean. It’s surprising how many people have never really thought about it before. And hopefully if they're buying gifts for your children, they'll be more likely to choose things you actually like.
- Shop small - the big retailers are well behind on this trend. Check out the directories above and support small businesses trying to offer more choice.
- Find unisex brands you love and follow them on social media or sign up to their newsletters to get updates and sales
- Mix and match plain basics with your favourite unisex pieces
- Take a lead from your kids as they grow - what are they into? Look for clothes that match their interests regardless of gender.
- When you clear out your baby’s wardrobe or start buying the next size up, do a quick check on the variety of colours and designs you have
- Make your own - if you’ve got a sewing machine, baby clothes can be a fun project and there are endless fabrics and patterns to choose from
Unisex doesn’t mean boring. It means individuality, variety, colour, freedom from gender stereotypes. Babies and toddlers are just beginning to discover who they are: they don’t need their clothes to tell them.
Take a look at our unisex baby & toddler clothes collections:
Baby On The Move (6-12 months)
Toddler Adventurer (1-3 years)
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