The Gender Issue In Kids’ Clothing

Tootsa MacGinty winter 2011 collection photographsWhen we think of children’s clothing, most of us think of all the cute garments we can purchase for our kids. From dress-up clothes that make them look like little adults, to playful and themed clothes for particular occasions, to the everyday attire they wear the most, kids’ wardrobes can be a great deal of fun (and, yes, some hassle) for parents. However, in recent years there’s been an interesting debate on a not-so-subtle dark side to children’s clothing: namely, the promotion of gender inequality and stereotypes.

That may sound a little bit dramatic if you haven’t come face to face with the problem. However, it’s certainly fair to say that certain brands and stores have indeed allowed for sexist messages to creep into kids’ clothing designs. The New York Times tackled this issue back in 2011, having posted a brief editorial citing contrasting messages such as girls’ clothes with “Pretty Like Mommy” and boys’ reading “Smart Like Daddy.” These are two specific examples, but they capture a general theme that girls are shallow and only interested in looks while boys are intelligent and ambitious. Even more recently (this past October), Daily Mail ran a story with similar findings, noting boys’ “Future Man Of Steel” shirts and girls’ accompanying “I Only Date Superheroes” options. The article noted that giant retailers Target and Walmart are indeed facing backlash over these types of clothing.

Frankly, it’s a pretty bad problem, and the time elapsed between the New York Times and Daily Mail articles reveals that despite public attention (and outrage), it hasn’t gone anywhere. However, there is a silver lining, and it comes in the form of good old-fashioned do-it-yourself problem solving. In many cases, the solution to a problematic product is to offer a better alternative—and leading the way in approaching this solution as it pertains to kids’ clothes is Kate Pietrasik, a mother and clothing designer who had seen enough.

Tired of clothing that promoted gender inequality and problematic stereotypes, Pietrasik decided to launch a gender-neutral children’s retail option. Thus, Tootsa MacGinty was born, and while the company remains modest next to some of the retailers responsible for the greater issue, it has begun to generate attention both for its headlines and its purpose. On the one hand, Pietrasik’s company provides light-hearted, comfortable options that most kids will enjoy wearing. But even more importantly, they can all be worn by both boys and girls as all of them avoid pinning gender-specific messages on kids.

It’s still an uphill battle when you consider how long the public has more or less tolerated sexist kids’ clothing. But with the issue now in the news with increasing regularity and with people like Kate Pietrasik working to offer alternatives, the hope is that gender inequality can eventually be eradicated—at least in the clothes we put our toddlers in!

Cool Kids

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Most Mums love to treat themselves to designer shoes, though when it comes to kids’ designer wear, buying shoes is a practical as well as fashionable choice. Many designers offer children’s collections, including shoes which withstand kids’ rough and tumble and stay in great condition. Trendy styles mean your son or daughter will be the envy of their classmates and hopefully mean they keep their footwear in good condition too!



School shoes must look smart and must remain looking presentable whatever walking to school weather you and your child encounter! Avoid man-made materials and opt for leather which can be protected with a weather-proofing spray. Mary-Jane styles are fab for girls, as they can be worn throughout the year, and the Velcro fastening makes them easy to put on and take off. Kids’ designer footwear looks good on the outside, and many brands also use technology which ensures they are comfy on the inside too. Naturino’s range of shoes have a cushioned interior and feature sand effect technology which cushions the sole of your child’s feet, meaning they stay comfortable all day.



The months will soon start to get warmer and summer will be upon us. Kid’s summer shoes need to be open enough to allow their feet to ‘breathe’, whilst still offering enough support for growing feet. Birkenstocks are an ideal choice, in either a strappy or flip-flop style design. These open styles allow fresh air to hot feet in the summer months, whilst the thick, shaped soles are robust and offer great support. The leather inner lining will also stop your child’s feet from overheating.



Whether your son or daughter is a team player in school sports, or enjoys taking part in sports at the weekend, their footwear can make a real difference. Brands like Nike are relied upon for their high quality adults’ trainers, and the same technology and style is evident in their children’s range too. Trainers with rubber studs are the perfect choice for the football pitch and styles made from man-made fabrics are lightweight and weatherproof. Nike’s children’s range is available in some fab colours including Volt yellow, eye-catching pink and electric blue which show off this year’s neon trend at its best and will be a hit with your son or daughter too.



Kids’ casual shoes must blend hardwearing materials and practicality with a smart and presentable look. Boat shoes are an ideal style for weekend footwear, as they look cute with any kid’s outfit and will never go out of fashion. Leather versions will last and look smart, and can also be worn year-round. Go for a dark colour which will not show scuffs and marks as easily and can be teamed with a casual weekend outfit and be used for occasions too.

Top 10 Childrens Clothing Designers

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Popular designers were only interested in designing clothes for adults. However, the focus has expanded now and these designers are also keen on couture for kids. Kids clothing is a booming market nowadays and every other designer is trying to cash in on the trend. Each week brings news of another major launch but there are some who have established themselves in the United Kingdom market. The following are the top 10 children’s clothing designers.

Crew Clothing
Crew Clothing provides varied types of knitwear, sweatshirts and polo t-Shirts for boys and girls. They also have a “Sale” section, where they give clothes at discount rates to the buyers.


Mush Kids

From new born babies to ten year olds, Mush Kids have couture for all. They also offer under garments, playsuits and accessories. Currently, they have a clearance sale on their website.


Marie Chantal
With a special weekend wardrobe section, Marie Chantal gives a variety of clothes from her own line. Their most prominent feature is their signature one piece that is available for newborn babies. Their rompers and jackets for kids are also preferred.


After two high street shops, Panache has started their online shopping services also. On the online platform, they specialise in baby wear and have a huge range of dresses, jackets and t-shirts.


There are other Couture boutiques which have a collection of designer brands and labels. These are sold at a smaller price on these sites, making it affordable for all. Some such stores are as follows:

Kids Cavern
Kids Cavern has clothes, accessories and shoes from well known brands like Chloe, Dior, Fendi, Calvin Klein, Reebok and many more. Even newborn babies can be shopped for in this store for their choice of brands. A 23-year-old store, they offer online shopping facilities as well.


The current top designers of Papillon are Lacoste, Diesel, Ralph Lauren and Eliane Et Lena. They include new labels in their collection and are among the preferred couture for kids in UK.


Ten Little Monkeys
An award winning, kids fashion boutique, Ten Little Monkeys provide a collection of labels and brands. They provide clothes for kids (from newborn to twelve year olds). Ten little monkeys have an exchange and refund provision on all items.


Alex and Alexa
Providing many international brands, this online store gives wide shopping options to children from newborns to fourteen-year-olds. Their range of clothing has swimwear, sleepwear, bodysuits and many more.


From pretty dresses for girls, jeans and cardigans for boys to sleepwear and under garments, all of these are available in Bibaloo. The highlight here is a “Gift” section; through this an individual can purchase gift cards and gift vouchers. They also have carry out sales on designer brands and labels.


Childs Play Clothing
Childs Play Clothing has a huge selection of designer clothing available for kids. From Armani to Prada, all the leading brands and labels merge to form this wide variety that has been available for the last 20 years.

Children nowadays have a wide range to deck up their wardrobe. They are increasingly becoming fashion-conscious and are aware of the season’s trends way in advance.



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