Friday, December 12, 2008

Feminine Friday



I gladly participate in feminine friday again this week and am taking my cue from the Barefoot mama. Her wonderful entry goes in search for the missing cute little girl dresses of yesterday. Now I am giving the subject a twist though. In my childhood, dresses were out. One of my biggest laments of being a child in Belgium in the late seventies and into the eighties is the lack of beautiful dresses. I was a girly girl. I loved dresses and would have kept them nice and clean too! For my confirmation, I ended up with a white pantsuit combination because it was impossible to find a nice white dress for the occasion. I am glad that as an adult I can find all the nice dresses and skirts that I have missed all these years.

Now that I am mother of a cute, wonderful 14 month old boy, my biggest frustration is the absence of cute, wonderful clothes for him! Where are the little sailor outfits? The tiny suits? The pants with white shirts and little ties. I am all too aware that dressing up has long gone out of the window for anything but weddings and funerals -and even there you can find yourself out of luck- I want to dress my little boy nicely. After all 'gentlemen' are one half of 'ladies and gentlemen'.

I can understand that in any given children's store, 70 percent or more of the clothes are intended for girls. After all, who does not fall in love with the cute little cardigans or sweet little dresses that the fashion industry allows those under the age of six. (After that age, mothers of girls run into a whole new set of problems.) But from the age of one, it seems boys are supposed to fall into one of the following three categories: basketball players, camo-wearing soldiers, or foul mouthed rappers.
Even if the slogan or picture is not offensive, the colours are loud and the style is ultra casual. Only now, around Christmas, you can find some cute little suits and shirts. Simply finding a real shirt with buttons is a challenge throughout the rest of the year.



Of course I am not sending my son dressed in a 3 piece suit to play in the sandpit, just as mothers of girls know that there is a time for a bit of lace trim, and a time for T shirts and knits. But when we go to church on sunday, or on a visit to grandma, I want him to look dressed up. After all, I am raising the next generation of gentlemen. If I want girls in 20 years to find men who know how to wear something else aside from track suits and jeans, I need to teach him now, or the idea of wearing a tie will be foreign and ackward to him at age 16.
Real men, know how to dress. And it is up to us mothers, to teach them.

14 comments:

Melissa said...

I love this post! I saw the link on thebarefootmama, and I couldn't agree more. I'm having a little boy in just over a week, and I can't believe how little there is for boys. Now, I don't mind the camo so much because my husband is a soldier, but I don't want our son to wear that EVERY day! I too want to raise a gentleman, someone a young lady can respect and be proud to be with. Most of that comes from the inside, but there is something to be said about a man (especially a young man) who knows how to dress well.

Elizabeth said...

How precious!

BarbaraLee said...

Shopping seems to be a headache for everyone.

Dear Abbi said...

Aww, what a handsome, little man! How precious!

Lanita said...

What a beautiful post. I raised my son (who is now nearly 25)wearing three piece suits, slacks, dress shirts, sweaters, etc. I admit they are almost impossible to find these days. I am raising two young ladies...as ladies (dresses, manners, etc), I sure we can find the gentlemen out there when it is time for courting.

Brenda said...

I never even thought about boys' clothes (I have 2 girls)! I am fed up with how casual things are these days as well....even though we can find girls' dresses...it's hard to find a place to wear them and not look out of place.

I did think of this when I read your post:
http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=686

Check out the last picture! :)

Ellen said...

I remember how frustrated I was when I realized how few cute boy clothes there are in relation to girl clothes. There are some out there, but the cutest cost the most. I can't afford Gymboree new, but I can afford a Target t-shirt with a monster truck on it. And I dislike that.

We moms of boys just have to look a lot harder. I just came back from a huge consignment sale, and I scored some great deals on adorable newborn boy clothes. I wish I'd been so luck for my two-year-old. Sigh.

Miss Robin said...

I couldn't agree more! I have two young boys, a 6-year-old, and a 17-month old, and it's so frustrating shopping for them. We have settled on khakis and polo shirts for every day (baby polo onesies are easy to find at better department stores and are not that expensive). My husband doesn't dress up, so I have almost no hope of making my boys wear suits and ties, but I can make sure they are presentable everywhere we go.

I also have an 8-year-old daughter, and you are so right about girl's clothing. She looks longingly at the 2-6x section as we plough through the "tweens" section looking for something presentable. I'm afraid I've had to compromise my standards in terms of style, but she's still able to be very modest. Our rules are generally nothing tight, no bellies showing, and nothing that looks like it was made for a 25-year-old.

Marsha said...

I am raising two teenage gentleman--and no, it shouldn't be an oxymoron. I'm frequently asked how I get my boys to dress so nicely. The answer is, they've dressed as gentlemen all their lives, so that is what they're used to. You are so right about having to start this when they are little.
The most difficult time to find nice clothes for boys is when they are in the "big boy" range, about age 7 to 12. Even worse if they are not average size, either slim or husky. Suits are almost nonexistent, and just finding a pair of dress shoes is nearly impossible (especially if they have wide or narrow feet), especially at a modest price. You don't want to spend a ton of money on things that will be outgrown in 3-6 months. When they finally hit men's sizes, it became much easier. My boys are tall for their ages, so that meant they were in men's sizes sooner.
I encourage you to keep trying. Don't give up. The end result is well worth it.

Sherry said...

If you want truly beautiful clothes, either for boys or girls, you have be well off or be able to sew, or have a mother or mil who sews those precious outfits. I have little time to sew, but I really should make the time. My 17yo dd is petite & large breasted. Getting clothes to fit her & be fashionable & modest can be crazy! And I definitely want to sew for future grand-babies.

We have been able to find suit jackets for my 12yo ds at Kohl's. He absolutely hates clip-on ties, so I'm going to have to shorten some regular men's ties for him. He likes to dress this way for church. I'm blessed since it's his choice. He is influenced well by my dad, his dad, & his grown brother.

One thing you might like that you could do for the younger set could be to buy plain tees & iron-on appliques of your choice. You can see some at http://www.threadart.com/shop/category.asp?catid=123 or http://www.jkmribbon.com/wrights/app/appliques-wrights.htm.

Sherry said...

Oh, yeah, you have a precious little man there!

Diamond to Be said...

We are raising four girls, ages 5-14, and we are out west, where decent clothes don't exist. I don't understand why the stores don't carry them -- I have seen plenty of blog posts about the dearth of modest clothing, which would indicate that there actually is, in reality, a market for button-down shirts for boys, and longer skirts/pretty dresses for girls. (And teens. And MOMS!!) What do we have to do to get the attention of the retail stores??

Gramma Roxanne said...

Hi there thought I would put in my 2cents worth here. We had five sons and three daughters~~I was always able to sew or find clothes for them that were suitable. Have you thought of western wear not sure if you are into that but the shirts are button or pearl snap. Our sons are cowboys and wear these shirts all the time Flannel for working in and dressy materials for dress jeans for everyday and black jeans for dress. (Actually they come in many colours nowadays) You can get white shirts too. and make lovely vests anyways just thought I would throw that in here and maybe there is someone out there that can use the ideas. Some of the children are parents now the youngest is just turned 19. They all are gentlemen or ladies. Kwik sew has patterns for little ones plain shirts if you are not into western wear.

Matushka Anna said...

I've never seen a post on the dearth of decent clothes for boys...it's so true! My oldest three are girls and the youngest of those is now too tall for 6X so I'm in serious trouble when it comes to finding clothes for them. We've done fairly well by searching all avenues including thrift (I've found some GREAT things there) and on-line discount sites. My youngest two are boys (5 and 2). I though I'd be safe until they turned six like the girls, but we were in trouble as soon as they were out of 12-18 months clothes! I have many times lamented, "I'm not raising future race-car drivers, basketball players, hunters or rappers." You can't even find a simple polo shirt without some awful logo on it. I have noticed that there is a serious jump in price from trashy to decent. It's as if the people who determine what clothing will be carried in stores assume that if you live below a certain income you must have no class. Just as with the girls, we're scraping along, but it gets very old.