Parents & Heteros Join Queers Demanding Gender-Neutral Clothing

Lisa Wade recently wrote a lament on the lack of “gender-neutral clothing” for kids, but also for and adults (on  Sociological Images, cross-posted by Jezebel), spurred by the sign spotted at UK retailer Polarn O. Pyret [image, right]

This lament could be the tag line for 50% of Autostraddle’s fashion/style coverage — we’re constantly struggling against The Gendered Powers that be to find a unisexual compromise whether it be boyshorts without penis pockets, make-your-own skinny ties, swimwear for the ambisexual gender-confused, highlighting lezzie-owned fashion retailers making leather goods with girls in mind, analyzing the lesbian draw towards an androgynous hipster aesthetic or talking to Real Live lesbians who dare to take queer style into their own hands.

But now women of undefined sexual orientation are apparently clamoring for the same thing like all good feminists should:

With the exception of the t-shirt (which only masquerades as gender neutral), in the U.S. clothes are designed for women or men, but never both. Department stores and retail stores (unless they sell only men’s or women’s clothing) have separate men’s and women’s sections in the store. There is no option to buy clothes, one must buy “women’s” or “men’s” clothes.

This is even true for children’s clothes. One might make the argument that adult males and females have different bodies (an argument I might argue with), but we can’t say that pre-pubertal children do. Nevertheless, the cultural rules that require boys and men to dress differently than girls and women make such a clothing line seem impossible.

Wade is encouraged that things might be changing, highlighting UK clothing company Polarn O.Pyret, which apparently has launched a unisex collection “based on situation and function rather than gender.”

Can you imagine? Unisex clothing sections? Especially when shopping online, which can often feel like an intense cerebral battle with the gendered brain of your given clothing outlet’s search engine (rather than a physical store, which enables you to view both sections with your eyeballs and move physically between them). I checked out some children’s clothing retailers online to use as graphics for this roundtable AND OMFG you cannot even ENTER the website without picking a gender!

There is NOTHING in between! Except, of course, over at the possibly evil American Apparel, where you will find no mention of gender in their children’s clothing area, with both girls and boys modeling clothing divided by type, not gender:


Style Editor

“It’s a shame that in 2010 the most we can boast about is a maybe progressive baby shop in the UK.”

I have always loved androgynous/gender neutral style. I, too, would argue with the argument that “adult males and females have different bodies”, or rather, I would argue with the fact that “they” automatically assume that one would want clothing that accentuates or “fits” certain attributes of their body. It’s a shame that in 2010 the most we can boast about is a maybe progressive baby shop in the UK. I mean, sure, it’s great news, it’s a step in the right direction, but really? What the hell are we so afraid of?  I understand the need to organize and categorize clothes and that the most obvious way to do so is by gender, but it makes me sad that an improved, more self-aware system will take awhile, if ever, to come about. Maybe I missed something and it was actually the gender neutrality of the American Apparel hoodie that brought about the most recent war. Anyway, koodos to Polarn O. Pyret for mixing it up. It is a small (no pun intended) victory after that Dockers fiasco…


Tech Editor:

“Looking in the men’s section of J. Crew makes me want to hang myself with a skinny tie..”

This is something that plagues me, especially during the summer. In fact, I was just bemoaning my complete absence of summer style, because I wear t-shirts and shorts with no accessories to speak of and I constantly yearn for hoodie weather.

I’d kill to have a store offer the same stuff for men & women, or even offer a comprehensive selection of “men’s wear” in small sizes when my style veers toward andro. If I want to dress, dapper-like, I’m totally out of luck, unless I collect bits and pieces of androgynous stuff and then cobble them together into an outfit. And this is in New York, a city that offers smaller men’s sizes in many stores to accommodate an array of very svelte, stylish men, unlike those same stores in say, Oklahoma City.

Looking in the men’s section of J. Crew makes me want to hang myself with a skinny tie. I think about this all of the time, seriously. Oddly, what I haven’t thought about is the utility of gendered clothing for differently shaped bodies, an argument that doesn’t affect me too much since I don’t have too many curves to contend with, but it’s a damned solid argument against gendered kids clothing.



“I think my Mom’s motivations for dressing my brother and I in identical gender neutral duds were 50% political, 25% paranoia that she’d lose us in a crowd and 25% efficiency.”

My Mom intentionally dressed my brother and I “gender-netural.” I guess that meant boy clothing, because for kids, usually boy’s clothing = unisex clothing. Language begins with the heterosexual male norm and defines subsequent categories as it relates to that “x” so that’s how that goes. My brother and I wore matching outfits, like the terry-cloth seperates we owned in red, yellow and blue! I wore sneakers, pants and t-shirts and eschewed anything frilly or flowery. I think my Mom’s motivations were 50% political, 25% paranoia that she’d lose us in a crowd and 25% efficiency. Exhibit A, my brother and I in t-shirts and matching sunglasses:

That being said, I’ve always had a boyish body and therefore gave up on women’s attire fitting me ages ago. I’m the average height of a man (5’10) and I’m not curvy, so I basically shop online where I can get “boyfriend cut” women’s pants sans hips with 36 inch inseams or men’s shirts in size XXS. Little boy’s clothing, alas, is generally too wide, although I find little boy’s underpants a godsend. Women’s business attire simply does not fit me. I can’t imagine a world with a unisex button-up shirt or unisex blazer. I think I just stopped expecting anyone to sell clothes I could wear, ever. I actually just looked down at what I’m wearing right now — men’s t-shirt, little boy’s underpants, and pajama pants I found on Alex’s floor. So there you go. Scavengers, the lot of us.


Executive Editor

“But really, is there something inherently boyish about trucks or dinasours?”

I don’t find it difficult to dress my sons in gender neutral clothes, because really that just boils down to shirts without Hello Kitty or Spiderman on the front. I wouldn’t buy those shirts anyway because I’m allergic to character-based playwear. But really, is there something inherently boyish about trucks or dinosaurs? I don’t think so. When Slade wears a black t-shirt with a guitar on it, I don’t feel like he’s wearing a boys shirt.

The problem is when Eli actually wants a Hello Kitty t-shirt. I’m obvs dripping with progressive, gender neutral parenting, so I’d be fine with him wearing it — that’s not the issue. Unfortunately, most clothing with female characters are also cut differently and embellished with frills or glitter, which Eli isn’t interested in. I mean, that’s a girl’s shirt. The poor kid just wants to show some love for Ni Hao Kai Lan; he doesn’t want to wear a dress. So I guess the issue I have is why are some characters / things marketed to boys and others to girls? Why can’t shit just be shit for everyone to enjoy?

Intern Emily:

Music/DIY blogger

“Women’s fashion is geared more towards “femmy” type women, and I think that’s frustrating for a lot of us.”

It’s actually really annoying that clothes are gendered because the women’s stuff is always poorer quality and uglier than the men’s. Unfortunately for me, the men’s stuff doesn’t usually fit my body the way I’d like it to. Women’s fashion is geared more towards “femmy” type women, and I think that’s frustrating for a lot of us, as evidenced by the fact that we have all these style posts here on how to get men’s clothes to fit us. If designers made more unisex clothing, or made men’s clothing that fit me, that’d be nice. Also I think the questionably motived American Apparel makes some okay unisex clothing.

Brandy Howard:

Actress/Model, Style-Blog Addict & co-star of In Your Box Office

While I think unisex clothes (in general) are super cool, I also really dig the thought of girls (whether they be young or old) wearing clothes made for boys. Call me crazy – but Shiloh wouldn’t be such a trailblazer if her duds were unisex.

Intern Hot Laura

Style/DIY Blogger

“As far as success and attire, at my job at least, formal clothes are often conflated with ones that are gender-specific.”

I think that a lot of people hope that their babies will grow up to be the perfect man or woman just like they might hope for them to be a successful doctor or lawyer. I think it’s preaching to the choir to point out to you guys that for a lot of people, being a productive member of society means fitting nicely into male or female. As far as success and attire, at my job at least, formal clothes are often conflated with ones that are gender-specific. Yesterday a man asked me if I worked there because I was dressed so much more casually than all the other women. I was wearing wing-tipped oxfords, nice pants, a button down shirt, and a vest [yes, I just wanted to tell you all about my fly outfit]; they were all wearing dresses.

Riese’s Mom Maureen

Social Worker, Birther of our Editor-in-Chief

Clothing is a reflection of societal norms, roles and mores. Much of this comes from the Bible (somewhere in Deutoronomy) where females are admonished to not dress in male clothes, and it’s just gone on from there.

When Ris was born I made a deliberate effort to dress her in yellow, reds and denim, which I considered gender-neutral colors, and also bright enough that I could spot her in a crowd. My Aunt Dorothy was convinced I/we was/were trying to raise her to be a boy. Her Dad and I were trying to raise her to be a person and selected clothes that wouldn’t show dirt easily and she could play in.

Up until puberty gender in clothes is determined by color and designs, such as “princess” vs. “football”, after that a lot of it is decided by body shape and size. Teeshirts? how about kilts?

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  1. I definitely remember being about five years old and wanting a dinosaur-themed room and dinosaur-themed clothes (because dinosaurs are friggin’ sweet) and my mom and I couldn’t find stuff that wasn’t super-boyish. It would have been nice to find some dinosaur shirts or sheets or whatever that weren’t clearly marketed towards boys, because I wasn’t that much of a tomboy and would have appreciated some lady dinosaur items. The whole idea of making certain things “boyish” and “girly” is just weird… especially dinosaurs. I mean, if there were no girl dinosaurs, then wouldn’t The Land Before Time lose like half its characters? Cera and Ducky demand representation!

  2. I have a solution. Everyone size shit the same way. Like in inches. I know how big my waist and inseam are. I can measure my arms. I do not know what “1” means to the Gap.

    For example, in my closet right now there are items of clothing (all of them fit me fairly well, none of these are shoes) that are labelled:

    0, 2, 5, 8, 11-12yrs, medium, small, xsmall, xlarge, petite, 27-30, 6 long, 28 short.

    I do not change shape or size frequently or dramatically. Someone is lying to me.

    • Yes! Numerical sizes make no sense to me. How are you supposed to know what size you are when the sizes aren’t based on any real measurement. And like you said, they aren’t uniform at all.

      Another problem with sizing is that stores seem to assume that guys are automatically larger than girls, which I think leads to girls feeling kinda huge when they aren’t. For example, I wear a large or extra large or women’s shirt, and I wear a medium in men’s. Why is a woman made to feel extra-large when a man of similar size is just medium? Shouldn’t a medium sized man and a medium sized woman be the same size?

      • DOUBLE YES!
        I’m man-sized and woman-shaped (6′, curvy, and bigger than the average person), and my biggest pet peeve is BAND MERCH. Womens’ XL band merch tees – frequently from American Apparel – are friggin’ TINY, and I’m forced to buy mens’ shirts, which have to be big enough to fit over my giant hips, but then end up baggy in the waist, shoulders and arms, long sleeves and often tight in the bust, and the high collar makes me feel like I’m choking.


          Although my biggest complaint is how goddamn SHORT the “women’s” tees are… An XL *almost* fits me everywhere else, aside from a little bit of tightness over my bust and hips, like you said, but they come to maybe my bellybutton. So I have to wear them all over a longer tee or tank, which means I can’t wear them in the summer without heatstroke from the layering. Aggravation!

      • I agree that it’s pretty ridiculous for kids sizing to be different for girls and boys. I mean come on, a 9 year old girl and a 9 year old boy are the same shape. If anything, considering girls hit puberty earlier, it’s gonna be girls who need bigger sizes.

        To be fair though, I totally understand why they have different sizing for adult men and women. Dudes tend to have much larger shoulders, narrow hips and no bums. Women have bigger hips, boobs and smaller shoulders. So the fact that a woman who is a large in women’s sizes fits a guy’s medium makes sense to me. I know from experience- found the coolest ever jeans ever in boy’s sizing. Waaay too long in the leg but also way to skinny at the butt :(

        It’s not trying to bully women into feeling fat, it’s just being realistic about that fact that most women are smaller then most men. I think the idea of a universal human sizing system is a bit of Political Correctness gone crazy.

    • Word. I don’t understand why I take a small or extra-small in men’s clothes and an extra-large in women’s. Yes, I’m taller than most women, but I’m probably around average weight for people of my height, regardless of sex. You’d think would make me a medium, but no.

  3. I totally have a similar beef with this issue. While I like the more gender neutral stuff and am cool with settling and buying it from the men’s store, I am 5’1 and have boobs and hips. You can see where this is an issue. So I get the whole wanting things to be gender neutral, but I understand the deal with feminine and masculine body types.

    Also regarding kids wearing unisex clothing and whatnot, I still have a very clear memory of being 3 or 4 and my mother wanted to take me shopping for nice church clothes. I remember looking at a suit and tie and asking my mom for it, and her response was a yelled “I want people to know my child is a girl!” Yes, we are Catholic, and yes, it still stings a bit. My children are gonna rock whatever the fuck they want.

  4. Damn. I saw this on my facebook news feed and got super excited that someone made a list of unisex! clothes shops! on the internet!

    Pity I’m not in any way talented in clothing design, that is on glaringly gap filled niche market right there…

  5. A big motivating factor for the lack of unisex or gender neutral clothing is probably down to profits too. What they have now works for the most part and those who don’t fit in are forced to make do anyway as evidenced by all the trouble buying men’s sizes among the lesbians. So much as I hate to say it the future could very possibly be online niche sites like the baby one unless gender neutral style becomes more popular which is another possibility.

  6. I work in the infants department of the world’s largest store (literally) and I hear this complaint a LOT. Especially for parents who want to wait until their child is born to know the sex, they only have like 4 outfits to choose from–one of which is a plain white onesie. Everything else is either pink or blue, dress or suit. Also little girls have about 3 times the selection than little boys do for clothes.

  7. I really wish a tuxedo could have been an option the last time I went to a wedding. Which was when I was 10. I changed immediately after the wedding ceremony and haven’t worn a dress since!

    Also, dear clothes makers: can you make some pants that I don’t need to roll up or have hemmed? I’m really short. Thanks.

    • >>Also, dear clothes makers: can you make some pants that I don’t need to roll up or have hemmed? I’m really short. Thanks.>>

      DEAR GOD YES. It’s like they assume everyone wears high heels with dress pants – I mean, I’m not THAT far off average height, and my waist size is tiny… so why is every pair of pants that fits my waist about three inches too long?!

  8. OMG more like Readmymindostraddle. Seriously, I think about this on the reg at my job. I work with little kiddos who really shouldn’t have any predetermined notion of gender. However, there’s a three year old girl in my class who wears make up every day. There’s also a boy who refuses to do art (at an art camp) and would prefer to smash trucks into friends’ head’s, but he’s also a what we kindly call a space case…

    Anywho, storytime: There was this little girl camper (let’s call her Sally). Sally was partial to shorts and shirts in greens, yellows, and purples. But one day, Sally ran into the classroom wearing a flowing pink sundress. Her father followed, lingering for a moment to chat. Midway into the conversation, he leaned toward me and whispered, “You know, my partner and I try to avoid gender stereotypes,” gesturing toward his daughter’s dress. “But sometimes Sally just wants to wear the same thing as her friends.”

    Now, my work wear is a a kid-proof combo of cargo shorts and a t-shirt, you know, pretty unisex. And while I am looked at as fair game in the darkened corners of gay boy bars, in broad daylight I’m usually ascertained as female. But at work, despite my moniker “Miss ‘southpaw'” I am regularly referred to as “he” by my own campers. They automatically associate my gender-neutral clothing (and hairstyle) with “male.” It’s a mild annoyance, but I always wonder, where are they getting this from?

    Of course the “no duh” conclusion is that yes, they get it from home, the parents who indoctrinate the kids, blah blah blah. But once these children leave the ideological bubbles of home, they get exposed to other kids parroting *their* parents’ beliefs. In the case of Sally, the overwhelming message of “pink dresses are for girls” drowned out the “anything is for girls” message from her fathers. In the case of Shiloh, maybe her parents’ laissez-faire attitude will override the douchery of the big children writing tabloids.

    So, raise a quiet hand friends: did anyone here face any conflict between messages from home and messages at school/camp/band camp? I pretty much went the Shiloh route, with a small contingent of catty middle school girl opposition, but hey, love won out. Any opposite tales?

    • I wore “boy” clothes until about 5th or 6th grade and even though I had long hair, I’d always get asked by grown ass women if I was a boy or a girl. When I finally started dressing slightly more feminine to fit in, a boy that I had been friends with since kindergarten told me I turned into a girl. I remember feeling great and terrible at the same time. Now, instead of buying gender neutral clothes for my 2 year old (they’re hard to find), I buy clothes from one end of the spectrum to the other. Sometimes she gets really excited about a new dress, and sometimes she wants her Chucks and a dinosaur tshirt. I hate to think that other people are going to make her feel bad about it either way, but I’m hoping that (like you said) my attitude will override the douchery of others.

      • I was always a tomboy and had short hair so I was continuously being confused for a boy, it got to the point where when if someone asked if me and my best friend were brothers we’d say yes. Anyway, I only rarely (i.e. when forced) wore dresses. But in like 7th or 8th grade (around the same time I decided to grow my hair out), I had to wear a dress for something and one of my teachers (who I had known since the fourth grade) when he saw me in the dress said “wow, you really are a girl.” I don’t think he realized how much it hurt when he said that, and I never trusted him again after that.

    • one of my younger sisters and i really hated wearing anything but “boyish” clothes when we were younger. my mom fought against it for a bit. like, she’d make us wear dresses to church on sundays, but then my dad was like, “they should have options” and he bought us like 12 pairs of corduroy and velvet pants (it was the 90’s, praise be) and i was like, “thank you, that is a start.”

      by the time i was in, maybe 4th grade, she let it go. i’ve asked her since and she said it was b/c she didn’t want us to be the “weird kids”, but that she personally didn’t give a shit. my dad never gave us a hard time, obvs, b/c he’s always been very “follow your heart” about absolutely everything.

      the kids at school gave me and my sister some shit for it during 5th grade(for me). i got into many, many fist fights that began with bullying w/r/t us being/wanting to be/looking like boys. it wasn’t exactly my favorite part of growing up, but my sister and i tag teamed their asses and they eventually stopped.

      i’m not sure what the moral of my story is. i guess, ultimately, my parents had way bigger things to worry about than whether or not my clothes were “girly” enough. yanno? as for the kids that bullied us… they got their asses handed to them, so i’m guessing they don’t recount those particular stories from their childhoods.

      • I had a similar experience as a child. My mom tried to put me in frilly dresses, but I rebelled, cried, and ripped my dresses as a toddler. So from then on, my parents kind of let me choose my own clothing, which to say the least, resulted in some hideous outfits (remember when neon was cool? one particular outfit sticks out: every article of clothing a different neon color, down to the socks).

        But yeah, my parents didn’t really care what I wore. I get more flack from them now to dress more professionally and “my age.”

  9. Sometimes I feel like such a slob, the way I dress but I really don’t know what to do. I feel REALLY uncomfortable in super fem stuff like dresses, frilly tops, whatev. Honestly, they look pretty crap on me too. I have long brown hair and I wear jewelry on occasion but damn if I can’t make capped sleeves look manly. On the other hand, I am by no means butch. So with that being said I always face a weird conundrum with regards to work clothes or even formal occasion clothing. I really want to look nice like everyone else but I also don’t want to be horrifically uncomfortable. I guess until I find a better option it’ll be (androgynous) dress shirts and nice pants. For everything.

    • ugh this is me too. except i can’t just wear dress shirts either, cause i managed to grow huge boobs. so it’s pretty much always v-neck t shirts and decent pants. i don’t know what i’ll do if i ever have to actually look like a grown up on a regular basis.

  10. the answer seems obvious – any piece of clothing that is designed should be designed for both ‘male’ and ‘female’ cuts. just like there are knockoffs of designer clothes surely there can be reinterpretations for people of different shapes, but obviously the problem lies in the perception of societal acceptance and marketing and all that bullshit. i think we’ve found a niche market, though, you heard it here first.

  11. Polarn O. Pyret is actually a swedish company, i’m pretty sure. On their US homepage they do have a girls section and a boys section as well as a uni section, but on their swedish page (and their stores, i’m guessing, like the ones here in norway) it’s only sectioned off by type of clothing and age. I think it’s great:) But i mean, it’s kind of expensive, and all the cheapest stores mostly have super gendered clothing. Like, I’m afraid unisex children’s clothing is sort of a trend in the ‘enlightened’ upper middle class?

    I don’t know if we’ll ever get rid of gendered sections in clothing stores, but it sure would be great if there could be more diversity within the sections. Like, who decided lace and frills and high heels means female clothing? Louis XIV wants to know! I’m tired of spending hours searching for the only simple, comfy, laceless etc. sweater in the women’s section knowing the men’s section is filled to the brim of them.

  12. as a child, i was forced to wear the pink or the yellow power ranger shirt because those were the only power ranger shirts available for girls. i just wanted the green one damnit!

  13. I was trying to find a hoodie, but all the women’s hoodies were either really thin, sleeveless, or had random faux leather patches covered covered in diamantes on the shoulders. So I had a massive fit, and stormed over to a shop that was blaring loud music and bought myself a gigantic, shapeless boy’s hoodie. The shop assistant sympathised with my plight.
    But seriously, this hoodie looks terrible and makes me look huge, but I don’t bloody care because it’s comfortable, dammit!

  14. Urgh – I completely agree with this. I’m woman-shaped but leaning-towards-andro in my clothing choices. My gf is boy-shaped and definitely andro.

    We’re in the UK, but I’d say most of our clothing is purchased from American Apparel, H&M, Adidas, and then either Gap (for her. I’m too curvy to comfortably fit in Gap clothes) or Next for me for jeans (they do a great comfy jeans for the large-arsed women out there).
    We’ve recently started shopping at Uniqlo – which is FAB for non-gender-specific clothes.

    I would *love* if male-aimed clothing were available in woman sizes and shapes – because unfortunately (even for the skinny girls out there) sometimes the chest area just *isn’t* big enough to allow for the female.

  15. I can totally relate to what Intern Hot Laura writes, people tend to overlook or misjudge you depending on what you are wearing.
    I went to a friend’s wedding a few weeks ago and was dressed way more casually than everyone else; an intense shirt, skinny tie, grey jumper and grey converse. The lady handing out champagne asked if I was part of the quartet, so I said “yes, I just left my tambourine over there to come get some champagne”. My friends took the piss out of me for the rest of the day!

    All i want in life is some low riding, non hip shaped, short legged trousers in varying colours, is that too much to ask?!

  16. I think this article is weird for 2 reasons.

    The first was mentioned–that you’re not really asking for gender-neutral clothes, youre asking for male clothes marketed toward women. I am a woman who wears men’s clothing, and I totally agree, there should be more men’s clothing made to fit women, marketed toward women, etc, but I don’t think it’s “gender-neutral.” Is a frilly skirt marketed toward men “gender-neutral”?

    Second, I think there is this “androgynous-chic” thing going on with clothing manufacturers like AA. Like that really skinny boys and really skinny girls can wear identical (men’s) clothing. That’s true, that’s hot, I’m with you, but what about men & women that don’t fit that body type? What if their cute button down androgynous plaid shirt doesn’t fit over your boobs? I have struggled with this my whole life and I don’t think the solution is to make “gender neutral” clothing, which it seems to me is often an excuse to ignore the female body and just pretend everyone is shaped like a dude.

    As for children having the same bodies–OK, I’m with you there. It only reinforces our gender stereotypes to have colors and interests marketed toward specific genders. Everything should be organized by color, like at Goodwill ;)

  17. What annoys me most is the price difference. I wanted to by some cheap wife-beater style singlets the other day. Haines scoop neck men’s singlet $6. Same brand, same style women’s singlet $12. WTF? Double the cost. I bought the men’s and they fit just fine.

    • clothes prices have always boggled my mind. like, why are baby clothes so god damn expensive? it’s like 1/4 the fabric, but double the cost? am i missing something or is someone not doing their math correctly?

  18. I love girls in guys clothes, and I wish so much that more guy’s clothes would fit me!
    However, being 5ft tall, with boobs and hips, its just not gonna happen. I can’t wait until more retailers starting making more unisex styles that I can fit into!

    Yeah I remember going to the boy’s section to get clothes when I was a kid! Although invariably my friends would ask me why I wanted to dress like a boy.. Then when I turned 12 I was disappointed I had to start shopping in the women’s section. sigh.

  19. this explains why i always sooo looked fwd to halloween every year. i could dress up as any male character (ie. gi joe, yoda, heman) i wanted and my mom was ok with it as long as it was only for a few hours one nite a year.

  20. My favorite shirt when I was 7 was pink and had two smiling dinosaurs on it. My sister counted down the days until it got too small for me and she could inherit it. Maybe the 80s were better?
    I tend to shop at thrift stores, where the lines are less rigid. I appreciate that things that were originally marketed as boys clothes end up in the women’s section, girls in the boys, womens everywhere (sadly, all of what looks good on me lately was originally intended to be maternity clothes, but I’m just cutting out the labels and going with it for now).

  21. Once again, I can relate to what you’re writing about. I’m curvy and I own a lot of dresses, so I tend to shift between wearing dresses and more gender-neutral clothing, although with my boobs, I’ll never look like a boy. I usually confuse people when I wear a dress, even though they’re never pink or full of laces.

    Anyway, my mum always wants me to dress up like a girl, and she actually tries to stop me from moving my old hoodies from my parents house to my flat. I never quite understood the problem :)

  22. i don’t understand why girls’ pants/shorts/skirts have such teeny tiny pockets,
    when the male equivalents of the items have normal, useful size pockets.

    • We once introduced a friend of mine to the idea that pyjama bottoms can have useful-sized pockets and she was like “WHERE DID YOU GET THESE”. The men’s section, obviously.

      • I was completely shocked the first time I bought men’s sleep pants (they are still my fave, they have ELK on them). I tried them on, marveled at how comfy/ awesome they were, and then realized they had POCKETS!

        Also they are longer than women’s. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I am 5’2, 5’3 on good days and yet I can’t get shirt sleeves or sleep pants that are long enough for me. How is that even possible?

      Pockets in lady clothes are useless. Being a dress and skirt wearing lady, this pisses me off ALL THE TIME. How hard is it to add pockets? Sex discrimination, that’s what it is. Ladies need to carry stuff too!

      • seriously! i hate purses and rarely have enough stuff to warrant a backpack or messanger bag, so usually i’m stuck with purses, which i lose. a few hundred years ago, men carried bags and women had big pockets (though they weren’t attached to clothes, they were tied around the waist and skirts had slits).

  23. i feel like the way mens’ pants are measured makes a lot of sense too.
    it’s just the measurements, rather than some conflated number system that is inconsistant and screws just about everyone over.
    i’d just love to buy jeans based on my actual measurements and not the average leg length of people with my waist size.

    • I have a theory that womens’ clothing sizes have so much variation because they want a woman to fit into a size 4 of their jeans even though it’s equivalent to size 6 of someone else’s. Said woman will be thrilled that she’s “lost weight” and she’ll keep buying their jeans because they’re the only ones she can fit into a size 4 of (still can’t fit into the size 4 of company B, but she’s in denial). If they used measurements like men, who -stereotypically- look in the mirror and see bodybuilders, how would they be tricked into buying “skinnier” jeans?

      And wow, I just checked out my pockets on my new pair of jeans–which, miraculously, didn’t have to be hemmed on this 5 foot tall woman–and oh my word. THEY’RE SEWED SHUT. uhh…what? Am I missing something here? I know I get called a femme a lot, but must I carry around a purse?

  24. I wear Men’s clothes exclusively. I don’t even bother with Women’s clothes. Even the few shirts I’ve found in Women’s that I thought were okay turned out to have strange things about them–they’re missing the second button from the top. Why would I want shirts that don’t have all the buttons?

    It’s not just the feminine style that I don’t like, but women’s clothes just don’t fit my body right. And part of it might be because I have genderqueer perception of my body. I can find androgynous enough looking women’s shirts at Eddie Bauer or LL Bean, but it’s still cut in a way that feels weird when I wear it.

    I’m not really tall, just above average for a female. At 5’6 with a 30 inseam I don’t have any problem finding Men’s pants in my size.

    I guess I don’t really know what gender-neutral clothing means. Does it mean the cut and the way it fits the body, or does it just not have lace or embroidery and come in colors other than pastels?

  25. Since my parents got me way too early into their way too lengthy education, I grew up in hand-me-downs from the brothers next door. I even played shirt-less in the summer months until I was 10 (my meter-long braids gave my gender away, though). Can someone please explain to me why young girls wear bikini tops? Thank you.

  26. This is my biggest gripe with the world right now / all the time ever.

    But, here’s a place to voice your concerns!

    Jac M., myself, and others are working together to gather as much information as we can in order to, eventually, deliver to you wonderful queer people a clothing line that caters to YOU. Yes, you! Right there!

    Go to the site, take the Queer Fashion Survey, and if you’re interested in getting involved, fill out the contact sheet and let us know!

    You are all gorgeous!

  27. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my ill-fated trip to the Mall of America to find something to wear to BlogHer. I was totally traumatized. As for my kids, they have minds of their own and I try to roll with it but I have struggled to find “girl” clothes to fit my daughter and have often lamented to the horrible things marketed for little girls. No, my daughter is not a “little princess” nor is she “daddy’s girl” nor do I want anything written across the ass of her pants. ARGH!

  28. Pingback: Finding Out Victoria’s Secret: An Underwear Shopping Expose

  29. I officially adore my mum (I do anyway<3) for cutting the frills off of the socks my grandparents sent me as a child, sticking in me in kick-ass jeans and booties that I would inevitably kick off and wear in mismatched pairs, and sticking baked potatoes in my pockets to keep me warm in winter. (That last bit has nothing to do with this topic, but its still awesome.)

    My entire wardrobe is made up of black jersey-tees, comic book shirts I've ganked off of partners and boot cut/slouch/low rise jeans, because everything in the shops around here either has frills, flowers, glitter, buzz-words on the butt, or doesn't fit because I'm broad and "butch". It sucks. It would be nice to have gender neutral clothing for a change.

    Could someone also tell my grandma that, at 21 I don't need a pink nighty with butterflies and flowers on it for x-mas?

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