I Don't Care How My Son Dresses, but My Daughter Is a Different Story

Mom Moment 10

boyOnce upon a time, my son was quite a well-dressed child. Constructing his wardrobe was one of my favorite past times, and I scoured boutiques, department stores, outlets, and online stores for the perfect outfits for each occasion.

This went on for roughly about five and half years ... or to be exact until January 16, 2009, when his little sister was born. Then all of a sudden, any old t-shirt was good enough for him while my head clouded with visions of dresses, tights, and bows, oh my. I had a girl to dress, and dress her I have. The delight I had gotten from picking clothes for my son has been multiplied by like a bazillion percent now that pink is in the picture because, well, girls' clothes are just so much cuter. (Though if you had told me that when I had only a boy I would have argued you to the death.)

And it's gone on that way ever since. For example, months ago I started searching for and finally purchased my daughter's Christmas dress. It's a lovely hand-smocked dress in pink and blue, and it cost entirely too much money even though I had a coupon. Still, it was for Christmas, and it's a special event, and ... I could give 22 more ways I justified it. But there it has been hanging in the closet just waiting for the events to which she'll wear it.

And my son will be wearing ... holy crap. I have no idea. I'm hoping something from last year will fit him, and if not maybe we could throw a sweater on top if the sleeves are too short? It should be something that will match my daughter's dress, of course ... and once again he gets shafted.

I haven't really even felt much guilt about it either because my son could frankly care less about what he wears, while my daughter squeals at the sight of new socks. Or I didn't, until I came across this article titled "Beautiful Man Clothes" by Devon Corneal at the Huffington Post.

It's a lovely piece in which she talks about how her 5-year-old son asked when he would get "beautiful man clothes," and she initially shrugged off his request. Her husband, however, realized it wasn't so much about the clothes but what the clothes represent. It's a great read, and it got me thinking about what messages I'm sending to my son about the clothing I buy for him ... or don't.

It's not the individual pieces -- he looks fine -- it's the effort I put into choosing his sister's and not his that I worry about most. Does that say to him that I care less about him? Does it mean his appearance doesn't matter? Does it send a message to my daughter that she should care more about how she looks than he does? Does my caring much about the clothes they wear at all make me shallow and superficial?

I don't know. I do think that taking pride in one's appearance is important -- both for men and women. But I also know too well how quickly and deeply an obsession with how one looks can manifest, especially in girls, and I think it's a tricky balance between the two. But whether they're right or wrong, the messages I'm sending to my children certainly aren't equal.

When it comes to parenting I tend to follow my instincts more than anything else, but sometimes something like this comes along and makes me question them, and I welcome that. Not to beat myself up over things I can't undo or to over analyze every little decision I make, but rather to make me step back with a thoughtful eye and consider how I might do things better. So this weekend, I think my son and I have some shopping to do for a Christmas outfit.

Do you put more effort into your girls' wardrobes than your boys?


Image via Julie Ryan Evans


boys, clothes


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slwinner slwinner

My son loathes shopping. And if i make him go the only opinion that matters is his 15 year old sisters. If she approves he's in. It does NOT matter what I say.


Tatto... TattooedMomto4

I only have sons. They were always well dressed and now as men they care how they look and take great pride in being well dressed and well groomed. I can't say what I would have done with a daughter since I didn't have one.

kelli... kelli0585

I love dressing my son (only child).  I do get mad at the lack of selection in most department stores, though.  Especially compared to girls. 

It's really hard to find nice looking clothes for 3 year old boys.  Not every parent of boys wants to dress their kids in a shirt with an applique of a bulldog wearing a construction helmet.  Just when I see a shirt that I really like, I look closer only to find a stupid "varsity" number screenprinted on there.  I hate that so much. 

Desti... DestinyHLewis

I have three girls of my own, one niece, and her twin brother my nephew. My sister is a fashionista of sorts and her two are ALWAYS decked to the hilt. It's cute, don't get me wrong, but they are now 7 and have their own clothing preferences which are always ignored. In my house it is different. When my 3 girls were younger I was one of those annoying moms who insisted upon finding matching adorable outfits for them. That lasted till my middle dd was about 2 years old when she made it abundantly clear she had her own ideas about her wardrobe. She is my spitfire, Independant, tough girly chick who will show up in a camo pink and green tutu, with a sequin bow in her hair, and kick your ass with her black leather buckle boots. Lol now I let them pick out their own stuff. They are 8,6 and 5, and they all have their own unique style. It's not a battle I am willing nor need to fight. I am sure I will cherish the pictures more later, than I already do now. <3

nonmember avatar Heidi

I have two boys and am tired of only having dress shirts in plaid or plain. Why can't they make them any other way.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I prefer boy clothes. It's so easy and so much fun shopping for my son but girls clothes are just so pink (at least for little ones) and covered in so many barfilicious slogans about being a little princess and the like. I don't know how many things I've rejected in stores because they look fine at first sight then they have some horrid slogan or frills on the butt. Why the burning desire to draw attention to little girls butts anyway? There's no need for a cupcake on a kids rear end.

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

The staples in my girls' closet are jeans and graphic tees. No unnecessary frills, ruffles, cutesy slogans or princess-sy graphics. My girls love animals so most of their shirts have to do with them :) 

nonmember avatar Samantha

I love dressing up my daughter even though i dont dress well myself. I dress in what im the most comfortable in & what im most comfortable allowing puke/food/snot/poop/pee/dirt on if it happens. I get dressed up for myself once in a while to remember i can be pretty, but why waste nice clothes? As for boys.. I dread having a son bc the clothes i can AFFORD suck. Oh boy! He could be a prep, a farmer, or a slob! Woo hoo! I dont even like most boy names. I want a son, but i dont. Girls are just easier for me to figure out. Which is actually quite ironic seeing as i was a tomboy who always hung out with guys & was never girlie nor liked girls to begin with. Lol. But my daughters closet is filled with flowers, frills, tights, tutus, dresses, skirts, you name it. Shes got jewlery, nail polish, and plenty of girlie hair supplies, and shes only 2! I absolutely LOVE shopping for her.

Deborah Stephaine Wojtowicz

When my kids were little I always dressed them nice .I had 2 boys and 2 girls. My girls wore dresses and pants.My boy wore tee shirts and jeans. I always looked for nice clothes for both of them. When we went any were I always made sure they dressed nice ,always in clean clothes. My girls were so picky when they were teens ,my sons dressed as they pleased .My sons were teens they didn't care what they wore as long as there clothes were clean.I use to ask my daughters because they were so picky ,What do they have the fashion police? It would take them hours to get dressed.

momav... momavanessa

I always have my boys dressed nice! I rarely buy them clothes since my mom and grandma are ALWAYS shopping for them!! Not to mention my inlaws have a ton of new clothes for them for Christmas and birthdays! They have more clothes than My husband and I combined!

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