Responses to questions that we often get asked. It’s just gonna save on the typing and the blood pressure tablets in the long run.

What does “Gender-neutral” mean?

The most basic definition is “suitable for girls and boys” but its not a phrase we use because its pretty confusing and tends to get thrown about by the tabloids. On its own, it conjures up an image of beige beige beige, and kids looking miserable, when in truth, we want the opposite – ie, more choice, not less.

The only time we use “gender-neutral clothing” is in this situation: MAKE EVERYTHING GENDER NEUTRAL. That is to say, the Dinosaur T-Shirts and the Cupcake Tops – why are these gendered in the first place?

Gender Neutral Uniform – Why should that mean banning skirts?

Exactly. We’re not for banning anything.

What’s stopping you buying clothes for your daughter/son from the boy’s/girl’s department?

Nothing. Most of us are more than capable of doing so.  For children though, having to buy from the ‘wrong’ department can be less than ideal. Children are keenly aware of ‘rules’. It’s how they learn how to be part of society. They know what they ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ wear.  They get the messages shops give them, however subtle what is and isn’t for them seems to us.  Even if they’re prepared to cross the divide and wear a style or colour from the ‘wrong’ department, this often leads to negative comments and in some cases bullying from peers.. Rather than go through all that palaver, why not display kids clothes as for kids (its really easy – type, size, theme) so they & their parents can choose freely?

Get over it. People are dying of starvation and in wars. Why don’t you worry about that instead?

We do. We’re capable of worrying about more than one thing at a time, thanks. If you don’t like what we choose to worry about, maybe you could take your own advice and get over it.  What are you doing to help people dying of starvation and conflict?

What’s wrong with pink and blue?

Absolutely nothing. They are, though, just two of an entire spectrum of colours. We’d like to see more of the other colours, too.

What do you want; everyone to wear identical sacks so no one stands out or endorses stereotypes?

Nope, the complete opposite. We want *more* choice, not less. A wider range of alternatives than what’s currently available.

Why are you telling me what to do? I like dressing my daughter all in pink frills and my son in slogans saying he’s trouble.

We’re not. If the current choice of kids clothes suits you, great. This website is not for you. It’s for people who want to be able to buy other kinds of clothes as well.

What’s wrong with being a ‘typical’ girl or boy?

Again, nothing is wrong with that at all. What’s wrong with not being a typical girl or boy? What is a typical girl or boy?

Girls want to wear pink and boys want to wear blue, its nature!

Wow, children are born with a colour preference? Take a minute to really think about this. Until modern times pink was considered a masculine colour, and blue a feminine colour – now its the other way around. These are what we call social norms, or nurture not nature. Being feminine and being masculine has nothing to do with the colour you wear. Unfortunately our wider culture, informed by the media and retailers, has made that decision for us.

What do you have against being girly?

First of all, we hate labels, they’re not helpful but regrettably pretty common. Secondly, we believethere is more than one way to be a girl, and that isn’t defined by one colour or being a Princess or Fairy. Playing with trains and liking Dinosaurs too won’t make girls LESS girls. Dressing in a princess gown or a kitten t-shirt won’t make a boy LESS of a boy. Children should be able to choose their own interests, explore and engage with lots of different ideas, colours and themes.

Its just a T-shirt, aren’t they unisex anyway? 

Yep, a T-Shirt is defined as a garment in the shape of a ‘T’ … they’re commonplace and something both children and adults wear casually.

Increasingly we’re seeing examples of T-shirts aimed at girls where that ‘T’ shape looks like its holding it’s breath. Why the rise of slim fit tops for young girls? We’re concerned that girls in particular are being made to feel they should dress and look a certain way, evident in the 2013 Girl Guiding UK study.

As we’ve already said, where it comes to designs, children are aware of the messages around them – they understand complex and ever present marketing that enforces the idea – this is for girls and this is for boys. T-shirt designs in all colours should be marketed for children to choose based on their own interests – not what they think  is meant for them based on gender stereotypes.

You’re talking about businesses, why should they care about these issues?

Retailers do have a responsibility, please check out the 2011 Bailey Review endorsed by the UK government. The upshot of this was many retailers (Sainsbury, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next) signed up to a voluntary code of conduct or “Responsible Retailing”  led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) committing themselves to not “unduly stereotype” or sexualise children. Big retailers are a large part of our economic AND social landscape.

What – unisex? Does that mean you want to see boys in dress, and girls dressed up as boys?

Let Clothes Be Clothes advocates unisex clothing ranges for children. We don’t have any expectations on what girls and boys should wear, but we do believe in choice without being directed by in store signage, design based on gender norms or marketing messages that prescribe THIS for girls and THIS for boys. We’ve found that when designers abandon outdated stereotypes and lazy marketing tactics, the result is clothing that is more colourful, fun and in most cases, more fit for purpose.


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