Comparing Notes: Girls Versus Boys…In Fashion

February 5, 2013 in Comparing Genders

I am really excited for today’s guest post by fellow blogger Kate over at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine With My Morning Quiet Time? In my continuing series, “Comparing Notes,” I share stories from other bloggers who are raising both boys and girls and who can highlight the differences they observe when raising both genders. As an all-boy mom, I for one am intrigued and amused by these insights. Kate says she notices lots of differences between her sons and her daughter. Here’s Kate’s point-of-view on their fashion choices…


One Sunday morning as I was getting my, then, two year old daughter ready for church I found myself fretting over what outfit to put on her. Before we had our daughter I let my two sons go out in almost anything. Their fashion looked something like this:

Green camouflaged pants with brown and yellow horizontal striped shirt: Little Stud Muffin.

Red Lightning McQueen Shirt with yellow and green Green Bay Packers pants: GQ.

Bright orange t-shirt, brown sweat pants with holey knees, mismatched socks, and blue Crocs: Church Outfit.

They mostly dressed themselves and that was one less thing I had to worry about. I was proud of that.

Before we adopted our daughter a woman said to me, “Oh, wait until you have a little girl, you’ll be at Hannah Andersson all the time.” I smiled and nodded, having no idea who or what Hannah Andersson was, but thinking that it must be some high-priced girl’s clothing store. Inside I thought, Whatever. You don’t even know me. I’m cheap frugal and all my clothes come from Goodwill. I will not be at Hannah Whatever all the time.

Another time, I heard a mom lamenting over the pressure to buy her six-year old Ugg-brand boots. I gave her a sympathetic tongue-click, followed by a compassionate, “That’s just awful. You poor thing.” But inside I screamed at her, Are you kidding me?! She’s six! Go to Payless!

Fast forward a few years to me standing over my daughter’s dresser that Sunday morning with all the drawers pulled out, whining to myself, “I can’t find anything that matches. I can’t take her out of the house in clothes that don’t match.” And yet at the same time I was content to send my sons off in “holey” clothes that looked like they were pulled straight out of the hamper.

So, I ask myself, why is it so different for girls than boys, and why does how I dress my boys (or how they dress themselves) not matter to me? Is it because girls are supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice, while boys are puppy dog tails…or snails or whatever? Are boys assumed to be “rough and tumble”, so when they have holes in their pants we just say “boys will be boys”?

Looking back, I realize that I had made it my daughter’s job to represent my ego. I was too concerned with what other moms thought. My children represented me. My daughter represented my fashion sense (or lack thereof), which is particularly ironic considering I rarely left (or leave) my house without donning my Momiform: t-shirt, hoodie, and sweatpants – or jeans if I feel like dressing up.

I’m slowly learning that it’s only when I focus on what really matters that this will change: not worrying what others think, letting my daughter and sons be children, and lowering – like really lowering – my expectations. Then maybe I will feel the same way about my daughter’s and my son’s fashion: it won’t matter.

I don’t know if I’ve fully arrived at this yet, but I’m getting there.


Kate Hall is a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom of her three children, all adopted from China. She started her blog Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine with My Morning Quiet Time? six years ago as a way to keep family updated on their adoptions. In 2011 it morphed into an avenue for her to share her love of writing, particularly humor.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Chester February 5, 2013 at 8:55 am

You self-taught yourself something most moms never catch on to. Good for you!

I have one (very special) child. A son who is now twenty and I think respects the similarities and differences between the genders.

I was guilty of purchasing all the “right” outfits for him when he was small. As he grew older I realized that I am doing that not only for myself (because I loved everything about motherhood and being with him) but for the playgroups and birthday parties we attended.

STOP! And so I did. I dressed him nicely with less expensive clothing and less intent on making him look as if he should appear on the cover of Child Magazine.

Thanks for the article. It brought back great memories.

PS Heading off to college classes he wears the requisite baggy jeans and sloppy sweatshirt!


Kate Hall February 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

LOL! So you’re saying it doesn’t matter if we dress them to the nines they’re still going to wear what they want. I totally get that.


Janine Huldie February 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

I wish I could dress my girls a bit more laid back, but Emma set the bar this past year, when she turned three that she loves skirts and Lily who could care less up until about 3 weeks ago now asks for a skirt daily too. I put leggings underneath, but I cannot believe it is winter and freezing here and these two have to wear skirts every damn day. They say pick your battles and this is so one I am not fighting, so skirts it is!! Great post Katherine and thanks Emily for doing this series!! :)


Kate Hall February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm

My daughter is just now starting to *want* to wear skirts. When we’re at home she pretty much runs around in a diaper (her choice). We’re pretty classy.


Michelle February 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

I think this is exactly right. I think moms will tend to dress girls up a little more because they are extensions of us as women, the prettiness that we ourselves want to show. Thanks for this….I know why my sis-in-law loves to doll her girls up!


Kate Hall February 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Thanks for reading Michelle!


Melanie Chisnall February 5, 2013 at 10:32 am

Great post Kate! I think you’re right though….the bar is set pretty high by moms with tons of money these days, or with little else to do. AT least – that’s how I see it. One girl I know continuously posts pictures of her daughter all dressed up all over Facebook. I don’t think she’s 2 yet. I mean, now and then is okay, but all the time? That’s got to be exhausting I think.


Kate Hall February 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Yeah, it’s like “Keeping up with the Joneses”. I try to not look at the Joneses, but then my daughter is choosing mismatched clothing and I’m like “You really want to wear this?” mostly thinking what others will think. I hate that I do that. Getting better though.


nothingbythebook February 5, 2013 at 10:44 am

I loved this post, Kate. Very, very self-insightful. And it takes courage as a mother to notice such things about yourself–and your relationship with a daughter. I think mothers’ relationships with daughters, on fronts other than fashion!, are more complicated than those with our sons…


Kate Hall February 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Boy, I agree. I’m already going head-to-head with my daughter and she’s not even four yet. We will definitely be doing the tango when she’s a teenager. Ugh.


Ruchira February 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Katherine, I love your style of bringing up your kids. Honestly, I also believe in getting something really cheap from target/old navy since they outgrow so fast…

Luckily my son does not care at all…


Stacy Harris February 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm

This was interesting. I had my girls first and when it came to their outfits, I always wanted them dressed cute. Sometimes I even went so far to make them match. What can I say – I took after my aunt. When it came to having a boy I was dumbfounded. It was like they just didn’t have the “cute” selection they did for girls. Maybe it isn’t from the moms… maybe it is from the retailers… which make it so much difference to dress the sexes. However, I will admit… I will let all my kids show their own style. My daughter is the biggest fashionista and my son… well, he is following in her path… only slightly more superhero!


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm

You’re right. The boy’s selection for clothes is minimal. Everything looks the same and usually has Angry Birds or some other video game on it. I think my boys have six Angry Bird shirts combined.


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. February 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm

That was so well done, and so thought-provoking. The comment, “I realized I had made it my daughter’s job to represent my ego.” was so eloquent. Not everybody has the self-awareness to realize they are doing that, but I think a lot of us do, and maybe more so with our daughters than sons. Great guest post, Kate and Emily!


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Aww, thanks Stephanie!


Cyndi February 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Fun post! While I don’t have kids, I can relate: my husband can STILL put on pant and a shirt and look good. No matter what. If I did that, I’d look like I just came from a morning workout and forgot to shower. LOL…funny how girls and guys are different like that. 😉


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I know. And that whole make-up thing. Bleh.

My husband doesn’t even have any wrinkles and he’s more than two years older than me. WTH?


Rachel Harper February 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Kate, this was such a great post, and I can totally see the differences between boys and girls and the expectations around them. Thanks for having her Emily!


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thanks Rachel!


Kristi February 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Emily, what a fun idea! Kids fashion amazes me. Even the small things, like the fact you can go to any store and there are 38 aisles of shoes for girls and 1 1/2 for boys.

Kate, love the descriptions of your boys’ outfits (stud muffin, to GQ to Church outfit). Awesome.
I only have one boy so when he was a baby, I did become the nut job who bought a bunch of Ralph Lauren and stuff. As he’s gotten older, and now chooses to only wear sweatpants (without underwear so I have a 3-year old going commando – obviously I’m lacking as a parent), we prefer the cheap-o options, too.
Although…I have to admit that because he refuses (and believe me when I tell you I’ve tried, and tried hard) to wear ANY other pajamas than the stripped ones from Hannah Andersson, we pay like $42 a pair or some shit. It’s crazy.

Note: Oh and before I get any haters commenting that I’m the parent and I choose jammies, I should say that he’s on the autism spectrum, and that this is one battle we’re happy to just not fight 😉


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm

You know the other thing is that they go through clothes so much, I can’t afford to keep three kids in nice clothes all the time. They either get holes, stains or ripped within the first few weeks of having them. It’s not like me who keeps a clothing item until it’s been out of fashion three fashion changes ago. I need to stop that. Ha!


Kelly February 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I have all 3 girls and one is girls girl and loves fashion while the middle girl has a strict wardrobe of jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. I point out real frilly dresses to her at the mall – then we both laugh. At this point I don’t care what they wear so long as it covers all their parts;)


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Good for you! My daughter was walking around in gray, black and red striped leggings under a floral-print dress and a purple panda shirt. I just laughed.


Rich Rumple February 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Having never had a son, I can only say my wife was entirely different with the girls than I was treated by my mother. I had to change clothes upon arriving home from school, and the girls never did. They’re school clothes were also worn on weekends to play in, while I’d have been killed doing that. I had “play” clothes and “school” clothes and “Sunday” clothes. The girls just had clothes. She would never relent, regardless of my questioning. So, now they’re grown, and their kids have play clothes and school clothes. I’ll never understand. lol Great post, Kate! Thanks for having her, Emily!


Kate Hall February 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Ha ha! That’s funny!


Angie Ryg February 6, 2013 at 2:15 am

Wow! What a great post! Funny as well as introspective. I totally used to dress up my children for family birthday parties in matching clothes, realizing now, that I wanted to deep down look like I had it all together. Fast forward to four kids in five years and I am lucky to get underwear on them! Thanks for the reminder on what really is important!
Thanks Kate and Emily!


ohboymom February 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Ha – that made me laugh Angie. I’m kind of the same way — just happy when my boys wear warm enough clothes in the winter instead of shorts and t-shirts!


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