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Gender Specific Pajamas and Why My Baby Wears Monsters

By caseymullins |

Vivi in "boy" monster jammies.

I went into my local Carter’s store yesterday to procure Vivi some jammies that actually fit, would be warm enough for winter and ones she couldn’t take off as easily as the snap front ones she has now. If you’ve ever been into a Carter’s store you’ll know they’re split right down the middle, girls to the left, boys to the right. As I poked around the selection of girl jammies I realized I wasn’t going to be getting out of there with anything that wasn’t smothered in some shade of pink if I didn’t wander over and peruse the boys’ pajamas as well.

You guys? Stepping over that line from girl to boy feels so strange, especially if you’ve never had a boy to buy clothes for. But their patterns! Their patterns are so much more fun! and whimsical! And while I could go into a really deep discussion about forcing gender roles and expectations on little babies through our choice of pajama, I’m not going to. Even though all the girl patterns involved dance and sugary treats with hearts while the boy patterns had foxes dressed as doctors and gorillas in hard hats.

Shouldn’t there be a middle ground?

“Gender neutral” or “unisex” patterns and coloring end in the 9 month size at Carter’s. (And I’m not knocking Carter’s because honestly they make the best darn pajamas for little people that ever existed. Carter’s 4EVA.) If you want to buy something for a one year old or a very spirited 16 month old? You don’t get neutral choices, you get monkeys in tutus on pink or dogs with banjos on blue. The footie jammies, they fit the same. So if you’re in the market for some, don’t be afraid to wander over to the other side. Your little girl won’t end up in a motorcycle gang if you get her dark blue jammies with rebel moose riding choppers.

But here’s the other thing, girls can cross over and wear the boy jammies without a whole lot (if any) problem. But all the girl jammies are SO GIRL that not many boys would or could get away with purple cupcakes or pink smiling frogs with really long eyelashes. When I posted a picture of Vivi’s jammie collection there was a collective “Boy jammies are way better than girl ones” from my friends.

If anyone out there is looking for some creative inspiration? Cute whimsical patterns that could go either way. Could it even be done or is society so set in their boy/girl color schemes and ideas that such a thing could never exist?

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Boy vs. Girl Pajama Patterns

Vivi's 2012-2013 Pajama Collection

As you can see, 3 of the 5 pairs of jammies I picked for Vivi this winter are technically "boy" jammies. But who can pass up space dogs, monsters and a giant dog? Besides, she looks so good in dark colors, the "girl" side? Not many (if any) dark colors to choose from.

Pattern Screenshots: Carter’s

Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.

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About caseymullins



Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “Gender Specific Pajamas and Why My Baby Wears Monsters

  1. Lillian @ Elle The Heiress says:

    While my oldest daughter does wear her brother’s hand-me-down jammies, I have to admit that I prefer the girlier ones for my girls. The space dog jammies are cute, but I generally find girl clothes to be so much cuter (I can’t resist anything with hearts or glitter). One of my biggest complaints when my son was younger was that there wasn’t anything cute for boys.

  2. Della says:

    My 3yo daughter has a 4yo big brother. Her favorite things are:

    1. sheep and 2. butterflies (tie)
    3. everything he likes. (merida, construction vehicles, trains, race cars, firefighters, etc)
    4. bugs, dirt, and dinosaurs (which he doesn’t like).
    5. cinderella, tinkerbell

    Her favorite colors? PINK and PURPLE and don’t you forget it!
    Her favorite styles? Glittery, cutesy, fuzzy, ruffly. Her favorite thing to wear on her bottom is an eyelet cotton, pale yellow ruffly skirt.

    I know I can’t be the only one whose monkey see, monkey do second child would like to have whatever the first child (of opposite gender) likes. I think shopping for girl clothes is more fun because there’s a greater variety of styles (pants vs skirts, straight vs puffy sleeves, grunge vs frilly), but there’s a lot of stuff my daughter likes that’s getting neglected.

    And you’re definitely right, Casey, that there are not enough monster things nor dark colors (!!) in the girl section, and shoot, not enough candy in the boy section. Sigh! Guess I need to get a good pajama pattern and make them myself ;)

  3. Brianna says:

    So with you on this one. I do like some of the girl’s prints but yes, why must everything be on light pink and have hearts??

  4. Krista says:

    I have two boys and now two baby girls so I guess I don’t mind so much all the pink…
    But I don’t like some of the newer girl stuff (I have a lot of hand me downs from friends) that look like they’re trying to make baby out to be a teenager. Give me dogs in ballerinas over zebra print with pearls any day please!

  5. Elle says:

    It took me about eleventy bajillion days to see for myself, but you were RIGHT, this slideshow format is SO MUCH BETTER. (I will withhold my full recommendation until I test it on my smart phone(s)).

  6. Alisa says:

    I am so not a “pink” girl and didn’t really want my daughter to be. I prefer bright, fun colors but it is so hard to find clothes that aren’t pink! And when we do, even if they are “girl” outfits, people think she’s a boy.

  7. andrea says:

    I am with you on the jammies but what about crib bedding! I had trouble with my first who is 5 and recently my 16 month old. Its all ballerina or princess or butterfly. Give me some marching elephants or hedgehogs and owls! My friend is due in Jan with a girl and she is right with us she settled on a purple butterfly set but is still displeased. I don’t blame her. Why can’t girls wear colors other than pastel.

  8. Jenny says:

    Welcome to the boys side. Cuteness on our side ends with toddler PJ’s. After that it’s 75% girl floor space to 25% boy floor space. I’d love to see more modest, varied choices for girls than all of the pink. It reminds me of Steel Magnolias. Pink is my signature color!

  9. Lisa in TX says:

    Carter’s used to do PJs that could go either way. I’ve got a pair of 12 mo. fleece feeties that are yellow with duckies on that took me until the second child wore them to figure out that they were “girl.” There was a tiny row of crochet lace at the neck. I’ve also got cotton knit PJs that are blue stripes with sheep and the sheep have stars or dots on them. And possibly a ruffle, but I’m not sure.

  10. Ali says:

    I WISH I could find more things with hearts for boys. Only because of my son’s heart conditions and that I am so incredibly proud of what he has already been through in his life. Any time I find anything with even a hint of a heart I am snatching it up. With that being said, I agree that it is so nice for girls to be able to switch back and forth from boy to girl stuff without an issue. And so sad that boys’ selections are so much smaller than girls’ in the first place and can’t switch. Can you tell I want a girl? lol!

  11. citymouse says:

    Amen! I have been ranting about the lack of interesting gender-neutral clothing for 4+ years. My older son loves pink and purple (and currently sports purple glasses), so I’ve done my best to find boyish pink/purple clothes for him. Polarn Y Pyret has gender-neutral stuff that’s cute (though they are pricey!), and American Apparel has good basics in all colors, and H&M does have some less clichéd boy options. I have two pairs of Carter’s footie PJs (6 no and 18 more) that are turquoise with cat outlines all over, and the tiniest bit of pink…. of course, found in the girl side. But both my sons wore them happily. hee hee.

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