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Gender Specific Pajamas and Why My Baby Wears Monsters

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?


  • Vivi’s 2012-2013 Pajama Collection 1 of 8
    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.
  • Camping Animals! 2 of 8
    Camping Animals!
    A moose and bear camping in harmony? Yes! And they look so happy about their adventure as well!
  • CowDogs! 3 of 8
    CowDogs!
    Dogs in cowboy boots crooning out tunes as they ride their trusty steeds? Yes!
  • Woodland Creatures Preparing for Slumber! 4 of 8
    Woodland Creatures Preparing for Slumber!
    Everyone is getting ready to hibernate! Bear is brushing his teeth! Fox is getting on some footie jammies of his own!
  • Ballerina Monkeys. 5 of 8
    Ballerina Monkeys.
    So. Yeah. Light pink monkeys with hearts and tutus. Don't get me wrong, they're cute, but they're no one eyed monster.
  • Pink Ponies 6 of 8
    Pink Ponies
    Little peaceful pink ponies. *sigh* They're certainly no singing dog on the back cowgirl ponies.
  • Rotund Pigs! 7 of 8
    Rotund Pigs!
    Okay, so the pigs? Mighty cute, but does EVERYTHING have to have a light pink theme/background? Why not green? And they hearts, no "boy" jammies had heart accents.
  • Penguins and Bunnies! 8 of 8
    Penguins and Bunnies!
    To be fair, these were in the "girl" section and I would have bought them had they had Vivi's size. Super cute print, bright colors no floating hearts.

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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