As more parents raise gender-neutral children — or, at least, expose their children to non-binary gender cues like hairstyles and character traits — it only makes sense for millennial parents to introduce their little ones to gender-neutral clothing.
We’re not talking pink dresses on boys here (although those are amazing, too); rather than gender-nonconforming clothing that subverts traditional gender-presentation roles, gender neutral clothing is just that: neutral. Sartorially neutral shades like grey, yellow, and white reign, and androgyny is king/queen. Gender-neutral (AKA unisex) clothing aims not necessarily to challenge gender stereotypes, but to avoid them altogether. This is an especially important feature for parents who want to teach their children from birth that there’s no such thing as a “boy color” or a “girl toy.”
Particularly in children’s clothing, we often see stereotypical gendered imagery everywhere from pajamas to everyday attire. Seemingly innocuous messaging can take a turn for the weird — if not downright damaging — when sailboats and dinosaurs are only printed on “boys’ wear” while florals and rainbows are only printed on clothing “for girls.” Subconsciously, fast-fashion retailers are imposing masculinity on boys and gentleness on girls. Thankfully, there are chic clothing brands working to change that. Add these must-have unisex pieces, below, to your kids’ wardrobe this fall for ultimate neutrality and comfort.
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Fearless Dreamer Pajamas
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is arguably the most commonly asked question a child is confronted with come nursery age. According to Dr. Harriet Tenenbaum, who studies gender identity at the University of Surrey in England, children begin to categorize their gender by age 2 or 3 and pick up gender cues from toys and books. So, when they’re faced with this query, they may answer according to what they’ve seen or heard about a boy or girl’s stereotypical profession. Fearless Dreamers, founded by Maurice Rahmey, offers uniform pajamas for any child that wants to be a doctor, astronaut, or superhero. Each cotton PJ set comes with a book that incorporates the child’s “career choice” and promotes gender equality.
Fearless Dreamer cotton pajamas, $29.99 at Amazon.
Finn + Emma
Natural wood, organic cotton, and eco-friendly dyes are the glue that hold this chic baby brand together. Finn + Emma sell printed garments for both parents raising neutral and gendered children. Their neutral category lists comfortable onesies and T-shirts up to four years adorned with solid grey, white, and baby blue hues. A line of adorable graphic onesies with sayings like “giggle” or “chunky” is something all babies — no matter their gender — can relate to.
Biggie graphic tee, $19.00 at Finn + Emma.
H & M
One of the more popular baby retailers, H & M, carries unisex clothes for adults and kids. Their neutral color long sleeve wrapover onesies are perfect for every day or fancier occasions. If you’re looking for covered feet leggings, bib overalls, or cotton sweatpants, they’re stocked with a myriad of comfortable basics. Their collection is also perfect to gift a friend who hasn’t revealed her baby’s sex yet — or doesn’t intend to!
Burt’s Bees Baby
When most people think of Burt’s Bees, they instantly think of skincare. But what you probably don’t know is that the multi-faceted company also has its own baby/toddler clothing line. Like Finn + Emma, they sell to both parents raising neutral and gendered children. Their neutral category is filled with festive onesies for Halloween and Christmas. Perfect for fall weather, they carry “bear mountain” and “peaks and valleys” prints for babies who aren’t quite ready to hike, but still want to enjoy the view!
Burt’s Bees Baby girls’ sleeper pajamas, from $10.42 at Amazon.
Bash + Sass
Inspired by her own two kids, Irene Lee created a unisex kid’s clothing line for all “little minimalists” ages six months to 12 years. Bash + Sass is for the cool kids on the block who are into street style, culture, and of course, playtime. Lee incorporated four collections of monsters that represent patience, confidence, spontaneity, and optimism. “With today’s social and political climate, it’s important to start teaching kids at a young age about self-confidence, helping others and being proud of who they are no matter their skin color, gender or family makeup,” the site says.
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