Of all of life’s trials and tribulations, I know that the topic of kids’ clothing isn’t that much of a big deal.
I realise it’s a big old First World Problem, as they say, to be even bemoaning the fact that, if I want to buy my son some new joggers, then I’ll probably have to choose between a pair that have trucks on them or a pair that have dinosaurs on them.
Or occasionally, a pair that say ‘cool dude’ on them.
Tough life, eh?
Still, the frivolous nature of fashion (if we are calling kids’ joggers ‘fashion’), should not detract from the fact that finding nice, decent quality, affordable clothing for boys is often a frustrating and fruitless task.
Now, I don’t mind a truck, or a dinosaur. I can take or leave ‘cool dude’. I’d just like a bit more variety, if it’s not too much to ask.
(Note that I’m focusing on boys’ clothing here because it’s what I have experience of.
I’ve read mums’ complaints about girls’ clothes being too grown-up – i.e. too tight-fitting or ‘revealing’ – which is obviously very crap too, and makes you wonder who is in charge of signing off these designs and if they have more than two brain cells to rub together.
And girls’ clothing designs are as unnecessarily gender-specific as boys’. But at least there is usually more choice.)
Instagram influencer Erica Davies had a bit of a rant on the subject – of boys’ clothing generally being terrible – a while ago, and got some responses from people who work in childrenswear. It was along the lines of them needing to make profits (you don’t say???!) and therefore sticking to what they know will sell.
But then joggers with trucks on will always sell if THERE’S NO ALTERNATIVE.
Anyway, before my head spins off in frustration, I will crack on with my tips for finding nice, affordable boys’ clothing that isn’t limited to dinos, diggers or dudes.
(Note that there are tons of lovely independents and smaller companies out there that sell amazing kids’ clobber that I haven’t included – I love independent shop Maple & Pea and also Sleep No More and Tobias and the Bear, off the top of my head. The clothes tend to come in bright, jazzy non-gender-specific designs….but they’re definitely on the more expensive side.
I’ve stuck to supermarkets and high street shops here because it’s where most of us are more likely to shop, but where it’s currently hardest to find decent gear!)
A LOT of boys’ clothing in supermarkets IS heavy on trucks and dinosaurs.
However, that’s not to rule it out altogether.
If I was going to put my supermarket clothing in order of preference – which I am going to do, because I don’t get out much anymore – then it would probably go: Tu at Sainsbury’s; Tesco; ASDA; Morrisons.
All of them are really reasonably-priced – Sainsbury’s regularly have 25% off everything too – and while you do have to sift through quite a lot of naffness, they often have some surprisingly great finds.
I recently got Ted a band T-shirt from Tesco that wasn’t the Rolling Stones or AC/DC (it was The Jam! I love The Jam! Ted…will learn to love The Jam!) and a pack of boys’ leggings that actually had a bit of pink and yellow on them.
(I love leggings for boys, by the way. They must be so much comfier than jeans, and they often stay on better than joggers – but it is very hard to find any on the high street/in supermarkets for over the age of 12 months, and that are bright and in fun patterns. So I was overjoyed by my Tesco find. Must get out more.)
A little mention for Aldi (my #1 love) and Lidl: they don’t always stock clothing but you might find that they occasionally have baby & toddler events on. I’ve bought vests, sleepsuits and leggings from both shops; they’re good quality and in fab prints/colours.
Note that Tesco and Morrisons are in-store only.
And also note that Morrisons sizes seems to come up huge – they do on Ted at least. At almost 20 months, he’s got a pair of dungarees and some joggers in 18-24 months that are still much too big for him.
And, in all shops, I tend to look in both girls’ and boys’ sections – I especially like to do this when Graham’s with me; he pulls faces and comments on how Ted will look someone out of The Darkness (remember them?) if I try to put him in leopard print. I do not take fashion advice from Graham.
The Best of the High Street / Online
Marks & Spencer: They have tons of gorgeous things, and great choice for boys, although can be a tad on the pricey side
John Lewis: as above
Next: I find that there’s a lot of overly gender-specific diggers ‘n’ dinos…. but they have some lovely stuff too. In our city centre shop the boys’ section is TINY, and half the size of the girls’ section, which winds me up. There’s a lot more online.
H&M: I really like a lot of H&M kids’ clothes, but I NEVER go into the kids’ section in my nearest store because the choice for boys is appalling. Lots of lovely things online, and good value.
Zara: More expensive (approx. £8 for a pair of leggings, for example). Sometimes buy as ‘a treat’ (for me, not for Ted, of course, he couldn’t give a monkey’s). Great boys’ section: colourful patterns etc, hurrah.
Primark: Good for babies. Haven’t bought anything for a while but did get some boys’ joggers that were about a fiver for two pairs – and one was in a raspberry shade, stone the crows. Not online though, booooo.
La Redoute: I don’t shop here regularly but have had some gorgeous things that are different to the usual high street/supermarket stuff, yet similar prices (tip: don’t pay full price, they often have big discounts). Ooh la la.
Aaaaand I think that’s it. I hope that might be helpful if you’re struggling to find decent clobber for your little one. And I’d love to hear of any other recommendations, particularly as I’ve heard the choice gets even more limited with older boys. Sigh.
Bye for now x
Hello, I'm Laura. I write about parenting, life, style, building a business and finding success on your own terms.
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