February 21, 2006

Q: Do Men Buy Baby Clothes?

monkey_titch_shirt.jpgI've been emailing with Nick, a dad who, with his baby momma, launched Tricky & Titch a very clean and well-done line of baby clothes. They're smile-inducing, but not ROTFLMAO funny, and they've got a very clean, non-fussy design sense. While I still bridle at the pink/blue hardwiring--girls wear blue, too, you know, unless it has "little man" written on it--there are some refreshing gender-neutral options, too, like chocolate. The kind of thing I'm likely to like, and I like liking it.

But an offhand comment threw me: Essentially all their business is from women. Nick said that hardly any men have placed direct orders with them, ever.

I'd never thought of that. I distinctly remember heading out soon after our ultrasound clued us in that we were having a girl, and buying some stuff for "her," and how suddenly odd and concrete it felt to know (with some margin of error, sure) who this kid was going to be, and that I was buying something "for" her. [Of course, I bought her an Appaman bodysuit with Che Guevara and another black one with a Sonic Youth iron-on, so it was obviously a lot more about me, but still.] I have to admit, I buy far less stuff for her than my wife does. [And my wife buys far less than any grandparent--read grandmother-- too, so there you have it.]

Does this make sense to you? Do men buy clothes for their kids? Do they not? Is it a gift/shower/girlfriends-unite kind of thing that men are just missing out on?

Do you know your kid's size? Do you know or notice what your kid needs, clothes-wise, like when the Onesies are getting too tight? Is dressing the kid on the other side of the labor divide in your house? If you don't buy stuff, why not? Have you bought something that turned out badly, either because it blew, or because there was a, um, you know, a negative reaction from other interested parties? I see a lot of clothes stuff because of the ol' blog here, but do you? What factors do you think influence/motivate a man to buy some clothes for his kid?

Tricky & Titch
[trickyandtitch.com]

19 Comments

Before becoming a dad I had no interest in shopping and buying clothes. In fact I specifically recall telling my wife that I was going to avoid buying "girlie" stuff for our sprout. 7 months later I'm like an out of control trophy wife with a credit card when I'm in BabiesRUs. Things change.

Pete

Between my wife and I, I buy the vast majority of the clothes for our daughter. I'm not sure if I beat out the grandmothers, though.

But of course, my wife isn't a huge clothes freak herself, and I'm the one who stays home with our daughter one day a week (other 4 days, she's in daycare). And I'm the one who usually dresses her in the morning, so I have a better sense of what fits and what doesn't.

Of course, not being a clothes freak myself, I generally look for the cheapest clothes I can find. :-) I mean, who wants to pay $40 for an outfit she'll wear 3 times? (OK, now that she's 2, clothes do last a little longer than that, but the newborn-outgrows-clothes-every-week thing permanently scarred me.)

Yah, I have to second Pete's comment. For the first year (despite saying pre-birth that I wasn't going to be buying any damn pink clothes for my baby girl), I got sucked into buying some seriously cutesy clothes. Nothing *too* saccharine, but still lots of pink.

grandpa is the biggest shopper for the sweetest boy, but he was in the textile industry, so it makes sense.

It's funny, while my wife is the one prone to buying pricier stuff "on sale" whether on the web (Baby Style) or in brick-and-mortar stores (Gymboree, Children's Place), and don't even get me started on grandma (lots of stuff from Nordstrom, Janie and Jack, and Banana Republic Baby), and though I always think I want to buy all those design- and pop culture-oriented screenprinted things that, as Greg says, are really more about me than about my babygirl, what I find happening most, as a SAHD out doing daily errands with my girl, is that I inevitably can't leave Target without at least one piece of clothing for her. Then there are the times when my wife comes home to be surprised with those ubiquitous red-bullseye bags on the dining table, filled with, say, three new pairs of kiddie shoes from Stride Rite's discount line, or two identical pairs of shorts or pants but in different colors, or two sets of mitten-hat sets in two different sizes. (And Costco too, can't forget the discounted dresses and pjs, etc.) And btw, I hate buying clothes for myself. So go figure. Guess I've been brainwashed by the whole "design for all" ad campaign. Heh.

All my clothing purchases are motivated by selfishness. I buy clothes solely on the premise that it makes The Boy look cool - which presumably makes The Dad look cool.

Besides the fact that our boys' closets are already bursting with clothes that seem to magically appear any time mom so much as fills up the gas tank, I must not have that shopping gene. Or maybe I'm just cheap. I do my share of getting them dressed in the morning (sure, I tend to choose the one-piece jumpers or something similarly easy to put on them as opposed to mom's choice of a shirt, sweater, pants combo) and I know enough about their sizes that I can at least sort laundry into the appropriate piles, but when it comes to buying onesies or t-shirts or sweaters or pants or pretty much anyhting that doesn't have my college name or logo on it, I'm pretty much a non-factor in my kids' clothes. And the beauty is I don't feel like any less of a person for it.

I love it when my husband buys our daughter clothes. He's got funkier taste that I do and tends to have the philsophy that it's better to have fewer things that cost more but that you love rather than piles and piles of shit from ON, Gap etc.

We're the backwards people. I stay home two days a week with my daughter; my father in law comes over to the house the other three days. I do all the shopping and cooking, I dress her, buy most all of her clothes and know the sizes. I found the Carters and Stride Rite outlets. I pretty much rule the clothes, food, books, play, nail clipping, hair brushing and picture taking worlds. I've pretty much been baby crazy since the beginning and my wife is much more stereotypically "male" in just going with my flow. Apart from my wife's maniacal obsession with hand washing she's mine - and I like it that way : )

my wife and i usually buy together , but i do a lot of online shopping (i have to clear it with the wife before i buy it though).

I do the vast majority of the shopping for our daughter; my wife is mostly along for the ride. I've gone absolutely nuts at sample sales. Oddly, though, my wife has to twist my arm for me to buy myself something I like, but if it's for her or the kid, the credit card is primed and ready to go.

In about two years I have bought less than a half-dozen articles for the boy. One was a Yankees cap last October which obviously turned out to be defective. The other was a Cafepressed t-shirt with a buffalo stamp to match my buffalo stamp t-shirt. Also, some slippers. In addition, I provided executive management for the purchase of a shirt from Gymboree with bugs on it.

I pay attention to what he wears when I dress him but I don't pay attention to what he has available to wear mostly becuase he always seems to have enough. I suppose that if he were running out of something that I would notice. Somehow, his dresser is magically refreshed a few times each week.

I will sometimes buy our daughter clothing, but my wife buys the majority.

My main anxiety point is dressing her (my daughter, not my wife.. actually, scratch that, I'd be nervous about dressing either) - I have no sense of what goes with what. That's why I personally wear either jeans or tan khakis.

Maybe the difference isn't between men and women buying clothes, but between men and women buying clothes ON-LINE ?

Absolutely. I buy something for my little girl every time I see something cool. I even went out of my way to go to Naissance on Melrose last time I was in LA visiting my best friend.. I'm sure he thought I was crazy, but I got her the neatest Che Guevara t-shirt!

i have bought a few things for my daughter on my own accord in the past, but now i usually run it past Mother Of Child first.

hearing a comment along the lines of "oh, i guess we can wear daddy's ugly shirt today as we are just going to the shops" as junior miss was being dressed kinda let me know that clothes purchases were to be MOC's domain and her domain only.

the other thing is that when i dress junior miss after her bath or in the morning, clothes are usually passed to me or pre-prepared. this means that i actually don't know what items are now too small and needs to be replaced.

confusing the issue is that items of clothing that are now way too small are still kept in the drawers for reasons best known to MOC and are not to be removed under pain of death.

in short, i don't know what clothing junior miss has at any given time, and therefore i don't know what is needed or what it needs to co-ordinate with.

[yeah, my wife is totally in charge of rotating the wardrobe out and into archived boxes, but that's partly because, among her other admirable attributes, she's a Container Store junkie. -ed]

My wife is expecting our first daughter at the end of March. I had one goal, which was to buy the child some mini concert t-shirts...yes its for my glory, but I think she might appreciate looking back at baby photos many years from now and not seeing the standard run of the mill crap. I got her a black dark side of the moon shirt, and when I told my mother about it, she actually gasped in shock and mild horror and started mumbling something about baby's not wearing black. Usually I let these strange outbursts fall away, but dammit this was a man mission I was on, and I was determined that my daughter not go without...her black dark side of the moon shirt. My mother got teary eyed saying "Baby's need soft clothes and cute colors, its NOT right to dress her in black." My mother’Äôs usually calm demeanor and reserve falls away at certain key issues for which she has developed shockingly strong opinions: primarily they are focused on Baby’Äôs, Marriage Ceremonies, and interior design. For the record, our opinions on all those are completely different. I poured her a glass of wine, we were at dinner and my father was silent during this exchange. We had a nice discussion on whether black is an evil color; as evidenced by my mother's tears you can figure out where she stands on the issue. I should have dropped the bomb at that time that we aren't going to have our child baptized, but then she might have tried some type of intervention (we are opting for a life affirming ceremony with the unitarians)...Unitarians, as everyone well knows, are pagan devil spawn who dress their kids in harsh black colors before sacrificing them.

So to wrap this all up, I do by clothes for my daughter to be, but mostly it has been for my glory or to piss of my mother.

{did your mom grow up in a small mountain town terrorized by biker gangs? Black is awesome. Check the American Apparel plain black bodysuits. But only let your mom see the ads if you're really mad at her. -ed.]

LoL.. I think my hubby has maybe bought 5 or 6 clothing items for our kids... he despises shopping and doesn't even buy his own underwear, so it's understandable. I am the shopping queen in my house, and I like it that way!

It's GymBucks time, btw. :p

[I have no idea what "GymBucks time" means--although I can guess--and I like it that way, too -ed.]

I don't think my husband has bought a single piece of clothing for our twin boys. Like Amy's husband, he doesn't even buy his own underwear so I guess it's not surprising. As a matter of fact, he doesn't buy much of anything at all besides food and art magazines.

Yes, men buy clothes. My wife opened up a Children's Boutique on Cape Cod ( where we live ). She started by dragging me to her buyers to help her pick the next seasons clothes. I really got into it. Now I am a regular when it comes to buying clothes for kids. Anyways, yes we buy clothes and some of us love it....

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