While shopping recently, I noticed the fabric selection for boys' and girls' winter pants was surprisingly different based on gender. Something I never noticed before having a toddler of my own is now surprisingly obvious. No matter where I look, I feel like the only option marketing towards my son is denim. Stiff, rough, scratchy denim. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I'll find some chinos. Which are just slightly softer than straight up denim.
Thanks to the athleisure movement, there are some "lounge pants" to be found in the toddlers section that could still be passed off as school appropriate, but for the most part I have to choose rigid, uncomfortable, baggy pants, or pajamas. That's it.
In the girls section I seem to see dozens of soft cotton designs, leggings for days, or jeggings for a fancier look. We usually buy the jeggings because we don't care about signs. However, the point is, girls clothes seem to be made for movement, dancing, stretching.
The boys clothes are made for work.
Here's how jeans came to be, just to give you all a little background:
There was a guy who sold cotton goods during the gold rush. Some other person came to his shop looking for "sturdy" pants that wouldn't rip during a day of hard manual labor. The guy used sturdy, rigid cotton with copper rivets and zippers on any vulnerable areas. The customer appreciated the pants' durability so much he came back for more. Voila, jeans were born!
And now we put those same products, made for hardworking, blue collar workers, on tots with soft, sensitive skin. We expect them to learn how to climb, and run, and tip toe. All while working against the very fabric surrounding their knees.
That being said, I thought I might be a little bit biased given my heightened sensitive to gendered clothing. So I looking for some data and I found that Target had 12 pairs of pants for girls that were made of something other than soft and/or stretchy fabric. They had 27 pairs for boys. One off situation?
I did the same count for Babies R Us and found 6 pairs of jeans or colored denim pants marketed towards girls. 16 sold under the boys label.
Which is exactly why our next product will be some killer pants with story book images that are appropriate for both school and home. No toddler should have to be confined in pants that are anything less than comfy.