Gender-Neutral Baby Clothing is on the Rise: Is it Right For You?
More parents are opting for gender-neutral baby clothing. Take a deep dive into the recent trends, where it comes from, and how to decide if it’s right for you.
Gender-neutral baby clothes isn't anything new. But you know how clothing trends are—they reoccur in cycles. Similarly, gender-neutral baby clothes are trending again. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the trend of gender-neutral baby clothes, where it comes from, and how to decide if it’s right for you.
Nothing quite compares to the excitement of waiting to meet the little person growing inside you. What will they be like? Will they look more like mom or dad? How chunky will those adorable Michelin Man rolls on their arms and legs be?
Likewise, waiting 12 weeks or more to find out the sex of your baby can feel like a lifetime. So if you’re too excited to hold off on purchasing a few clothing items or your friends and family want to contribute to your registry early, gender-neutral clothing can be an excellent option.
Gender-neutral baby clothes are practical, simple, and still adorable, of course! If you’ve considered buying gender-neutral clothing for your little one, you might be wondering about the benefits, drawbacks, or why it’s even a thing in the first place.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the trend of gender-neutral baby clothes, where it comes from, and how to decide if it’s right for you. And of course, we’ll also fill you in on how UpChoose uses mostly gender-neutral baby clothes to encourage parents to reuse and upcycle baby clothes.
UpChoose is a baby clothing subscription service, and our mission is to provide sustainable, high-quality, organic baby clothes for families everywhere. We help parents make more thoughtful purchases by providing a preloved clothing subscription that gives them affordable access to the best-quality baby clothing. By reusing primarily gender-neutral clothes, we offer a new consumption model that protects our planet and, ultimately, our children’s health.
Although many of our clothes are gendered, most are gender-neutral because it’s easier to pass neutral clothing on from one family to the next. However, we don’t want you to feel forced into anything. If you have color or style preferences, let us know! We’ll customize your set to better suit your requests.
Start by taking our short style quiz. We’ll curate a set just for you!
A Bit of History
Gender-neutral baby clothing may be a more recent trend, but its roots come from the century-old practice of dressing boys and girls alike as children.
In the early 20th century, most kids, including boys, wore dresses until they were six or seven. Generally, baby and children’s clothing was white, mainly because it was easier to wash and bleach.
Rarely, when babies and kids would wear colorful clothing, boys typically wore pink and girls wore blue. According to Smithsonian Magazine, pink was considered a stronger color and was, therefore, more suited to boys. The color blue was seen as more delicate and dainty and was reserved for girls.
Franklin D Roosevelt in 1884, aged 2
By the 1940s, the postwar baby boom was in full swing, and retailers began marketing blue for baby boys and pink for baby girls, but it could have easily been the opposite. There was no real rhyme or reason for it.
Then, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, parents largely reverted to gender-neutral baby clothes for political reasons, but also because research indicated bright and bold colors were appealing to babies.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that gendered baby clothing became the norm, but not for the reasons you might assume. Instead, it was largely prenatal technology that fueled the mania for gendered clothes.
With the rise of amniocentesis, parents could also accurately determine the sex of their baby before birth. The desire for both results increased the popularity and accessibility of amniocentesis. And for the first time in history, parents had more of a reason to buy gender-specific baby items, including baby clothes!
Why Use Gender-Neutral?
Clearly, using gender-neutral baby clothes isn't anything new. But you know how clothing trends are—they reoccur in cycles. (Yep, those 90’s oversized sweaters and loafers are baaacccckkk!) Similarly, gender-neutral baby clothes are trending again.
Here’s why plenty of moms and dads today are ditching the hyper-gendered world of baby clothes for more gender-inclusive options, and why you might consider it too:
It’s more practical. If you plan to have more kids down the line, you might find that unisex clothes are a more practical option. Instead of buying new clothes for each new baby, you can reuse the same clothes and save money.
It’s easier. If you decide not to find out the sex of your baby before birth, gender-neutral baby clothes are an easy solution for everyone. Simple, minimal, and neutral tones are perfect for any baby and they’re easy to mix and match. Plus, they’re great for all occasions, from special events to everyday wear.
Preferences for gender-neutral colors. Maybe you just don’t like the bright pinks, blues, floral patterns, or truck designs traditionally associated with certain genders. Instead of onesies that sport sayings like, “Pretty like mommy” or “Smart like daddy,” some parents opt for genderless options that avoid all the stereotypes.
Gifting Gender-Neutral Baby Clothing
Choosing to dress your baby in gender-neutral clothing is great, but it can also make things challenging when it comes to gifts. Naturally, if your friends and family know you’re having a girl, they may be more likely to give you frilly, pink baby clothes. Or, if they know it’s a boy, they may give you blue, traditionally masculine clothing, which may or may not be your preference.
We get it. It can be hard to navigate the relational aspect of gift-giving and avoid coming across as overly picky or ungrateful. But, the bottom line is, if dressing your child in gender-neutral clothing is important to you, there are polite and direct ways to ask for that without ruffling any feathers.
That’s why we offer an UpChoose online baby registry! By creating an UpChoose registry, you can make things easier on friends and family by allowing them to contribute a financial gift to help fund your subscription. This also helps ensure that you’ll receive simple and practical clothing for your little one without overcomplicating your request for gender-neutral pieces.
The best part? It only takes a few minutes to set up your online registry. Simply type in your name, email address, and due date, and then send the registry link out to your loved ones.
Want to fund up to 2 years of baby essentials? Start your free UpChoose registry page in just one click.
Step 1 — Start a registry
Create your UpChoose page in one click.
Step 2 — Share your page
Share your personal link with loved ones.
Step 3 — Receive contributions
Fund up to two years of organic baby essentials.
How Gender-Neutral Clothing Works With UpChoose
At UpChoose, many of our members choose not to know the sex of their babies before birth. About 80% of our clothing sets are gender-neutral because it’s more practical and aligns with our vision and reuse model. Since preloved sets are our most popular option, gender-neutral baby clothes are a natural solution and are easiest to pass from family to family.
However, we also know not all parents want to dress their babies in strictly gender-neutral outfits. That’s why we offer a customization option where you can add specific colors, style preferences, or gendered options like dresses. That way, you can get the best of both worlds.
Dressing your baby in gender-neutral clothing is just one of the many perks of using UpChoose. But if you’re also passionate about simplifying your baby’s wardrobe and partnering with a network of families to reduce waste, you’re in good company here!
Is it Right for My Baby?
Gender-neutral baby clothes won’t be right for all families. But for some, it might feel like the right choice.
It might be right for you and your family if:
You’re having boy/girl twins.
You plan to have more kids in the future.
You’ve opted to keep the sex of your baby a surprise.
You like to have a mix of colors, patterns, and prints.
You’d rather let your child choose the colors they prefer over time.
You are minimalistic and prefer to have fewer clothes that your child can wear during all seasons and for all types of occasions.
You want to resell your baby clothes when your child outgrows them.
Most importantly, if you don’t want to dress your child in the traditional blue or pink, you don’t have to! The colors you decide to dress your child in are entirely up to you. And if you initially decide that gender-neutral clothing is right for your baby but change your mind later, that’s okay too.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with gender-neutral clothing, so there’s no need to stress! It’s simple and practical and UpChoose makes it easy to customize your subscription. In fact, many of our members choose gender-neutral clothes in one size and then experiment with gendered colors in the next size up, just to see how they feel about it.
Alternatively, you can start off with zero subscription preferences and customize your selections as your baby grows. UpChoose is completely flexible, so you can find what feels right for you and your baby!
Want to get curated sets of premium organic baby clothes at a fraction of the retail price?
Step 1 — Design your set
Take the style quiz to design your set and add your preferences.
Step 2 — Enjoy
Enjoy the softest organic baby clothes.
Step 3 - Swap
Swap for the next size up when needed. Shipping is always free.
Are There Colors I Should Avoid?
There are no strict rules, but bold and bright colors are usually not considered gender-neutral, especially pink and blue. Preestablished stereotypical gender styles associate pink with girls and blue with boys. The increasing popularity of gender reveal parties has reinforced this idea, with parents announcing the sex of their babies using these two dominant colors.
Stereotypical gender styles aren’t limited to specific colors, though. Designs and patterns also come into play. When it comes to baby clothes, you’ll notice boy clothes don’t typically come in bright pinks or feature frilly, lacy, or floral patterns. Similarly, girl clothes are less likely to feature designs with cars, tractors, tools, or other stereotypically masculine items.
Even the fonts featured on clothes intended for baby girls tend to be more decorative, thin, or cursive. And fonts with sharp, straight lines are typically featured on clothes for baby boys.
Colors That Are Truly Gender Neutral
Gender-neutral colors are typically muted and minimalistic. They include colors like:
Are Clothes the Only Thing That Can Be Gender Neutral?
Nope! If you want to keep things gender-neutral for your baby, clothes are a great place to start, but there are genderless options for almost everything baby related!
Some examples include:
Pack ‘N Plays
Get Started with UpChoose
Whether you choose gender-neutral baby clothing or not, UpChoose is an excellent way to dress your baby in stylish and sustainable clothes for a fraction of the price. We curate organic baby outfits for you (based on your style and design preferences) and then ship them to you in reusable packaging. When your baby outgrows that set, you can easily swap them out for the next size up.
With free shipping and returns, UpChoose is the most cost-effective way to choose sustainable and organic clothing for your baby. Try UpChoose today!
“Obviously we are obsessed with UpChoose, but the supplemental clothes in his closet could all work for future babes (boy or girl!). Cost efficient, more our style, and removes pressure of societal gendering from such a young age. He also has gender-neutral toys!”
Chafin, C. (2020, February 19). Gender-neutral baby clothes aren’t new. So why are they so hard to find? Vox. https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2020/2/12/21078915/gender-neutral-clothing-baby-clothes-target-gap
Magazine, S. (2011, April 8). When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-did-girls-start-wearing-pink-1370097/
Green, D. N. (2018, April 4). Mini Portraits: An Exploration of Childrenswear in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries | Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection. Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection Blog. https://blogs.cornell.edu/cornellcostume/2018/04/04/mini-portraits-an-exploration-in-childrenswear-of-the-nineteenth-and-early-twentieth-centuries/
Buck, S. (2018, May 29). Gender-neutral baby clothes are actually an old-school approach. Medium. https://timeline.com/gender-neutral-baby-clothes-16a50ca21038