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The Shopping Gene: Nature or Nurture?

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Baby girl dress, Debenhams

I was interested to read a report about the so-called “shopping gene” in women this morning. Debenhams commissioned the study after their sales figures showed that their baby girls clothing outsells clothes for baby boys by a colossal 20%.

Apparently, those of us with little girls encourage them to care more about clothes through dressing up play and shopping together, whereas boys are encouraged into more active pursuits.

So why is it I’m always drawn to the boys stuff?

Romper suit, Debenhams

Don’t get me wrong – I love simple, cute little dresses for the small one, but show me a cute boys romper, or a cool tractor print and my purse opens on autopilot before I’ve even figured out who it’s for.

The small one has plenty of unisex clothing – I don’t see why cars & diggers should be just for the boys – but I do know understand why so many girls wear pink constantly until the age of 3. However many times you tell yourself that you don’t care if people think your beautiful daughter is a boy, it still rankles that it isn’t immediately obvious to them that she’s not.

I don’t know whether I would have bought less clothes for a boy. Possibly. There is often less variety in colour and style to justify spending the money. I know that if I find something lovely and feminine that isn’t pink, I feel the need to buy it immediately…

I grew up with a fairly gender neutral approach to life from both sides of the family and I hope that I don’t ever push her towards “feminine” activities when her interest is elsewhere. At the moment she enjoys a mix of activity and creativity which is all her own, and she’s definitely an outdoorsy kind of a girl.

At least, when I stereotypically instill a love of fashion and retail into my daughter I can pretend I’m teaching her about my career as a buyer. That’s OK – right?I’m going to be conducting a social experiment of my own on this later, posting some kids clothing “last chance to buy” sale bargains on Twitter to see which generate most interest.

What do you think? Do we really want to buy more clothes for girls, or are retailers just not giving us boys clothes worth buying?

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2 thoughts on “The Shopping Gene: Nature or Nurture?

  1. I’m always very dissapointed with the boys clothes on offer on the highstreet. It does smack of gender conditioning. “Boys you aren’t supposed to care about your appearence, so here, put this sack on”. Also, boys clothes tend to be littered with slogans. “Little Monster”, “Here Come’s Trouble”, etc. Poor little sods.

  2. It’s difficult… I knew I was having a boy, and had to buy him clothes from 3-6 and 6-9 months in advance (because I don’t live in the UK and needed all summer clothes, which would not have been available after he was born). I remember going into stores and seeing racks and racks of pretty girls’ clothes and just one or two for boys. I kept saying to Hub – you are so lucky we’re not having a girl… I think there’s just that much more choice for girls. I love buying V rompers, playsuits and vests – but I do get a little tired of seeing airplanes, cars and dinosaurs! But now I know, for the next baby – do NOT buy so many clothes – because there’s no way s/he’ll be able to wear them all!

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