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History of Baby Clothing

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Have you ever wondered why "pink is for girls" and "blue is for boys?" Who makes up these rules, anyway? What were baby clothes like 100 years ago? What will they be like in 100 years from now? We decided to dig into history and share this fascinating story with you!

Baby Clothing: A Look Back (And Ahead)

Clothing has always been reflective of the civilization that creates it. How society has dressed its most precious citizens – its infants – speaks volumes about its evolving mores, class distinctions, and culture.

For instance, children in Ancient Egypt did not have to wear clothing until they were around six years old. And, the type of sandals Roman children wore signified their parents’ social status.

You’ve probably never considered how symbolic your little one’s clothing has become. From gender identification to wearable technology, clothing has a meaningful past – and future.

History’s Standard Of Gender-Neutral Infantwear

Dressing girls and boys differently is a relatively modern development. Up until fairly recently, it was hard to tell girl and boy infants apart – from their similar clothing and hair styles.

Mainly out of practicality and convenience, children of both sexes over the centuries were dressed mainly in white dresses. Dresses, because they facilitated easier diaper changes, and white, because it could be bleached clean. These dresses both boys and girls wore were often quite decorative and frilly, by today’s standards. 

Emergence of Pink and Blue

Blue and pink entered the children fashion scene around the mid-19th century. But, it took an article in a children’s fashion magazine published in 1918 to assign each of these colors to a sex. But hold on – it’s not what you think. The article claimed that pink was better for boys since it was a “stronger” color, and blue suited girls better because it was “delicate” and “dainty”.

That claim was backed up in 1927 when Time Magazine reported their findings on what stores deemed appropriate colors for baby girls and boys. Again, these leading retailers recommended pink for boys, and blue for girls.

Motives For Gender Specific Clothing

Over time, the trend made a complete reversal, although it could have easily remained. The change seems to have shifted, and solidified in the minds of the consumer, by clothing manufacturers and retailers.

Their motives may have been dictated by another color – green - although this would take decades to bear out. By associating a color so strongly with a particular sex, this increased the demand for color-specific baby merchandise, and in return, more products could be sold.

Clothes Of The Future

While this generation may not be able to leave color/gender stereotypes in the past, the future holds some exciting possibilities for clothing.

For instance, there are smart textiles that use atmospheric energy to change their appearance, and wearable technology that helps control body temperature and protect skin from radiation and other harmful elements.

These advancements, along with the growing movement of using organic fibers in clothing, are the leading trends in clothing of the future for children – and adults.

Gender-Neutral Clothing For An Enlightened Generation

The good news is, our society is growing more tolerant. Gender stereotypes in children’s clothing will fade, there will be more gender-neutral baby clothing available, and loveable little humans will not be limited by what they can wear.

Learn about textiles being made out of living materials such as cellulose, algae, and fungi.


What are your thoughts about pink, blue and neutral baby clothing? What do you like to dress your baby in? Share your thoughts and comments below!


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