Why Are Boys' Clothes So Boring?

22/08/2012 21:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

I have a bad case of fairy dress envy. I long to dress my children in deliciously glittering dresses with shiny satin bodices and billowing skirts fit for a princess.

But I am not sure my four boys would appreciate me fulfilling my fantasies on them.

I suspect that my longings actually stem from my own childhood. My mother lived in blue jeans and jumpers and couldn't see why her daughters shouldn't too. She considered the frilly party dresses that had me longingly staring through shop windows the epitome of bad taste – not to mention a fire risk with all that naff nylon netting.

The only party dress I ever owned as a child was a ruinously expensive, but soberly boring black velvet frock with white satin piping. I am sure it was much more tasteful than the pink confection I would have chosen, but I think even my mum would reluctantly admit that it made me look more ugly sister than Cinderella.

To this day I cannot go to Hamleys without a furtive detour from the Lego and action toy departments so beloved by my sons to the girls dressing up rails. I lose myself amongst the acres of wispy pastel skirts, beribboned tops, shimmering tiaras and pretty little shoes, until I am rudely interrupted by the electronic screeching of the latest toy weapon my boys have wrestled from the shelves.

But it's not just party clothes where boys are short changed. As if it weren't bad enough that the most exciting costume I have ever managed to come up with for my sons was a silver Cyberman jumpsuit, everyday clothes are even duller.

In any clothes shop, racks and racks will be devoted to a cornucopia of girls dresses, skirts, trousers, tight and accessories in every colour of the rainbow.

In contrast there will be a dingy corner devoted to jeans and sweaters in sludgy khakis, dull dark blues, grim grey and boring black for boys. I still recall when Jacob, my eldest, was born, spending hours hunting out the few baby boy clothes that weren't a washed out pastel blue.

I would drive to a big Boots store miles from home just because their Mini Club clothes were that little bit more inventive and actually allowed that a male child could wear red or orange, rather than blue, blue, blue.

No Added Sugar also made me laugh with their slogan T-shirts for babies. I couldn't resist the one that declared 'Lock up your daughters' , not only because my boys are so gorgeous they are destined to become lady-killers, but because it allowed boys a big of glitz with its gold sparkly lettering.

I am sure that the mothers of girls get equally sick of the tyranny of pink, but at least they have plenty of other options to choose from. With boys there simply isn't the choice. But perhaps it is because they don't actually care that much what they wear.

I have friends with daughters who are regularly late for school because of a tantrum over which pair of tights should be worn – and this is at a school with a strict uniform policy. Other mums of girls tell me they can no longer shop for their six-year-old daughters as already they know their choices won't meet up to their sky high sartorial standards.

With my sons as long as their clothes are vaguely clean and within easy reach they are happy to drag them on, often with rather haphazard results. They don't even seem to notice if their trousers are flapping around their ankles, or if their top is two sizes too small. In fact I often have to march them back to their bedrooms to change their entire outfit, as I don't want to be seen out in public with them looking so scruffy.

I know I should stop hankering after all those pretty clothes, and instead be grateful that my boys will pull on whatever I lay out for them without complaint. But I just can't stop myself from occasionally wishing that it could be a bejewelled party dress instead of yet another pair of jeans.

Do you think boys' clothes are boring?

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