I was recently invited to preview Jo Jo Maman Bebe's summer line for 2016 and meet their designers and impressive founder Laura Tenison.
It was a fun afternoon of rummaging through items yet to hit the high street, picking out what my little one will be wearing once the sun comes back to play. Among top trends for next year is some awesome cut-off dungarees in their maternity range that will make you want to get pregnant just to have, along with plenty of wooden toys for the nursery and an exclusive range of soft and delicate baby clothes in collaboration with Sophie La Girafe. They even have that newborn smell about them.
In children's clothes, there's a nod to the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as a blue and white elephant print for boys and lots of scattered florals for girls.
And then I came across something I hadn't seen before. A dinosaur t-shirt FOR GIRLS! It shouldn't be, but it kind of is a big deal, because I can't remember seeing this in shops before now. Always listening to feedback, their designers told me that they had received a letter from a little girl who wrote in to ask why dinosaur t-shirts were always for boys. It's a good point, and surprising that it took a five year old to articulate it. The result is a cotton blue t-shirt featuring a smiley pink dinosaur surrounded by lots of flowers. It's pretty, it's feminine, it's available from January, and yes, it has dinosaurs.
Girls clothes have long been a bugbear for me. I've always liked the colour pink, but it's overuse in girls clothes and hen nights, leaves me feeling like I've just eaten a whole box of rhubarb and custards. I have pink jaw ache!
Yet, when it comes to boys clothes, there isn't a schnifter of pink to be seen. And that's a massive shame, because pink on men is one of the most flattering colours and for some reason, always makes them feel more approachable. I'm sure there's some psychology behind it, but for now lets say - real men wear pink.
My son had just only pink item as a baby and it was a girls striped onesie from Marks and Sparks, which looked fabulous on him. So original. Yet, so disappointing that everyone thought he was a girl. Thankfully, the novelty moustache dummy a friend gave me found a new purpose!
But are we so brainwashed as a society that we instantly associate pink with girls and blue with boys? It's such an antiquated view, and one that we can change. But it has to start with retailers. And on that matter - why is yellow considered a neutral colour?
It's the same with dinosaurs - why should these universal creatures be just for boys, along with footballs, rugby balls, foxes, robots and superhero's. And likewise, why confine flowers, pony's, Princess', owls, cats and butterflies to girls? I know my son likes them, and I embrace this powerful feminine side of his.
Anyway, how did this even happen?! Did someone have a secret meeting one day and decide to divide the animal kingdom in half assigning the stronger animals to men, and more delicate creatures to girls?! I also blame Barbie. She hasn't done much for gender ewuali
I did a little bit of research to understand it and an article in Live Science suggests that it's more likely to be the result of a marketing ploy - versus an evolved gender preference. In fact it's as simple as brands, companies and marketeers needing to categorise genders by colour, and somehow along the line, it stuck.
Hopefully we may start to see the tide change a bit, as children start to question the norm, and parents reading this - I say, it's to be encouraged.
At the Milk Drunk Diary blog I run, we're thinking of launching some exclusive #MilkDrunk merchandise - if you can think of anything that will readdress the gender balance, or something different we can do, please let us know. Listening to feedback works!