If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed 2 or 3 weeks ago that I sent out a tweet about Freshly Picked's celebrity collaborations.
I love Freshly Picked. If you're a parent, you've probably seen an ad (or five) for them on Instagram. You've probably seen a baby wearing them on Instagram. Michael Phelps's son, Boomer, famously wore a red-white-and-blue pair with gold heels at the Olympics. They are small, leather moccasins, soft soled, for babies and toddlers. Freshly Picked is everywhere, becoming almost as popular among InstaMoms as ModCloth is among the indie crowd.
However, when Freshly Picked announced their most recent celebrity collaboration, I found myself getting a little, well, flustered. The newest collaboration is with Ayesha Curry; she created four designs of moccasins. Three of them are holographic: they are gorgeous and insanely impractical for the average baby, but who cares! You can get gold holo, pink holo, or silver holo. They are also obviously for girls. They are little girls shoes. They are only shown on girls in Freshly Picked ads. There is another pair of moccasins in the collaboration: they are plain blue. Plain blue! Not blue holo. Not green holo. They are... blue. That's it. They're blue.
They are for boys.
During the summer, Freshly Picked had another celebrity collaboration with a professional skater. 5 styles of shoe were released; 4 styles were obviously for girls (floral, polka dots, etc) and one was for boys. The boys styled was plain black with a lime green sole. Plain. Black. That's it!
The girls get fun designs, cute patterns, pretty colors. Boys get plain blue or black or brown.
We can get into the "for girls" argument all we want. I'm there with you. I think saying florals are for girls and girls only is total bunk. However, Forrest depends on me to dress him; I can dress him however I like at this point. When he's older, he can choose. But my goal for getting him dressed in the morning is not to make him the object of negative attention.
But that doesn't mean I wouldn't like a cute pair of shoes to put on him. Shoes that aren't covered in the Ninja Turtles or Superman. Shoes that aren't boring or plain.
I'm not asking for a miracle here. I'm just asking for more gender neutral--or even, perhaps, overtly "boyish"--options.
Walk into a Target. Look at the toddler girls section. Look at the toddler boys sections. Notice anything? Yeah, the girls section is 3-4 times as big as the boys section.
It's incredibly frustrating.
Also, when you look at those clothing sections, notice another thing; there are almost NO boys shoes for young toddlers. Under size 5 boys shoes are the hardest thing to find in the world. I might as well be attempting to purchase the Mona Lisa. There are racks of tiny girls shoes--fake Ugg boots smaller than my hand, sandals and tennis shoes and Mary Janes--but there are no boys shoes. None. The boys shoes that are available tend to be covered in characters--the Ninja Turtles, Cars, and more.
It is endlessly frustrating.
It is hard to find things that are gender neutral or that aren't overtly girly. What am I supposed to tell Forrest? Sorry, kid, you can't walk right now because I couldn't find any shoes in your size? Sorry, I know your feet are cold because you need boots, but they don't make them for you despite the fact that there are 20 varieties of boots for girls?
This is my plea to brands to please, please, make more options for boys or options that are gender neutral.
Freshly Picked has many plain colored moccasins that work just fine--Forrest has the velvet mocha style--but it would be nice if, for once, a collaboration came out that was for primarily boys or gender neutral and didn't feature just solid colors. It is entirely possible to make cute, exciting clothes for boys or that are gender neutral. You just have to try. It's easy to sell girly themed things--overwhelmingly, because girls have more options, parents buy more--but I promise, boy moms (or moms that are choosing a gender neutral route) have money too.