Colours v Drab

Colourful clothing for girls and drab outfits for boys?


It does seem to be the norm now to be able to get anything for girls in a rainbow of colours but for boys there remains a dull collection of muted sludgy colours.


@AliceOKeeffe writes of her recent shopping experience with her 8-year-old son who wanted to wear a red outfit and gold shoes to a wedding.  Spending a fruitless morning in the town searching for a bright outfit to suit his tastes, they ended the trip buying nothing.  Everything was navy, green or grey.


There are countless articles and views on how girls are presented with pink princess dresses for the girls, but maybe the situation is even harder for boys who appear to get no choice at all.


Alice’s son wanted to express himself in something joyful and colourful.  Are the ranges on offer in the shops for boys, indicating that boys are boring and want to look like one another.


Grayson Perry’s book on gender The Descent of Man talks about this archetype of the suited man – offering the view that a man is not trying to look smart but simply invisible.

Is our own high street asking boys to play it down, become part of the system and not show a bit of character?


Why is this a UK concept as in other cultures boy’s fashion is colourful, even in Spain your choice is much brighter and diverse for boys. IN Africa the men wear incredibly colourful clothing, male birds are more colourful than females, the pattern was set many years ago.


JC Flugel wrote The Psychology of Clothes in 1930 and wrote about the plainness of men’s clothing. His emerging theories were that in modern western society, men dressed more duller that in traditional societies.  At the end of the 18th century Flugel says there was a great masculine renunciation where men turned away from flamboyant outfits to adopt a uniform that showed values of practicality and reason.  It also set them apart from frilly and irrational women!

As we live now is such a gender free world now, it seems inconceivable that these clothing rules still are the norm.