I used to really enjoy picking out my kids’ clothes because they were so ridiculously cute — a tiny button-down plaid shirt! A pint-sized pair of corduroy overalls that ensured the wearer would make that comical vip-vip-vip sound while T-Rexing his way around! — and they were certain to fit, as opposed to anything I ever buy for myself. Then the boys started getting lanky and I had to search out adjustable waistbands and Dapper Snappers, but they were still wearing adorable graphic tees and wee jeans and two-toned shoes with contrasting Velcro straps and it was all pretty delightful, shopping-wise.

Somewhere along the line things started changing. They grew out of easy-fit sizes, they developed style preferences, they each have their own set of issues with regards to fabric and cut, and now it is no fun at ALL to buy stuff for them.

Both boys are in between sizes, with Dylan being too big for a size 8 but not quite tall enough for a 10-12. All of Riley’s 10-12 shirts look too short, but the next (generally available) size is a 14-16, which isn’t right either. So good luck finding something that actually fits, but never mind that, the real challenge is finding something that meets their ever-changing fashion requirements.

Dylan is the most fussy when it comes to how things look and feel. The fabric has to be soft and loose, preferably that unpleasant-looking sports material that’s sort of shiny. The sleeves must be long, no matter what, even if it’s the last week of August and everyone is wilting from the heat: LONG. SLEEVES. ONLY. Jeans are tolerable but he would much rather wear workout-type pants or giant baggy shorts, ideally combined with a matching shirt featuring at least one garish fluorescent stripe.

Riley refuses to wear anything with long sleeves even if it’s actively snowing outside: SHORT. SLEEVES. ONLY. He also greatly dislikes sweatshirts, hoodies, coats, and pretty much every other form of outerwear along with patterns, stripes, and graphic elements. He would probably be happy wearing the same pilled-up grey t-shirt for the rest of life but like pretty much all of his clothing it is now too small, and have you tried finding a plain kids’ t-shirt in January, JESUS.

I myself have gotten more and more picky about clothes in recent years — fabric must not itch, cling, bunch, be too tight in the sleeves to properly push up, land at the wrong spot on my waist, or otherwise rudely behave otherwise I feel a sort of shrieky pull towards the nearest cliff — and so I get it. Big kid sizes, big kid druthers.

Still! I do miss those overalls. And the satisfaction of whisking them into a cart, secure in the knowledge they would delight their target audience: me.


15 Responses to “Turn to the left, turn to the right”

  1. dani on January 12th, 2018 3:43 pm

    I feel you. my daughter refuses to wear jeans or any kind of pant that aren’t leggings. “they’re too wiggly for me.” wiggly means loose. and twirly dresses only. none of the cute a-line cuts.


    try primary.com for riley.

  2. Carmen on January 12th, 2018 3:54 pm

    I hear you. My son is nearly 12, but is off the charts for both height and weight. The 14-16 clothes are too small; the 18 (when you can find them) sometimes fit, but often not. He’s a size 32 waist, which is about a men’s medium, but he’s only 5’5″ so everything needs hemming…*sigh* And even though mens 32 fits around his waist, the rest of him is not man-shaped, so things don’t fit in the thigh, the butt, or anywhere else. He also refuses to wear jeans or things with buttons, so he ends up wearing basketball shorts 95% of the time, and Adidas or Puma workout shiny pants. So I feel your pain and share in it.

    My daughter is 9.5 and wears the largest size that Old Navy makes now. All the reasonably priced kid clothes sources here in Canada have closed, leaving us only Old Navy, basically. So soon I’ll be screwed. And she has a super long torso (like, suuuuuper long) so that dresses are obscenely short and require leggings/shorts under them at all times.

    Yup. Kid clothes shopping is no longer fun.

  3. Olivia on January 12th, 2018 4:32 pm

    And what the hell is up with skippin a size 9 on children’s clothing? My daughter is too tall for size 8, but the 10-12 swims on her. I guess she just has to wear too big clothes during her ninth year.

  4. honeybecke on January 12th, 2018 7:01 pm

    Dang, with the sleeve issue you’re kinda screwed for hand me downs! :P

  5. Allison on January 12th, 2018 7:04 pm

    Ugh yes. My daughter wears the same Simply Southern shirts and gigantic hoodies every dang day. I am so sick of looking at the same thing on her.

  6. Beth on January 12th, 2018 7:05 pm

    The in between sizes were the bane of my existence for a while. 8-10 or 12-14, seriously? We needed a 10-12! (target, I’m talking to you!)

  7. Cara on January 12th, 2018 7:46 pm

    Oof – good luck. I got nuthin’ for Dylan, but try primary.com for Riley.

  8. Jody on January 12th, 2018 8:38 pm

    Dylan sounds so much like my 8 year old (except mine is short sleeves, ALL the time…even when the rest of us are freezing!) We’ve had the most luck at Old Navy where they have the “comfortable” (his word for that sports material) shirts/shorts/pants. And lots of weird fluorescent graphics. Luckily my 12 year old is pretty laid back about what he wears so I can still buy him anything…but I sense that will change when he goes to middle school…

  9. Margaret on January 12th, 2018 11:59 pm

    Things were just fine and dandy… until hormones. Now, instead of buying regular old shirts and jeans for my girl, I’ve got bras to deal with. And hips. And a booty she didn’t have last year. Finding jeans that fit her, well… it’s like finding them for myself, which is to say, it’s a horrible, frustrating experience because nothing fits. With the added bonus of her body still changing, so as soon as we nail down something that works, she’ll grow an inch or her bust will increase and screw up the fit of all of her shirts. Is bullshit.

  10. nonsoccermom on January 13th, 2018 6:22 pm

    I visited my sister over the holidays, and was lamenting about this very thing as she dressed my toddler niece in adorable dresses, wee collared shirts, fun shoes and basically whatever else she wants with no complaints from the child in question.

    Meanwhile, for Christmas my 10yo daughter received a bunch of tunics to wear with her leggings (the only acceptable pants these days), because she’s so tall that normal shirts aren’t long enough. But she doesn’t like the tunics, because she thinks they look like dresses. They are not dresses. But they look like they *might be* and therefore are totally unacceptable. Sigh.

  11. BKC on January 13th, 2018 9:14 pm

    Tween shopping is all the angst and expense of shopping for yourself but with none of the reward. Pretty sure my kid needs a 38A bra (not sure THAT exists). Her feet are a 9.5 and she will only wear ballet flats, heeled ankle boots or stacked wedge fashion sneakers. Also she wants red clothing for school color day each Friday. Why don’t they sell girls clothes in RED?

    Try Michael’s (yup, the craft store) for Riley. They have Gildan shirts (classic “camp” shirt, totally plain, many colors) for like three bucks right now.

  12. Erika on January 14th, 2018 12:36 am

    I feel ya! My kid is 6 and was a preemie and is not the shortest but one of the skinniest little things. She wears a 6x/7 in shirts and they’re generally fine. It’s the pants that are a pain in the ass. The only types of pants besides leggings are the adjustable waist ones because while the length fits, it needs to be cinched almost all the way. it’s a pain. And she doesn’t like wearing white, black, or grey. And she loves characters on shirts but I hate it. But I also know that if I buy cute shirts (like a purple tee I bought that has gorgeous white lace sleeves), she won’t wear it. -_-

  13. Melissa Schober on January 16th, 2018 2:18 pm

    Plain kids stuff: https://www.primary.com/shop/kids and Lands End. For real. Also, they have slim, regular, and plus fits, bless them. I have a 9.5 yr old daughter so I feel your pain about AAAAAAALLLLLLL of it.

  14. Jenn on January 16th, 2018 9:46 pm

    I feel ya on the skinny, but not long enough. My son won’t wear anything that could be considered regular pants/jeans, but solely wears those athletic pants/shorts. Something that surprisingly has worked for him (us) are buying the athletic leggings for boys. He wears them under shorts, which are easier to pair up with his too skinny, but longer physique. But he tends to be cool with having a little bit more “out there” style because he will pair the leggings up with crazy unicorn socks and mismatched shoes.

  15. Chris on January 18th, 2018 3:30 pm

    Came to comment “try primary.com” like everyone else :) Also I’m digging the Cat & Jack line at Target for my super lanky boy who is material-picky and jeans-adverse. They have great pants that are NOT ATHLETIC WEAR, which I wrestle him into at least once a week, and he will tolerate.

Leave a Reply