Friday, July 6, 2007

"Outfits" versus "Clothes"

I have three children: two boys and a girl. When both the boys were born, we received baby gifts from numerous friends and family, and we were thankful for it all. But then, when Emma – the first girl – was born, it seems as if we were given gifts from everyone we had ever so much as even waved at. And since it was our third child in less than four years, and we really didn’t need very many of the “baby essentials” – it was all clothes – or rather, outfits! Now there are definitely adorable clothes for boys out there as well (and I’m certainly not meaning to minimize how charming little boys can look too), but they’re harder to find, whereas cute girl outfits and accessories are absolutely everywhere – which is perhaps why so many of my friends (and I’m guilty of this too) love to shop for baby girls!

My children are now ages 5, 3, and 1½ – and it’s still the same… My boys have a dresser full of clothes – shirts and shorts than can be intermixed in almost any way they choose, and it still looks just fine most of the time. And as much as I might like to see them branch out a bit with their wardrobes, when they dress themselves, the same three or four T-shirts seem to circulate through the laundry much more than all the rest. But rather than just clothes, Emma has a series of outfits… For every top there’s a matching bottom, along with a coordinating hair elastic or clip, and of course a bracelet – and those are just the basics! (Note our “4th of July” photo: Grey and Brock both have flag t-shirts; Emma too has a patriotic top, but also a matching skirt, and a “stars & stripes” bracelet as well.)

But what I find most comical about this is that my husband doesn’t grasp the difference between clothes and outfits. To him, it’s all just clothes. This morning, for instance, he didn’t have to leave as early as usual for work, so he helped the kids get dressed while I was in the shower… When I came out of the bathroom after blow-drying my hair, I saw that the boys have jean shorts and a T-shirt on – pretty much the standard for them – and they look just fine. Emma is wearing a flowered blouse and tan shorts – also perfectly fine. But whereas Randy looks at her and likely sees that she’s not naked, I look at her and immediately notice that she’s not wearing the capris that go with that top, and make a mental note of which bracelet and hair elastic I still need to grab for her. Now, I am truly grateful for his help, and again – what Emma is wearing honestly is fine – so I don’t say a thing, but I can’t help smiling at this subtle difference between how the two of us (and likely countless other married couples) see things. Is it really a difference between men and women, or does it start much sooner than that, with the sheer amount of “outfits” a baby girl is given at birth?

No comments: