pregnancy 1.3 | a.k.a. why are baby clothes and products so ugly?

i hope the title doesn't offend you. and if it makes you feel better - i didn't actually write it.

how often does something have to be googled for google to start recommending it as an auto fill? because if you type "why are baby clothes..." into the search engine, "flame retardant" and "expensive" are closely followed by "why are baby clothes so ugly?" and following that? more variations on this apparently age old query including "why are baby boy clothes ugly?" and the more strongly worded "why are baby boy clothes so ugly?" i feel better now knowing many mothers have asked this before i.

since i'm being so forthcoming, i might as well jump right in and preface this post with a disclaimer. first of all - i am not a mother yet. i am thirty eight weeks pregnant but i'm not sure that qualifies me to rant and rave. so i'm fully aware that i currently maintain the hopes and dreams of a future mother who thinks maybe it's possible to have a baby and not have the baby's stuff take over my life and my home in a really colourful, plastic, disney character kind of way. i'm sure i'm disillusioned.

i also want to say that i am so grateful for all of the things people have gifted to us as we approach this big milestone in our lives. the other day i actually caught myself saying to a friend "oh sure, have a baby before you get married - at least it's cheaper!" she looked sort of surprised and i realized that the only reason i'm not feeling overwhelmed by all of the costs associated with bringing a child into this world is because of the overwhelming generosity of our friends and family.

and thus, all of these opinions are my own...and chances are i'll be at walmart at 11 pm one month from now shelling out whatever it takes to bring home one of those plastic bouncer monstrosities if it means my baby will stop crying.


so the other day my husband and i popped into carters/osh kosh, target and babies r us. my eyes were sort of blindsighted by all of the colours and prints (turns out the neon trend extends to children's clothing as well!). try as i might i couldn't find anything plain or simple. everything was too colourful, too cutesy, and had an endless amount of sayings plastered on it. perhaps the most disconcerting aspect however was the clear delineations between the genders. most of the boys clothing featured trucks, skulls, sports, and sharks. most of the girl's clothing was pink, and had hearts, kittens, and butterflies on it. and don't even get me started on sayings like "i'm a princess."

boys like kittens too! girls play sports!

but beyond that, there was a real disposable quality to the pieces, and a serious lack of design and even comfort. when i landed head first in the google search "why are baby clothes so ugly" it was because i was actually trying to search "why are baby clothes colourful and graphic?" i typed lots of variations on this idea, hoping to do some research. i thought that perhaps babies really thrive when they are immediately surrounded by colour and prints. but i found nada on this clothing subject no matter how i typed it.

i did find this hilarious thread.


why do baby and kid clothes have to be so standard, stereotypical and graphic? why can't they have beautiful little details like the ones below? these pieces are simple but still express a sense of personality. see those adorable miniature man overalls? that pointed cap on the grey sweater? and how elegant are those booties and cardigan? i think there is something to be said for dressing babes in clothing that is understated - and lets their own cuteness and personality do the talking (rather than their "little hunk" t-shirt). 
clockwise 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


but hey, if we have to do prints, why don't we celebrate real artists, real art and simple (non gendered) graphics? the black jumper below is such a fun and visually pleasing way to play with numbers. the castle onesie is a fresh rendition on the ubiquitous prince and princess theme, and the organic floral is hand illustrated (oh, and i love this bear print by artist miia kajaani!)
clockwise 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


just because i want to look at well designed pieces doesn't mean i'm willing to forgo my child's comfort.  i think these pieces below are aesthetically pleasing but are also soft, comfortable and easy to roll around in (i wouldn't mind that grey button up for myself! lol).
 clockwise 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

while were on the subject of ugly baby stuff...i feel i would be remiss not to mention some of the following items - strollers, bouncey chairs, rockers, play pens, and high chairs. i apologize in advance as i refuse to post images here of the version of these items that i dislike - so i'll just post the good stuff and link to the others instead. 
i can't get into toys right now - that would require a post all on it's own!

here's a great post on apartment therapy entitled: do non-hideous baby bouncers & swings exist? (i'm loving these titles and searches people!). the section that stuck with me was this "readers will say, and it's true, that babies don't care how ugly it is and that what's important is that it's fun and stimulating to them. i partially agree, but then why do we care about design at all? design is more than function. not to mention the issue of using sustainable materials." he really says it better than i ever could. just because it's for babies doesn't mean we have to give up so completely on design. these items have to be in our home the same as everything else.

final disclaimer: i realize that all of these items (including the gorgeous clothing pictured above) is expensive. most of it is also made in europe. all i can say is, aside from leaving prams with babies outdoors, they've definitely got the right idea!

below are some pieces i love that are unavailable to me for reasons of cost, shipping, location...and my husband - who couldn't give a shit about any of this ;) the version that is available to me (nay, being thrust upon me) is linked below that.

see all my fantasies on my little sniff pinterest board here.

nursery photos coming soon!

pretty via
ugly via

i just love european "prams" - if i still lived on vancouver island where the weather is always generous and it barely snows, i might have fought for something like this. as it is, i can only argue with my lovely husband so much - and he wanted a jogging stroller (which is something that makes more sense for ontario anyways). and so in the end what we chose is really no different from the ugly version i've linked to above.

pretty via
ugly via

we chose the baby bjorn balance bouncer because it turns out my greatest fear in life is not drowning, it's something like this. but this bloom coco version above is absolutely stunning! the idea behind these chairs is that the baby's own motion encourages the seat to rock. back in the days of yore babies survived just fine without rainbow coloured fisher-price plastic so that's what i'm banking on. baby can hang out here while i shower, do the dishes and pack art prints for my work at home job. 

pretty via
ugly via

pretty, ugly, they are all expensive. okay, the glider versions like the one above are really expensive. i'm really happy with the one we chose though and i can't wait to share some images with you.

pretty via
ugly via

when it comes to play pens, there aren't very many modern options (i'm sorry, they don't call them that anymore. pack and play, play yard, travel crib are the suggested terms - i'll use them all below :). the concept of the one above is interesting because it's really more like a crib. for the first three-six months it's my understanding that the baby should sleep in our room with us. so we are going to set up a pack and play and let him sleep in there...but this has kind of inspired me to just bring the crib into our bedroom. yes, it will be a bummer to take a key piece out of the nursery but the thought of having to share a room with a play yard for six months is a real bummer in itself. the nicest one i could find though is this baby bjorn travel crib.

pretty via
ugly via

glad i don't have to deal with this yet.

longest blog post ever! congratulations for making it to the end.


  1. I think this is my favourite post yet! Agree with you 1,000,000%. Sometimes I think you're reading my mind!

  2. I agree with all of this! If I had the money all my baby gear would be simple and well designed. I'll never understand why I seem to have been born with a rich person's taste but a poor man's budget. c'est la vie.


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