FIVE top tips to help you shop for your boys.

August 09, 2014

The oldest of the five boys, my eldest boy, hates shopping.

He says he’ll wear anything so that he doesn't have to go through the perceived ordeal of shopping. So I choose and buy him clothes. Which means that he won't actually wear them and that he is always short of clothes to wear although his drawers are heavy with unwanted purchases, which are waiting to be handed down to his younger brother.

Which does seem a bit unfair as my middle boy actually loves shopping. So much so that I have to drag him away from shops after long, and sometimes embarrassing, negotiations. 

And it seems that the third is going the way as the second but he may be destined for hand me downs only. (In fact when he got a new top for his birthday he did remark – “Is this tee shirt new?”)

So after losing hours of my life negotiating one boy into shops and negotiating another out of them, with the third tagging along for the ride, here are my top five learns on shopping for boys:

Two options, one choice. 

You give the options and they have the choice, providing them with (somewhat controlled) autonomy and by deselecting the things you would never agree to buy you save yourself the battle. I've seen my world go a little out of control by offering an empty basket and suggesting that they fill it. And I've experienced “but you said to choose and now you won’t buy this” thrown back in my face too often. You choose and then they choose.  It’s a better starting point for the negotiation.

Sometimes less is more – fewer, better clothes.

I find we circulate two or three tee shirts leaving the rest to be forgotten at the bottom of the drawer. Quality over quantity. Basic capsule wardrobe – good quality basics = better value, and again with subsequent boys. And we all like the better quality clothes as they fit better, wash better, feel better and ...

Better quality clothes last longer. 

As the saying goes, “buy cheap, buy twice”. Better clothes always seem to fit better and last for longer – and you somehow enjoy them more.

Denim is the secret, infallible basis to any boy’s wardrobe. 

Durable. Practical. Comfortable. TimelessThey still look good if they go at the knees and you can't beat a pair of denim shorts in the summer.

Careful with the colour. 

Choose clothes that match eye colour and skin tone is my buying rule. I think about what they will look like on. Blue tops make blue eyes sparkle, and likewise for green, whereas dark tones on a dark eyed child can look hauntingly beautiful. Similarly, bright tops can look striking on the right child but sometimes gentler tones work better for softer toned children.

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