One of These Things is Not Like the Other


Or: Sizing Problems in Children’s Clothing at TARGET

This picture has not been altered. Both items of clothing were smooth and spread out, and nothing is folded or tucked in any way. The waistbands are even at the top left edge.

Yesterday, on a quick run to Target to pick up more Children’s Tylenol (because Jeff has the bug now) I walked through the kids department. They had shorts for $4 each- so I stopped to look at them. Do you see what I see?

I snapped the pic with my cell, so sorry it sucks, but I think you can still see what I’m talking about. Those shorts were both in the little kids department, on adjacent racks. Both are Circo brand, by Target, both cost $4 each, and both are children’s size 5T.


Let’s see. One pair is a decent pair of shorts for a reasonable price. One pair is designed to make my daughter’s toddler butt hang out. One pair is roomy and great for playing. One pair is great for toddler pole dancing class. One pair is sturdy cotton, able to hold up to dirt and well, play. One pair is flimsy thin knit, perhaps because they are meant to be worn with fishnet stockings. One pair is cut loose and comfortable, one pair is cut skin tight and might actually show girly bits.

Target? Circo designers? Get with the freaking program! What the crap is this garbage? What’s the take-home lesson for my kids? Boys get to play, girls are objects from the get-go? Boys get to be comfy and girls get to be skintight?

The more I think about this, the more I get pissed off.

My daughter is a little girl. She will be three next month. I could not squeeze her diaper-clad butt into those size 5 shorts. She is a girl who wants to play in the mud and run around the backyard with her brothers- and she really ought to be able to do those things without her behind showing- or worse.

Does this seem unreasonable? Does this bother you, too? If it does, let Target know. While Target is notoriously bad with with customer service, and they do not allow feedback on their website, you can contact them at the Target Store Merchandise link.

27 thoughts on “One of These Things is Not Like the Other

  1. I know! It’s crazy hard to find modest play shorts for toddlers! I found adorable shorts at Children’s Place for my 2 yr old daughter. They have a long inseam and cute little details for only 10 bucks. Not $4 mind you, but reasonable, nonetheless. Check ’em out. They’re longer than this picture would show – I’m guessing this is a 6mo-12yr size.

  2. Now if only everyone bought boys shorts for their girls you would think the manufactures would take a hint. But, until there is absolutely no market for that type of short, manufactures will continue to sell and market them. Target is not to blame, manufactures and other parents that buy them are.

  3. Wow. Just wow…

    What a sad commentary on society. Or at least on designers and sales marketers. If they can lower the expectations for toddlers, they’ll have everyone hooked long before the girls hit the pre-teen years. They seem to aim toward younger ages all the time. Yet despite the pretense, girls are more than objects to be ogled. We need to teach our kids to reject these trends and to respect both females and males. *stepping off soap box*

    Tracy, I like your idea of contacting Target to voice our displeasure. We could also choose to forego the $4 deal and buy our kids’ clothes elsewhere… (But, wow! $4 on a budget…)

  4. We’re in need of a swimsuit for Baby Girl this year… so far the only thing I have been able to find are string bikini’s and one pieces that have the sides cut out and just a thin piece of fabric holding the top and bottom together… I think they’re called monokini or something like that. Why are we rushing to sexualize our young girls? It makes me so mad…
    As for the shorts? Good luck. Kohl’s had some capri’s on sale for $6 the other day… don’t know if that helps or not!

  5. We have noticed the same thing and it is getting harder and harder to find good LONGER shorts that do not show off all the wares. I have a 7 and almost 5 yr old girls and both have tiny waists so I need smaller waist sizes and seriously the shorts are SO short on them that it is embarrassing!!! I would definitely complain to Target. We are in Canada and we have the “sister” store that sells the same Circo brand here and we have noticed a similar mis-sizing problem. Sometimes things are HUGE and sometimes they can barely squeeze into them.
    Don’t even get me started on the swimsuit problem. I just found some one-piece and really modest tankini’s today that I am going to go back and purchase since the string bikini for baby/toddler/young girl is just an atrocity but everywhere nowadays. So aggravating!!!

  6. Boys and girl’s clothing is sized so differently it is silly. Even the modest stuff is vastly different. I had a friend that had a peanut sized daughter that was in the same clothing at my much heftier son and they were both in the same size.

  7. OH yeah, little girl underpants. It’s horrible. WHO on earth buys low-rise bikini undies for their little girl? If you do, fill me in- what gives? I’m beginning to potty train abby, and the drawers available are terrible. Unless I want to buy from Hanna Andersson (in the old, employed days, I would have) it’s hard to find decent breifs.

  8. I have never had a problem with undies, but I just buy the princess ones from Walmart or Target. Whichever is cheaper. They are not bikinis or anything just normal panties. And I actually love, love, love the girls shorts! Sorry, but with the girls in gymnastics, dance, and cheer they are absolutely perfect. I just bought some for A and they go right below her thigh with plenty of room. They don’t go to her knees, but they give so much room for gym. Don’t be a hater 🙂

  9. B, I just can’t fit Abby’s butt in those shorts. I mean, they don’t even cover her diaper!! I have no problem with shorts that cover her thigh- but these are so short they are Hot Pants.

  10. I generally skip the shorts and go with capris for my daughter. My pet peeve is girls’ sandals–not only is their pink plasticness ugly, it’s totally nonfunctional–made for preening, not running around.

  11. Both of my girls have self-selected into some boys styles. We shop together and they ask me, “Don’t those mommies know about being modest?” Seriously, I wonder. It’s not just Target, either, ‘though they definetely have some hooker styles. I have had decent luck at Children’s Place.

    For bathing suits I have given up on the normal retail outlets and have turned to UVSkinz. They are a good value if your kids are in the water a lot. We live near a couple of lakes and pools so they really get good wear out of them, even though the initial outlay is a bit much. At the end of two seasons, the rash guard shirts were still in really good shape and ready to hand-me-down to a friend. Their website is They also do very nice mens and womens shirts. I own one and lurve it.

    Ditto on the sandals.

  12. Totally head to the Boys department.

    I wore boy shorts all through high school (even in hot, hot Arizona) and into college because the girl shorts were so short it made me uncomfortable.

  13. I found some great swimsuits at costco for about $12. they are speedos and pretty modest. we do the capris also, Miss Magoo is 5 but wears 6s on the bottom and usually 7s on top so they are alittle longer to give her coverage at the middle. I’m scared for when she’s older of what choices we’ll have then.

  14. I haven’t bought Target for my daughters in years because of the sizing issues. My girls now know what “hoochie mama” means when I use the term. (It means immodest.) We walk into a store, I say, “All they have is hoochie mama stuff!” and we’re out of there- no explanation needed.

    Maybe I should go on to explain that we live, sort of, in the “hood”. The style is tight everything, and it is required to have some skin hangin’ out somewheres on your person. I found out very quickly that store selections vary by region, the stuff in JCPenney here isn’t what was in JCPenney in Colorado.

    Just last week I took my 14 year old shopping. We found one modest skirt. The other was a dress with a halter top. We’ll take off the halter and turn it into a skirt. Ladies, it’s gettin’ to be that time we have to be creative to be modest.

  15. It’s a good thing you sew! I’m sure you have plenty fabric scraps you could pull a pair of shorts or two out of. Do the whole sound of music thing if you must and use the drapes, LOL, I do!
    For reals, if Nona isn’t wearing Dondan’s hand-me-downs, she’s wearing shorts I’ve made.
    I’ve seen dems coochie cuters up in dem stos.
    For real you are just better off making them yourself.

  16. I hear ya T, with the diaper thing. That would be a different story. I don’t know if Target is that different state to state, but our Target carries Teva type sandals for girls in pink along with the gellies and dress sandals and flip flops, but I choose the Teva-type because we are pretty active. As for bathing suits. I bought them new this year before we went to Cabo and got them at Target. Both girls are full bathing suits as they aren’t allowed to have takinis or bikinis and both of them have a skirted bottom. I want to say they were 9.99 each and Target had two or three styles that had the regular swimsuit with that same bottom. Good luck!

  17. Yesterday at our Target they had bermuda shorts and capris in the bigger girl section that are both pretty modest–the smallest size is 4/5 so that would probably work for you. Those particular shorts are really ridiculous–I hate the assumption that just because we don’t have a lot of money to pay from clothes our kids need to dress like hoochies. I like some clothes at Target because they are cheap, but so many of them are way too cheap looking. Besides the modest thing, I just want my little girl to look like a little girl. Plus she has very fair skin and I’d rather keep her more covered to prevent future sunburn/skin cancer issues. Kids need clothes they can be comfortable playing in–not string bikinis and platform sandals. (Well, adults need those kinds of things too–our bodies aren’t just for decorating.)

  18. So today at Church I realized that next Sunday Easter is already upon us. My closet full of black dresses or dark brown, I thought I should try to find a Springy type dress to wear next week. Pull out the pastels and put on some pink or yellow for a change. Being that it is Ross Dress Week, I thought what a perfect place to find a bargain. The bargains were plenty, but the dresses that they expect for a woman to wear to Church to honor such a sacred Holy day, are scandalous to say the least! They barely go below the thigh and are sleeveless at best with much cleavage to show. It made me think of you over and over again as I went through the racks and I just had to share how I am not sure it is Target as it is society that is allowing this double standard of clothing to take place!

  19. Hmmm, you probably have a point there, B. I almost always go for skirt and blouse, rather than dress, for many of the same reaons. I only have one dress that I wear, and I have to pair it with a cardigan to cover the g’s.

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