Dresses for Boys
Google the phrase “suits for little girls” and a dozen bright options immediately pop up. But similar searches for “dresses for little boys” don’t yield much. That’s why mom Joyce Dur started her own business in 2021.
Founder of Little Prince Charming, an online clothing store in the Netherlands promoting inclusion and self-expression by selling dresses for boys.
When Dur’s son asked to wear dresses, she looked online for skirts targeted toward boys’ interests and style. But all she found was other moms on Facebook, complaining that they, too, couldn’t find skirts for their sons. That’s when Dur took action.
By marketing dresses for boys, Dur hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding boys wearing traditionally feminine clothing.
Little Prince Charming releases two collections each year, one for summer and one for winter. Clothes are available for boys between the ages of 3 and 12, with most of Dur’s dresses being sold in the E.U. and the United States.
As the era of gendered clothing comes to an end, more little boys are asking to wear skirts, and more parents are letting them. Studies show that up to 7% of boys adopt traditionally feminine behaviors like wearing dresses, notes The New York Times. But parents buying skirts and dresses for their sons are still mostly relegated to the girls’ section. That’s because, while many companies have gotten behind inclusive clothing, few have actually stocked dresses for boys.
That surprised Dutch freelance IT specialist Joyce Dur when, a few years ago, her son saw his sister in a tutu and asked whether he could wear a skirt himself. Dur said yes and let him borrow his sister’s clothes. But as he started to wear dresses more regularly, she wanted to see whether she could find dresses for him that were specifically targeted toward his gender. When she looked online, there was nothing.
No one’s stopping parents from buying clothes for their sons from the girls’ department. But Dur says it’s important to have options specifically for boys, to reduce stigma. “I wouldn’t mind if all the boys and girls were wearing the same dresses — I would be fine with that, and that would be a perfect society,” she says. “But because we’re not there yet, this is a step toward it, to make it easier.”
By selling dresses made in stereotypically male colors with stereotypically masculine prints, Dur hopes to reduce the amount of bullying that boys receive for wearing dresses. For instance, she has a skirt covered in monster designs, and often creates dresses made of blue and yellow fabrics.
And, she says, just the existence of her company can help people realize it’s normal for boys to wear dresses and skirts. Dur says she gets frequent messages from parents who hadn’t known it was common for boys to like dresses, who felt relieved and less alone after finding her site.
“Wearing or looking feminine isn’t bad, for men or women,” Dur says. “Inclusivity for me means it doesn’t matter what gender you are or how you want to look or how you identify — you can wear whatever you want and be whoever you want to be or be called whatever you want to be called.”
Building a more inclusive culture is a process and talking to kids about inclusivity is where it starts. “It’s really important to talk to your kids or people around you as much as possible and to make it normal,” Dur says. “Even if you think, ‘Oh, I’m so open-minded and inclusive but my neighbor isn’t, I’m just not going to talk to him,’ then the world won’t change. Just mix it up in normal conversations. I think these little sparks can light a big fire.”