Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


Shopping for Tween Boys Is the Worst

Everyone knows how hard it is to do back-to-school shopping for pre-teen girls, what with the all the low-rise jeans and T-shirts proclaiming one's ineptitude in math. But try finding clothing for tween boys. No, not age-appropriate clothing—I mean any pieces of fabric to keep those gangly arms and legs covered.

"This store is too slutty" and "That one is too childish," my friends who have daughters complain. And as far as I can tell, most tween girls can't wait to wear the grown-up clothes in the juniors department: skinny jeans, short skirts, tummy baring tops (the middle school girls' idea of "grown up," at least).

For boys, it's a little more … awkward.

RELATED: 'No, It's for Boys'

When my sons were little, there were plenty of cute choices: tees with dinosaurs and dump trucks, camouflage everything. But once you get to the big boys' department, you wonder where all the clothes are. Really, I want to know. The bigger sizes are listed on the websites, but they're hard to find at the mall. I've been to the school uniform section at various department stores and big boxes, and stared at the racks of pants which for some reason stop at size 10. Either tween boys are buying a lot of clothes or stores have just given up on stocking things for this age group.

While adolescent girls are a marketer's motherlode, retailers don't seem to be that interested in selling fashion to boys.

Taking a cue from the middle school girls who are wearing women's clothing (someone's gotta be buying those size 00 jeans!), I took my son over to the men's department. It was such a weird experience. While adolescent girls are a marketer's motherlode, retailers don't seem to be that interested in selling fashion to boys.

There's a plethora of women's clothing cut for narrow hips and flat tummies, but most of the selections in the men's section seem like they're made to accommodate dad bods. Although I thought a size 14 boys dress shirt should be about the same as a men's small, the sleeves were way too long and the shirttail hung practically to his knees. And I think I saw my neighbor in the boxer brief aisle. Super awkward.

It's no wonder most boys this age are slumping around in sports shorts and free T-shirts from their most recent summer camp. And while they can get away with it, I also want my sons to know what it feels like to wear a collared shirt and tailored pants. Is that too much to ask?

RELATED: OK, You Can Have a Pet!

So it's back to the land of online shopping and repeated washings. The good thing is that I know it's not too long before my sons outgrow the few items of clothing they have.

Image via Getty Images

More from kids