Sunday, December 21, 2008

Unique Baby Gear for Your Little Adventurer

Whether you're embarking on a trip around the world, or just crossing the park, your little explorer-to-be will know exactly where he is with this fabulous World Traveler burper set from BabyBoss. The set includes two oversized burp cloths made from light-weight cotton and chenelle ($15 for the pair). A matching bib and blanket are also available.

Unboring Boys applauds BabyBoss for their willingness to take risks with fabric and prints for children. There is nothing too cutesy or expected in their collection. We adore the Early Riser pants (we just can't resist anything with chickens on it). Some prints like the one used for the Longitude Bib seem very grown-up, yet work beautifully for little boys. If you're looking for Dad-approved gear for the diaper bag, look no further.

BabyBoss does custom orders! Just send them a request through their Etsy shop.

Just a reminder that it's not too late to win a free Times Square t-shirt from TotStops (see our previous post). Simply sign up for e-mail updates in the box to the left through December 31. We'll pick a winner at random in January. We promise not to inundate your inbox with mail. Signing up for updates is an easy way to catch up with what's new on the blog.

Happy holidays to all our readers! See you in 2009!

~Denice, editor

Friday, December 5, 2008

Featured Boutique: TotStops

It took less than a New York minute for us to fall in love with TotStops's fun and funky take on souvenir t-shirts.

The big city, bright lights-inspired tees are available in sizes 3-6 months to 4T. Designs are taken from original works by New York artists and illustrators. Our favorite is the Times Square t-shirt (left) featuring a design from an original painting by children's book illustrator Selina Alko.

One lucky Unboring Boys reader will win a Times Square short-sleeved t-shirt or onesie from TotStops, in the size of their choice! To enter the giveaway, sign up for our e-mail updates. The winner will be chosen at random in early January. Good luck!

TotStops's tees look great on boys or girls, but boys especially will love the taxis, skyscrapers, bridges, and subway trains.

Check out this adorable video, filmed during a TotStops photo shoot.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Featured Boys-Only Boutique: Blue Eye Boy

As any mom of unboring boys knows, finding cool clothes for our little guys can be a challenge. In too many stores, the boys' department (if there is one) is an afterthought. That's why I love Blue Eye Boy. It's a one-stop-shop that caters only to boys, not just to babies and toddlers, but big boys too. Because while we wish our boys could stay little forever, they do get bigger, and that's no reason to give up on style.

Recently I interviewed Tamara Nonamaker, owner of Blue Eye Boy, asking her what inspired her to open a boys-only boutique.

Tamara: In 2004, when I was pregnant with my son, I realized the clothing market for infant and toddler boys was quite bleak. I wanted more of a selection for my son in apparel, shoes and decor. Since I couldn't find a store with more than a quarter of their inventory dedicated to boys, I created my own store.

Unboring boys: What are the unique challenges of owning a boys-only boutique?

Tamara: The number one challenge is getting the word out to parents that they have this wonderful opportunity to shop at an all-inclusive store for boys. No more walking around in the children's section trying to find boys' apparel amongst the myriad array of girls' items. No more shoes in just four styles and three colors: black, brown, and navy.

Unboring boys: Of your current offerings, which items are your bestsellers?

Tamara: Our best selling items are Knuckleheads and Dogwood apparel. Both companies know boys, as their owners have boys of their own. They know boys want durable, comfortable and fun clothes that accentuate their unique style.

Unboring boys: Where do you plan to take Blue Eye Boy in the future?

Tamara: We will be incorporating a blog in the near future where our customers will be able to recommend products and comment on featured items. We also will be revamping our homepage and streamlining our checkout process.

Unboring Boys: Can you give us some hints as to future trends in boys' clothing and accessories?

Tamara: For spring and summer we're seeing bright and colorful looks for boys with more apparel and shoe options.

Unboring Boys: When you're not running Blue Eye Boy, what are you doing?

Tamara: We're playing hard and carrying on as boys only know how to do. My boys keep me on the go and on my toes.

Thanks to Tamara for taking the time to speak with Unboring Boys! Blue Eye Boy carries a wide range of awesome products geared to boys, from toys to room decor to hip apparel, from such brands as Knuckleheads, Eclectikid, Instinct, and Dogwood.

They are offering a 10 percent discount for Unboring Boys readers through 12/31/08! Use code PROMO88 at checkout!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sweaters with a twist

We finish our sweater series with an eclectic collection of sweaters that put the spin on some traditional styles.

First, the holiday sweater. This offbeat patchwork Intarsia Halfzip Sweater from Baby Gap is the holiday sweater for unboring boys. We love how they mixed up a bunch of traditional holiday/winter patterns and prints such as plaid and snowflakes to create something unique and unexpected. (sizes 12 mos. to 5 years, $39.50).

There's something endearing about little boys dressing like old men. But Hanna Andersson's Double Elbow Cardigan isn't your typical grandpa sweater. There's just too much going on--stripes, colors, pockets--and that's why we love it. (10 mos. to teen, sale $25).

I can already hear the groans... Arrrgggyle vests??? You're killing me. But take a look at Hurley's punked out version. It's the anti-argyle vest!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not your ordinary construction tee

Diggers, bulldozers, dump trucks. We seriously didn't think there was anything new to be seen in the "construction equipment" category. But check out this awesome T-shirt from Kiki Kid's Wear ($16.99, sizes 4-8). I don't know about your boys, but mine go nuts when they see tower cranes in the distance. This would look great with a long-sleeved shirt layered underneath.

I've been told Kiki Kid's Wear will be adding some pieces for fall/winter soon and the new designs for boys and baby boys, inspired by works of art, sound really interesting. Give them a look.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unboring Sweater Vests

Some boys, like my Henry, are just born to wear sweater vests. One of my favorites this season is this adorable frog sweater vest from Marika Hahn Design. This shop carries a collection of fun, colorful, hand-knitted sweaters for boys (and girls) featuring Marika Hahn's graphics and prints (up to size 7).

Argyle vests are everywhere this season (as they are every season, right?), but how many have you seen with a hood? IKKS's Adventure Toddler Argyle Hoodie is so cool ($56.95, 12 mos.-3). Also in the not-so-ordinary-argyle category: Tea Collection's Viking Vest ($55, 6 mos.-8 yrs.). Can I just say that Tea is really showing the love to boys this season. Have you seen their new Nordic Navigator collection?!

For something a little different (and interesting from a design standpoint), check out the ribbed vest from Chasing Fireflies ($58, sizes 2-8).

Finally, the fall colors in the Duex par Deux Origins vest at Baby Boy Style are so rich ($26.40, 12 mos.-4t). Can't you just see your unboring boy wearing this at the pumpkin patch?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nightshirts for Boys?

You're probably wondering what Spanky from the Little Rascals has to do with boys' nightshirts. There is a connection, sort of. :)

Last year for a school project, Nick and Henry painted dinosaurs on T-shirts using fabric paint. The shirts are about 2 sizes too big and very soft, so one night I suggested they sleep in them. Ever since, if the tees are clean, that's what the boys want to sleep in. They like them for the comfort and because they are easy to put on.

Searching online for actual nightshirts for boys, I found a few UK brands. But among American retailers, I couldn't find a single one. Probably because of concerns related to fire safety. Most pjs today are snug fitting so they won't easily catch fire. But I saw plenty of nightgowns for girls in my search that met US flammability standards, so nightshirts for boys aren't out of the realm of possibility.

It would be nice to have another option for my boys besides the standard two-piece or footed pajamas. I'd definitely buy nightshirts for them. How about you? Would your boy wear one? Is there a market for boys' nightshirts? Or have these gone the way of knickers and beanies?

I for one think the Little Rascal look is kind of cute, which is why I just had to post this adorable picture of Spanky--an unboring boy if ever there was one.

p.s. While shopping, have you run across any nightshirts for boys? Tell me where!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Cute Sweaters

How adorable is this Andes Mountain sweater from Blue Eye Boy? It's got to be one of our favorite sweaters for boys this fall. Blue Eye Boy carries a collection of these beautiful, one of a kind sweaters handcrafted in Peru that are decorated with different scenes, from a farm to Noah's Ark to a rainforest. I spoke with Tamara, the owner of Blue Eye Boy who told me there is currently a two-week back order on these, so e-mail her through her website to reserve one for your unboring boy.

Another of our favorites this fall is the Lobster Sweater Hoodie from Then There was Jake. This division of My Boy Sam has a wonderful collection of boys' sweaters, including holiday, that are available through boutiques. We also like Baby Gap's Whale Sweater and for older boys, Mulberribush's Guitar Sweater, which goes all the way up to size 14 and is on sale right now at CWD Kids.

Hanna Andersson always carries the cutest sweaters, especially for babies. Our favorite this fall is the Penguin Hoodie romper, which fits babies up to 2 1/2 years.

Coming up next on the blog: our favorite sweater vests; a feature about another fabulous boys only boutique (hint: we mentioned them in this post); and a plea to boys' pajama makers.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sweater Series: Preppy

Georgie World's Grandpa Sweater last week got me thinking about sweaters in general, so for the next couple of weeks Unboring Boys is searching far and wide for the cutest, classiest and funkiest sweaters around for boys of all sizes, and to fit all budgets.

Our sweater series starts today with the clean and classic, or preppy, look. Boring, you say? There's nothing boring about good taste. We love Crewcuts for Kids (by J.Crew) for classic sweaters with a twist, like the argyle shawl collar sweater above ($62.50, sizes 2-10). If you really want to splurge on your little man, consider their handsome heirloom quality cashmere cable cardigan.

Brooks Brothers, in business since 1818, makes fine clothes for men, women and boys. What, no girls' clothes??? I'm in shock. :) We like the understated yet refined Merino Striped V-Neck Sweater ($79.50, in sizes 3-16) that can be dressed up or down.

I'm loving Janie and Jack's new Uptown Holiday line for boys, especially the Diamond Pattern Sweater ($42, sizes 3 months-8 yrs.) and matching socks!

Cardigans for boys are hot this season. Check out Baby Gap's adorable shawl cardigan ($29.50, newborn to 24 months).

And if all of these are little too uptight for your unboring boy, you'll love the Striped Sweater Hoodie, also from Baby Gap, for a classic yet casual look ($$39.50, 12 mos.-5).

Next time: Our picks for the cutest sweaters for boys this season (think: awwwww)

What's your favorite sweater style? Classic, cute, edgy? We want to know! Post a comment!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Georgie World

I always get excited when I run across little boutiques just for boys.

Not that I want to exclude girls, but have you ever gone into a so-called children's boutique and had to walk all the way to the back of the store to find the one rack for boys? Even in the retail chains, it's hard to notice the boys' clothes because the girls' clothes are so colorful and there's so much of it.

Anyway, I love finding boys' shops, and Georgie World is my favorite right now. Not only are the clothes adorable, hip and unboring, they are well made, comfortable to wear, and made in "Sunny California." My favorite piece is the Grandpa Sweater (above). It looks like a sweater, but it's made of fleece, so it feels like a sweatshirt. What a great idea! And it looks fab with the Cammer Trouser seen here.

Right now I'm really loving retro cars, so there was no way I could resist this cool tee with a Pinto on it. It's so unbelievably soft. My son Nick never wants to take it off.

I like that Georgie World offers complete outfits for one price (and the prices are excellent for the quality and detail). We picked up the playdate outfit. The Sk8 Monster shirt has flannel sleeves sewn in. How neat is that?

Sizes run from 2T all the way up to 12.

Shop Georgie World here!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall 2008 Tea Collection

Over the past year, I've been on a mission to stop catalogs from being mailed to my house. It's just easier for me to browse online and cutting back on paper helps the environment. I have to confess, though, there's one catalog I still enjoy getting in the mail: the seasonal one from Tea. Whenever it shows up in my mailbox, I can't wait to snuggle up on the couch and savor it. The photography is some of the best I've seen. And because I love traveling, I'm drawn to Tea's culturally inspired clothing lines as well as its forward-thinking global philosophy.

The girls' clothes are always to-die-for. (I wish some of it came in women's sizes!). But Tea never forgets the boys. This fall I love the Fjord Cargo pants and Buck shirt with its unique deer print, a stylized twist on the typical fall outdoorsy theme. The fox and bear tees with Japanese sayings ("strength through virtue") really caught my eye. And what mother of an unboring baby boy can resist the dragon one piece?

Another thing I like about Tea? The three- and five-piece sets for babies and older kids they put together for one low price ($65-95). Tea's clothing comes in sizes newborn to eight yrs. depending on the item.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yo Ho Yawn

I don't have anything against pirates. I loved the whole swashbuckling, pirate ship and treasure map thing--when it first came out. Seriously, this pirate craze has been going on for what, two years now? It's been at least that long, because my son Henry wore pirate costumes the last two Halloweens. Just when I think the trend is over, another Pirates of the Caribbean movie comes out and we're inundated with more pirate wear. Everyone seems to be into it, including grown-ups and little girls.

The stuff is so ubiquitous it's all starting to look the same to me. Which begs the question: why pay top dollar for a kids' boutique tee with a skull and crossbones when one can find the same thing at Wal-Mart? Speaking of skull and I the only mom who's just a teensy-weensy bit weirded-out by this? Hello? These are human remains.

This past August, Gymboree came out with their second pirate line in a year called Pirate Adventure (the first one was Pirate Cove). At least with the new line they put a different spin on it. One of the baby boy sweaters has a cute little puppy on it wearing a pirate hat and eye patch. Edward "Blackbeard" Teach must be spinning in his grave.

It seems that I'm the only one suffering from pirate "fatigue." There appears to be no shortage of pirate-themed clothes this fall, and pirate costumes are just as popular as ever. Nick and Henry certainly don't share my views, and love dressing up like buccaneers.

This past summer, my family went to Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. Henry insisted on a glow-in-the-dark skull and crossbones tee from a souvenir shop. My husband bought one for himself with the phrase "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

It's enough to make a mom (and wife) of unboring boys go ARGGH!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fab Find at H & M

Cars are one of those done to death themes in boys' fashion. But because we are a car loving family (there's a classic Mustang in our garage) I'll consider anything with cars on it, though I draw the line at NASCAR and Lightening McQueen.

I LOVE when boys' clothing designers create something different or unique around cars. That's why I practically squealed in H & M when I saw this cute little set.

The shirt looks like something a service station attendant of old might wear. It comes with a white long sleeved T-shirt underneath for a layered look. There are two separate pieces, so you get two shirts for the price of one. Both are 100 percent cotton and unbelievably soft, like they've been washed a million times.

My boys liked the checkered flags and flaming tire patches. I'm generally not a fan of big graphics on the back of shirts (this one has a race car with the words "Gonna Give it all I've Got"). I wish they had kept it off. But overall, it's a cute piece for $16.90.

The pants are what caught my eye. These definitely have a Euro look and feel to them. I love the race cars all over. And it's done in a fun, subtle pattern that won't raise Dad's eyebrows. As a plus, the pants have an inside adjustable waist. 100 percent cotton as well. $19.90

What I love about this outfit, besides the cool factor and low price, is that it demonstrates that it is possible for designers to create something distinctive and unboring for boys using a stock theme like cars. And that's my main gripe. If you're going to use fire engines, construction vehicles or sports numbers in your designs, at least be creative. Experiment with color and pattern. Take a risk.

H & M department store:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Unboring Boys

Let's face it, girls' clothes are cuter than boys'. Walk into any children's apparel store and boys' fashion is limited to sweat pants and jeans, polo shirts and T-shirts printed with baseballs, sports numbers, fire engines, superheroes...the list of overused ideas goes on and on.

After my twin boys--Henry and Nick--were born, I was determined to dress them in simple and classic or in unique and sometimes unusual styles. It wasn't easy. That's because department stores and chains sell the same old boring uninspired stuff.

Frustrated, I set out to find the coolest, hippest, most unique and adorable head-turning outfits to dress my boys in. Five years later, I still shop for fun and uncommon things for them to wear.

It came to me that maybe other moms of unboring boys felt like I did about the (sad) state of boys' fashion and would benefit from a blog on the topic. Each week, I'll discuss new trends (in sizes newborn and up); highlight favorite retailers, designers and boutiques; share discoveries; alert you to sales; and more. Probably, I'll want to complain a little too.

I want to hear your ideas and viewpoints! If you have a favorite boutique, retailer or designer, (or if you're a designer or boutique owner yourself specializing in cool boys clothes and/or accessories) let me know. Post a comment!