Friday, August 28, 2009

The Henry Shirt by One Girl Circus

I wish I had discovered the Henry shirt by One Girl Circus back in April/May, but since it's practically 90 degrees here in Northern Virginia, I'm OK with featuring one last short-sleeved shirt especially one so special. I love everything about this piece. The Mendocino print is SO sweet (love the seahorses!), the colors are gorgeous, and the overall design is artfully inspired and memorable.

"I carry a sketchbook with me everywhere," Karen, owner and designer behind One Girl Circus (found on 1000 Markets), says. "I jot down ideas and draw parts of garments until I fill out a complete idea. I think about construction methods before I go to sleep, and usually any issues with a pattern I'm developing will work themselves out in my sleep." Read on for more about her background and design process.

Unboring Boys: What inspires your designs for boys?

Karen: My son, Peter, is the main inspiration. He is simultaneously outdoorsy, bookish and creative, so I try to picture a range of uses for any one garment. He deals with Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Integration Disorder, so my inspiration is more than design-oriented. I'm very concerned about comfort and durability. All the interior seams are enclosed. My tags are soft ribbon and stitched down completely. I probably focus a little obsessively on the comfort of my designs, but I figure the only way garments will become favorites is if they are as comfortable as pajamas.

Unboring Boys: How do you go about choosing certain fabrics and prints?

Karen: I stick with natural fabrics, organic whenever possible. I love bamboo for knits, and hemp and organic cotton, too. It's a challenge trying to balance cost and value. I'm concientious about my purchases, supporing local businesses and companies with humane business practices, which carries over to my business purchases.

Unboring Boys: What are you doing when you are not designing and sewing?

Karen: I just learned how to ride a motorcycle, so that was pretty exciting (and fuel efficient when driving alone). I practice yoga. I sing. I'm a mom to two kids and a step-mother to two more, so I have my hands full on any given day. I love to try out new vegan recipes with my kids and we all love to hike together. My husband travels a lot so I stay up late to get work done, but I am invigorated by creating with my hands, and put loving kindness into everything I make.

Thanks Karen for taking time to answer our questions! Visit One Girl Circus on 1000 Markets to see all her beautiful creations for boys and girls. Through 9/30/09 Karen is offering free priority mail shipping to Unboring Boys readers. Use code "Unboring" at checkout.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 Unboring Boys Back-to-School Guide

After spending $40 on glue sticks (twin kindergartners X 10 glue sticks each and these must be JUMBO sticks and not just any brand but ELMER'S and not the purple kind that dries clear but the CLEAR kind to begin with *deep breaths*) there's not much money left to spend on clothes and accessories for my boys. But I do want them to stand out in the crowd. Here, some things I simply could not pass up (or live without) for back-to-school.

Rock & Rattle's Nerd shirt (shown above, 2T-6T) is my very favorite tee for fall. It's perfect for a little rocket-scientist or programmer-to-be (or future A/V guy). And you know the teacher will love it. On chilly days, layer it over a long-sleeved tee (the layered look is hot again this year). Just for Unboring Boys readers, Rock and Rattle is offering a 15 percent discount on orders through 9/18/09 (applies to anything in their shop). Just e-mail them directly at with order details to receive the discount.

I am really loving Fat Ties shirts right now, especially the long-sleeved Rusty tee (2T-7). It's only $15 and that's before the 10 percent discount you get just for being an Unboring Boys reader. Use UB10 at checkout (discount valid through 8/31/09).

Vincent children's shoes and boots are WAY cooler than plain old sneakers and they are just as comfortable to wear and look great with jeans, especially this year's skinny styles. And Vincent has just come out with some to-die-for new styles for back-to-school. My favorites? The Kevin (shown, left) and Rudolf styles. I am so impressed with the quality and construction of these leather boots that I wish they came in my size. I love the little velcro strap and suede detail on the Kevin. Unique boots or shoes can really add pizazz to an outfit and you'll find a great collection at Vincent, each for about what you'd pay for a pair of forgettable sneakers.

It's hard to find backpacks for school-aged boys that aren't printed with the usual boy themes or licensed characters (this year its Bakugan--ugh). I like Hatley's Aliens backpack (shown, $29.99) with it's spaceships, planets and quirky extraterrestrials. It's the perfect size for all my kindergartner's school things plus it's sturdy and well made with easy to use zippers and a little organizer for pens, ID in the outside pocket. Coordinate it with the matching Aliens lunch tote, raincoat and umbrella for the total look. Looking for something for older boys? Try the Rocker School backpack from Four Peas.

Being the mom of a skinny 6-year-old, it can be frustrating to find pants that fit. That's why I was so excited to find Myself Belts. One end of the belt snaps to a loop to keep it secure while Henry can fasten the belt with Velcro all by himself. Ingenious! My favorite is the Flag Belt ($14.95).

You can scrawl your child's last name on his clothes tags with a Sharpie marker OR you can get some really cool personalized labels from Mabel's Labels. Check out their Ultimate Back-to-School combo that includes labels for clothes and shoes, and personalized metal tags to hang on backpacks and lunch totes.

The lucky winner is...

Congratulations to Micki from Pennsylvania who won the Vanilla Chocolate Pirate cupcake tee from DogBoneArt! Thanks to all our readers who participated and to DogBoneArt for being a sponsor.

More fabulous features, giveaways and exclusive savings from the hottest boys' clothing designers and boutiques are coming this fall, including our list of the trendiest Must-Haves for boys this season. Sign up for e-mail updates, or follow us through Blogger or on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Featured Designer: Baby Star (giveaway & discount!)

Hooray for Baby Star's camp shirts for boys! In a fashion landscape dominated by muted blues, drab browns and--yawn--camo greens, finally FINALLY we get some color!

We love the classic yet modern styling of Baby Star's shirts; their vibrant colors; and playful, full-of-personality prints like the Spring Camp Shirt, left (on sale for $14.99 (!!!), sizes 6 mos-24 mos). Pair this with shorts or jeans and your little guy will melt hearts. Looking for something bolder? The Kaleidoscope camp shirt pops with its groovy orange, brown and light blue pattern.

Baby Star is offering a 30 percent discount on orders through 12/31/09! Use discount code 20twinkle09 at check out.

One lucky Unboring Boys reader will win a Baby Star camp shirt! Just visit then e-mail with the phrase BABY STAR in the subject line and tell us what print you would choose should you win. Earn multiple entries by following Baby Star on Twitter, Facebook and their blog (let us know in an e-mail). We'll draw a winner at random August 18th and that person will be able to choose the style and size. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!

Be the first to know about giveaways and exclusive discounts on hip clothes and accessories for boys! Follow us on Twitter!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

For Unboring Boys Who Mean Business: Fat Tie Shirts

Can't you just see your little future captain of industry wearing this hip, retro-inspired Fat Tie shirt on his first day of school--and making a major impression?! These clever organic tees look like dress shirts but are so comfortable and cool that your unboring boy will want to wear them everywhere.

The ties are sewn on (so they won't get in his face while hanging upside down on the monkey bars) and the button details and little breast pockets (on some styles) smarten the look.

If that isn't enough to charm you, owner and designer Mari Gallen has cut prices to below wholesale to make room for new styles! And just for Unboring Boys readers, Fat Tie is offering an additional 10 percent savings over already insane low prices!!! Use discount code UB10 (in caps) to order through 8/31/09. This is a steal, people! So you'd better hurry. Styles and popular sizes are selling out fast.