Popular Retailer Bridges Tee Shirt Gender Gap


landsendMany would agree that shopping for clothes is one of America’s favorite past times, but what happens when the clothes you shop for aren’t available for your particular gender?Look at any tee shirt selection for young girls and one thing is blatantly apparent: You’re bombarded with rainbows, flowers, unicorns, and fluffy kittens. Anything pretty and colorful fills the girl’s section, while the young boys have a choice between trucks, trains, dogs, dinosaurs, and other “male”-related images.This was enough to drive one New Jersey mom to the breaking point when she took her daughter shopping at a Land’s End. OnJuly 11th, Lisa Ryder posted a formal complaint letter on Lands End’s Facebook page explaining her daughter’s frustration over the discrepancy between girls and boy’s tee shirts.

The tee-shirt industry has grown more than 24.2% from 2009 to 2014, and the gender void has appeared to be growing just as fast. Ryder wrote that her 9 year old daughter enjoys science: she reads about ocean life and outer space and even follows NASA news.

Her daughter’s reaction was one of frustration and confusion when she saw accurate images of space printed on the boy’s tee shirts, but in the girls section, cartooned stars were as close to outer space as it got.

“The boys’ options include realistic images of planets and our solar system, labeled diagrams of sharks and dinosaurs, and a ‘NASA Crew’ tee design that she immediately declared to be ‘the coolest shirt ever,'” Ryder wrote.

An estimated 70% of men and 54% of women in America own more than 10 tee shirts, but what would the percentage be when factoring in girls who owned “boy-specific” tee shirts? Probably not very high.

“Instead of science-themed art, we were treated to sparkly tees with rhinestones, non-realistic looking stars, and a design featuring a dog dressed like a princess and wearing a tutu,” she said.

Land’s End wasted no time responding to the Facebook post and stated that Ryder should be assured that they are sharing her comment with their Catalog Creative and Kids Design Team. This wasn’t just an empty promise. On July 30th, the retailer posted on Facebook that science themes are now available for girls.

“You asked, we listened — take a look at our brand-new girls’ science tees,” the post read.

The newly designed tee shirts are space themed and feature one with an image of the solar system. Of course, the retail giant had to make them somewhat feminine and added slight gathering at the sleeves (a design typical for a girl’s shirt).

Many parents were happy about the new addition to the young girl’s section, though others were slightly more disappointed. One mother asked why there was a need for the company to “girly-up” the shirts by creating gathering on the sleeves. “They don’t need their clothing choices to be so narrow,” she said.

Hopefully these tee shirts will be a great addition to young girl’s wardrobes, nonetheless and will instill some sentimental value based on the new images.

“We pick the style of shirts we like because we love to show others our personal style and things we love to represent,” says Elise Harding, Sales Rep at Tee Compressed. “T-shirts are easy because everyone can wear them and they last a long time.”

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