As boys became regarded more and more as inferior to girls, the murmurings for them to be put in dresses turned into a clamour. As the 21st century progressed, high street fashion chains like M&H helped the new rule of trousers for girls, dresses for boys become a commonplace.
The petticoat dress, illustrated here, became the standard, everyday wear for boys. Brands like Tommy went even further with the so-called ‘pansy’ look, with flower prints, big bows, lace frills, and other fussy details.
Some boys, commonly known as ‘trads’ (although there were more derogatory terms going around too), were horrified by this shift in fashion and were deeply jealous of girls. But they had very little power to stop their wardrobes being filled with tights, gloves, skirts and crisp cotton dresses. It was their mothers who decided what they wore, and paid for it, and it was increasingly impossible to find trousers and other such clothes except in girlswear departments.
Other boys immersed themselves in their new frivolous and pretty role with delight. After all, they didn’t believe they were girls’ equals, and the pressure from most of mainstream society was hard to stand up to. In the long term, this was the trend that won out.