When children are small it’s easy to decide what they’ll wear. Put them in gorgeous bright colours, pretty dresses, or sweet rompers. But as they grow older they want more of a say. N has been older than many before he’s started choosing and refusing to wear certain types of clothes, but it’s now here. The question is how to get children (and I don’t know whether this is mostly a boys only issue) out of sportswear on every occasion?

Where to buy kids sportswear

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I do still buy a variety of clothes for N. For starters, there’s places he might go which require slightly smarter than jogging trousers. Holidays or days out. And in the winter he might need smarter jumpers other than farming or tennis hoodies. But I’ve definitely stopped buying so many.  There’s no point because they’ll go unworn. While I can always sell good condition clothes on Vinted or pass on to friends, I’d rather not have to buy things that aren’t going to get worn.

When he was younger, he only wore jogging trousers for sports. He has to have a pair in his PE bag but I don’t think the pair this year have ever been worn at school. He mostly just wears shorts. The same with tennis out of school – it has to be dark and cold winter nights training for him to wear joggers. He’d rather play in shorts (and even refuses to wear skins underneath – despite him wanting me to buy some. He used to love nice chino style shorts. Last year (being at home during lockdowns)  he just lived in joggers or sports shorts. That’s continued into this year.

We realised that he only had one pair of decent smarter shorts that still fit him this summer, so I did suggest we bought a couple more pairs for going to parties, or out for meals, or just generally when he’s not dossing around on the farm. So he has a pair of denim shorts and chino style ones. He looks so much smarter in them, and he will still wear those going out. Thankfully he does agree that for certain visits or occasions, sportswear isn’t really appropriate. 

nice boyswear from St berts
So much smarter when not in sportswear

But given most of the time at the moment we’re not really going anywhere, I’m having to see his scruffbag look of comfy t shirts and sports shorts all the time. Often combined with work boots and ‘grey’ sports socks that are wrecked from wearing them in work boots on the farm. I cant really complain because when I was a child, I used to live in jeans and a jumper from the age of 7 to about 6th form, when my boarding house friends started trying to dress me in different things! (I still live in jeans now although try to be a bit smarter on top).

One day I’d like to see him wearing something other than sportswear, but at the moment I think I’m just going to have to live with it. At least he does have separate tennis t-shirts which look a bit smarter. He won’t wear polo shirts as they remind him of his school uniform polo shirts, but for tennis he tends to wear more technical t shirts, so they keep their shape and don’t fade.

Boys sportswear is quite easy to find, even if you’ve got to dig through the fashion sports style offering in many high street stores. Here’s where we buy boys sports wear from.

Where to buy boys sportswear 

Marks & Spencer: good for sports socks* – he likes standard length not trainer socks, because they’ve got the elasticated part over the foot which holds them in place in trainers.  Also good for the 2 pack of plain black and navy jogging trousers* with cuff on the ankle.

Next: we like the slimmer fit jogging trousers from Next.

Decathlon: has a range of own brands for all the different sports. With children’s sportswear coming in good quality, long lasting technical fabrics, we’ve been really impressed with the Artengo tennis wear.

Sports Direct: as Sports Direct have basically bought out every sports brand going, it’s hard to shop elsewhere for sports clothing. N likes Puma and Slazenger shorts and Adidas t-shirts. We also tend to buy trainers from here as he gets through 2-3 pairs a year and there’s plenty of choice. Shopping online is frustrating as even if you do click and collect from store there’s a charge, but if you want bargains, then you’ll make back the difference.

LTA shop: many national sports associations have discounts for members through direct sports outlets. Some brands have special deals, although I generally find you can get the items cheaper. But we’ve bought hockey sticks and balls direct, as well as tennis equipment. 

Local specialist sports shop: It’s much easier (although more expensive) to buy in local specialist sports shop for footwear. Different brands fit differently, but small independents don’t always have a large junior selection. We go a little further afield – our last visit has 11 pairs tried on, and luckily we did manage to find a pair that fitted!

Gap: if you don’t mind logos, then Gap joggers are a nice fit and good quality. Look out for the VIP 40% off or shop in their outlet stores.  They also have football themed t-shirts. 

St Berts: Not sportswear, but we love their surf themed t shirts. They also have nice unisex casual shorts, jackets, sweatshirts and tennis style dresses.

If you have a child who lives in sportswear, where do you buy their kit from?  Or did it take long for the phase to pass?

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