Boys’ Clothing Guide

Boys are tough on clothes and need styles and fabrics that stand up to the challenge. Help them suit up for action with the tips in this boys’ clothing guide.

Boys’ Clothing 101

From the schoolyard to the soccer field, boys are always on the move and need clothes that can handle their active lifestyle. Boys’ clothes endure a daily beating so they need to be tough, but also comfortable and practical for everyday wear. Growth spurts are inevitable so stock up on basics like tees, socks and underwear but only buy shirts, pants and outerwear as needed to ensure the best fit. Stock his closet with durable, washable fabrics, and remember that darker colours will help to camouflage stains. Shop with layering in mind for warmth and comfort in the cool seasons. Invite him to help choose stylish yet sensible boys’ clothing that fits well and allows him to step out with confidence. 

Types of Boys’ Clothing


Boys’ Activewear

Whether your son is a snowboarder or skater boy, boys’ activewear is your best bet for keeping up with his action-packed lifestyle. Younger boys love two-piece tracksuits and coordinated outfits for their comfort and convenience, but older boys will want to mix and match separates for a style all their own. Athletic pants made of lightweight, breathable polycotton blends are perfect for practices and pickup games for your MVP in the making. Have five pairs on hand to rotate throughout the week. Stock your son’s closet with plenty of tees and athletic undergarments to wick away sweat under jerseys and keep him warm. Bring out hoodies and sweatshirts once temperatures dip to keep him warm and keep chilly weather from putting a damper on outdoor play.

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Boys’ Pants & Bottoms

Whether they’re tykes or tweens, boys put their pants through their paces, so you’ll need a good supply of bottoms at the top of your list. School, sports and outdoor play put different demands on clothes, so you’ll need different pants for different activities. Keep five pairs of athletic pants on hand for everything from fall hikes to soccer practice. Their loose fit and elastic waistline accommodate growth and offer endless comfort. Boys’ jeans are best for everyday wear and tear, so buy at least five pairs to rotate through the week. Keep a pair of dress pants ready for parties and picture days. Have your son’s height, waistline and inseam measurements on hand when shopping for boys’ pants, and look for adjustable waistbands to allow for frequent growth spurts.

Boys’ Tops

Get your guy geared up with a selection of shirts and sweatshirts for all seasons. Start with tees, short-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved shirts that sport his favourite graphics for school and play. Shirts in durable, polycotton blends will endure everyday wear and tear and frequent wash cycles. They’re versatile on their own in summer or layered under hoodies in fall and winter. Stock several polo and collared shirts for dressier affairs, like family dinners and recitals. Sweatshirts, sweaters and hoodies in fleece and cotton belong in every boy’s winter wardrobe and are a must when the mercury dips. Keep in mind that boys often grow overnight, so buy tops only as needed. Look for durable fabrics, dark colours and graphics to hide stains.

Boys’ Outerwear

Kids need to stay warm and dry in all seasons, so choose comfort over style when buying boys’ outerwear. An insulated boys’ jacket and waterproof snow pants are a must for sledding and snow play. Make sure it’s durable, easy to clean and snug around his arms and neck, yet generously sized to allow for extra layers underneath. Buy boys’ jackets, snow pants and boots as needed for the best fit, and buy extras to rotate when wet. Only buy snow pants specifically designed or treated to protect against cold and moisture. An insulated, waterproof raincoat is required wear for wet weather, paired with puddle-proof rain boots.

Boys’ Outfit Sets

Whether he’s saving the world from bandits or bad guys, your little superhero will be ready to take on the world in a boy’s outfit. Boys’ outfits are coordinated sets of matching tops and bottoms. They come in various combinations, including vest sets, casual sets and short sets, for convenient and carefree dressing. Let boys pick out their favourite graphics and designs to express their own sense of style. Easy and effortless for parents and kids, they encourage boys to dress independently and save you time during the morning breakfast rush. Boys’ outfits are best for young boys, as they tend to trade them in for stylish separates once their top and bottom measurements outpace each other.

Boys’ Sleepwear

Look for boys’ sleepwear sets suited to the current season to keep him comfy and content. Seek out summer sleepwear sets with short-sleeved tops and shorts in breathable, lightweight cotton for warm summer nights. When winter rolls around, look for winter PJs in fleeces and flannels to keep him comfortable and fully covered. If your son prefers to stay cooler while he sleeps, stick with cotton PJs, with robes and slippers for added warmth in the wee morning hours. Be sure to keep extra pairs of jammies handy in case of nighttime accidents.

Boys’ Underwear

Make sure your son has properly-fitted underwear so he’s comfortable all day long. The size should correspond with his pant size to prevent briefs from bunching. If you’re deciding between boxers and briefs, let him experiment with different styles before buying. Younger boys tend to prefer briefs because they stay in place better while playing sports, while older boys tend to prefer boxers for comfort and modesty once they start changing in the locker room. It’s also a good idea to choose quantity over quality so your boy always has a fresh pair on hand and you don’t have to do midweek laundry.

Boys’ Socks

Boys never seem to have enough socks. Keep his drawer well stocked to keep feet warm and dry all year round. It’s a good idea to buy 10 to 12 pairs of boys’ socks, preferably in the same colour, so you can mix and match them when they go missing. Make sure your son’s socks are a comfortable fit and correspond to his shoe size. Buy several pairs in his current size, as well as the next size up. Choose lighter socks for spring and summer and heavier ones for fall and winter. Add tube or athletic socks for casual everyday wear and trouser socks for dress-up occasions.

Boys’ Clothing Buying Tips:

• Discard and replace worn or outgrown clothing
• Shop together to help him find his personal tastes
• Stick with elastic waistbands and pullover tops until boys can handle fasteners
• Take frequent height, inseam and waist measurements for the most accurate fit
• Stock up on boys’ shorts in summer to save wear on pants
• Stock up on socks and underwear, but buy other boys’ clothing only as needed
• Choose darker colours and graphics to disguise stains
• Choose polycotton blends for easy care, comfort and durability

Boys’ Clothing Features

Sizing +

A boy’s numerical size typically corresponds to his age, but actual fit varies among different brands. Some brands offer slim sizes for shorter or leaner boys and husky sizes for taller or heavier kids. If your son finds a style or cut he likes, stay loyal to that label to get a consistent fit and make it easy to restock his closet. Keep his waist, height, chest and inseam measurements on hand and update them regularly. Boys grow quickly, sometimes a full or half- size overnight so, when in doubt, buy a size larger. Choose pants with drawstrings or adjustable waistbands to keep him comfortable through sudden physical changes.

Materials +

Fabrics combining the comfort of natural cotton or hemp with the practicality of synthetics are designed to stand up to boys’ rough-and-tumble play. Polycotton blends provide the best of both worlds for comfort, durability and easy care. Look for a higher ratio of synthetic material in pants and outerwear to withstand heavy use and frequent wash cycles. Cotton provides softness, breathability and skin-soft comfort in underwear, tees and PJs. If your son has sensitive skin or allergies, 100% natural fabrics may offer relief from symptoms.

Cuts +

Boys’ pants come in a variety of cuts for different fits and styles. Straight fit, loose fit and boot cuts are traditional cuts suitable for most boys. Carpenter cuts have a slightly looser fit for greater comfort. Cargo pants have a loose fit and lots of pockets for convenient storage of cellphones and handheld devices. Skinny pants offer style and stretch to allow for greater movement. While most are enduring styles that come and go, your son may prefer one cut over another. Staying loyal to a brand, cut or style can make it easier for him to get the right fit every time and for you to restock his closet.

Zippers, Buttons & Drawstrings +

The age of your boy is the determining factor when buying clothes with fasteners. Base your choice of zipper, button or drawstring on whether he’s capable of managing these closures himself. Zippers are easy to use and save time and effort, so they’re helpful for younger boys, especially on hoodies and outerwear. But zippers can snag in the wash so make sure that zip-up garments are fastened before laundering. Buttons tend to last longer and can be replaced, but a real nuisance if lost. Drawstrings are handy and easily adjusted but avoid strings on hoodies for safety reasons.

Washes +

Jeans come in a variety of washes, from dark, medium and light washes to faded and coloured washes, to reflect different looks and trends. Your son may choose a wash based on personal preference or the latest style but some are easier to care for than others. Darker washes hide spills and stains better than lighter washes, but must be washed separately to preserve their colour. Classic blue jeans are easier to coordinate with shirts than coloured jeans, so you might want to stick to neutral hues for easy, effortless dressing.

Stitching & Finishing +

Quality stitching lasts longer and can save you money in the long run. Boys’ clothes need high-quality hems and strong seams to withstand repeated abuse. The higher the stitch count (per inch) the better. Be wary of loose threads which could indicate weakness and look for even, tight stitching that will hold the garment together after repeated washings. Check for double seams, hem stitches and finished edges and avoid thinner fabrics that could fray and come apart. A little attention to detail will ensure your kids’ clothes are built to last.

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Boys’ Clothing Care Tips:

• Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and cleaning
• Pre-treat stains before laundering
• Wash coloured and black garments, sweaters and hoodies inside out to preserve colour and softness
• Wash whites in hot water and brights, denims and darks in cold water to preserve colour
• Wash high-pile items separately from darks and fabrics that catch lint
• Hang garments to dry on a clothesline or set dryer on low heat to prevent shrinkage and preserve colour
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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