Back of pant weight denim SkortMan. This garment is fun and sexy.  One of Dave's favorites. Quickly to become one of your favorites also.  Plenty of flair with even the slightest spin.

Soft mid-weight Denim.  Wash and wear or cool iron.  Pleats are stitched.

What if your 5 year old boy wants a skirt  or kilt and you have a limited clothing budget and realistically you know he won't get lots of use out of it.

I hear this from so many moms--that their sons want to wear a skirt or dress. My brother did, too, and at age four would steal my favorite party dress (it had Pooh Bear holding balloons all over it). Who can blame a boy for wanting to cross-dress? Dresses are so much prettier than boring old pants. And the way they spin out when you twirl, what can beat that? Another little boy I know loved to play Cinderella. Everyday Tim would get an old blue negligee of his mother's and pretend to go to the ball; it made his father very nervous. I'm sure there are some boys who also like to wear skirts because it gets such a rise out of the grown-ups around him. My sister dressed my little brother up in her cheerleader outfit and when laughter and shouts ensued, he trotted back to her room to slip into her pink bikini. Unfortunately, we didn't get pictures.

Sometimes I think cross-dressing boys are being mini-social activists. We applaud daughters when they say, "Hey, all the firefighters in this book are men! When I grow up, I'm going to be a fire fighter and show 'em that girls can do it, too!" But when our sons say, "Hey, it isn't fair that only girls get to wear skirts; I want a dress, too!" I can pretty much guarantee that his grandparents won't be bragging to their friends about it.

That said (basically, that it's normal and may even laudable for your son to want to wear a dress which I think you know and agree with), it still doesn't solve the dilemma which is twofold:

1. Should I buy my son something that is costly but won't get a lot of use? and

2. And should I let him wear a skirt out in the real world?

I don't think I can answer either of those questions for you but maybe I can give you some things to think about within the context of your own family.

The first issue is one of finances and I suggest you handle it as you would any other item your son wants but you're not sure fits into the budget. If he wanted to spend money on something else just as potentially impractical--say, a raincoat when he already has one or a fancy hat he doesn't need--how would you handle that? Another possibility is to explain that you won't get him that particular dress but you'll take him to a consignment or thrift shop and allow him to pick one out there. Or you can decide that he can have the skirt and that if he doesn't end up wearing it, you'll make up for it with hand-me-downs or the consignment shop.

The second issue is trickier, at least for me. It's hard not only because we want to protect our children but because it runs up against our own biases and then we get confused. What if our sons want to wear their politically correct dresses to the playground? Or nursery school? Or church? Or to the family reunion with that bigoted and loudmouthed Uncle Frank? We get all squirmy picturing our darling boys being the object of someone's ridicule. And, too, the whole shebang is complicated by the fact that we ourselves might be secretly uncomfortable with the thought of boys in dresses, especially outside the confines of our own homes.

Gender identity pushes buttons for most of us. It's one thing to talk about these tough issues in abstract or even in regard to other adults but it's much more difficult when we're discussing our own kids. Suddenly we wonder how much is biological, how much is cultural, how much we need to expose our children to, how much we need to protect them from. How will we feel if our sons are mistaken for daughters? Does it bother us? Why? Would we feel like we had to explain things to people who look askance at our boy children in girls' clothing? "Oh, we're a progressive family and we let our children dress themselves." How would we feel if our child was ostracized because of what he's wearing?

(An aside to this, when I tell people that my brother wore my Pooh Bear dress they always ask if he's gay now or a cross-dresser and they're enormously relieved when I say no. Why is this? Do people think a propensity to wear girls' clothes in boyhood indicates something? And if it does, do we think that disallowing that behavior will result in a guarantee that our sons will be straight?)

I think that we can talk to our sons about these issues. We can explain that it makes people (perhaps, that it makes us) uncomfortable for people to step out of certain preordained roles. We can tell them that people might mistake them for girls if they wear skirts or that they made be the object of teasing. Do they want to wear a skirt to the park? Yes? Well, then let's talk about what that means. And maybe bring a spare pair of pants along if the going gets too rough--especially if the boy in question is older and more peer-oriented. We can let the issue of cross-dressing lead to discussion about other things: what we think it means to be a boy or a girl; what other people think it means; prejudices and expectations.

I know I haven't given you a yes or no answer here, but that's because I believe the answer is different for every family. Only you can know what your son is up against when he's got a skirt on. And only you know how your son's dressing might impact the rest of the family. Will it give grandpa a heart attack? Or will grandpa heartily applaud and get out his own favorite heels? And what about your son--is he shy and retiring, uncomfortable with confrontation? Or is he a ready trailblazer, spoiling for a good debate?

The great thing about having children is that it gives us opportunities to explore our own biases, cultural expectations and fears. When we invite our children to be a part of our discoveries instead of acting all-knowing, we let them see that the world isn't black and white, that answers aren't always easy. Whatever you family decides--no dress, cheap dress, fancy dress from the catalog--I hope that you all find growth along the way.