My House is a No Smocking Zone

nosmockingI have to tell you something that may get me kicked out of the South. Branded a traitor. Shunned from the sidewalks of Uptown. It’s a stance that causes more emotional debate amongst the contributors of this blog than any other. Here it is:

I don’t like smocking.

Okay, there is a big caveat here. I’m a boy mom. I have a feeling if I had girls instead, they’d have been rocking the bishops, whatever those are.

But jon jons are a big no no in my house, and I’m just not that into a boy in a bubble.

5764972439_69ee1241c5_bWhen the boys were almost two, we were approached by the owner of a local clothing store who wanted them to model for their next catalog. I was blinded by the prospect of fame and fortune for my little ones, so I agreed. But I cringed when I had to dress them for their photo. The little Peter Pan collared shirts were just a little too dainty for my taste, and the boys acted like I was choking them as I buttoned them up. I was relieved when I saw they were going to be modeling simple blue shortalls (or jon jons?) – I don’t know what they were called, but I was just happy that they weren’t smocked.

I will admit, my little blonde boys looked passably adorable in the outfits, but I think their true feelings were shown in the photo that ultimately ran in the catalog. Of the three boys, one was frowning, and one was crying.

(Yes, that was the end of their modeling career.)

Karmic retribution came in the form of their payment: gift certificates to the store for an outfit for each of them!

photo by Eau Claire Photographics

Now, I don’t mean to sound judgmental here. I have lots of very dear friends of boys who love to dress their boys in smocked shortalls, and it didn’t bother me that they cringed at the sight of my guys in tiny jeans and button down shirts. I was flabbergasted when a close friend had a baby boy earlier this year, and at her shower, she was given monogrammed boxers. So he could wear them under his monogrammed gowns. With his monogrammed bonnet. Later, when I saw tiny little Hank all decked out (and in no doubt of his initials), I just wanted to stick him in a knit sleeper from Carter’s, but I respect my friend too much for that. Plus, I’d given all of our newborn clothes away already. But I love my friend, and no matter what he’s wearing, Hank is the sweetest, smiliest baby boy I know.

I think part of it is that I’ve never really felt like a typical Southern girl, even though I was born and raised in south Louisiana. So dressing my kids in a “Southern” way just doesn’t feel authentically me. Just like I don’t drink sweet tea, how I didn’t wear pearls on my wedding day, and how I can’t stand etoufee.

What’s your stance on smocking?

Pam Kocke
My name is Pam, and I live in Algiers Point with my husband George and my identical triplets Linus, Oliver, and Miles. I work from home as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic. I enjoy reading and photography and sewing (and blogging!)



    I am not a native Southerner and am appalled by all the smocking! I have twin girls who have never worn a bishop dress. (I didn’t even know what one was until I moved here and had kids.) I gave away any smocked gift I received. I honestly didn’t realize these dresses/outfits were still being made!

  2. Well, having two boys, I drooled over all the girly, frilly things. Mine wore a bit of boutique – some smocked, some monogrammed, mostly jon jons or longalls. But somewhere between 3T and 8s, it all just lost its luster. I say “3T and 8s” because my oldest entered Pre-K wearing 4T and graduated to Kinder in 7s. He is now 7, 2nd grade and wearing size 12. Smocking is so long gone, I can barely remember it. :/

  3. I like the smocking and anything else fancy for little boys. My 10 year old is going on his 8th year of polos, button downs and khakis and it’s all solid colors. So while I think it’s only cute on my boys til size 2T, I am glad I dressed them fancy when they were babies.

    PS: I love the honesty: I don’t like to cook with cast iron skillets, please don’t disown me!

  4. I’ve got to agree. My baby, to me, looks adorable thin and dainty dresses (it’s hot down here) or cutest in her little towel after a bath. I don’t need a fancy shmancy status of a dress.

  5. Looks like I need to get some more smock lovers on here to weigh in!!

    My oldest is a boy and has worn smocks since he was born. He is 3 now and out of bubbles and longalls but still rocks the smocked t’s and polos. He is definitely a boys boy and goes out to play and gets filthy in them and that’s ok.

    My daughter is 13 mos old and 98% of what she wears is smocked.

    It’s what I like and what I think they look cute in. They’re only this little for a few years and I prefer to dress my babies like little kids not like little adults.

      • With all the things going on in the world you want to write about this? Who cares what someone does or does not dress their child in and how dare you even call something so trivial out. Get a life and focus on important things.

        • With all due respect, this post was published 2.5 years ago. If you go to the home page and read the pieces we published over the weekend, we hope you’d see that we are cognizant of what really matters in the world, too. There’s a time for solemn and a time for levity; it isn’t “either/or.”

    • I first read that as she was 13, not 13 months and I thought “Oh HELL no!” haha. Team #dressthemlikelittleadults here, but I do love me some monograms.

      • HAHA Myndee!! no she’s not 13 years old. .That would probably make her destined to be a crazy cat lady for sure.

  6. LOL Pam:) I like BOTH, smocking and “real” clothes, HOWEVER, I find smocking to be expensive,so the “real” clothes are just a LOT easier and cheaper. BUT, I’m not going to say that I don’t LOVE the sweetness of the long-alls and Jon Jon’s when somebody else decides to buy them for Nathaniel.

  7. 2 Smocked Closets right there with you! My little guy is 3 now as well and we did smocks, appliques, jon jons and longalls.. and still do smocked tees w/ our shorts and pants.. I love the look and was glad that I had the time to dress him like this – I can’t tell you how many compliments we always got when we were out as well on his clothing. (we love a monogram too!)

    They are only little once and have a lifetime to wear khakis and polos so why rush it?

  8. I am 100% teamsmockedeverything. I LOVE it. I just know that we’ll be arguing over how short her skirts can be and how tight her jeans can be. So, for as long as I can, I will dress her like a sweet old fashioned doll!

    And the price thing is a misconception. Now, don’t get me wrong outfits can cost you an arm and a leg, but with online merchants, ebay, and zulily, I rarely spend more on a smocked dress or bubble than many do for a printed Baby Gap tee.


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