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!)


  1. It may be a brhs thing. 🙂 98% of pictures posted by a friend who went to EHS have her two girls and boy in matching smocked outfits. I’m going to see a huge matching bow on the boy’s head any day now!!

  2. I laughed so hard Pam…then when I realized that a few short months ago I babysat these boys…I laughed. Not only am I totally with you on the no smocking, but I could never see them in smocking.

  3. I wish I was able to post a photo with my comment to show you just how DARLING a smocked set is on a sweet little boy. My son is 23 months old (today) and still wears Jon jons, longalls, and all things Pima cotton, knit, and monogrammed. This summer was our last time wearing bubbles and diaper covers, unfortunately. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around putting a baby less than a year old in a pair of jeans! His is that comfortable?! It’s totally a southern thing and to each their own but I did a little inside when I see a baby in “little man attire”. They have their whole lives to dress like little men! Baby’s don’t keep!

  4. Boys have their whole lives to wear regular shirts and shorts. My baby looks awesome in fancy baby clothes, although he does not wear them everyday. When I take pictures of him with smock clothes, I get over 100 likes on social media as opposed to taking a picture of him with regular clothes. My grandmother dressed my dad up and he looked so cute. I really treasure those pictures of my dad and my baby boy dressed up. I’ll have those lovely pictures to share for generations.

  5. I just had to respond to this post… THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

    I am about as southern as southern can be … but I cannot stand smocked clothing on boys. I was discussing this with a coworker and just came across this blog post. Not only did it make my morning brighter but it also reassured me that I’m not the only person that feels so strongly about it! 🙂

    Again thanks for a great post … and many blessings to you and your family!

  6. I’ve never heard of smocking being a “southern thing.” I don’t know what the big deal is about not letting a baby boy wear something that is smocked. I guess I’ve never noticed one way or the other. But look at the way boys up to what we would call school-age used to be dressed a hundred years ago and earlier–much more “girly” and frilly, even with long curled hair many times. So smocking on a baby boy’s clothes is “much ado about nothing.” For a few generations children have been allowed to be children rather than “miniature adults” as in some previous centuries. But, kids are being pushed sooner and sooner out of the home and into school, and schools are pushing higher curriculum on younger and younger children now. Let the kids be kids and stop trying to dress them like adults. I like the pretty dresses for little girls and the cute baby outfits for boys and girls. Many people now seem to view parents as neglectful if they haven’t put their child in preschool as a four-year old. Good grief. Let little kids be little kids. They only get to be little for a short time as it is. I don’t understand this push to dress and treat them like older kids earlier and earlier.

  7. This article, wow. It’s rude. All of it. This southern belle, who drinks sweet tea and wears pearls EVERY day is proud of the smoking her child wears. And of having class!

    • I’m curious to hear exactly which part is rude. Did you see how I said I respect others’ opinions on how they dress their children? Can you not respect my opinion?

  8. I think little boys look cute in smocked clothing. My son wore them until he was 4. After that, he had smocked t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. You just make sure as they get older to use boyish designs(firetrucks, dinosaurs, camping, etc.). If you learn to smock, these outfits are cheap–just your time. I didn’t care if Michael wore them out playing, painting, or whatever. They wash & wear as good as any other outfit.
    I agree that there are so many places online now to be able to afford the outfits.
    I think that babies are so cute in the smocked bubbles.
    My husband did not object to them. Of course, he figured that I’d win out on that issue.
    Now, I have a granddaughter & it’s so much fun to do all the dresses & other outfits for her. My son does not seem to mind. His wife is tickled with the pretty outfits. Of course, I do her play clothes & then dressier ones for special occasions.
    I also applique & embroider various things.
    Long live the smocked outfits!

  9. I LOVE this!! I am from the North and live in the South now…. Smocking mocking!! I don’t even like it on girls, even though my sister (who also landed in the South) bought my niece an over priced bib collar dress that both her girls wore maybe once asked me to have my daughter wear at least once…. although she did look cute in it, it was as close to smocking as I could get. As for boys, I just don’t like them. I am also that mom who thinks they look adorable in jeans and ts. But to each there own. Thanks for the giggle.


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