By the 1950s babies and their clothing were decidedly gendered. (Getty Images)

Your mom cared if you were a boy or a girl, but your grandma didn't — at least when it came to clothes.

Gender-neutral baby clothing may seem like a new concept, but it's very much not. Millennials didn't invent the idea with their penchants for social consciousness. It started out of practicality, then prenatal technology permitted future parents to identify their baby's gender. Suddenly, parents had more time and reason to shop. Enter pink vs. blue.

In the early 20th Century, baby clothes were white because they were easier to bleach. It was pretty simple. Most kids wore dresses until they were six or seven years old — even boys — because the idea that kids had developed personhoods or identities was downright indulgent.

When clothing was, on occasion, gendered by color, pink generally went to boys and blue went to girls, according to Smithsonian magazine. A 1918 trade publication wrote, "The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl." Even then, color and cuteness were secondary to function, until the 1940s, when marketers exploited postwar baby fever. Retailers arbitrarily assigned blue to boys and pink to girls. "It could have gone the other way," historian Jo B. Paoletti told Smithsonian.

Even more, girls' clothing was informed by gender norms established by their parents. Baby Boomer girls were raised wearing dresses, and boys wearing overalls in direct imitation of their parents' wardrobes.

With the sexual revolution of the 1960s and second-wave feminism of the 1970s, American spenders once again raised children in a gender vacuum, at least in terms of dress. Gone were the previous decade's pastels, in favor of bolder primary colors and sturdier fabrics‚ not only for political reason but because studies indicated contrasting colors appealed to babies. For two years in the '70s, the Sears Roebuck catalog offered zero pink toddler clothing. Retailers were catering to the woke feminist family.

It wasn't until the mid 1980s that gendered baby clothing again thrust itself — this time, more forcefully — into pop culture. However, it was technology that induced the change, not the Summer of Love.

The ultrasound and amniocentesis had existed for decades but were expensive and sometimes risky. As more women entered the workforce in the 1980s and, subsequently, waited until later in life to have children, the demand for prenatal testing increased dramatically. Its function was not primarily to determine sex, but for health and safety reasons. But while they were at it, families often asked, "Is it a boy or girl?"

With their answer in hand, soon-to-be parents bought baby clothes, accessories, and decor earlier, in their second trimesters. Now toddlers could wear pink tutu dresses with a kitten print, or blue sneakers with monster trucks. Disney cashed in big time with "Princess" branding. And if the next kid was a boy, prepare to buy a whole new wardrobe. Paoletti largely attributes this shift to a marketing copy that empowered kids to choose their own clothes "as soon as they can point and say 'Dat one.'" (Cha-ching.)

But unlike their own parents, today's young moms and dads are once again lobbying for unisex children's wares. Sure, they want kids to be able to express themselves but this time without the trappings of any gender suppositions whatsoever. Brands like Mitz, Whistle & Flute, hundreds of Etsy shops, and, yes, even Target now sell pink dinosaur dresses, blue polka-dot pajamas, and black statement tees that look like something Rihanna designed. It's still about giving kids space to craft their own identities, but until they're old enough to choose a pink tiara, they ain't gonna see one.

While it may seem like each generation of parents is recycling simple fads, in fact, gender definitions and priorities are constantly evolving. Seventies feminism rejected consumer symbols that sought to pigeonhole women in their homes or sexualities — dresses, bras, and, yeah, most pinks were off limits. Parents were more comfortable with the binaries, as long as their children had a choice. And more of today's parents seek to eliminate presuppositions about gender, instead championing a child's interests and passions.

Trouble is, marketers are okay with kids who want to express their passions before their gender identities. Before, they sold pink dresses; now it's pink dinosaur jammies. You might still be paying double, after all. And now who's to blame?