A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors came over with her son’s American Eagle hoodie. She says, “My son is in college and this doesn’t fit him anymore. You think your son might like it?” After taking a look, I thought to myself Yeah, it’s his style. I told her thank you and went inside to show my son. As he looked over the jacket, I said, “It’s American Eagle. Do you like it?” He looked up with a smile on his face and said, “Yeah, it’s cool, but what’s American Eagle?”
Then it dawned on me… my kids don’t know name brands. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
- Price: Momma don’t overpay for nothing!
- Style: All three of my kids have very unique style of dressing
- Comfort: Above all else, my kids like to be comfortable not necessarily fashionable
- Color: All my kids lean towards different shades
- Modesty: We have always taught our kids what’s appropriate to wear
All this to say, we have never told them name brands are evil or over priced or any of that. Without realizing it, we’ve offered great style at the stores available in our hometown. Baytown doesn’t really HAVE a great mall with the latest and greatest. We have a Target. We have a Walmart and an Old Navy. Cato Fashions has been a great place for shopping with my pre-teen daughter, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized my kids REALLY aren’t aware of the name brands most kids their age are wearing.
My 7-yr-old started playing league basketball. We have enjoyed watching him grow in the sport and learn what it’s like to be a part of a team.
When he started, we didn’t feel the need to go buy him new basketball shoes because he has three pairs already: pair of Nike basketball shoes he chose for back-to-school, pair of Payless basketball shoes, and a pair of Shaq basketball shoes we bought from Academy. After a few games my son had this conversation with me:
Him: “Mom, I think I’m wearing the wrong kind of Basketball shoes for games.”
Me: “What do you mean? You have basketball shoes that fit.”
Him: “Well, all the kids on my team have the SAME kind except for me.”
Me: “I don’t understand. They all have different basketball shoes on honey, but they are ALL basketball shoes.”
Him: “Well, I think we’re supposed to wear the shoes with the little flying basketball player on them.”
Me: “Flying basketball player? OH! You mean Jordans?”
Him: “Is that what they’re called? Can we get them?”
Me: “Probably not. They are so expensive and your feet are growing so fast every month. I’ll talk to dad about it though.”
That conversation really made me feel like, somehow, I’ve failed at providing a more open and realistic approach to fashion or style for my children… or *gasp* made them feel like outsiders.
But on the flip side, I know I’m not raising children with unrealistic expectations of being able to afford the latest and greatest.
Looking more deeply into the name brand dilemma, I also don’t want name brand clothing to define my children. My hope is that they will feel accepted for who they are, not what they wear. Moreover, I want them to accept OTHERS for who they are, not what they wear.
Will Zach learn more about name brand clothing? I’m sure he will, but it won’t define his unique style.
Will Rudy, eventually, wear Jordans? Dad says it would be a good birthday present, but it won’t define his basketball skills.
Will Abby ask to wear more name brands? It’s possible. Her style is ever evolving, but it won’t define her beauty.
What about you? How do you, as a parent, approach the name brand battle in your home? Do you think it’s important they fit in with their peers based on the clothes they wear? Or do you give them cheaper options?
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