If you grew up in the 80s, or even worse, went to high school in the 80s, you were probably obsessed with having Tretorns, a Beaver Canoe hoodie, you wore 2 Polo shirts at a time (collars up, no doubt) and you’d be happy with anything from Cotton Ginny. Why? Because everyone was obsessed with these brands. And at that age, mostly everyone (except the trailblazers listening to the Smiths with a safety pin in their ear) wanted to fit it, blend in, and just be like everyone else.
Since there’s nothing new under the sun, why do we expect anything different from our own kids?
I remember the early days, laying out my girls’ outfits the night before school, my own creations I carefully thought out (and by thought out I mean whatever was clean). All those great hand me downs, like the skirts with the bows, the tops with the lace, who cared? Certainly not my oblivious children. But oh, oh how things were going to change.
I will always remember that dreaded day, picking up my then 8 year-old from the weekend spent with her “older” cousin. As soon as we were alone, she looked at me (bows and lace staring at me, while mocking her), and said, “Ya, I think I want an Ivivva top.” My heart either skipped a beat or I choked on my tongue, can’t quite remember which. But there it was, cat out of bag, Pandora’s Box ajar.
There was no going back, now that she knew. Knew there were great brands out there, wonderful brands that you couldn’t live without. Brands we snuck into the house to avoid our husbands saying, “Don’t you have like 50 pairs of those already?” It was her time. Everyone can remember their first time, when they knew.
But now that us 80s kids have grown up and have our own families, and all that comes with it: mortgages, car payments, bills (did I mention bills?), buying clothes for our kids can be quite stressful and a strain on the pocket book. And there seems to be an unspoken sentiment among parents today to encourage our kids to be independent, cultivate their own style, wear what makes them happy. I find this utter nonsense since kids change their style as fast as they can download an app, or get tired of something within the same week of falling in love with it, or grow so fast pants turn to capris overnight.
What’s a parent to do? I find it hard to justify buying the expensive brand name clothes that cost a little extra when I know they’ll be tossed aside before I even get the Visa bill!
But I get it. It’s soooo hard, when you’re attracted to the more “desirable” brands, I mean…who isn’t? And I get that my kids want the Ivivva wardrobe and the Hunter boots, I really do. I remember being 12, pleading with my mother to let me keep the $100 Polo jacket I bought with my paper route money (she made me return it by the by…and good for her, $100 back then is like $1,000 now). But if I can just remember, for even a minute, what it was like to want that Polo jacket, I can understand how my daughters feel. BTW - Did I even realize a men’s small wasn’t flattering for a 12 year old girl? Why did we wear everything so big back then?
Anyway, at the end of the day, I can certainly empathize with my kids a bit. I do treat them to those overpriced “must have” brands once in a while. Sometimes, my husband’s move is to make them pay half for the odd piece. He thinks it will instil value and appreciation for the finer things in life. And maybe, just maybe, it won’t end up, in a ball, on their bedroom floor. A girl can dream.
Andrea Hepworth is the mother of 2 girlie girls, who keep begging her to “buy” an Ivivva store. She’s also the co-owner of Style Crush, an online store that turns second hand clothes shopping into a first rate retail experience. Along with her business partner Julie, they buy and sell trendy, brand name, gently used clothing to teens and tweens (ages 8 to 16+, girls and guys). Most items are $5 to $15. Make your kids (and wallet) happy by visiting www.stylecrush.com today. You might be surprised.