Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Trickle Down Effect

**This is a soapboxy post. It is simply my feelings for my family. If you do things differently with your family that is totally your prerogative.I'm not posting this to tell my readers who have different thoughts and opinions on the subject that they're wrong. It's a reminder to myself to look back on the reasons why we do what we do for our family.

My children were home schooled for five years. In that time, not a word was said about fashion or clothes -- unless something was too small or uncomfortable. Then a funny thing happened, Bub was going to start high school. Even though they have really nice uniforms, I was told (by him) that he needed clothing with particular names.

A long and in depth discussion ensued. Why did he need certain names? Was it so that he could be popular? Was it so that he could conform to everyone else?  Would it make him cool? There were answers in response -- some good ones and some not. In the end, we allowed the "brand name" clothing to have a place in our home. It was under the agreement that the clothing did not "make the man". We have tried to instill particular Christian morals and values into our children. If the clothing they wear compromises those morals and values, it would not be purchased (to begin with) or ever worn again if it somehow made it into our home without our knowledge. (I hope not!)

That being settled, I told him that I was not going to purchase this type of clothing new. The t-shirts are usually thin and worn looking before they even make it into the wash the first time around -- although (surprisingly) so far they're standing up well to multiple washes. Generally speaking, the sweatshirts aren't a whole lot better. I'm also disappointed that these "brand names"  are not made in North America, but instead in third world and/or developing countries where the workers often work for a mere dollar a day. That is the other reason why I will not buy brand new. Yes, I know, what exactly is made in North America -- and if it isn't is made here, how many of the manufacturers take into consideration fair wages for the workers in third world or developing countries? And if my kids are wearing it, aren't they still promoting those brands? The answer is I don't know, I don't know, and yes. I could put my foot down and say no to these name brands, but at the same time I do understand my children's desire to fit in with their peers. Not stand out, yet not conform, but to be a part of the masses. I don't care if they want to be part of the masses, but when they are called to stand up and stand out, they had better do so!

Thus followed the what I call the trickle down effect. Peach gets beautiful hand-me-downs from a lovely family in our church. Guess what was in them the last time? Yes, name brand clothes. If Peach can wear them, the two younger sisters started clamouring that they should be allowed to wear them too. *Sigh* What's a mother to do? Now the four oldest all have name brand clothes purchased from various thrift stores. (I can't believe the finds we have scored in the past couple of months)! I am not fond of it at all on Squirt. I'd still like her to wear sweet T's with ice cream cones or penguins (after all, she's only eight years old) -- and she does, but not as often because she likes her other shirts too. Thankfully, the Wee Three have no clue yet, but I'm sure they'll catch on quick enough!

So the the trickle down effect has entered our home. We now own popular brand name clothes. I never thought it would happen, but since it has, I am thankful that it hasn't come with a huge hit to my wallet. Thank you to all of you who donate to the thrift stores. It makes my children happy which makes their mama happy :o).

One final note: There is one brand I will not let enter our home under any circumstances. It is the A*ber*rombie and F*tch brand. Some of their clothing is purely unacceptable and racy and their advertisements are often not a whole lot better.  See here for an older article and here for their most recent scandal. You don't even want to get me started on swimsuits! Triangle top bikinis on a little girl on a good day make me ill, but triangle tops to give little girls something they're not supposed to have yet could put me in the emergency room!

Anyways, I'll dust off my soapbox now. If your opinion is different than mine that is okay, and if you must say something, please be nice.

15 comments:

  1. Awe - brand name clothing... Three words that sound very familiar. Erin and I started wearing brand name clothes a little while ago... But I will let you know, that I'd rather wear a skirt than any other brand name clothing any day! (: You're an excellent teacher, mother, and role-model! I'm sure your children have learned many good things from you! Ugh bikinis... Something I will NEVER ever wear... Really?! What the point of showing off your stomach? ( I won't go into details) Hope you have a wonderful day Deborah! Keep going to the thrift stores, it's a great way to safe.

    Blessings,
    ~Michlyn

    P.S. It's funny you mentioned the Wee Three. 'T' doesn't wear brand name clothing, but she now owns 2 pairs of skinny jeans. Is it mean to say, I hope she grows out of them soon? :)

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  2. Because I have boys, I am out of the loop when it comes to the fashions out there for girls. However, I see what some little girls wear and it both saddens and shocks me. Even at church! Thrift store prices around here have gotten so high that I don't even bother looking. I can buy brand new for the same, or often less, at places like TJMaxx, Marshall's, and Ross (or Target when they do "past season" clearances). Because we have to go the slim route for shorts and jeans, we have to give in and purchase whatever fits. For shirts and such though, I suppose my kids have always worn brand names (with the exception of things from Target). I'm fortunate to have an outlet mall nearby where we bought things for our oldest. Now my youngest is wearing those same clothes. They held up exceptionally well, and he thinks it's cool they were his big brother's. My oldest gravitates toward the surf brands, which is typical attire living where we do. They've all held up amazingly well and will be passed on to the youngest. I do cringe when looking at labels though. It breaks my heart (and makes me mad) when I cannot find anything made in the USA or Canada. I often feel sort of trapped between the ethical decisions of my purchases and what my wallet allows me to do. Anyway, with my boys being homeschooled, we've never ran into the whole brands issue ... yet. I think a lot of it here is age related too.

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  3. Oh, the whole clothes thing at school makes me tired. So many kids suffer when mean individuals comment about what they are wearing. Adults even do this. It's very sad.

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  4. This made me think about my childhood. And teen years. I don't know how they did it, but my mom managed to make me like "classic" type clothes. And when I coveted name brand - the name was "L.L.Bean" !!! Isn't that hilarious?!?! I'm sure teens today would die before wearing L.L.Bean.

    I must have somehow been sheltered - and yet I went to public school, state-owned university and a non-christian private conservatory for all my education!

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  5. I was truly shocked to read those articles about A&F!! I've never gone into their store (it's too dark to see and too loud to hear--I guess I've always been an old-soul--lol!), but now I know I never will. Appalling! How can we raise girls with modesty if we give them those clothing options? (using "we" generally, here) I'm thankful to have an ultra modest girl and boy, I hope it continues. I think what we, as mom's wear, can really influence our girls. I appreciate your decision to help your kids feel like they fit in but that they don't have to GIVE in to peer pressure. You all are wise parents. :)

    beth

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  6. We went clothes shopping recently, my girl and I, to get her some new clothes for her grad trip. I walked and walked the mall. I kid you not... everything was sooooo immodest. It took effort to find decent clothing for a 14-yr-old girl. I was not impressed!

    On brand-name clothing, we don't have a "ban" on them but we only buy stuff on clearance.

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  7. I am way on the other side of the parenting season that you find yourself living through. There are so many things i wish that I had done differently and clothes is one of those things. I like what you say and what you are doing and I like the reasons you give.
    I will say that the older they get and the more they socialize with people that are not like they are, the harder it gets. And (I know you know this well) each child is different. You can parent them all the same and they will each take away something different and they will react differently and they will just BE different. And...you will just step back and scratch your head in wonder!
    Hold on to those values, teach them, encourage them, have conversations like the ones you had with Bud and PRAY.
    The Engineer told us at dinner one time that there are just no guarantees with children and he is right. Whether your kids can come along side of you and embrace the values you are teaching or whether the just obey because they are living under your roof and you have the right to lay down the rules...they will know clearly where you stand and why because that is the kind of parent that you are.
    I pray for each of you by name every single day!
    Love
    ~a

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  8. Deborah,

    Respect and kudos to you :D

    I'm fortunate (with all boys) that so far they couldn't care less about styles or brands. They'd wear sweats and t-shirts every day, if that were possible.

    Like you, I've deliberately down-played fashion and name-brands. The whole thing is completely ridiculous. Although I have to admit, I will pay more for something that I know will last longer (like the shoes I wrote about recently... irony, yah?)

    I find a lot of clothes for the boys at Goodwill, Value Village, and consignment. I won't exclude the name brands if I find a good buy on what I'm looking for, but I won't buy clothing that is basically an advertisement either. No thank you!

    Hang in there, Deborah. I think you guys are doing a wonderful job with your kids. It's hard to know sometimes which hills are worth dying on and when to just shrug and down-play an issue.

    Not that I've got it all figured out,

    Julie

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  9. Amen! I have not had to buy my girls clothes, and I get the hand me downs from my sister so I know it will be modest and well made. Not looking forward to the age of the "ins". I remember that. Not having G*ess jeans, or the cool shoe. Another reason I am homeschooling :O) Now I am off to read those articles, even though I might get angry :O)

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  10. Well said.

    As mothers we share some of the same issues, it is a fallen world we live in and making decisions based on our convictions are not easy. Actually, I can not think a single day that goes by that I am not brought to task regarding dress.

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  11. I could sign my name to your post! This is exactly how we live and how are choices are made and how we still end up with some things that we normally wouldn't have chosen. And don't even get me started on A&F of those bikinis!

    Blessings, Debbie

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  12. So far my oldest boy has had no interest in brand named clothes, but I suspect my younger boy will at some point. I think finding stuff used is a wonderful idea. As for A&F, really, they should all be lined up against a wall and ... no, no! That's not what Jesus would do! But really, how do they sleep? Padded bikinis for eight-year-olds? How do they sleep?

    xofrances
    xofrances

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  13. Oh yeah I hear ya I am right with ya You know my kiddos are close in age to yours and after homeschooling them for many years and now having them in school it can be an issue thankfully living out here in the country the boys around here don't go for that kind of stuff it is plain t shirts and blue jeans and cowboy boots or sneakers. And well I think with Anna there has been more of the challenge. But she is doing good she really looks up to me so I have to watch how I dress and then I have let her wear a few things I never used to she is wearing shorts and tank tops this year because it is so hot but we still find ones that are modest. I think some of the clothing brands are almost sexual it really is gross. I got a Boden teen catalog in not to long ago and boy was that racey I was shocked....I think it is best to teach the kids what is acceptable no matter what the brand the fit is more important. And I think it is a great idea to teach teens especially how to know if there clothes fit or not. If they can really understand and grasp that the name won't be as important to them. No matter what age you are clothing that is to small never looks good...okay I will get off my soap box now hehehehe Love Heather

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  14. You know, I was talking with a friend about this recently and what it came down to is, "When you wear that, people can't see Jesus. They just see _________." Whatever it is. The words splashed across your chest, or whatever it is. And we want people to see Jesus.

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  15. Ahhh :o). Thank you ladies for sharing your hearts on this and letting me know that I'm not the only one who feels this way about what appropriate clothing can and should look like. Julie I like that! When we go to put something on, we could be asking ourselves and our children, "can people see Jesus or just well, whatever it is that they really don't need to be seeing or thinking about. Great thoughts all! Thank you for sharing!

    Blessings!
    Deborah

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