Two opinionated writers give us their points of view on whether brands really matter.
Brand Name Buyer
By Shari Eisen
Tired of being told that brand name clothing just isn’t worth the price, and that by wearing them you’re being superficial? Well, buying brand names go beyond what the critics say.
If I walk into a store and see a plain t-shirt for $20 and a popular brand I recognize on sale for $25, I’m far more likely to buy the brand because I know that I’m buying a good quality product from a reliable company. After all, high-end companies will ensure superior quality in order to uphold their reputations. And if I get great shirts from a particular brand name, I also expect other products by the same brand to be well made. However, I’m not sure what I’m getting with no-name labels.
Generally, the first impression that someone has of you is focused on the image that you choose to project. For instance, if you don’t take care of your appearance, others may think that you’re disorganized. Brand name clothing gives a positive impression to everyone around you.
If you see someone else sporting your favourite brand, it’s easy to spark a conversation. Even if you’re shy, you will be much more self-assured because you know that you’ve got something in common with the other person. Self-esteem is a huge part of being a young woman, so a small boost in confidence can have a tremendous effect. Confidence allows us to try new things without the fear of rejection or failure. So, why shouldn’t we have something that gives us that “I’m unstoppable” feeling?
I’ll admit that part of the appeal of brand names may be how something looks, but I can’t help it if I love the look of Diesel jeans or a Coach bag! “I like being the centre of attention sometimes,” a friend tells me.
Brand name clothing and accessories are designed to appeal to consumers, and they do so very well. There’s no point in buying something that you don’t like, so if you like the brand name item, go for it!
Brand name products bring us good quality merchandise, confidence in ourselves and great looking items. That certainly sounds worth it to me.
No Name Necessary
By Arfeen Malick
Michael Kors, Coach, Juicy Couture, Burberry, Chanel: brand names swirl around in your head. The big names come with even bigger price tags. You pause for a millisecond and think, “Why am I wearing someone’s logo and advertising for them?” The thought quickly disintegrates as another trendy label catches your eye. You’ve already picked out the perfect skirt to complete the outfit.
Perhaps in all this confusion you ignore the price or maybe you’re sucked into this brand name world without knowing it. Whatever the reason, you walk up to the $50 designer label t-shirt, pull it off the rack and head towards the dressing room. The almost identical (but lacking the right label) $15 t-shirt from the previous store is forgotten along with your budget for today.
So why do some people put in the extra cash for the logo while others couldn’t care less? Jackie Burkhart (played by Mila Kunis), the fashion-conscious member of the gang on That 70s Show, feels more secure in her brand name clothes. On the show, in response to accusations of her being insecure, she screams, “I am not insecure! This is a designer sweater, this is designer eye shadow and those are designer shoes, and they make me feel INCREDIBLY secure!” Is she right? Perhaps those teens buying strictly brand names are looking to their clothes for self-confidence. By wearing the hottest t-shirt they try to avoid the awkwardness of fitting in, thinking that their clothes will provide comfort, much like a security blanket. They believe wearing brand names will automatically put them into a category labelled “cool & trendy”. To some, fitting in right away based on appearance is more appealing than making friends based on personality. Of course, our clothes should somewhat represent our personalities but they shouldn’t replace them.
Brand names have become a method to display status. Label kings and queens say they buy clothes and accessories because they represent who they are, but really, how can a t-shirt that is owned by nearly half the population represent an individual?
Also bizarre is the fact that some people will buy a plain 100% cotton, white tank top for way too much money because it has some sought-after tag sewn into the back (where no-one can even see it!), while a similar top can be found elsewhere for a fraction of the cost. Some suggest that the higher the price the better the quality, but isn’t 100% cotton just 100% cotton?
Some also argue that brand names spark conversation. Someone across the room might approach you wondering where you bought that “great” (code for designer) bag! While this might be true, do you really want to talk to someone who only approached you because of something you are wearing?
Although brand names are more expensive, perhaps the appeal is that you aren’t only paying for the logo but also for status, confidence, and for the ability to fit in. But wait a minute, can’t I get all those things for free?
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Oh, how times have changed. When I was a kid, I was happy with my Garanimals and a secondhand tape player. Today, it’s all about brand-name labels and personal MP3 players. Kids definitely have more material goods at their disposal today than in past years. The constant pressure to fit in at school and to “keep up with the Joneses” could have you searching for pricier duds for your child to make sure that she or he fits in.
A handful of high-end designers have started offering small versions of their most famous clothes, offering kids lines that definitely do not offer kids prices. Instead, you have to pay a premium price to have your child rock the threads of Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and Gucci.
Buying Kids’ Designer Clothing
So, what’s a parent to do? Save money on kids’ clothes by sticking with lower-priced stuff, or give in to the cries of a fashionista tween? It’s definitely something worth thinking about, especially since buying or not buying designer threads sets a precedent for your family.
One of the first things you must take into consideration is whether or not designer kids clothes are really worth the hefty price tag. A tank top from Baby Dior can cost as much as $248 – are you willing to pay that much? A couple factors go into the decision-making process.
- Quality. As much as it pains me to say it, designer clothes are definitely of superior quality when compared to the mass-produced stuff you find at Walmart. That’s because designers tend to use better, more durable fabrics, with high-end components like real silk, rhinestones, and even fur to amp up the high-fashion factor. As far as workmanship, detail, and quality, you definitely get the best when grabbing designer clothes. Of course, that’s not the only factor, but it’s something to consider.
- Longevity. Of course, your kids’ designer duds could last until Armageddon, but it won’t mean much when your kids are growing every day. Unless your child wears out clothes at an incredibly fast rate, you’ll probably never get to test the theory that designer clothes last longer than cheaper outfits. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks to buying designer clothes for kids. While you could invest in a pair of shoes and wear them for years, your growing child probably only has six months to a year before moving on to the next size.
- High Style. If you’re a stickler for fashion, it’s understandable if you want your kids to be a reflection of your own style aesthetic. Loading your kids up with flashy labels could be a point of pride for you, especially if you’re totally obsessed with fashion. If you’re a fan of Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture, and Armani, you’re probably more prone to reaching out for the same designers for your child. It’s true that higher-end designers probably whip up the coolest kids’ clothes, so if that’s a priority for you, you can snag high style by paying more.
How to Make It (More) Affordable
While you definitely pay more for a label and the quality of the clothes, most parents know that kids’ clothes take a beating, and therefore spend less on kids’ clothes than they spend on their own stuff. But what if your child is old enough to know the difference between The Children’s Place and Ralph Lauren?
Designer clothes become more of a priority for teens and tweens, especially when friends and other peers are wearing name-brand jeans. As a parent, you’re probably still funding shopping trips – but you no longer make all the decisions about your older child’s wardrobe. If your teen is begging you for a D&G sweater, it can help to find reasonable ways to make it happen.
- Pay for Services Rendered. If your child asks for some pricey designer clothes, link up a shopping trip to allowance and chores around the house. This is the perfect time to teach your child about budget priorities and working hard to achieve a goal. If your child wants a $100 jacket, add up chores around the house and count up how many weeks of allowance it would take to save up. Seeing the options on paper may even have your teen or tween searching for a less expensive option.
- Gift It. There’s nothing wrong with gifting a designer skirt or pair of jeans to your child come birthday time. Just be sure he or she understands that receiving the designer duds is a treat, not a common occurrence. You can also talk about caring for pricier pieces to make sure you get the most wear out of an expensive designer wardrobe.
- Check Out Flash Sales. Designer clothes usually mean big spending, but you can score them on the cheap by registering with flash sale sites like Ideeli, Gilt, and HauteLook. While flash sale sites are typically for adult couture, they regularly features sales specifically for designer kids’ clothes at a huge discount. By joining a flash sale site, you get notifications when a sale starts, usually lasting 12 to 24 hours. With deep discounts, you can give your picky child brand-name clothes without brand-name prices.
- Find a Happy Medium. Perhaps your child turns up his or her nose at big box store clothes, but that doesn’t mean designer is your only other option. Look for a happy medium so your child feels confident in the clothes you pick, and you feel confident that your bank account isn’t totally drained. Head to the mall together to find a brand that you can both agree on, whether it’s GAP, Aeropostale, Justice, or another store. This allows you to pay lower prices, while your older child can still choose trendy outfits for school to fit in with friends.
Ultimately, your parenting philosophy, personal style, and overall budget will dictate whether or not designer kids’ clothes are worth the price. The truth is, if it’s something that’s important to you and you can afford it, go right ahead. But if keeping your child in Gucci garb is putting you in the poorhouse, it’s definitely not worth the cost.
Do you think designer kids clothes are worth the price tag? What are your favorite children’s clothes brands?
(photo credit: Bigstock)
Categories: Family & Home, Kids, Lifestyle, Shopping