Somebody or something ought to put a stop to this nonsense.

It’s not going to be the merchants. It’s not going to be the whining kids. And it certainly isn’t going do be the already up-to-the-limit credit card balance.

Seems like all we’re left with on this issue is the parents. Sounds like this spend- happy bunch will bear the burden of proving to the Consumer Shopping Council that enough is enough and Jane is going to wear the same winter jacket to school that she wore last year.

And those “poor folks” designer jeans on the market — the faded-looking ones with holes and rips — don’t stand up to the ones our Jonathan has that got ragged through actual wear and tear and have been washed over 50 times.

A new backpack every year? “Stack them books up under your arm and hurry up and get out of my car.”

Kids are being delivered to the schools but their chauffeuring parents are going to spend a hunk of money on a new backpack. First off, what happened to the one from last year?

Oh, it’s not trending this year!

New super heroes are being featured? And the hot colors for the season aren’t what you bought for Aaron last year?

                           PARENTS LISTEN UP

Julio, if he outgrew last year’s T-shirts, can wear his older brother Ricky’s stuff. Yeah, they’re called hand-me-downs.

And Ricky ought to have the experience of wearing what his older cousin who lives across town has gotten too fat for and can’t squeeze into a size small like he wore last year.

My kids, and I had plenty of them, wore hand-me-downs and looked quite nice. We were given clothes by people and there was a system called “first chooser.”

When the bag of someone else’s clothes came to our house, it was a shopping spree and the “first chooser” got dibs.

But it didn’t matter much because the next year, the first-chooser was tired of the favorite piece she’d snatched from the grab bag and so it was handed down to the next in-line.

Shoes? Come on, now, parents, just how many pairs are needed to get to the schoolhouse?

My answer is one. So, if last year’s still fit and aren’t worn out, don’t be shoe shopping.

By now I’ve lost my readers — except for those who are my age since they remember how we had a pair of school shoes and a pair of Sunday shoes. The good ol’ saddle oxfords were a mainstay and when we girls wanted to match something, we chose a pair of socks to do the job.

And for those of us who grew up during World War II, when we didn’t have any ration stamps (citizens were restricted on certain purchases) for shoes; oh, well!

Current times make it a merchant’s heyday selling stuff to parents, at what’s advertised as back-to-school sale price specials.

When do we parents say enough is enough? When do parents determine the fashion folks can’t dictate what’s “in” nor can the merchants convince us new clothes are needed every school year?

Many years ago, I cut up an old pink plaid skirt of mine and made Pia, who was a preschooler, a beautiful jumper, and then went shopping to buy her a pink turtleneck sweater. Nowhere was one to be found. Finally, a snooty salesperson at a Westwood kiddie shop lifted her brow and told me, “Little girls aren’t wearing pink this year.”


When I went on a first visit to the kindergarten teacher of Pamela, my first-born, the first words out of the teacher’s mouth were, “Where do you get your little girl’s clothes?”

What she actually was asking, was, “This is a very low-income neighborhood and your kid’s clothes just don’t fit the income level”

Of course, she didn’t say these words, but my little girl was dressed in the hand-me-downs from the rich white folk Grandma worked for, and those clothes didn’t depict the Boyle Heights level of living.

Patti, the daughter next to Pamela, remembers school kids always mistaking her for her older sister every time she wore the orange dress with the embroidery on it that Pamela had worn the year before.

Parents, we don’t have to go into debt to dress our kids for school. They don’t have to wear a different outfit every day and they certainly don’t have to have a matching pair of shoes.


Her baby was seven months old. He hadn’t learned to stand or walk; he was still in the crawling stage and his feet were continuing to grow. He owned seven pairs of shoes including a pair of Michael Jordans.

His mother my answered my question by saying, “Shoes need to match his outfits.”

A plaid hat to go with the walking shorts with shoes to match?

True, we are judged by what we wear, the car we drive, the dog we walk and the neighborhood we live in, but for our children’s better place in life, let’s recognize we should rather have the kindergarten teacher’s comments be about our child’s learning adjustments in the classroom rather than about the clothes being worn.


1) Hand-me-downs are not only money-saving but teach children that shopping the alleged sales is not the only way to look nice.

2) Thrift stores provide whatever is found at the department store.

3) I’ll stick with buying NEW underwear.

4) Review what’s in the closet and wearable from last year and simply purchase accessories for a fresh look.

5) Make a list of what the kids have and what’s needed (needed, NOT wanted).

6) Help children to understand their worth is who they are and not the amount of money spent on back-to-school shopping.

I raised five children and never once had a budget for back-to-school shopping. They are all university graduates so I might determine their educational success cannot be measured by how much I spent on their clothes – actually, number five is currently a student at Pasadena City College.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ann-Marie Stephenson

    There is a need for parenting classes in the schools. Some parents say, “no one taught me to be a parent, I just read a few books, learned form my parents….” Unfortunately, parents are taught by the media in all of its forms: television, magazines, billboards, songs, etc.
    Thanks for providing a few guidelines for our parents.

  2. Jean C. Troy

    I agree, I went to catholic School and wore a uniform and we tried to see how long we could wear it with out buying a new one. To day as a grandma I’m often questioned about what I wear since I never really cared as long as it was clean and pressed. I can wear the same dress and pants everyday and not be bothered. My kids were allowed one outfit a year it could be for school or a special dance they made a choice and we stuck by it. My Mother who was a whiz with her singer sewing machine would help out with restyling an old outfit to make it look new. We didn’t have a budget and my kids are all well balanced good jobs and wonderful grandkids.

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