Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Having teenagers in the house is fun. It makes me realize that not much has changed since I was a kid. Some things are more out in the open, but we all know that history repeats itself. Unfortunately, when it repeats – it’s usually worse the second time around.

Designer Only

When I was in High School, if you didn’t wear designer jeans, shoes or clothes – you were definitely not in the ‘in’ crowd. Usually, your day would start off with an inspection of your clothes by your peers and if you didn’t have on the right digs you were teased all day. Matter of fact, every day you’d pay for that one infraction of dressing different from the crowd.

Today is no different. My son insists that his tennis shoes be designer. That means I’m paying about $100 plus per pair. I have four kids and just can’t afford it. So, what’s a mom to do? Well, I go to the flea market where they sell new shoes but at a price I can haggle over. It saves me about $30 or so bucks to purchase them this way, but it allows me to buy him those designer jeans, t-shirts and hats he desires. Now my kid is no slouch, he works and saves his money for these coveted items. His insatiable desire to look cool didn’t hit him until High School, but in the inner city where I grew up – babies wore designer wear. Huh? Yep, you heard me, in certain communities people will spend their money on designer clothes for their kid and not even have a car of their own.

Cool Cars Only

The other thing required by a cool teen, seems to be a nice car. Now that doesn’t mean it has to be new or even a sports car. It means it has to have a decent paint job and be comfortable for friends to ride in. However, when I grew up – if you had a dang car you were cool. Considering I spent tons of my travel time on buses and metro trains.

My first car was a bright yellow, Chevette. You couldn’t tell me nothing about my baby. I got it when I was 17yr old. I’d saved $400 and paid half of the sticker price towards it. My mom came up with the other half.

Now my kid wants a newer car. Well, I’m mom and want to get him everything he desires, but for a bargain. So I’m going to the car auctions to pick him up a stick shift (my evil plan is that he won’t be able to talk on the cell phone or text if he has to shift gears to drive).


Many of times while I was growing up, I realized that kid’s that desired these expensive totem’s of coolness were forced to steal, barter, borrow or work in order to get these things that helped them to fit in. My cousin had even gotten beat up over his shoes. Hopefully, in time being cool will mean being different. Creating your own style and setting trends. Unfortunately though, history just has a way of repeating.


Donna said...

Ugh. I remember that. I had a few choice items that I HAD TO HAVE but it definitely wasn't head to toe. No one was that I can remember. As for cars, that didn't really have an impact on your "coolness" at school. It wasn't a battle to see who had the better Jetta or whatever. If you had wheels, cool. If you didn't, whatever.

eBay is a good place to get designer stuff for next to nothing, if you haven't tried that already. I love Diesel jeans with all my heart. I paid retail for one pair about 8 years ago and the damn things shrank well below my waist size and now I can only wear them when I'm way too skinny. Never again. So I troll eBay for replacements. I just bought a pair (slightly too small but I only have to drop about 5 pounds to fit in them instead of 20 for my originals) in perfect conditions for $30 including shipping. No one will be any the wiser.

You should also look into seeing if you have a Plato's Closet anywhere near you (they're all over the country). They're consignment shops but they only sell label clothing and it's all teen and college age styles, boys and girls. I just went on a spree there a couple weeks ago. I never thought I'd shop in a consignment shop (because really, the notion of wearing a stranger's jeans skeeves me out) but all the jeans I bought still had store tags on them, the shirts are in amazing conditions and for like 1/16 of their original price. The store near me had a ton of Hollister. A lot of Seven for All Mankind and a brand with Humanity in the title. Your kids might know it. I looked them up and their jeans sold for about $200 a pair. They were selling them near new at Plato's for $10. And no one knows the difference! Awesome!

LM Preston said...

Thanks so much Donna! With 3 more kids coming up behind him, it's hard to figure out how to keep up.

blueeyedadri said...

My daughter is so cool, she wears sweats, love her! She went through a stage at 13 when she thought she had to have 'it' but it passed.
As for my 13 yr old son, not so sure, may be taking your advice!

As for cars, didn't you love and cherish your first car, mine was a mini, I called him Ken, saved for it by working as a office cleaning lady, most memorable $600 I ever spent!!

Joe Duncko said...

As a teen, I actually get pressure to do the opposite; my school is so sports focused and drug addicted that it's actually cool to look like you got your cloths out of a garbage bin.

I love my designer bag and my designer wallet (yeah, I'm a guy), but they ARE NOT big name designers, but small indie designers that sell their hand made wares at much more reasonable prices (though they are all hand made, so slightly more expensive than wall mart cloths) and all look much better.