Kids, Life

Kids and expensive brand name clothes?

(*Okay, topic for today is mostly just a little general “musing” on an interesting (to me) topic. I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone, though, so just know that I don’t actually have a super strong opinion on this either way- I’m mostly just mulling it over.)

So. Last week I was at the gym with Asher (the day we ate pretzels in the gym restaurant). While waiting for our hot pretzels and cheese to come out, we were just sitting there talking and “people watching”.

I noticed a couple of young girls that I recognized- one used to go to school with Asher. (So she’s entering 7th grade this fall.)

They were wearing gym clothes, of course, but it just happened to catch my eye that the one girl had on Lululemon shorts. (She also had on a crop top, so I could see the little Lulu logo on the back waistband of her shorts.)

I didn’t really think too much of it initially, besides noticing it, I guess. It did cross my mind though- “Jeez, this 12 year old has Lulu workout shorts, and I do not even own any Lulu workout shorts.” In fact, I own precisely one item from Lululemon (my black Align leggings, which were a Christmas gift from Ivan. And I adore them and basically live in them.)

In part, this is because I don’t have a Lululemon store super close to me, I suppose, and I don’t know, I just never got into ordering all my stuff from there. A majority of my workout clothes are from Dick’s Sporting Goods or the Nike/ Adidas outlets. (In fairness, most of my workout clothes are getting really old, and I probably need to do an overhaul soon- so maybe I slowly will start upgrading some items.)

But I know for a fact that the Lululemon leggings Ivan bought me for Christmas were $99. Now, maybe I’m just not a “high enough class” lady, but I still find $99 to be a rather hefty sum for a clothing item. I wouldn’t say it’s an over-the-top amount, either, but it’s still in that price range that feels a little bit “splurgey”, if that makes sense?

In my case, this also doesn’t exactly feel outrageous, given that a) I am fully grown and b) it’s an item I wear a ton, so it’s worth having a quality piece. I also work a fulltime job, am almost 40 years old and therefore feel pretty justified in spending that, if I want to.

However, I couldn’t help but think – “Does a 12 year old really need $99 leggings?? A still growing child, especially?? (insert thinking face emoji 🤔)”

I guess I don’t have girls, so maybe it’s a different world for tween/teen girls? My boys are relatively simple when it comes to clothes. They essentially live in athletic clothes, and I suppose they are also rather “brand loyal”- but they are happy with Nike, Adidas, etc. (which can be found in many different stores/online and often on sale or at outlets!). Some boys their age seem to be obsessed with Under Armour, but for some reason, my boys do NOT like Under Armour and never ever have. Like, if I try to buy them Under Armour, they will literally reject it and say they don’t want it. I sense it’s a situation where they think “everyone wants Under Armour”, and therefore, they find that annoying and don’t want it? I don’t actually know.

Anyway, I don’t think this girl I saw at the gym was an outlier, either. I’ve noticed Lululemon clothing on many other young girls lately. Yesterday at the dentist, I was chatting with the hygienist, who has 12 and 14 year old girls. Somehow the topic of shopping/ clothes came up. She was commenting that her soon to be 9th grader has suddenly gotten really into “fashion”. As we talked, she was complaining that her daughter basically only wants clothes from Lululemon or Athleta. (The mom) said she bought her daughter a pair of regular, black athletic shorts from Target recently, and her daughter basically won’t wear them! Still has the tags on in the closet. 😳

Hmmmm. Not sure what I think about this! I don’t know that I really have a “problem” with kids wearing nice or more expensive clothes, I guess. Obviously people can spend their money on whatever they want.

But it seems like maybe a bad precedent to set? I’m not sure I like the idea of very young kids thinking that $99 leggings are “normal” or somehow “necessary”. Won’t they ever be poor college students, buying their own clothes?? (Or I guess maybe mom and dad will just send their Lulu shipments to their dorm room?) It seems these kids might grow up with a bit of a skewed view of life if this is all they ever know. Let’s hope they have good jobs or marry well! lol.

Again, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with owning some of these items, maybe if they were a gift or whatever, or a couple special pieces….but is it normal that a tween girl needs her entire closet outfitted from those pricey stores- and refuses to wear workout shorts from Target??? Again, hmmmm.

Maybe I’m totally out of the loop. Admittedly, Ivan buys like 90%+ of the boys clothes, and, I don’t have girls. But if this is the norm, I wonder what happens then to the girls whose families can’t afford that stuff…..Do they feel “bad”? Would they get laughed at for wearing shorts from Target instead of Lululemon? I have no idea. I sure hope not!

Anyway! Those are my thoughts for the day. 🙂 Anyone have any insight into this topic? I’m mostly just curious. (I honestly haven’t even checked the website- maybe the youth Lulu prices aren’t even that bad and all of this is totally irrelevant?)

Completely unrelated photo- we finally went to see Top Gun: Maverick last night!! SOOOOOO GOOD!!!! We loved it.

Pic from during the previews, hence lights on. 😉

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for my morning facial sunscreen! Finally found some I think I really like- nice and light and feels good.

31 thoughts on “Kids and expensive brand name clothes?”

  1. I would never buy Lululemon for a young child/tween/etc. I don’t have any Lulu stuff. I had a pair of leggings years ago but didn’t like how they fit – I think they were meant for yoga and not running or something? I also treated myself to a pair of shorts after a marathon. But it was a big splurge for something that I would sweat in. I get almost all of my workout gear at Target and have for many years. Their stuff has gotten really really cute in my opinion! I do remember being a teen and wanting Girbaud (sp?) jeans and my mom just refused. I remember getting a few name-brand type of things at Vanity or something like that? But we really shopped sales. But with 5 kids, I knew I was not going to have all my wishes granted when it came to clothes and my mom made it clear that I could buy fancy things when I was older and buying my own clothes with my own money.

    We are so, well, cheap when it comes to our kids clothes. I would say about 80% of the boys’ clothes are hand-me-down, 10% are gifts from grandparents and the remainder are things we buy. I just got pjs for Paul at Once Upon a Child yesterday which is my go-to place if I need to buy something for them, from winter gear to pjs to nice button down shirts. Maybe it’s different because I have boys, but I think even if I had girls, I would still be all about hand-me-downs or Once Upon a Child! I am pretty frugal when it comes to dressing myself, too. I do buy nice things, but rarely rarely pay full price and the things I buy last so long!

    What sunscreen did you get for your face? Always looking for ideas that aren’t terribly expensive and are lightweight/not greasy.


      1. Yes, I’ve heard of Supergoop also but have not tried that one! The sunscreen I’m using is actually just the “CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion” SPF 30. It’s a matte finish and SO lightweight!! It feels wonderful. I had tried their other a.m. lotion but still found it slightly greasy, so I switched to this ultra-light version and I’m loving it! It’s only like $17, too, so can’t beat the price. I saw it highly recommended on a website listing non-greasy sunscreens for people with oilier or acne prone skin, etc.


      1. Elta MD was my other top choice and I actually had it in my cart to buy… but then I saw the CeraVe had equally good reviews and was a little cheaper, so I decided to try that one first! But Elta MD looks great too.


    1. Ivan is one of 6 kids, too, and growing up in Mexico his family never had a ton of extra for fancy clothes. Ivan has always been SUPER picky about his clothing though- not even the “brand” exactly, but more just how clothing feels. He is so particular about fabrics, etc feeling just so. And in many cases (though not always), the cheaper the clothes, the worse the feel….So, he always talks about how when he was quite young, whenever he needed new clothes, he would tell his Dad to just give him the X amount of pesos they were planning to spend, instead. Then Ivan would work odd jobs and save up MORE to put together with his parents’ share, and then he’d go to a nicer store and buy a higher end brand that actually felt good to him/ he liked more! haha! He said he did this ALL the time. I think it’s a great compromise, and he learned to appreciate that if you want the nicer thing, you need to put in the work/ make the sacrifice!


  2. I can remember being in middle school and wanting a pair of Guess jeans. I believe they were over $50 at the time (late 80’s early 90’s). Eventually I got a pair (for Christmas) and cherished them.

    One piece of parenting advise I think about often is even though we might be able to afford buying our children a new car when the time comes we are taking away that feeling of earning the money to buy the first new car.

    My fear would be a closet full of designer clothes might not teach the lesson of waiting and learning to take care of “expensive” items. But who knows, this girl may have her one pair and wear them everyday 🙂 The math lesson there is $99/365 = $.27/wear


    1. I also really wanted this Guess jean skirt when I was in high school and I ended up saving up my own money and buying it. Funny how I still remember that, too!

      I agree that a big part of the issue isn’t even that kids shouldn’t HAVE nice things, it’s more about them learning to actually appreciate them and saving for things, etc. As you said, that would be my concern too- kids taking those designer clothes for granted and just sort of assuming they “deserve” them (or a car) if someone just hands them to them.


  3. Yay for Top Gun! That’s on our list!

    I may worry excessively about my 14 year old gal secretly, but two of my favorite things about her is that 1) she’ll thrift with me and we’ll have a blast at Plato’s Closet and Style Encore, and 2) she eats. Girls this age eat like birds! So, I don’t have lululemon, but I probably don’t notice when others are wearing it. I love Old Navy.

    Here’s an article I read recently about digging yourself out from fashion’s expense, that kind of builds on the topic.


    1. She and you are both doing a great job! 🙂 Don’t stress. 🙂

      Thanks for the article- so interesting! I’d never heard of those “pay later” shopping companies but I can totally see how that could become an issue! Especially on social media, where it seems every 2 seconds you get ads, etc. for clothing. I do not have Tik Tok, but I’ve heard there is a LOT of quick fashion trend stuff on there- which I’d assume many young girls are consuming.

      I keep seeing an ad for some really cute Old Navy joggers that I want to try!!


  4. I totally agree with your thoughts on this. Even though it’s everyone’s personal choice, I absolutely get ur point. I feel parents have a responsibility in providing a lifestyle that is sustainable in a long run. Thank you for raising this topic.


    1. Yes! There definitely is some real responsibility around this kind of thing- easy to forget though.

      I also think about this in our family with vacations/ travel. We do tend to go on some pretty nice vacations (although it’s all relative- I’m sure other people travel WAY more often or more luxuriously than we do! But for example, my one son has a friend who has never been on an airplane yet, at age 13, whereas my kids had passports and flew on planes at 6 months old! So there’s a lot of variation from family to family.) Sometimes I worry that our kids won’t really fully appreciate what it takes for us to travel as we do or what it costs, trade-offs, hard work/ life choices that go into living a financially comfortable life, etc. I feel like they now sort of “expect” that we will go on at least a couple pretty nice trips per year, and I don’t want them to ever feel this is some sort of “right” or guaranteed thing that everyone does!! As they get older we’ve tried to be more transparent about the costs, etc to hopefully help them understand it all and not end up being spoiled, entitled brats!


      1. I think this comes into play with so many decisions! Like paying for college! I had to pay for my college, my husband didn’t. Our kids won’t qualify for financial aid since it’s based on our income so we have to pay for college, but I want them to feel vested. Our family did not travel much at all since my parents owned a demanding business and had 5 kids – our vacations were weekends spent in a camper/trailer at a campground at a lake.. I didn’t fly until the first summer after college – both kids went on their first flight around a year! Phil and I tend toward the more frugal side and hope to pass this along to our kids. I think there is a way to do things like go on nice vacations and pay for college and not end up with entitled kids, but it requires intentionality. I think your kids will see that vacation is a splurge category but you don’t splurge in all areas of life – your spending aligns with your values. I really do not want my kids to end up as entitled or spoiled so it’s something we think about and talk about, but haven’t really had to do much about yet since they are so young.


  5. Interesting! I could see buying a SINGLE pair of lulu for A for a gift or something if she wanted. My parents were super frugal but I still got a few midrange brand name things when I wanted them (back then: Umbro, Gap Kids, ha!). ALSO – is it possible the mom is small/short and the tween you spotted just wears her stuff? My girls statistically will end up taller than me and A can already almost wear my shoes (!) so there will probably be at least some time (if not forever) that they can steal my petite adult sized clothing . . .


    1. Oh I totally have Umbro shorts and Nike high tops on for one of my first day of school pics from maybe middle school!! I’d agree those were more “midrange” though compared to Lulu nowadays- I’m pretty sure we got most of our clothes at Kohl’s Department store back then. My mom always made sure we had quite nice clothes, but nothing over the top or really comparable to like, $100 shorts, either.

      The girl in reference was itty bitty, so I don’t think they were adult clothes!! Definitely looked like youth sizing or really small. But like another commenter said, maybe it’s her one special pair and she wears them all the time. I don’t see an issue with that and I could see splurging on a special gift item, too, if I had a daughter. I took more issue with the dental hygienist’s daughter who seemed to have an air of being “above” wearing Target clothes and insisting on ONLY high end brands….in 8th grade!


  6. Such an interesting topic!!!
    I live in relatively rural – artistic/farmer’s market vibe – Canada and fashion doesn’t feel like a huge deal to people around us. There also aren’t many options for discounted clothing (e.g. outlets), but lots and lots of people would shop at Walmart for all their kids clothing. Even people with the means often seem to reject big consumerism in terms of clothing (one example was my former OB/GYN and her husband (an anesthetist) who bought thrifted clothes and used hand-me-downs). I think Eastern Canada is generally just a very laid-back setting and “keeping up with the Jones'” isn’t as intense as it would be bigger city centers like Toronto or Vancouver?
    I buy 90% of my clothes second-hand and ditto for the kids. I LOVE this. We find nice things but rarely spend more than $5 for any item.
    I can’t bear the thought of a) spending excessive amounts of money on clothes b) I hate shopping in big stores/online and c) it’s a great way to reduce the environmental impacts of the textile industry.
    I think we’ve lucked out and have some great, inexpensive thrift stores around and our kids LOVE to thrift and it’s all they’ve ever known in terms of clothing (along with a few hand-me-downs).
    When the kids get older maybe they’ll care more, but I love that thrifting is part of the culture where we live!


    1. I can see it being a regional thing! Here in the midwest we are not exactly known for being “fashion leaders” of the U.S….Ha! On the whole I’d say fashion is really quite low key around here. Of course, there are still always some people who are more into it than others, even within our not “super posh” area.. I guess it’s relative- what people “splurge” on here might be low end for someone who lives in Manhattan or on the east coast of the U.S. in a more metropolitan area, or other places. Kids around here in the middle/upper class range though definitely seem plenty aware of brand names and things like that already.


  7. Very interesting topic!

    It’s something we don’t have to go through with A as she has no awareness of brands, but friends’ neurotypical children of a similar age are all going through expressing themselves in different ways with clothes etc.

    The most common “in” style here right now is for tweens/teens to have handbags – like proper adult handbags. I see flocks of girls walking to school with handbags instead of school bags. A friend’s 12 year old daughter has a better collection of designer handbags than I do.

    Another friend’s daughter is 13 and has a more alternative style; hoodies from the perch range of YouTubers she follows etc. She actually is excellent at saving her pocket money / birthday money etc and buying herself significant things. She just bought an expensive pair of trainers with her own cash!

    I do think I worry about setting the bar high in terms of material possessions. As you say, what kind of disappointment lies ahead for those tweens when they are poor students or on low income first jobs? Or do parents continue to bankroll through those times?


    1. Interesting about the handbags!! I can’t say that I’ve really noticed that around here, but I may just not notice it. I do like the idea of kids “saving up” for a nicer item. I actually like that idea even for me, as an adult- like, thinking of a more expensive item that I want, and then deliberately buying it in some sort of organized fashion- like, I don’t know, saying, Ok, in September I will buy one nice, new pair of leggings for the fall, for example, instead of just randomly seeing a bunch of things online and impulsively ordering them….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I love that! My best friend has a rule of buying herself one new book every month on pay day. She always goes to the very first item she added to her Amazon wish list and buys that. She does the same for her two children; so every month they all have a new book to look forward to, and the routine of it makes it such a treat to wait for. I love it 🙂


  8. full disclosure, Sofia has 2 Lululemon bras because I bought them too small for me. hahaha… I would not buy Lululemon for her even her at teenage years. she saw me buying for myself and kept telling how expensive it is. I fully agree it’s not necessary not even healthy to give a sense of entitlement for our kids. we as parent provide necessities, regardless whether we can afford or not, and show them trade offs.
    in my 30s, I found Lululemon outrageous pricing unacceptable, in my 40s, I am loyal customer because they really last and I feel good every time I wear them. this is also because my attitude toward money has changed over the years… I don’t feel the need to save for the sake of saving anymore and pick few things that I feel comfortable spending but still frugal in other areas. I try to share my thoughts on money with my girls so they learn the thought process and learn to make decisions and trade offs in the future.
    I’m not sure if once Sofia hit teenage years, things could change given peer pressure, we’ll have to see.


    1. I agree that it is worth paying more for items that are higher quality and you know you will use and love!! I really do love my Lulu leggings, so I’m definitely planning to try some other products eventually. I feel like their prices are on the expensive side, but not THAT bad, either. For example, if the leggings cost $400, no way would I pay that!! But $100, while still kind of a lot for leggings, still feels ok, when you consider how much use I get out of them. Like the previous commenter said, if you divide the price per use, it works out to be a good investment.


  9. I break out in hives if I buy something for MYSELF that is more than $100 (but for some reason have NO problem blowing $100+ on a nice dinner out?? Logic is not there) so there’s really no chance I’m buying that stuff for my kids. The things I will spend money on for them are nicer shoes, especially for my 10 year old son who plays a lot of sports, but even then I’m trying to find deals. Luckily, while my 12 year old daughter is fairly particular about WHAT she wears, she doesn’t care at all about brands yet, and thinks garage sales and thrifting are amazing.

    My mom is a complete shopaholic and does buy stuff for my kids that is way nicer than what I’d buy (Boden is the one that comes to mind, and Gap – I stick more to Target and Old Navy stuff). I never wanted brand name stuff but I DID like some of the FASHIONS available at Limited Too if anyone else was familiar with that store 😛


    1. Yes, I feel like we spend a good amount on kids shoes, too. My husband is good at finding deals, but he has complained that lately it’s been harder to find cool shoes for lower price for the boys.

      And YES about Limited Too!!! Their stuff always seemed very cool when I was a kid too!! Sad that line isn’t around anymore….so many memories of that store at the mall!


  10. Interesting topic… as I recently purchased Lulu leggings for my teen girls for Easter (weird, I know. Some years I spend $15 per basket and sometimes like this year… more). I grew up one of five kids in a family whose earnings put us below the poverty line. Needless to say, I did NOT wear name brand clothes. Now as an adult I have plenty of discretionary spending money (I am not trying to brag at all, just being factual. We had so many lean years; I quit my job to stay at home with the kids when I still had close to 100k in law school debt and my husband had almost that much. We lived vacation free for years and I shopped at garage sales/ second hand stores for most of our clothes) and it’s tempting to buy the kids all the brand name clothes. I’m sure part of that reason is because I didn’t have the opportunity to have nice things when I was their age and I like knowing that I can provide that for the kids. But I KNOW that is not good for them. And I think that overall, I’ve done a pretty good job of not spoiling them. To the extent we spend more than we should on certain brands, I temper that with having lots of discussions with the kids about finance. They know about my childhood poverty and our own lean years. So while they have only experienced the bounty (they were pretty young when things were really lean), they understand how fortunate they are and that their current lifestyle will very likely not be possible when they start out on their own right after college. I have shared the necessity/ tips of shopping to save money (buying clothes at the end of season clearance, checking out (only, usually) sales racks at most stores) and we all enjoy thrifting at Goodwill and Plato’s Closet. Regarding the Lulu leggings that I bought the girls for Easter, they were on “clearance” (if you can call $80 leggings clearance priced) so not returnable per Lulu’s return policy and one of my daughter’s pair doesn’t fit (grrrrr). I know I can sell them on a second hand market but I won’t get $80. Ugh.


    1. UGH that’s such a bummer about the leggings not fitting!!

      I guess thinking about this more, I think I could see myself doing the same and buying something like this for my daughter (if I had one!) for a gift, etc. I think I was envisioning people just like, stocking their 12 year old kid’s entire closet with Lululemon, but who knows- that totally might not be the case.

      It sounds like you’re on the right track with the finance discussions. We try to be mindful of that too. I still feel like my kids just don’t really “get” money at their ages though. Mine have started asking questions about how much we earn, or how much things (like houses) cost. It gets tricky. I want to educate them, but not overshare, either… you know…. They definitely seem very aware now that some people are “richer” than others. Or even have started making comments about how “nice” someone’s house is after going to a friend’s, etc… We have had some conversations about how, well, we choose to pay for private school, vacations and other things, and therefore we have NOT built a big brand new house, as someone else might choose to. Etc.. Complicated but important conversations, Never sure if I’m doing it right. LOL!


  11. B/S/T boards! (buy/sell/trade) My kids just went off to daycamp – son is in Under Armor and daughter is in Athleta girl. Both I bought very gently used at half the retail price. Under Armor actually goes on a sale a lot and is very reasonable then. These clothes are meant to last – if you have kids you can pass hand-me-downs to, they’re worth it new, but I don’t so I buy used. My kids get new-to-them sets of Hanna Andersson pjs every few years too – I buy them used a size or two bigger and then they last until they’re outgrown. Usually I can resell this stuff as well. It sounds like a lot of effort but if you focus on making sure your kid doesn’t have a lot of clothes they don’t actually need, you’re really only buying a few outfits a season anyway max.


    1. That sounds very smart! I have NEVER gotten into buying used stuff like that, those it really is genius!! I used to sell things though when the boys were little- I remember cringing as I sold a LIKE NEW North Face Fleece for some measly amount….whoever bought it got such a great deal! So many of their clothes, especially when little, they just didn’t wear enough to even wear out! So yeah, this is a great idea. I just hate shopping in general- new or used- and mostly delegate this task to my husband! He prefers to shop sales versus used stuff, just for simplicity’s sake I think. I think on the whole it’s easier to shop for boys, too- like I said, they are ALL about the athletic gear. Always seems like we can find plenty of good options. And they are not overly picky, although more now than they used to be! Especially about shoes and hoodies. 🙂 We have a harder time finding non-athletic clothes that are “comfortable” enough for them…. they always complain about jeans or real pants of any kind so much.


    2. I bought my 10 year old an Athleta sweatshirt from the consignment store for $15 (which is more than I would usually pay for something at that store) and she decided she was bored in class one day and cut some holes in it. I am sure glad I didn’t buy it new. And it also made me realize that my kid isn’t ready to have nice things. I was so disappointed because there was a part of me that really wanted her to have a nice quality item of clothing, but I guess part of parenting is realizing that your kids don’t have to want the same things for themselves that you want for them!


  12. I think it’s pretty normal for kids/teens to want certain brand items, but it’s all about “how they’re getting them”… I remember for me, my parents would (obviously) buy my clothes and yes, I had a bit of a say in it too, but if I wanted a brand item, they made me save up for it. And I think that is a very valuable lesson.

    Because I think you made a few good points: kids need to learn what things cost and that money doesn’t grow on trees, even kids whose parents can afford the high-end brands…. because at some point, they’ll have to earn and spend their own money on things and will realize that not everything is always “affordable”…. well, unless the have good jobs or marry well! LOL


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