I am not a "brand" person. Growing up brands were not even an option so they never really became important to me. Most of my clothes are from Target or Kohl's - if there is anything that has a label on it in my closet it inevitably was a gift or a hand me down. Andy and I drive cars without bells and whistles and don't sink very much money into furniture.
Don't get me wrong, I have some things that are fancy. For instance, I will always pay the extra dollar or two for Q-Tip brand cotton swabs and Cottonelle is really my toilet tissue of choice. This year, for my birthday, I got a Pandora bracelet from my mother - it's probably the most brand identifiable thing that I own.
This is not to say that I don't often covet other people's fancy things. I have several friends who carry beautiful Coach bags - I don't, mostly because they are very expensive, but also because I am well aware of the fact that I will leave a pen uncapped or melt a chocolate bar into the lining. I think 7 Jeans are beautifully cut, but I still buy cheap off brand jeans because I know how I often I forget to empty my pockets before doing wash.
As it stands now, anything that Addie has that is considered a labeled brand was not bought by one of us. Admittedly she has several pairs of Crocs, none of which we paid for. Mostly the brands that Addie wears are Circo, Cherokee, Granimals and JellyBeans. Her sneakers are generic, her flip flops were $2 and she still isn't 100 percent sure what an American Girl Doll is.
With any luck, I can keep her label blind for years to come. I hope that she likes things not because of the emblems sewn on them, but because they simply make her feel good. As a parent, I am slowly starting to understand the desire to "keep up with the Joneses". I want my daughter to fit in, to be well liked and to have friends - but I would prefer that all happens not because of what she wears or has, but because of who she is.
Where is this all coming from?
In a conversation today I was told that an acquaintance's young daughter headed off to school decked out from head-to-toe in Abercrombie Kids. Abercrombie Kids? What?! When I think Abercrombie, I think shirtless 17 year old boys, really stinky cologne, and horrible thumping music. So I looked up the website and saw clothes that a) were expensive and b) were more or less horribly inappropriate for a grade-schooler. Forty-nine dollars for a tank top? Shorts that barely cover a rear end, no matter how tiny? Um, no thanks.
It is bad enough that when Addie and shop at our high end boutiques, Target and Kohl's, she now wants to go in the girl section. It is bad enough that she is particularly enamoured with clothes that have sparkles, lace and glitz all over them. It is bad enough that sweatpants and athletic wear in the girl section print things across the bottoms of size xs 4/5. But now do I have to worry about her, this young, being exposed to label envy?
Am I off base here? Overreacting? Maybe, maybe not, either way I am just a bit leary of what's to come.
Thinking about it makes me realize that my friend Barb really spoke the truth earlier this month when she said Addie "couldn't start parochial school soon enough" - I am pretty sure there is no fancy label sewn onto the back of a homely plaid school uniform.