Designer Clothes

Q. Help! I am a single parent who can't compete with the middle-school, designer-clothes craze.

It Worked for Me:

Uniforms are the answer to designer clothes. Both boys and girls like them. Mine wore them for years without one complaint. It solved the situation and became the answer to end this problem. - Mrs. Krueger in Chisholm, MN

Keep a reasonable goal in mind: five to seven jeans and 10 tops. Shop the resale shops. They offer excellent quality at reasonable prices. Our Salvation Army sells jeans and tops for about $5.00. Church rummage sales sell designer clothes for $1 to $2. Check merchandise thoroughly for stains and tears. Take your child with you to resale stores and the mall. Once my daughter saw the price difference, she saw why I preferred to shop resale. Measure your child, write it down and carry a tape measure with you. It saves trips to the dressing room and allows you to shop without the child with you each time. - R. A. in Syracuse, NY

Have your daughter work to pay for half or all of the cost. She will understand how much of a difference and a sacrifice the designer labels are. Middle schoolers can do yard work, help with chores, rake leaves, baby sit, etc. Another idea is to shop at the used clothing stores. We have some who cater only to designer clothing. When she outgrows them, they can be resold to the store. - D. W. in fort Worth, TX

Explain the financial situation to your child and suggest she could earn extra money for special clothing. When a birthday approaches maybe tell the grandparents what your child wants in the way of more expensive clothing. One or two designer-type clothing is usually enough for most children - Kathleen Cox in Palmetto, FL

Boys want designer brands as well. We told our boys they could have any fashion fad they wanted as long as they provided help by paying for half. Both boys received a small weekly allowance and made money on the side by doing various things. One son even repaired and rebuilt bikes for kids in the neighborhood. When it cam time to buy those fancy duds, they not only learned the cost, but the value of them in relation to their labor. They're were more selective in their choices and learned how to shop for quality as well as value. - Mike Tuttle in Nashville, TN

I told my middle school aged child that I had $200 to spend on clothes. I gave her the choice to either buy a couple of designer items or she could get a lot of clothes at a discount store. She chose the designer-fad route and wore the same four or five pieces all fall. By giving her the choice, she was happy in living with the decision and she learned a little about compromise. - D. H. H. in Fort Worth, TX

From Jodie: Resale shops are wonderful. The best thing is they have sales! Buy in the off-season. For example: for summer clothes, buy in the winter and vice versa. Also watch the paper for "sample sales." These are usually in the same classified advertising section as garage sales. The clothes are samples -- but who cares? Look them over carefully and snap the item. Take a skirt, blouse, etc., and snap it as though it was being folded. If dust or any type of a powder substance comes out, it may have sat somewhere too long. Sounds funny -- but it's a test that works and usually indicates the fabric will become weaker at a rapid pace as it is washed. Unless it's a heck of a good deal, I'd pass it up.

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