Think back to your middle school days.
Do you remember what you pulled out of your dresser to wear each morning? If you were anything like me, it probably wasn’t a name brand shirt. It wasn’t Hollister, American Eagle, Aeropostale, or anything you’d find at the mall. If you were like me, it was a dress from the 50% off rack at JC Penney’s or something from the Goodwill down the street.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t grow up poor. I grew up in a middle-class family with two parents who worked their butts off everyday to provide my brothers and I with food on the table, a roof above our heads, and clothes on our backs.
But it never occurred to me that people looked down on me because my parents chose not to spend $40 on a neon pink polo shirt that said “Aero” across the chest in giant sparkly lettering. I never thought that just maybe people talked behind my back because my jeans weren’t those designer ones with the bedazzled back pockets everyone strutted around in.
Not until I actually heard it for myself and came to recognize that the stares I received walking down the hallway that I chose to believe were because they liked my outfit were actually because they thought I wasn’t cool enough to be seen with them.
Where other people were wearing bedazzled button downs, I was usually in one of my brothers. Where they wore diamond studded Miss Me jeans, I wore Arizona straight-legged ones.
Over the past couple of years – the awkward tomboy stage, the valley girl stage, and finally this hippie stage – I’ve come to realize something important; your worth should never be placed in a label.
My mother came home from work the last week and, as a sixth grade teacher, she’s always got a story or two to tell. This one was different though. A girl in her home room was made fun of because she wasn’t wearing brand name clothes. Her peers were judging her for how much money her parents spent on a pair of shoes.
Excuse me? No child should ever feel like less of a person for what they’re wearing. Whatever that reason may be for not shelling out cash for the pricier things, worth and value cannot ever be determined by something like that.
I’m 21 now and a junior in college. While I am lucky enough to have my parents still pay for the bigger things, I am on my own when it comes to things such as clothes and groceries.
So, tell me. As a 21-year-old college girl living on her own, why would I want to drop $65 on a dress at Urban Outfitters when I could spend the same amount for several items that look very similar at the Goodwill less than 10 minutes away?
Why should I let other people dictate what I wear or how much I spend when I’m the one wearing the clothes?
I live for a good bargain. On any given day, I am more than likely wearing a $10 outfit and get more compliments and feel more like myself than I do when I wear something I paid a pretty penny for.
Clothes should be about what makes you feel good, not about the price tag or the latest trends.