I Love Back-to-School Shopping; My Daughter Doesnâ€™t
Back-to-school shopping is big deal in some families. According to the National Retail Federation, parents with kids in kindergarten through 12th grade plan to spend $630.35 on average. That shakes out to $217.83 on new clothes, $117.56 on new shoes, and just under $100 on school supplies, according to NRF.
Back-to-school shopping was a big deal for me when I was teenager. I would spend weeks studying the ads in Seventeen, strategizing and imagining my back-to-school wardrobe before heading out to the stores in August. Inevitably my mom and I would argue over what was appropriate, what was too expensive and what I was allowed to buy and wear. I would meticulously pick out my first-day-of-school outfit, and Iâ€™d make sure I had something new to wear that entire first week.
In our house, the only thing my daughter and I could agree on was that she needed new sneakers. I would have loved to buy new clothes for her but she is the most reluctant shopper I have ever met. She did not get the shopping gene.
She was willing to shop for sneakers (because hers had a gapping hole in them), but hesitant to try them on (how can you buy shoes without trying them on?), and thrilled when I told her she could have two pair.
What about shopping for pants, shirts, dresses, skirts? Out of the question!
During the summer, she wears cargo shorts and a T-shirt. In colder weather, she wears cargo pants, a T-shirt and a hoodie. She has about 5 different fleece hoodies in a rainbow of colors (no pink, no purple).
Granted, this eliminates the arguments that I would have with my mom about appropriate attire and how much money a reasonable person should pay for a pair of jeans. I donâ€™t ever have to worry that my daughterâ€™s skirts are too short (she refuses to wear a skirt), that her shirt is too low-cut (she wonâ€™t wear anything that isnâ€™t a crewneck T-shirt) or that she is baring her midriff (she would cover it over up with her hoodie).
But I do wish she would think about wearing something new and with a little bit more flare on the first days of school. I worry that her classmates and teachers might think we are too poor to buy new clothes, or that I donâ€™t want to buy my daughter new clothing.
To encourage her to shop, I try luring my daughter over to my laptop to show her photos of T-shirts with clever sayings about math, science and Star Wars â€“ all her favorite things. I know better than to try to suggest a flouncy skirt or a ruffled blouse.
Me: â€œWhat about this one?â€
Me: â€œThis one?â€
Daughter: â€œEverything still fits me. I donâ€™t need anything new.â€
Me: â€œWhat about a new backpack?â€
Me: â€œNew lunchbox?”
Daughter: â€œIâ€™m good.â€
I find T-shirts online with super sarcastic sayings like, â€œNational Sarcasm Society (like we need your help),â€ â€œMy imaginary friends thinks you have mental problems,â€ and â€œNormal People Scare Me.â€ It doesnâ€™t take much to encourage her to buy them. I wonder if they are appropriate for school, if the other kids will get her sense of humor, and then I remember that the kids she hangs out with at school are just as sarcastic and witty as she is so at least theyâ€™ll get the joke. Iâ€™m not sure about the rest of the 8th grade or her teachers.
Total spent on clothes is $40 plus $143.07 on sneakers equals $183.07; not even close to the average $630.35 that NRF expected me to spend on back-to-school clothes.