Back-to-school trend alert! Buying your kids nothing is the new black! Or should I say the new way to stay in the black? According to The New York Times and Yahoo! Finance, “These days, it’s back to school, then shopping” for parents and their schoolkids. Reporter Stephanie Clifford argues that, “In a shift that is upending retailers’ plans, many children, teenagers and their parents are delaying their school purchases.” She says, “A desire to get the trends right accounts for some of the hesitation. But retailers and analysts say the sluggish economy and unusually hot weather have also made for a surprisingly slow start to the back-to-school spending season.”
My daughter is only going into second grade, so I’d like to think that “trends” aren’t really a consideration when it comes to her clothing items, but nowadays even the youngest kids are subject to the whims of the fashion world. Last year, one mother noted to NPR, “sparkling, glittering shoes” were trending for the 3- and 4-year-old set. My daughter had a pair, and they’re pretty much destroyed now, but she’s just as happy to wear them with scuffed toes as she was when they were brand new. In fact, I’m more than willing to embrace my daughter’s natural anti-consumerist attitude and send her back to school – just like I did in 2011 – in clothes she already owns. Furthermore, I don’t plan on buying her any new clothes until November.
Yes, that’s in part because as a single mother weathering the recession, I’m always looking for ways to save money. But retailers, take note: global warming may be what’s really cooling off your back-to-school sales. After all, what parent is going to force a kid to wear a new fall sweater on an 85 degree day? I can remember as a high-schooler in Upstate New York being so excited to break out my new back-to-school duds that I paired a wool sweater with shorts to try to make fall fashion work with the summer temperatures. Needless to say, I could have used a stylist. My look was always a bit ahead of its time, though. In 8th grade, I wore a pair of fluorescent Umbro soccer shorts over a pair of white cotton capri pants. In response to my daring look, one of my male classmates called me a “dildo.” I’m not sure he knew what that meant, but who’s laughing now? If I’m a dildo, so is every girl who’s ever worn jean shorts over tights or leggings! That means there’s an awful lot of dildos walking around! Many of them are my Brooklyn neighbors.
Thanks to the warm weather here in New York City, my daughter will probably start the 2012 school year wearing shorts and a tank top. That’s SO LAST SEASON! I know. But there is one item I’m willing to splurge on for fall, however, and that’s a new backpack. Hers from last year has a hole in it, and though it’s still functional, I’d rather not see her lose any pencils, pens or precious plastic school store junk that kids love to trade and hate to part with. I’d get her the $728 Burberry London Checked Backpack, but it looks like it’s out of stock. We’ll have to go with something from Target instead, I guess. Maybe next year!