Teenagers should feel comfortable no matter their brand of clothing

Teenagers are spending more than they need to on trendy clothes


display of lululemon clothes , one of the many popular brands amongst new trier student

The mixed feeling of regret and satisfaction rises over me. I’m looking at my mobile bank app 5 minutes after I swiped my debit card to pay for a pair of $70 shorts. “They match with everything…you’ll wear them all the time.” My friends say convincingly as I walk up to the register, a smiling clerk greeting me cheerily as she takes all of my hard-earned money.  I think of all the iced vanilla lattes I made at my job in a local coffee shop, and all the ‘Karens’ I had to deal with to be able to afford this most basic clothing item. 

Being in high school is hard enough, now there is extra pressure to dress a certain way. I work 10+ hours every weekend to be able to afford brands like Lululemon, Pac Sun and Aritzia. Majority of their merchandise is 70+ dollars, that’s over 6-7 hours of working for one pair of jeans. I asked myself why this is the ‘uniform’ of high schoolers, and who made it so expensive? 

I asked myself why this is the ‘uniform’ of high schoolers, and who made it so expensive?

There is always the option to buy the off-brand version or buy something similar.. It’s not really the quality or even the clothing everyone is longing for, it’s the brand name. Having the little reflective Lululemon symbol on the leg of your shorts or on the back of your shirt gives you ‘instant status’ at school. 

I was lucky enough to avoid it in middle school until 8th grade. Middle schoolers are now sporting the $150 Aviator Nation sweatpants and $70 Lululemon tank tops. Even if you try to avoid the brand names, chances are you end up wanting a single top or even headband just to fit in. 

Online shopping sites like Amazon have clothing “dupes,” which are identical clothing items but without the logo or brand name. But among students the clothing is hardly seen as the same. I have heard people referring to their peers as ‘cheap’ for buying these off-brand versions instead of the ‘real thing’. 

People can buy whatever brands they like and can spend as much money as their heart desires – if they have it. But it’s difficult for some students in similar situations as me, to fit in because they can’t afford these brands or have to work many hours on the weekend and after school to afford these brands so they feel like they fit in. 

I work two jobs all weekend and make all my own money. Because of that, I can afford some of these brands because they help me feel ‘normal’ when in reality it shouldn’t be a brand that decides someone’s social status. 

Most people will not outrightly judge you for your choice of clothes but it has been a topic behind a person’s back or people pass comments like “I would NEVER buy clothes from that brand.” And when students that may not be able to afford these clothes and hear these comments it becomes an insecurity or it can embarrass them

Many name brands will target their advertising towards teenagers with the specific names of clothing items. Names such as “perfect going out top” or “body shaping cross over leggings” are appealing to teenagers wanting to look and feel good in their clothes. Brands such as Aritzia name their clothes to appeal to teenagers when their prices are so far out of range for many of these teens.  

Buying off-brand clothes and other items should be a normal, accepted practice because clothing is a way for students to express themselves and feel comfortable. When someone feels insecure or embarrassed because their pants were $10 instead of $100 it takes away the idea of expression and comfort in clothing.