Back To School Clothes — Why?

by Katy on August 15, 2008 · 5 comments



Is the stress of back-to-school clothes shopping getting to you?

I ask this one question:

Do you buy all your clothes for the year in one fell swoop?

No, of course not. You buy your clothes one piece at a time when you come across something you like.

So why should kids get a whole bunch of brand-new clothes for the first day of school deadline?

It makes no sense.

Americans are expected to spend an average of $231.80 per child for back-to-school clothing and accessories for the 2008 school year. With many spending much, much more.

I buy clothes for my 10 and 12-year-old sons all year long. That way I’m able to pick up great deals at the thrift shops, when I come across them. (I am part of The Compact, and only buy used.) If I were to try and put together an complete wardrobe of clothes at one time, it would be impossible.

Because I’m constantly keeping an eye out for their clothes, I’m able to be very picky and choose only like-new, high quality stuff. For pennies on the dollar.

I don’t think having sons changes the issue, if anything it makes it more difficult. Used boy clothes are often beat to death, plus my 12-year-old has cultivated a very distinct style. (Rocker chic.)

So don’t let Madison Avenue convince you that it’s necessary to blow hundreds of dollars on back-to-school clothes. 

Buy all year ’round and you’ll be better off.

Want to add your two cents on the back-to-school clothing issue? Add it in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie August 15, 2008 at 7:39 am

Hi Katy,

I remember getting new school clothes ( sweaters and jeans) and then wanting to wear them the first day of school. In Oregon however, September is one of the nicest months, and it was not uncommon to have 80 degree weather the first two weeks of school. I would do it differently now. Thanks for the link to Zero Waste. Stay cool 🙂



Stretch Mark Mama August 15, 2008 at 9:27 am

One of the benefits of homeschooling! Tacky clothes, year round! 🙂 (Part snark, part serious)


Susan August 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

This year we were tightly strapped for money and I too have been trying to follow the compact. It was finally time for school and normally we would buy “school” clothes and then I thought why are we buying all at once. It makes no sense. And I spoke with the children and the only one who really wanted new clothes was the 17 yo boy (he’s like the stereotypical girl). The 15yo girl was fine and so was the 10 yo boy. Keep on writing I love your site.


Linda August 16, 2008 at 9:56 am

This is the first year my son will be out of a “uniform” school, this will be the 5th year for my daughter. They have both been brainwashed by the Buy School Clothes ads. I will usually buy one new outfit (I always shop the clearance racks though) & then try to keep up with other stuff they need throughout the year, also clearance or second-hand.


Heather August 19, 2008 at 6:51 am

Hi Katy,

How do you handle school supplies? Teachers have specific lists and requests. Do you buy new, but on sale? Or do you have another method?


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