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Tween Fashion Is Changing Every Day, When Do I Say No?

On Christmas Eve, my tween announced that her once-favorite store, Justice, was no longer cool.

What was cool?

Aeropostale. So, off to the mall I went to return the clothes I had bought at Justice and to wait in line for an hour at Aeropostale to buy a T-shirt and hoodie whose claim to coolness was that they were covered with the word “airmail” in French.

A few weeks later, my daughter informed me that the Emus (UGGs, just cheaper) she had happily worn for almost a year were so not cool. She needed, needed, needed a pair of UGGs. Everyone at school had UGGs. Really, everyone? This time, I did not drive to the mall. Aeropostale I can afford, UGGs not so much. Brand fever has hit my house and my daughter’s goal is to be a walking billboard for the latest tween fashion sensation.

I tried lecturing her about how brands are meaningless. I explained that the name brand would not give her happiness … you get the picture. Her eyes glazed over. Intellectually, she gets it, but emotionally these brands are important to her. Because, of course, brand obsession is not really about the brand but about fitting in.

I find myself in one of those parenting moments where I need to ride that time machine back to being an eleven year old. Tretorn sneakers and Polo shirts were the rage then—and I needed, needed, needed to have them. My mom did get some of these brands for me, but not always. She wasn’t willing to pay twice as much for a pair of jeans, just because they had the Gloria Vanderbilt swan (remember that!) stitched on the pocket.

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Sometimes I used my own money and sometimes I went without. I survived. This is my approach for now. And when her feet stop growing, I might consider those UGGs.

Diana Simeon

Diana Simeon is an editorial consultant for Your Teen.