My initial gut feeling when I read this question was, “Of course not-total waste of money”. But after thinking about it, I’m not completely sure that saying “waste of money” all the time is really a good answer IF you have the means to pay for the clothing. Of course, if you can’t afford it, well, that’s it-you get what you can afford to get.

Now, having said that, I think a legitimate case can be made for purchasing  desired expensive item of clothing for a reward or for a gift every so often for a child

Special occasions like family weddings, award ceremonies, recitals, nice dinners, parties/dances and the like present a good opportunity to get out of Tarjay’s clothing department, and maybe go to a  Nordstrom’s or a nice luxury store like slay my bambini. You can also purchase for those kids still growing a nice pair of sunglasses or a watch or other accessory that they can wear for a few years. A once in a while splurge can also be a teaching tool. They can learn from you, the parent, that:

* There are items where paying a little more pays off since they can be worn from season to season and last longer than a cheaper version. And the fabrics are generally better so the clothing is probably more comfortable than the cheaper version.
* Treating yourself every so often to something a little pricey that you love is one of life’s little pleasures. Nobody should grow up feeling like they aren’t worth pampering sometimes. Teach your kids that they are worthy of good things every so often as long as there is room in the budget for it, and that spending a little discretionary money on a luxury every so often isn’t always a terrible thing-you can’t take it with you.
* They learn to appreciate the finer things in life, and learn there is nothing wrong with splurging sometimes when you have the means to do it.
* They learn when it is appropriate to pay a little more for clothing. This is a lesson they will need-there will be times in their lives when they will HAVE to spend good money on clothing (special event clothing, job interviews, certain professional positions), and they should know what to look for when they have to do so. Buying them expensive clothing every so often teaches them there is a difference, and helps them to figure out when it is appropriate to spend a little more-you don’t want them thinking shopping at Old Navy or Tarjay is appropriate when they have a job interview or are attending a fancy dinner.
* And, of course, they can always help pay for those items they really want, but are outside of your willingness to purchase (it isn’t a special occasion or they don’t need an item that pricey, etc). They learn then what it feels like to part with money for expensive items, and it can help them to develop some discipline when it comes to purchasing such items.

Sending the message that purchasing/wanting/owning expensive clothing is bad and wasteful and vain all the time is just as unbalanced as sending the message that every time you need underwear, you’re going to go to La Perla, and pay $100 for drawers when Hanes will do. Balance is key here I think.
So, yeah, to me, it depends. Expensive clothing is a factor of life, and sometimes a necessary part of life. Take it as  one of those teaching moments, and show your kids a great way to balance wants and needs.

By Charlotte Lang

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