Friday, August 28, 2009

Our Little Flower Girl Goes Back To School!

Hello Bridal Bee Buds!

As summer is rapidly coming to a close (haven't even started on my new year's resolutions) I thought we'd take a little break from our forays in all things flower girl and focus on back to school. Yup, it's that time again, when your little flower girls and ring bearer, shed their swim suits and summer tans and put on their back packs. It's back to school time and each year millions of parents rush out to buy new clothes for their children. I interviewed three mothers of adorable children to find out where they shop, what they are looking for and if their little flower girls have a say in what they are wearing. Here are brief introductions to our featured mothers. Kathy works for the county of Los Angeles and is the mother of three year old Bella and one year old Jonah. Christine works at the corporate office of a retail clothing industry for a highly successful youth targeted clothing chain and is the mother of nine year old Jordyn. Our final mommy, Mariel, is currently finishing her nursing degree and is mother to six year old Kayla.

1. How do you decide which stores to shop?
  • Kathy: Since the kids grow out of their clothes so fast and are prone to stain them, I try to bargain hunt. I like old navy because I get tons of discounts/coupons. Gap - when they have sales. Target for basics. And I dream when I walk past Nordstrom and Janie and Jack.
  • Christine: Past experience. Which stores are value priced for current fashions. I shop at Target and Tillys. Aesthetic environments. I don't like large crowds or messiness when shopping. I would never shop for Back to School at a Marshalls, TJ Maxx etc.
  • Mariel: Target, Lalaling, and Gymboree. I think about quality and whether it will last long. Good shoes! I will always spend money on good shoes. I will spend most of the money on shoes.
2. What are the top 3 things you consider when purchasing back to school clothes?
  • Kathy: Longevity, weather, versatile.
  • Christine: How long she can wear it. What she currently has in her selection at home that will add options to the item I'm about to buy. What is really a necessity at the time.
  • Mariel: Quality, comfort and easy access. No buttons. I look for hooks so she can go to the bathroom easily.
3. Does your kid have a voice in the clothes selection?
  • Kathy: Yes, lately Bella is picky when it comes to some of her clothes. She is starting to ask for long dresses because she likes this peasant skirt I have that goes to my ankles.
  • Christine: Absolutely! I get the final say but I do consider what she likes and we work together to decide what looks cute on her.
  • Mariel: Oh honey, she always does. She's expressive. She tells me what's comfortable. She tells me if pants are too tight and she'll say "mommy, I can't play in these jeans if they're too tight". She loves trying things on and giving feedback. I choose the clothes and then she picks from that. She'd end up in all pink if she picked everything.
4. Do you consider current trends when shopping?
  • Kathy: Not really. I think about it, but it doesn't influence me.
  • Christine: Yes!
  • Mariel: No, not really. When Crocs were in, they were just so comfortable. We would get them because they worked. I don't go out my way to get trends.
5. Any current styles you would never let your child wear to school?
  • Kathy: At this age no, when she's older, no booty shorts. I don't care how skinny a little kid is, once they are past 6 I don't think it's appropriate.
  • Christine: I stay away from TV show fads or licensed characters. No Hannah Montana, Hello Kitty, Disney etc. I think it looks cheap.
  • Mariel: No.
6. Any trends in clothing that you like for your kids?
  • Kathy: I love the layered look on myself, and I like it on Bella. I like when she throws in her own influence like stripped tights. It's cute when you can tell they kind of dressed themselves.
  • Christine: Skirts, leggings, skinny denim.
  • Mariel: Dresses with pants. She knows to keep her legs together, but she's not thinking about that all the time. It keeps from showing her undies.
7. What's your budget for clothes?
  • Kathy: There is no real budget. When you need it you need it, but here is my average target spending guideline. Jeans - no more than $15, shirt - no more than $12
  • Christine: I only have one child so we spend a couple hundred.
  • Mariel: $100-$200. I generally get t-shirts and jeans from target. I spend $ on undies because I hate holes and good socks. Long sleeves and sweaters, undies, socks I go to Lalaling and Gymboree.
8. What about accessories? Do you accessorize your child for school?
  • Kathy: I don't accessorize for school because the schools don't allow it. They are afraid the kid will lose something and other kids get jealous. However Bella likes belts and headbands. And little hair clips that she puts in herself.
  • Christine: Not necessarily. I make sure she has cute hair clips that coordinate with her clothing. I also invest in a basic pallet of shoes for her that match her clothing. That's really about it.
  • Mariel: Headbands and hair things. I get them at Gymboree. We were told that the play jewelry is distracting [at school]. It's not really allowed.
9. Do you get your child a haircut for the new year? Is there a style hairstyle you prefer?
  • Kathy: I cut it myself recently. I haven't taken her to a place yet. Maybe next year. As far as hairstyle, I love her curls down or in pig tails.
  • Christine: Yes. I prefer no bangs. Each year we pick something a little more mature. This year we went Victoria Beckham.
  • Mariel: Normally just cut the ends. No layers. Square cut with bangs. It's convenient.
10. Are there colors or fabrics that you prefer for kids clothes?
  • Kathy: Soft jersey cotton, denim. colors . . . Anything but white. White is a nice color but stains easily.
  • Christine: Yes. Blue, purple, black, gray, white, pink. We rarely do red or green. I choose colors that work best with her skin tone and hair color.
  • Mariel: I absolutely avoid white shirts. I love white shirts, but not for school. I try not to go with really dark colors. I try to do lavenders, purples, light blue, dark blue, brown and black. Jeans are a good material because it doesn't matter how dirty they get, you wash them and they're clean.
11. How do you feel about uniforms? Would you prefer your kids wear uniforms to school? If yes why? If no, why?
  • Kathy: The good thing about uniforms is that kids don't feel competition in wearing name brands. The bad thing is they are sometimes more expensive than regular clothing. I personally think they are ugly but after seeing how some kids dress today, I am not opposed.
  • Christine: I like uniforms but she does not. She is on a uniform waiver at school. Basically, she can wear them if we want. I like them because it's quick and easy and saves money but I empathize with her need to "fit in" with friends not wearing uniforms so we have her wear uniforms 2 days a week, and she dresses in regular clothes the other days.
  • Mariel: That would be easier. She stains everything she takes to school. It would make my life easier.
12. What do you think about the tradition of back to school shopping? Do you think it's just become a ploy for companies to make money, or do you think there really is necessity in this yearly ritual?
  • Kathy: I don't think it's any different then a black Friday or semi annual sale. I know lots of parents that really wait until the end of summer to buy new shoes for school, new jeans, and the basics. I personally buy more in impulse. I see something at a good price and if I know my kids will be able to wear it within the next 6 months (season/size wise) I buy it. I don't stock up for the sake of stocking up, but when I like something that's a good deal I just get it.
  • Christine: I think there is a need. I almost put off any shopping until these times because I know I will find deals during bts shopping. Kids grow so fast and shoe sizes change at least once a year so there is a need.
I hope all you mommies and daddies found that fun and informative. I sure did. I learned that given the chance many little girls would end up looking like a pink Pepto Bismal bottle. Unless your young child lives in a bubble, better to stay far far away from white. Your child may go to school looking like a million bucks, but by days end she/he could end up looking like a cast member on Lost, so durability is important. Target seems to be a great place to get basics and trends at a very good price, but of course Nancy August is the best place to get cute and affordable special occasion wear. Thanks for playing and as homework write a note and put in your darling's lunch box to remind them how proud you are of them and just how special they are.


Bridal Bee

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