The Trailblazer

High Price of High School Fashion

Alexandra Truszkowska

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Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion-editorial. The opinions are solely held by the author.

I, a rising senior, recently found myself inside of a Tory Burch boutique at the Garden State Plaza surrounded by shoes. Flats, heels, and sandals were on the table in front of me, on the lush couch, and all over the ground. I picked up the pair of flats I was considering buying. They were a light brown, with the ever iconic gold “T” emblem at the toes. I looked at the price tag. $228. Did I really need a pair of expensive shoes?

“They’re for my internship teaching at Pascack Valley,” I thought to myself, “obviously I need them. Don’t I want to look good at my first real internship? Plus these shoes will last forever, and I can bring them to college…”

I handed over two months of babysitting money and two business days later, the bright orange and pink packaging came. The note said “Thank You. We hope you found exactly what you were looking for – and that you love it.”

Personally, I have a thing for shoes. Expensive, brand name shoes, that is. They’re a popular way to show your “popularity” and style, and truth be told, I’m no stranger to that. Back in late May I bought a pair of Jack Roger sandals as a gift for finishing the “Junior Year Madness” and still having a rock-solid GPA. The sandals retail at $128, not exactly a cheap price for a 16 year old girl who babysits for her income.

The year before, I bought a pair of Birkenstocks for a trip I had to Europe and “I just needed comfortable walking shoes,” and for Christmas I got a pair of tall Uggs. In the past two years, my parents and I have spent around $680 on brand name shoes, not including other “non-designer” pairs I may have gotten.

It’s not just expensive shoes that are prevalent at Pascack Hills; it’s shirts, sweaters, backpacks, and even planners that get everyone riled up. A lot of brands seem to dominate the hallways and classrooms, like the popular Vineyard Vines. A staple in everyone’s closet – boys and girls – and from the frequency of the whale worn, it’s almost a uniform.

Honestly, it’s not even about the quality of the clothing, but the reputation of the brand. Whether it’s spending $50 for someone else seeing the Vineyard Vines whale on the back of a t-shirt in Spanish or spending $100 on leggings at Lululemon just for the emblem to show during gym class, having these brands makes you “cool,” but doesn’t necessarily differentiate you from other people.

Fashion is also shown subtly. An expensive Michael Kors watch or Kate Spade bracelet around the wrist goes just as far as flashy outfits or shoes. A pair of Ray Bans sitting on a desk throws off enough “popular” energy as the next thing.

It does seem ridiculous to spend so much money on material things, and it honestly is ridiculous. But it’s the world we live in. If we don’t wear the whichever expensive brand seems to be on par with the general expectations of Pascack Hills, we’re not cool, or our “look” isn’t as nice.  

Brands are taking over the the students at Hills. Logos, expensive ones at that, are all that matters. You have a planner? That’s great, but is it Lilly Pulitzer? Oh nice shirt – is it Supreme? These questions may not be said out loud, but the looks given really show that actions speak louder than words.

Now, I’m not knocking on these brands – I do own a few Vineyard Vines shirts – or trying to advocate for the devil. For your own sake, don’t go burning any leggings or trying to disrupt the socio-economic environment. But this lifestyle is extremely prevalent in our lives as students at Pascack Hills, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Today it’s these brands, tomorrow it’s something else.

Having such a consumer driven society isn’t healthy for anyone involved, and it leads to an unspoken war on clothes at our school. Until we can all grow as a society and not care about what we wear (I’ll get back to you on that one), be prepared to spend your cash at the mall, and your weekdays parading around in your expensive logos.

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