Fashion Suicide?!

While visiting family back home, a friend of mine found herself at Costco with her in-laws. As they wandered past the clothing section of the store, her “tween” niece announced that in her opinion, “Shopping for clothes where you shop for your groceries, is like fashion suicide.” Easy for her to say – this girl had yet to have a summer job!

As I was listening to my friend, I took a mental stock of what I was wearing at the moment, and sure enough, at least half of my wardrobe was from a variety of big-box grocery stores.

This caused me to ask myself whether or not that was a good thing. I have to admit, overall my wardrobe has become a lot more casual since leaving work and having kids. Generally I think that’s great. I love being able to ditch the nylons and uncomfortable shoes, especially now that there are a lot more cool, workout-style clothes that you can wear for comfort but still feel put together.

Looking casual is one thing, but did this girl have a point? I’ve seen those talk-show makeovers where they spiff up the stay-at-home mom. And while I like my more casual lifestyle, I have to admit there are times when I catch my reflection in a store window and wonder “What happened?” However, I don’t think that has anything to do with where I shop or how much I spend. I think it’s more what I do, such as trudging through the snow walking kids to school. Nevertheless, overall I am certain that her statement was baloney, and I’ll tell you why:

  1. As a busy mom on a budget, I pride myself on finding a good bargain, and love it when I get compliments on my clothes and can tell people “It only cost $10!!!”
  1. It’s convenient and saves you time. Everyone’s lives are way too busy these days. If you can pick up some socks and underwear while you buy dinner, I’d say you’re ahead of the game if it saves you one less stop before you have to pick up the kids. I’ve had last-minute funerals where I suddenly needed a conservative-looking cardigan, or one of the kids forgot to tell me she lost her gym clothes and had a tournament the next day. Believe me, I was very happy to be able to go to the Joe Fresh at my Loblaws right around the corner.
  1. Bargain brands don’t necessarily mean lower quality. We are accustomed to equating brand names with higher quality, but that isn’t always the case. When it comes to basic t-shirts and a pair of jean shorts, I really don’t see any difference, and in fact often prefer the bargain brand. Dressing from head-to-toe in your grocery store purchases may be a bit much, but if you mix a few items in with a great pair of shoes or jacket, and be careful of the fit, you’ll have them fooled. You wouldn’t believe the compliments I get on my fall jacket from Costco. I’ve had to correct many people who assumed it was from Lululemon (Canada’s current “queen of casual”), and it was a fraction of the cost. I say spend it where it counts so you have more in your wallet when those Manolo’s are calling!
  1.  We should not teach our children to be brand-name snobs, but instead, to appreciate a bargain. I went to a high school that was plagued with an obsession over brand names, and would have served as great material for its own “Mean Girls” movie. There was a lot of unnecessary pressure at an age where it’s already tough enough to fit in. I’d like to think that as adults, we are mature and confident enough to walk tall even if our Uggs are knock-offs, and actually realize how silly it is to pay full price when you can find the exact same item without the fancy label. The best way to teach our kids is by example.

While the above points are all valid, there is one potential pitfall of which to be wary. You might be tempted to shop “just because it’s there”. Grocery bills can really add up if you add a clothing item each time, even if it’s a great deal. I always think to myself, “Would I be going out to buy this if I didn’t happen to need milk and bread?” Maybe, maybe not. But my theory is, when in doubt, buy it. You can always return it because you know you’ll be back soon!

Jennifer Torres



Archived from April, 2012.

  • Guest

    That is so funny, as I sit here reading the story in my Costco tshirt I take stock of how much clothing I and my children actually own that came from the same place that I get groceries….and it is a lot. Actually my husband has banned me from doing our grocery shopping anywhere other then NoFrills and Sobeys as there are no other tempting purchases lurking in the non-food aisles:)

  • Snoopy2ca

    I love going to Loblaws and will only go where I can lurk around the Joe Fresh aisles for the kids! I find their clothes to be the right price and with everything under one roof – it makes my life a whole lot easier and less stressful. 

  • Janey-esthetics

    so funny, I think if you love it, it doesn’t matter where you buy it …and if it is a good deal even better :)

  • Gypsymommy

    Loving this blog article! Fashion suicide well at least I’m saving money, lol :) thx for a good read!

  • Kiki

    I consider myself a fashionanble womany (who just happens to be a mom of three boys) and I will wholeheartedly admit that I shop at Joe Fresh.  Whenever I get a compliment about my outfit, I (unabashedly) proclain, “I know!  Can you believe it’s Joe and it’s only $14?!?!)

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter where you buy it if it looks good on you.

  • Happychinadoll

    When you are on a budget, it does not matter where you shop for your clothes.  As long it looks good it is fine.

  • Sherj

    I love Joe Fresh! It looks just as good as what you can find at the mall!

  • Christy

    I truly believe that our tweens are becoming brand snobs. My 14 year old is so bad for this – she won’t wear anything that doesn’t say Lululemon or TNA (and also costs near what I earn a day). Luckily she earns her own money, as I would never spend this on clothing. I think as long as you feel good in what you are wearing, the cost should not matter. I myself love to shop at Value Village – I love a good deal! :)

  • Sarah

    I do occasionally buy my and my kids clothes at big box stores and have no shame in that. What I don’t look forward to is the day my sons think it’s uncool!

  • Christina

    I am a single mom on disability and I can’t afford to buy my clothes (or my daughters) anywhere else. There is no shame at all in buying your clothes where you can afford to. There are far too many people who put too much emphasis on what people look like and how much their clothes cost. What I think is shameful is how people teach these skewed values to their children which causes their children to pick on their peers.

  • Sharmyne

    Costco is amazing for stuff like yoga pants and capris. Why buy one pair at lulu lemon when you can buy 5 for less.

  • Angela

     half of my outfit is from Costco right now too!

  • Donna

    I seem to buy a lot of my families clothes at Costco.  I especially love their Carter’s baby outfits.  They are so cute at such a great price.

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