Out Of The Mailbag: Juicy Couture – D&G – Burberry – UGG – Hard Tails

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yw story logo2.jpgFor those of you that do not recognize these brand labels, consider yourself extremely fortunate.

Having attended Shulamis High School years ago which was one of the only Brooklyn schools that did not have a school uniform, I always wondered why the Bais Yaakov’s all made their students wear school uniforms. Was it a look the schools were looking for?  Was it tzniut related? I understood that certain children would always be wearing nicer clothing than others because their parents had money, but that is life. If you want every kid to dress the same, walk the same, talk the same and act the same, then move to communist China.

Parents that have been blessed with wealth certainly have every right to spend it how they see fit, and if they choose to purchase Juicy pajamas for their daughter for $150, kol hakavod.  It is their money. Quite frankly it is none of my business and I do not resent it in any way.

My issue however is what has been going on recently with both girls AND BOYS alike as far as brand name clothing is concerned. Many of us do not realize that many sixth and seventh grade girls are going to school with $175 knapsacks. Sweatshirts that run $75 a piece, and can’t be worn more than once a month. I recall being in school and wearing the same pair of school shoes all winter. Now the girls need their Ugg boots ($110), and three pairs of shoes.

Many high school boys are now wearing ties that I am told run upwards of $150. That is correct…..$150. Their glasses (and g-d forbid you should only have one pair) are all designer names many of which I have never ever heard of. Belts can run over $200 and yet somehow so many of these yeshiva bochurim have them.

I know that many of you are going to comment that you need to learn to be mechanech your kids and learn to say NO. I know all about it. A few months ago YWN posted an article (HERE) about the cost of seminary and most of the comments (ludicrous in my opinion) were how this parent didn’t understand how to say no. My guess is that many (not all) of these comments came from people who are not in the “parsha”.

We need to understand the ENOURMOUS pressure that is put on these kids in school by their friends and classmates. It is easy to sit back and be an armchair NO NO NO parent.  If I had a daughter…  I would tell my son…  If you are able to and it doesn’t backfire, great. Consider yourself very lucky. But many of us do not want our children to be outcasts and want our children to be happy. With all that is going on with children at risk today, the number one priority you hear from the people that deal with this is to make sure your children are happy.

I don’t have a good answer to the problem and while I am inclined to say no, and my gut tells me to say no, it breaks my heart to see unhappy children. 

Any advice?

Chana L
Flatbush, NY.

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The views expressed in this column reflect the opinions of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Yeshiva World News LLC. These individual opinions are also in no way meant as a P’sak Halacha or Hashkafa. As with all matters, be sure to consult with a Rov with all questions.


81 COMMENTS

  1. just say no!
    if done properly your kids won’t feel like outcasts & on the contrary will feel proud to go against the tide.
    if you mammash feel that it’s not possible, maybe it’s time to seriously consider moving out of town.
    that’s what i – a lifelong flatbusher – did. i just got sick of the gashmiyus & realized that it sent brooklyn down the tubes.

  2. Idealist- That is absolute stupidity!
    Chana- well said! I recently visited family in Lakweood and was appalled at the level of awareness of children of designer clothing. The looks of awe and non stop whispering, pointing and staring that accompanied me as I walked into shul was disgusting!! I am no movie star! I was wearing designer shoes!!! Who is educating elementary school children of these facts? Then in walks the 11 yr old kid with Ferragamo shoes . Perhaps he is the one teaching everyone else.His parents feel the need to buy him $400 shoes and his whole class gets to know about it -creating tremendous kinaah. Then I visited another cousin who proudly proclaimed that she only wears Coach shoes. ONLY $150 shoes! Other companies are simply not befitting. Her father is a rebbe! (I understand that one can find metzios but she has several pairs of the latest styles!!!) I too do not know what can be done to reverse this trend. I just can say that I have visited many times and this is the 1st time that this has been thrown in my face as such. I know that no one wants to be the parent that says no! Maybe the schools should get involved! Maybe! I am not sure how this can be done effectively either. BUT- if talk of prices and symbols of clothing designers is what occupies 5th grade children’s (girls AND BOYS) conversations, than there is a serious flaw.

  3. Very important subject and very serious problem. I myself am a parent of teenagers & have tried with minimum success to educate my children to live without “kipling” & “juicy” etc. “But ploinis has it & her family is not rich??” is what I get as an argument. And she has a good taana why should she be one of the 3% of the girls in her class without an $80 knapsack? I don’t have a solution.

  4. Is this really that common? It is hard for me to imagine that there are that many people with the funds to support such a lifestyle. If it is true that there are so many then yes it is a problem. It is unconscionable that such a level of conspicuous consumption should be rampant while there are people in our community who are living in or near poverty. And yes there are plenty of people in our community who are in desperate financial straits. And don’t tell me rich people have a right to spend their money as they see fit. We are supposed to be Areivim Zeh La Zeh and we are supposed to help each other out. Unfortunately the attitude now seems to be every man for himself and if you are not making it tough.

  5. “KOL HAKAVOD” – to all you “Just say No’s!” … Leave her alone – she is just asking for advise – not everyone has all the answers – i know i dont

  6. B”H, my kids think very little of the gashmiyas prevelent in so many communities. In fact, they’re often too frugal in their clothing choices, and I’m trying to convince them that one good pair of shoes will last longer then 3 from Payless.

  7. I have a hard time believing it’s almost ALL the kids, as a lot of parents are in kollel, how would they afford it?
    One solution if the parents in kollel are buying these items is stop sending money to those kollels. You might ask what is wrong with this poster??? I have recently learned that men in kollel have Internet and other items that A they should not have and B I have no desire to support.
    So if these designer items are part of it I have no interest in supporting it.
    (on a side note if the guys in kollel, tomcha shabbos, rebbeim etc don’t have designer goods then there is nothing wrong with telling your child we belong in that 1/2 of the class not the 1/2 that are wealthy)
    We have to at some point realize “all men are not created equal” some have and some don’t!!

  8. All I can say is boruch hashem I live out of town (about 100 families). I make a decent living, but still can’t afford full tuition for 5 kids in Pre-k through 6th grade. We don’t have any peer pressure for the designer clothes (at least not through 6th grade) and it is a good thing because we couldn’t afford it even if there was. Those who are bothered by this issue may want to seriously look at moving “out of town” (most of the smaller out of town communities would be very happy to get some more frum families).

  9. Idealist, it sounds like you haven’t been in school for a while. chana’s adressing a problem that has spread everywhere and is really getting out of hand.

    I’m fresh out of high school and my sibs are in elementary school now….uniforms were the school’s rule but that didn’t stop the styles from dominating.

    I remember when i was very young, there were styles that people “just had to have” but they ranged more along the lines of different looks and trends rather than the new trends of exorbitant brand names.

    What Chana is talking about is very real and hardly “negative”. I want you to imagine a 12 year old girl whose parents make a decent income and who has been raised on good Torah values, attending a good school….and trying to pretend that she doesn’t want the Juicy pencil-case and oh, winter’s coming- she needs a scarf. Any nice scarf would do but if everyone’s wearing juicy scarves ($85-$135) or gloves ($75-$170), it takes a kid with VERY VERY strong character not to want that too.

    now a bunch of people might be thinking “Look, if they can afford it, let them enjoy it.”

    i don’t know, do you really want such a materialistic message floating in front of kids’ eyes all day long? It’s not like only the buyer knows what she’s wearing, so “it just makes me feel good.” THE ENTIRE GRADE knows how much you spent because of the brand name plastered all over it.

    it’s not just clothing- shoes ($100-$400), socks ($40), scarves, gloves, glasses, key chains for cell phones ($55!), pencil cases ($80!!), knapsacks ($150), hair accessories ($60), and everything else in between.

    so we are basicaly going to school and learning that as long as you have money you can flippantly spend it on junk. oh, excuse me- on junk with a brand name engraved on it.

    and then we do a school project helping pack tomchei shabbos while our Juicy bracelets jangle.

    I think the only way to try and curb this is by collectively cutting back. but to get the whole community to change is hardly a feasible answer.

    it used to be that parents knew-kids are kids, and they can wear things from kids r us. as parents started dressing their kids in brand names from boutiques, kids shifted into mini-adults. it’s time to shift them back into kids.

    just reevaluate your priorities.
    Parents, if you don’t start saying NO, your kids will morph into shallow, materialistic snobs who look down at the 2 girls in the grade who can not afford to be walking billboards.

  10. The problem starts with the adults. I constatntly see adults in brooklyn only wearing designer shoes, handbags…and usually there is an attitude that gets worn as well.
    My siblings had the same taana regarding the kipling bags,,,and geuss what my parents eventually gave in… what can they do? for 6 months the girls kept complaining how they don’t want to be nebby.
    It’s sad that this need to wear high end designer clothes has penetrated into our community.
    Wouldn’t we be raising a better generation if we would all be focusing on the true values in life?

    The solution is not simple, but i think if the rich people were the ones to put an end to this madness then everyone else will feel comfortable to follow suit….
    but i geuss not all rich people are able to control their taiva of showing off.

    people need to focus on being sensitibe to others. they need to be sensitive to those who can’t afford extras. By doing so they will merit great bracha and protect themselves from ayin hara which can chas veshalom cause untold damage.
    listen to rabbi frand’s shiur on “Tznius- a lifestyle, not just for women”.

  11. As someone who *is* in the Parsha (I have three older school-age kids), allow me to make the following two points about the need to keep up with the Joneses kids:

    I’ll make two points about keeping up with the Joneses’ kids:

    1. If the Joneses’ kids are going to make fun of your kids because their not wearing $150 ties and $200 belts, then I think your kids need new friends. How a person deals with others who are less fortunate than themselves says a lot about their character. Do you want your kids to hang around with people who snobbishly look down at others, or do you want your kids to hang around with other kids who value people for who they are and not what designer labels they are wearing?

    2. While saying no to your kids in the short run may make you unpopular, in the long run, you will be doing a great service to your kids. You will be teaching them the meaning of fiscal responsibility. You will be teaching them to learn to live within their means. You will be teaching them that it is far more important to enjoy what you have, rather than be envious of what other people have.

    The Wolf

  12. First of all, ever heard of china town?!? not always is it the “real thing” and if you can’t afford it and your kids are scared of not fitting in… sometimes an imitation may do. But for those with a real “eye for it” this may not work. but it’s worth a try if it’ll make your kid feel like one of the crowd.

    Seriously speaking though… it is absolutely ridiculous the whole pressure name brand mishugas. I almost threw up the other day when I saw a girl try to scare her father by showing him a tag of a junky looking sweater priced in the upper 100s! then she said just kidding I reallly got it on sale… I looked at the sale price and it was a major price break… it was $85. FOR GOODNESS SAKE why is ANYONE paying 80 dollars for a sweater b/c some shaiketz wrote juicy on it. You can dress nicely and be put together and look with it… if it is important to you and do it all without the ba’al tashchis of the name brand! Especially when you dont have the means for it.

    STAND UP for what is right! I had a camper once tell me that she couldn’t bring herself to put on herself anything that is not name brand because it feels junky. If you want my opinion half those juicy things and others feel like garbage to me!

    Will we wake up and set out priorities straight.
    The ties the glasses the clothes and purses… who gives a hoot what shaiketz has his emblem on it. GROW UP!

    ALSO be sure to be dan l’kaf zechus when you see it… I have a bag with a “name brand” tag on it that someone bought me as a gift (its fake and I am proud of it) but I never would have picked it… and a sweater I once bought.. some of you would laugh to know that I didnt even notice the horse on it until I got home. Will I wear it? yeah. will I wear other things that arent? yeah!

    Get a life and stop sending kids to school with all this garbage. nobody needs to know how much money you make o pretend to make!

  13. “Ma tovu ohelecha yaakov…”

    It should not be in our DNA to be so busy with what our neighbor has, but sadly, such is our present-day matzav. We need to teach our children that Yiddishe pride and confidence doesn’t come from fancy clothing or cars, but from within. The first step, though, is when we the adults begin to internalize the timeless lesson that greets us each morning.

  14. I think this is a serious problem and has to be dealt with through the gedolei yisroel. Like T
    here were tznius gatherings in Lakewood for all frum women, this issue really needs to be addressed.
    The schools should set policies like they have with uniforms. Schoolbags, supplies etc must have a limit set by the schools and enforced strongly.
    May we all be zocheh to get our priorities straight and be mechanech our children with siyata dishmaya!

  15. A lot of this has to do with the children’s upbringing. I do not have to say ‘No’ to my children – they don’t even want these types of clothing. They are the ones that comment to me about how crazy it is that some classmates only wear designer belts, etc. and how the classmates comment on what everyone else is wearing. Is that what these kids are sent to school for?

  16. It’s not only girls. My 9 year old nephew knew what Hermes is! It’s absurd that it even affects boys! It’s only natural for girls to care how their clothing looks, but some segments of our society are so into their “sophisticated” brand name fashion, the little boys are more concerned with their ferragamo shoes then regular things, like GI Joe, or maybe even mishayos ba’al peh. Shame on the parents who buy their kids these things!
    And if your girl needs to look pretty- Targe’
    What brand name your kids wear, or don’t wear is NO ONE’s BUSINESS. When you give in to the “pressure” of getting them brand name clothing, you are teaching them:
    a) you should care what other people think about your chitzoniyous
    b) you should put value on designer names, because people said so.
    c) what people spend on clothing (and I guess everything else by extension), IS everyone’s business
    d) tznious (both in dress, and in $) is secondary to “impressions”

  17. Why not tell the kid, “Sure. Go ahead and buy the Kipling, Coach, etc.” When s/he sees that it will take a month of babysitting to get it, suddenly it might not seem so urgent…

  18. I have 4 teenagers, KA”H, and am all too familiar with this problem.

    First of all, many times the kids are wearing fakes, mine included.

    Secondly, if my daughters ever push to get that “Juicy” sweater, it comes out of their pocket, not mine. If I know she needed a sweater anyways, then I only contribute the normal cost that I would have paid anyways. I also push for them to wait until the chaggim and clothing goes on sale.

    I don’t think the “NO, NO, NO” response to kids is sympathetic to the peer pressure they face everyday or understanding of their need to “feel good”, but I also won’t change my values for this mishugas. This is my way of offering an option that I’m hoping they will outgrow as they mature.

    Most important is what are the values that the parents are setting at home? This is what will most likely have a lasting effect on them throughout life.

  19. 11, 12, 13 and others yes! Its not only in New York but all the big cities and its not only the girls. Actually from my experience, the girls schools put greater emphasis on toning down but the boys in yeshiva are not hearing any of this. My boys are more into their glasses, clothing,etc. than my girls and I do as many suggested. If I don’t think it is necessary you pay for it. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t but that is their choice. Adults too need to tone down! Not only clothes but how they decorate and redecorate their homes and where they go for vacations. We have to stop “supporting” our kids in every area including kollel as the word “support” has now gone way beyond the necessities!! Boys today are 18 and have no idea what is financially involved in running a household. It is our responsibility to teach them or we have failed as parents!!!

  20. kanireh li,

    We can’t tell children no and be happy, their really the same and you can get knock offs. (Although I have a close relative who got a knock off coach bag in china town and it looks authentic!)

    The best way to educate your children and have them be sameach bechekam is by the PARENTS portraying that they are really happy and content with their share. This includes not talking about others ever, and not knocking takanos of the gedolim and your own local Rav, EVEN IF YOU REALLY DISAGREE WITH THEM!!!!

    Never be critical or negative in front of the kids.

    More importantly, is to celebrate melamdei torah and to bring your children to tzaddikim and demonstrate that their is nothing more important than tatty’s seder and nothing – absolutely nothing in the world brings me more nacas than when you learn or finish a mesechta.

    The only factor with this is that you have to be rael and mean it. Kids know when parents are putting on a show or be emes.

    Such people generally don’t have the above mentioned issues. Don’t believe me? Do your own research.

    May Hashem give us the ability to raise our kinderlach to be ehrliche yidden.

  21. Why are you all assuming that if someone has a burberry coat or ugg boots or a pink shirt – that they spent sooooo much money on it? havent you ever heard of clearance, or off the rack, or loehmanns? Sheesh, here you all go judging again what someone else has! If someone has gucci belt – who cares if they spent 30 or 300 dollars on it? it’s NONE of your business!

  22. * sigh * Our local (out-of-town) Va’ad Tzedaka made an urgent yom tov appeal this year – a lot of good families who do not drive fancy cars or wear fancy clothes are finding themselves crunched by the current crisis. Here’s an idea – maybe until things stabalize, at least, we can ask ourselves the following question when shopping for clothing, food, etc: do we need the most expensive item we can afford? Could we “make do” with a less expensive alternative and shift the balance to tzedaka? Nebach, we debate expensive clothes and there are mothers looking in empty cupboards.

  23. I’ll also add my old-lady prudish comment that any girl wearing an item of clothing across which the word “Juicy” is stiched, sewn, or embroidered should be marched back to her room and ordered to change that clothing. It is a remarkable breach of tznius to advertise such words across one’s body, and I am frankly amazed and profoundly disappointed that parents have not put an end to this. That sort of behavior would never have been tolerated by my menahel or parents.

  24. All the advice in how to deal with this when the children are teen agers is IMHO worthless. This chinuch must start when the children are YOUNG, pre pre-school. If we train our kids that we will buy what we need not what we want then there will be no issue of needing designer anything.

    (The comments that say “Move out of Brooklyn” will also work only before the children have been affected. But where will you move? What city is not affected?)

    A rebbe (zal) in this town gave a class in parenting. One of the things he said was: on a rebbi’s salary he can not give his children everything. But he did not want them to think there were lacking for anything. Any time his kids asked for something they sat down and decided did he/she NEED it. If yes they got it, if not then not. His children never knew they grew up poor, because they lacked for nothing. His children are all Bnay Torah, and baaley Middos. (And the oldest is in their 30’s the youngest may still be a teen ager! They grew up in the same society that wanted designer everything)

    If a parent LIVES this way, does not need designer anything, if they raise their children properly, then they can live in Brooklyn (or anywhere else) and withstand the flood of societal silliness

  25. To the letter writer: I wish I had advice for you. We live in very times than we grew up in. When I was in school, one girl, who lived in another city and boarded with family, always came dressed straight out of Seventeen (when Seventeen was NOT the magazine it is today, I mean beautiful, tzniusdik clothes; preppy was in then) because her family owned a dept. store. No one, and I mean no one, felt a need to rush out and get exactly what she had. Sure, there were some girls who also dressed well but there was such a live and let live attitude then.

    That was then, this is now. The pressure is difficult. I don’t think anyone’s immune. But this sure puts my kids’ hakpados into perspective. We’re talking the occasional $40 -50 skirt or pair of shoes for a ninth grader.

    (And to the Payless commenter from Brooklyn: it’s a good lesson but don’t let it extend to everything. It might be better for their chinuch to let them buy from Payless as long as it’s in their comfort level. That’s my policy for thrift shops.)

    I think the answer might be a combination of saying no to many or most things, while finding a way to say Yes or at least offer a substitute they can live with to others, and as has been suggested, offering to pay x (whatever you think is reasonable for the backpack, scarf, etc., they need) and let them pay the rest. Now they might say that the clothes etc. will be gone by the time they save up the money. If that’s too hard for you all to live with, you may want to lay out the money yourself but NOT GIVE the kid the object till they’ve paid it off to you.

    Hope this helps and good luck. We are all in this together. If it helps, I just want to share this: we live very frugally. (Living out of town helps.) As my kids grow up, even though yeah, they do like nice things, they are extremely resourceful, prioritize, and appreciate how healthy growing up in our home has been.

  26. #31 is absolutely correct. This is absolutely not Tznius-dik, and “Juicy” can be advertising that the girl is Pritzus-dik, C”V.

    And no, it’s not our money to spend as we please. Wanting to spend money on only brand-name or designer-name items just for the name or “looking down one’s nose” at someone who does not wear brand-name or designer-name items is not in keeping with Torah values and the way a Jew is supposed to act.

    Everything is a gift from Hashem (life, health, money, etc.). Hashem gives us Parnasa, and if someone gets too arrogant about how much money he has (“Kochee V’Ometz Yadee Asa Lee Es HaChayil Hazeh”), Hashem can take it away just as easily, too.

    We are to spend our money the way the Torah tells us to, for basic living, Torah education, Tzedaka to help those who don’t have money, and Mitzvos. Following “designer” trends is not the Torah way.

  27. I live out of town, in a community that is lower on the gashmius scale. Over the recent chagim, a lot of married kids, learning in kollel (mostly in Lakewood) came in to visit and the differences were so stark it was amazing.

    I could not believe it. I overheard a woman in shul, married to a kollel guy, talking about her new $2,000 sheitel. From the looks of it, that’s the norm for kollel wives. Meanwhile the kids are all in name-brand outfits, the strollers are a fancy European model, and there are beautiful cars in so many frum driveways in town (not usually here) it’s unbelievable.

    So, of course we give tzedakah and keep a strict accounting to make sure we are giving the appropriate amount, but if you think any of the money is going to BMG or its ilk, it’s not going to happen.

    To the original poster, I’ll just say this (from a bumper sticker I saw once), “One hundred million people say to themselves, “One person can’t make a difference.” If you educate your children to know that an $80 sweater can feed a x people for y days at a soup kitchen, it changes the dialog.

  28. Only in Brooklyn!?!?!?!?!? In Lakewood, not only do all the girls have American Girl dolls at $100 apiece, they sell custom-made clothing so that the dolls can match the girls’ bais yaakov uniforms. Talk about feeding the crazyness!!!

  29. i agree how sickening it is to hear the yeshiva guys talk about their clothing…. i dont know what goes on by the girls …. but in shul over yom tov ,these boys who havent seen each other in a month and the first thing they do is to flip the other guys tie around and ask how much they paid for that particular tie….they couldnt dance on simchath torah because they may sweat and get thier designer shirt/tie/suit/shoes dirty !!! they act klike girls ….and they were coming from good yeshivos – shar hatorah in queens, chaim berlin, torah temima…what has happened !?!!? the bochurim are so into themselves constantly looking in the mirrirs ….its disgusting and out of hand!!!

  30. When my wife and I were engaged we decided to live in a neighborhood where people are respected for who they are and not what they wear or what they drive. We have no regrets.

    The best part about it is that we buy what we want, not necessarily what everyone else has.

    The only thing we splurge on (in my opinion) is full tuition. We just could not justify buying anything that is not an absolute necessity if we were receiving tuition breaks.

  31. I think the problem here is more parent pressure more then peer pressure. Why do parents feel that if they dont give into their childrens demands that they will become stuntded or shunned? I have no problem telling my son “No you may not have a 200 phone!” I dont shout I dont make a fuss I just say for what reason do you possibly need that. Talk to your kids ppl not at them you will be suprised how much they can relate to.

    Children have to know there place and until they are paying for things themselves they should be responsible.

    This is not a “frum” thing this is teaching your children values nothing more nothing less.

  32. I am a bit suprised that so many people have posted saying they never heard of/bumped into this issue until lately. Frankly, if a person lives in Boro Park or Flatbush seeing this in action is unavoidable. I live in a community that is a 20 minute car ride from both and attended elementary and HS in Flatbush. Now, I agree one has to be dun le’kaf zchus in those who own brand names: perhaps they got it as a gift and don’t want to insult the giver. BUT let’s be realistic: how many do you think really were gifts? And what’s the gift giver’s excuse? When I was younger (i.e. 12,13) I didn’t even know most brand names. No, I didn’t walk around with a bag over my head. I just wasn’t raised with the awareness that such things are important- because they aren’t! I must agree with a previous poster that such chinuch must begin when the child is young, not teenaged. If that’s the time when you first begin to deal with this issue, then it’s YOUR problem, not your child’s. If you don’t provide firm guidance from the beginning, who do you think your child will look to? Their friends, of course, who do place an emphasis on brand names. Why not ask your child what message they think they’re projecing when they wear brand names? That they’re ‘cool’ and ‘in’ yes, but also that their values are confused and that they themselves are slightly hypocritical: they are frum, dress in a tzniusdik manner, supposedly value the spiritual above the physical, and yet the very clothing they wear repudiates that message if they’re wearing expensive, overpriced, clothing with a contrary message (Juicy? Come on. Do they think it’s referring to bubble gum?)And to those of you who think/suspect that this is Not a Jewish Girl Growing Up talking, I’m 19. frum, in college, and no, not dressed in the latest. And I’ve been to Sem in Israel, where peer pressure can be high. So to those of you you just sit and tutzach about problems, get out there, raise awareness (thank you Chana!) and raise your kids according to Torah and not Sechorah values. To those who throw this back at me: I’m doing it just by being a well-adjusted middle child teen

  33. rav mattisyahu Solomon in lakwd has spoken many times about the problem of gashmius having too much importance in our lifestyles. he speaks haskafa & practical.

    were we to listen to his message we would solve alot of problems, one of them being the subject of the letter.
    my advice is to listen or read his shmuesen!

  34. Thank you, Chana, for bring this up. I live “out-of-town”, and I’ve seen this problem grow gradually but significantly over the past decade.

    And isn’t it amazing that the problem persists despite so many posters whose children are thoroughly uninterested in designer labels or “quality merchandise”?! I’d love to know exactly how cognizant these posters are about the enormous pressure children are under to conform to a “look” that includes expensive clothing and accessories.

    And the “make new friends” argument is utterly irrelevant. It’s not “friends” who are exerting the pressure; it’s the leaders within an individual class or school and even the teachers themselves. A walk down the hallway of my daughters’ BY is like a frum fashion show — morahs are wearing suits I’ve seen locally priced at $200, custom shaitels, Italian-made shoes . . .

    The problem is not how to say “no” to childish desires. Most of us know how to do that, and those who don’t will not be swayed. The problem is that we are being forced to fight a battle not against the “outside”, but against one another.

    How do I convey to my daughters that their morahs are hardly the model of tznius that I want them to embrace — without undermining their teachers’ authority or influence? How do I send the message that the local rebbetzin’s expensive wardrobe doesn’t reflect true Torah values — without sounding petty? How do I respond to my son’s distress when his Rosh Yeshiva is shocked that he doesn’t have at least $100 available for “incidentals” — without criticizing his Rosh Yeshiva?

    “Just say no” is a perfectly acceptable way to avoid buying unneeded or overpriced items, but such a response doesn’t address the underlying problem that has developed in our institutions.

  35. Has anyone taken a poll of how many KOLLEL
    wives are pushing a BUG-A-BOO stroller?

    How do you say NO to your daughter-in-law?
    Well I said NO! Support OK but NOT extravagance.

  36. I will echo the above comments – move out of town!! Your quality of frumkeit will go up immeasurably.

    Also – it’s not the kids that cause the problem, it’s the grown women. I just returned to Flatbush for sukkos and I saw 50 of the same lady on Avenue J! Whatever the latest fancy style is, they were all wearing it. Do they not even have their own personal preferences? I would be embarrassed to dress so stylishly out of town. BH we’ve “escaped.” (And there’s parking too!)

  37. Nothing ever changed by complaining on a website.
    you are just letting of steam, but websites have never ever solved any problem & look at all the feedback you are getting some are positive while others are negative stop complaining & try to change yourself & yes ignore the whole world & dont try to correct anybody else & you will see the wonders it does & nobody like’s a constant complainer.

  38. I just came back from Target where I bought my yeshiva bochur Target brand shoes (Marona) for $35. My kids grew up happy and well adjusted without brand name anything and were still well dressed. We stick to our standards, we never had to say “no” because the kids never asked, they just knew what acceptable and what wasn’t.

  39. This cultural phenomenom is the flip-side of the very restrictive culture we value so much. Kids want to “live” and in a “gashmi” way. One way or another they will express this.

  40. I travel to Shenzhen China 4 times a year. I buy, not China Town Fakes, but real Abercrombie, Juicy, and the like sweat shirts, pajamys, and school shirts. Real? Yes, real. So real that once my daughter returned something she didnt like to Abercrombie, and got something else she liked instead. They are all made there, and the factories sell them to these malls for pennies. I buy them there for between $7 – $20. I would be very happy to get together with some Askanim and set up a Gemach for these “Must Have” clothing and start lending them out to any people who dont want to buy them for the sick prices they cost here.

  41. Interesting that Shulamith never had that follow the fashion line (in the days when there was no uniform) and has always gone the more casual and neat look. Might say something about the chinuch (& parents) given over in those hallowed halls.

  42. Efraim, You go to China and bring back all thesebrand name clothes? No matter what the price is, you are the one who is teaching your child the importance of this shallowness. ITs all our fault, not the kids.

  43. 41, they DO all have uniforms. But what about shoes, socks, backpacks, school supplies, etc. There are only so many guidelines (e.g. plain folders, no pictures) that schools can and should be expected to enforce.

  44. Apropos to my earlier live and let live comment:
    Perhaps people need to tone it down, but it is not up to most of us to dictate how. There is a classic story, about a meshulach who came to a known gevir and found him eating black bread and herring. The gevir explained that he eats simply, to keep his middos in check. The meshulach explained that this is inappropriate – why? Because when a poor man comes and says he hasn’t eaten in a while, the rich man will give him the same black bread and herring if that much – what more does a body need. But if he dines on rich food then when the poor man comes, he may not give him the same duck but he’ll surely feed him well.

  45. Tell them you’ll pay for reasonably priced necessities and if they want to “upgrade” they can make up the difference with their earnings. If they don’t earn money, give them a new chore to do and pay them a reasonable rate, say $6/hour. Now deduct 10% for tzedakah and hold back another 25% or so for taxes (you can “refund” this later). It’ll give them a little perspective.

  46. Stop making a big deal out of this. Let the kids be kids, and grow up in real world situations. This is how it is – and how life’s always going to be. You think that when they get older it won’t be this way? Please…Shallowness is a state of mind that fills the emptiness within. Once they mature and learn what’s really important all this garbage will be a thing of the past. If we make this an issue then it WILL BE an issue.

  47. This is no new issue.
    Started back when 7th and 8th grade boys stopped wearing permanent press shirts, then ironed ones and now only wear them if they are drycleaned instead. Continues with the Purim extravaganva of shalach monos, diamond studs for little baby girls, leather bound shaas, huge silver displays in the breakfront, flying every rav, roshyeshiva and askain to your wedding out of town, getting makeup applied professionally for a shabbos simchah, buying SUV’s with leather seats and a great track system, made to order shirts and suits, etc. and etc.
    As some educators will say, “better that the bochurim are talking fashion, sports, cars or politics rather than TALKING to the girls, drinking and drugging”.

  48. Your first problem is that you say kol hakovod to parents who are able & willing to spend $150 on pajamas. There is no kovod involved in doing this.
    wealthy people have a responsibility to spend their
    money correctly. Tznius isn’t limited to clothes; it includes not flaunting one’s wealth. Failing to
    live modestly results in the problems you describe,
    jealousy, sinas chinam, hatred by the goyim, etc.

  49. For all the lakewood bashers out there – if they’re spending the money, its not coming from the BMG kollel check (less than $400 a month for most) it’s oming from the hard working women who “reward” themselves with buying a nice sheitel/car/stroller etc. Discussing whether that is appropriate may come into this conversation, discussing whether supporting BMG is appropriate is not debatable.

  50. First, let me ask why all the folks who wouldn;t sneeze with out asking a sheilah don’t think they should ask a sheilah about this as well, or about building an oversized custome limestone home in the middle neighborhoods where the other half of the residents live on gov’t subsidies. Seems to me the frummer the neighborhod the more conspicuos the consumption. I remember in my camp days, the yeshivishe chevra were busy polishing their shtatty shoes and having their white shirts pressed, while the rest of us were happy with wash and wear and scuffed shoes. Would you ever see vinly siding or windows on a boro park or flatbush home, chas vsholom, only the finest limestone, marble and brass finishings. My Irish partner went to a shiva call in Flatbush and flipped about about the gorgeous homes-and he lives in a pretty ritzy NJ town.

    I am not sure where this culture came from, I was taught that money is to be used for better things than accumulating posessions. I refuse to wear clothing with exposed designer logos. I think every Yeshiva should flat out restrict that. Frankly, that is none of any one elses business.

  51. When I was in elementary school (8 years ago) the style was for Juicy and other brand names I never knew. When I went home after a few weeks of elementary school I asked- “how many pairs of shoes does one girl need? she only has two feet!” There was a girl who had not worn the same shoes twice in a few weeks! She had 10+ pairs of sneakers (what we wore to school), not to mention shabbos shoes and dressier pairs. She owned at that point more then I owned in the prior few years! I owned one or two pairs of school shoes and maybe two shabbos shoes (two different colors). Why would a 5-6th grader need more then that?
    The same when I was in high school- there was a certain symbol on the shirt that was “in” or a handbag ect. And we had uniforms! This was for Rosh Chodesh, Malveh Malkas, or other school sponsored events.
    I never felt deprived. I knew the value of money and it wasn’t as if my parents didn’t have enough to buy the brand name. We, as children, knew to overlook names and tags sticking out. We realized that it wasn’t worth it to buy a sweatshirt with a name on it for the same price I could get 3 decent ones that will last longer! I once looked at the tag of one of these juicy sweatshirts. I was appalled! My mother offered it to me and I told her I didnt want it. “But aren’t all the girls wearing it?” I responded that just because everyone is wearing it doesnt mean it makes sense or that I should want it. I never saw the value in name brands and didnt want to own one. I felt good that after 4 years of high school I never owned that handbag (or even a mock one) and the only reason why I got a shirt with that lable on it was because I couldn’t find any others that were tzniyus and fit properly. (And it was on sale. ) And I didnt feel deprived that all the “cool” (or whatever word you use today) kids were wearing it and I wasn;t.
    Teach your children/students the same way my parents taught me. What is the value of a dollar? How much can I get for the same price as that lable? Do you want to have the same things as them? Do you want to be a clone or are you different? Do you need it? Just because they have it doesnt make it right. If they jumped off the brooklyn bridge would you? Start a revolution one child at a time. But start early!

  52. The school hanhala should be setting tighter standards. There should also be more hadracha on this from gedolai hador – as there has been, somewhat, on budgeting more responsibly for chasunos, esrogim, tachrichim, and in other areas.

  53. To any sick demented fashion chaser who may be reading this.I have leukemia.Getting out of bed is a major task.Boruch hashem I have a family where the teenagers all are interested in the pursuit of ruchnayis and have no idea about these funny names u mention.Yes I bought a Burberry a real one for 50 bucks from a closeout in Manhattan and I almost bought Monte Blanc glasses for 50 bucks of Ebay but the seller disappeared before I could get a pair.Otherwise life is doing fine.Get a perspective,you or someone very close to you will get cancer(one in three Americans)or diabetees or some type of heart disease,so what is all this gashmiyus worth?We just finished Tishrey where we said yomenu kitzel oiver-our days pass like a shadow and the midrash says not the shadow of a tree but the shadow of a bird.Now a bird flying overhead offers very little in th eform of a shadow,yet,chazal compare this world to th efleeting passage of th ebird as oppossed to olam habah.Do we believe in olam haba?Do our actions indicate that belief?
    To those who used this topic to attack kollel people.Your agenda is clear.You csant stand kollel.As a staunch supporter of kollel yungerliett,boruch hashem I dont know of any who buy the clothes you mentioned.I do know many who dress in real shmates,who cant afford bare necessities but are moiser nefesh for their ideals.Maybe it is you who are so informative about these fashions who also know so much about those kollel people.The world is a mirror.What we are is what we see.I see amazing kollel people,you should look inward purge yourself of pursuit of gashmiyus (and at the same time purge yourself of sinaath chinam )and you will see alot of fine kollel yungerliett.The fact that someone claims to be in kollel doesnt mean he is a kollel yungerman.By definition sommeone in kollel adheres to a certain lifestyle.There are many wealthy individuals who learn alot,some may learn more than full time kollel yungerliet yet they arent kollel yungerliet.That is another discussion.I dont think it is relevant to the fashion issue.

  54. living out of town does make a BIG difference! We don’t deal with these issues here ( at least in my city). yes, there are people here who only wear name brands and have to have bugaboos but they are the minority. you are out of the norm if you make fancy chasunas, bar mitzvahs. people are not as focused on materialism out of town and in fact feel sad for the ones who live their lives this way. It does hit me everytime I go to NY or Lakewood and then come back home. there IS a major difference. so if you really are bothered by the gashmius enough you should consider moving to a large out of town community where you have all the ruchnius benefits minus the materialism.

  55. 64, let’s not put it on the schools. What are they supposed to do, a shoe check every morning? The hanhala of the school CAN and should send out letters to the parents and have parent meetings for honest discussion about topics of concern.

  56. 67, I wanna live where you live… I for one am sick of all the gashmiyus and couldn’t agree with you more. The answer is to live out of town if you really care about these issues.

  57. the truth is ,is that we cant blame the kids when the problem is the parents! ..the women today must wear the designer clothing and spend enormous amounts of money on their clothing “just to fit in” ……how can we expect their kids to be any differnt!?!? …it doesnt matter how rediculous some of these women look in their nasty designer glasses or how they look in their too tight not fitting but designer dress as long as they can tell their friends how much they spent on what designer outfit….. the mothers should start growing up!

  58. alot of the suggested solutions seem to involve treating all your kids the same. i discuss these issues with my kids and by enlarge i feel they understand. but as each kid is an individual, they understand it to different extends. my youngest cannot stop shopping and talking about what she needs. the chinuch is the same. and i don’t know what to do. after being nudged and feeling that at some point i must give in a little, she’s on to the next item that” EVERYONE HAS”.
    i’ve discussed this with her teacher and she firmly believes that a lot of the problem lies in parents who teach their kids at a young age to be machshiv designers. I give in when i buy that “fake” desginer for a cheap price. my daughter is still showing up with a designer item.

  59. the one good part of the serious economic crisis we are entering is that it should stop a lot of this kind of stuff. Even for people who can afford it (at least in the goyish world) their seems to be an idea that it stylish now to spend less.

  60. B”H am I glad to be out of town. I just went to a sheva brachos this week and when deciding between two outfits went with the less dressy (still bekovodik) because I knew I would feel overdressed among the friends who would be there.

  61. What really makes me laugh at this obsession in Boro Park with designer clothes is that the girls and ladies wearing these clothes are clueless that their horrible public behavior of rudeness, pushing, bumping into people, honking their horns, cutting in line, disregard for people older then themselves, etc., — their total disregard for anyone else but themselves makes them look more like wild animials rather than fashionable tzinuas.

    It’s really very comical how much effort is put into how they look but not how they behave. Class is not about clothes, it’s about sincere manners first and foremost.

  62. Taka (72), it sounds like you’re doing a good job. Yes, our kids are all different and we do have to do what we can to meet their needs. If your daughter is happy with your doing it cheaply, don’t fret. It’s when the $$$$ add up that you’ll have to rethink things. And if your other kids are happy with what they have and how you take care of their needs, then you really don’t have to worry.

  63. Chana,

    People with money have a responsibility to spend their money in a way that does not create such an environment of competitive materialism and conspicuous consumption. That is all this completely shallow and ostentatious parade of designer clothes and labels boils down to. People wear these clothes because, nebach, they think it makes them chashuv. This is amongst the worst treif, we have R”L imported from the goyim. I can assure you that purchasing these clothes will not bring you or your family one millisecond of happiness. There will always be something else to want or a new designer must have. You will spend you entire life, chas v’chalila, rodef. And after 120 you will have nothing to show for it, and will have spend your precious years lost in the mall.

    Another important point the individuality of a person comes from pnimi not the chitzoni. The fact that girls wear uniforms and all look the same has nothing to do with being the same. The individuality is in who they are, not what they wear. The ikur by a yid is the neshama not the guf. While we are allowed to enjoy and partake of things in this work we can’t get lost in it and loose sight of what we are in this world to do. So I would say if you want an answer to your question, I think you need to reflect and ask yourself: What’s the tachlis? Is it life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Or is it to be people who are close to Hashem Yisborach, and who are concerned with being chashuv in His eyes?

    Hakodosh Baruch Hu should give you the clarity to make the right choice, to choose Him and not to settle for so, so little.

    Hatzlacha raba.

  64. i good not agree more but to own some desighner clothing is okay but to by a 200 dollar belt that does the same job as a 20 dollor then by the 20 the name just shows you are wasting money on piontless thinks and will effect shidduchim since it shows you have a bad spending habbit even though you have a lot of money conserve it plz give the money you would spend to tezdaka messiah 08

  65. IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS NO ONE HAS THIS PROBLEM!The ‘rich’ and not-so-rich all wear simple,but decent clothes. The kids wear the same or similar uniforms and the adults do the same. T^he boys wear ties that cost $2-$10 and they look good. Only goyim show off. Jews live tzniusdik,in every way. So come to WH and live a simple frum honest decent Jewish-Torah life.

  66. A multifaceted problem requires a multifaceted solution.
    So:
    For those of you ‘just-say-no’ers: this sounds like it should be extremely simple; and it is, at least until you have to put it into practice. Ideally, just saying no should work, and in the ideal world, it does. But we don’t live there. We live in the real world, where everything is a lot more complicated. Let’s say you have a youngest that’s always whining for the latest thing. After years of resisting (all your other kids!) you give in…Or your kid is sick and you get a ‘treat’ for her if she’ll submit semi-calmly to the shot. Or…the list goes on and on. So I’m inclined to believe that the hypothetical no is practiced on a hypothetical child, and that’s why it works out so neatly.
    For those who propose uniforms: There is more than one problem present here. Firstly, brand name mania is not limited to clothing, so while you think a uniform may solve the problem, it does not address boots, bags, watches, jewelery, cufflinks, ect. Second, many schools do have a uniform and still their children/students have brand name mania because it extends to more than clothing (see above) and because most people only wear their uniforms in school, which leaves Shabboss, Yom Tov, vacation, ect. It also ignores some of the problems inherent in uniforms (to which some Rabbis are greatly against: you have to teach kids to dress properly, and what better agent to accomplish this than school? I could go on, but it’s off-topic, so I digress).
    To those who say those who post are wasting their time: And you are here, why? And your point is what? Besides inherently hypocritical, that is.
    To those who daven for a solution and Moshiach: Amen.

  67. 80, I assume you are just that, a Jewish girl growing up. As the mother of a number of girls, I sincerely say, your parents should shep nachas, you have a good head on your shoulders.

  68. Too late.

    Chinuch starts before the child is born.

    “I don’t care what the neighbors are buying/doing/eating/wearing/vacationing” must be a pillar of the home-attitude.

    You can’t one day inform your kids that on THIS issue we don’t conform.

  69. Tzippi- thank you!

    doniels: Very true. When I was little, if I ever whined and said “But everyone has it!” my parents would just look at me and say “And since when is your name everyone?”