Monday, August 25, 2014

Kids' Clothes Were Never This Cool

Have you seen the clothes they make for kids these days? They're amazing. Kids' clothes were never this cool when I was a kid. It was all like tiny grownup clothes. I mean, they didn't even have Star Wars t-shirts! Well, okay, they did, but it was only every once in a while. And they were made with those big iron decals, basically, so, once you wore it about three times, the image was all cracked and peeling off. Well, not when you wore it; once it was washed a few times, it looked like it really came from a long time ago from a galaxy far, far away. Of course, the answer to that was to never wash it. Right?

One of my friends... Hold on; let me really emphasize that: ONE of my friends had a Star Wars shirt with R2 and C-3PO on it. He was the envy of every boy in our class. I was in my 20s before I had my own Star Wars t-shirt. Unless you count Underoos. Yeah, that was about as cool as it got when I was a kid. You could get underwear with stuff on it but not actual clothes. I had the Boba Fett Underoos
which were cool if you wanted to run around the house pretending to be Boba Fett (a Boba Fett with no pants), but you couldn't really wear the shirt out in public without every other person asking you what was on your shirt. Saying "a chest plate" really didn't help. Yes, I know.
I also had the Yoda Underoos
which were better, because you could wear that shirt out in public. Even if someone didn't know who he was, you could just say, "He's Yoda. He's from Star Wars."

When I was a kid, you couldn't even get band t-shirts (not that I wanted any) unless you actually went to the concert and bought them! It wasn't really until the late 80s and U2 that you could actually go to a store and buy a band t-shirt. Other than Spencer's, I mean. You could get that stuff in there, but I wasn't allowed in that place. Regular department stores and clothing stores had regular clothes, and that was it. Cool was not allowed.

All of that has changed now. Pop culture is everywhere. Any brand of cool you can think of, you can find. And you can find it virtually anywhere.

So, yeah, I've been back-to-school shopping with my kids, and it's always envy-making. Well, clothes shopping in general with my kids is envy-making. Even with my daughter. Not that I want all the pink, sparkly stuff she has, but they have cool Star Wars clothes for her, too! She's got the one shirt with... wait, I'll show you!
I love that shirt! And she even picked it out. I'm not sure what that says about how she thinks about me, but I don't think I really care. And clothes shopping with my daughter always makes my wife depressed. She's always, "I want one of those," or, "I want those colors," but they don't make that kind of stuff for adults.

I just have to say: These days, kids have it good.

And it's not just with clothes; it's with books, too. When I was in middle school, there were no books being written for kids my age. Or, well, there were, but they were all romances aimed at girls. The "YA" section (or whatever they called it then) didn't even get a full-sized bookcase. The entire section was located on one side of a bookcase that was only waist high. And it was all romance like Sweet Valley High, which had just come out. Things like The Chronicles of Narnia were stocked in the sci-fi/fantasy section because Harry Potter was still more than a decade away and the idea that you could actually write mature(ish) books aimed at teens and young teens was still a foreign concept.

I'm not even going to talk about Lego. Because, oh my gosh, THAT is just so unfair.

Kids have it good. And they don't appreciate it.
But, then, what kids ever do?


  1. T-shirts, in general, are awesome these days. That was one of my favorite parts of Montreal Comic-Con last year.

    Yes, there are more LEGOs these days but I loved the ones I had, back before they were licensed up the yin-yang. Space and Castle were my favorite collections.

  2. Kids do have it good. Stinkers. I had a few pair I'd underoos too. Superman, I think. At least one other, can't remember who though. A superhero for sure - and definitely not Wonder Woman.

  3. Glad I missed the Underoos.
    Getting the band t-shirt at the concert was a badge of honor. Then you could wear it to school and proudly tell the world you saw the concert. I won't scare you with how many concert t-shirts I own...

  4. Those that like nerdy things have it good these days period. What with tech, cosplay, and the availability to look online for things that aren't sold in your hometown, commercialism has no excuse to be lame.

  5. TAS: The great thing is that space and castle stuff is still available, so everyone can get what they want!

    Rusty: I also had Spider-Man.

    Alex: Hey, Underoos were cool!
    And I get that about band t-shirts, but I'm glad they sold U2 t-shirts at stores, because I've never been able to go to one of their concerts.

    Michael: It's so true. And it's actually a bonus to having kids.

  6. Life just keeps getting better. This reminded me of when I wrote about "Superball Baseball" and noted that kids today can do all THAT stuff we used to do like Kick the Can, but they also can publish their own books and have amazing videogames and toys that can be actual robots that are remote controlled, etc.

    My favorite part of the boys' school shopping is that I get their old backpacks to use for work, so when they get their new ones I get to see what I will be wearing next year. Mr F got a Spider-Man backpack. I am so excited for June, 2015.

    And you are 100% right about those iron on shirts.

    AND: we used to sneak into Spencer's Gifts at the mall while my Mom was at JCPenney. That was what kids did before the Internet: sneak into Spencer's Gifts and look at the heavy metal posters.

  7. Yep, TONS of cool options these days. It's so funny how picky my 16 year-old stepson is. He's sooooo particular about his brands and t-shirts. I don't remember being into clothes at all and I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when baggier stuff was fine to wear. I even wore sweatshirt/sweatpant combos in high school. I would not do well with the skinny jeans and short shorts worn by today's highschoolers. But yes, there are plenty of ways to express yourself :) And you are SO right about LEGOS. Those sets they sell are amazing. Then again, my 5YO also loves her "retro" set of Lincoln Logs, which is comforting somehow.

  8. Briane: I got in trouble the one time I tried to sneak in there as a kid. Well, I wasn't really sneaking. I just didn't know what the place was, but they had something near the front I wanted to look at (probably to do with Star Wars), and I walked in. It was all dark and stuff, like going into a dungeon or a haunted house. As it happens, my mom came by looking for me or something just after I'd crossed the threshold... It was made clear to me that I was never again to put even a toe into that store. It was a place of EVIL! With Star Wars.

    I guess even EVIL likes Star Wars.

    Jessica: I was never into clothes. I do remember, though, when IZOD became this huge deal around the time of middle school and everyone (but me) had to have IZOD shirts. I think that set me against that kind of thing early on.

    Of course, when I was in high school, I made the mistake of saying something about liking Bugle Boy shirts in the presence of my mom. After that, every time she went to the store, she came home with Bugle Boy shirts for me.

    You can't build a log cabin with anything other than Lincoln Logs. They're still awesome.

  9. Yep, agree ! There are a lot of cool options now-a-days :)
    Good post.

  10. Rajiv: And I didn't even mention all of the food options, these days!

  11. It's so true. And it's actually a bonus to having kids.children clothes

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