Clothing or advertising?

I was in the parking lot of Fred Meyers a few days ago and saw a family with 3 boys. What struck me was they looked like walking advertisements for Gap stores. Each boy was wearing a t-shirt with GAP in large letters across the front. The mom had a GAP logo hoddie. This got me to thinking and observing clothing and the amount of advertising on it.

When I was young, the logos were all fairly small. We had 2 sets of clothes. Play clothes and school clothes. Often play clothes were old or ripped school clothes. You dressed nicer when away from home. If you were going out again after playing, you changed back into your school clothes. Everyone did this, not just my family. Logo wear and screen print shits were rare. Perhaps souvineers from your summer vacation or boys favorite sports team shirt as a play shirt.

Not so anymore. It seems the most important part of clothes today. Large logo items like the family with the GAP shirts are common. It’s not just t-shirts and sweatshirts either. Nor is it just the apparel brand logo. Today at WalMart I saw boys fleece pajama pants. They were light blue with WII all over them and a “built in WII remote holder pocket”. Give me a break!

The latest in boy’s clothing seems to be skulls and flames. It doesn’t seem to be just for Halloween. I’ve seen it all summer on hats and t-shirts. My son saw some and turned to me and asked “Why would anyone want to wear that?” I had to agree.

I’m disappointed that it is getting harder and harder to find decent inexpensive clothing that doesn’t have some sort of large emblem, drawing, picture, or design. Sports teams, cartoon characters, TV stars and shows are on just about everything for kids these days. Not just shirts but also socks, pants, even underwear. Why can I buy plain white underwear for boys but not girls? Why do they need stars, flowers, hearts, and pastel colors or Dora or Hannah Montana?

Perhaps if people started dressing better in public again instead of always wearing “play clothes” kids would act better. I notice that my kids act better if they are dressed better when in public. I don’t mean suits and lacy dresses. Just not t-shirts with the latest action movie or cartoon. My son likes striped shirts from Wrangler. They are well make with a small horse logo and inexpensive (on sale today in a 2 shirt set for $7). My daughter prefers flowers and dainty designs. Parents need to set an example of proper dress. Don’t even get me started about women’s pajama pants in public or men’s jeans 5 sizes too big! Leave your play clothes at home too.

Why do you want to be a walking advertisement? It looks sloppy. Are you trying to get me to buy those products too? Do you even recognize this clothing for the advertising it really is? It’s bad enough we are surrounded by advertising. Do we really need to wear it?

UPDATE 6/23/09

I bought clothes for my kids over the weekend at the local thrift store. There was a green t-shirt I wanted for my daughter. It said GAP in orange across the front but would have been hidden under her jumper. She asked what it said and I told her. She got upset and refused to even try it on saying “I don’t want a shirt that says that on it”. My son later had a similar reaction to a pair of GAP pants (he doesn’t like jeans) with a G on the button. I told my husband this and he agreed that some clothing has become more like walking advertising than anything else.


2 Responses

  1. There has definitely been a shift in culture with this. The example I kept thinking of was Apple: computers, iPods, iPhones… all have the logo out there so while you use their product you also be showing everyone how cool you are and how they need to get one to be hip as well.

    The thing is: Most Apple people are happy about it. They want to show off how hip they are. Same with GAP and Old Navy and such. Perhaps it’s like the Stars from Dr. Suess’ “The Sneetches”…


  2. Luke,
    I can understand having logos on gadgets. I can even understand having small logos on clothes, but not the oversized walking advertisements a lot of “casual” clothes have become. I don’t see this as a positive change. I agree this is another aspect of our cultural shift.

    America has moved away from a society of positive moral values to a more self-centered, market driven society. By choosing not to buy these products and teaching my kids not to want them, I am in my own small way fighting back as a Christian. We will not give in to mass marketing and false idols. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” —Joshua 24:15

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