“You have a hole in your shirt,” I am told almost every day. I have never been a fashionable person. Hand-me-downs and Goodwill have always been the most appealing to me: The idea of clothes that have character, with a story behind them. Seeing friends spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and “fashionable” apparel never made the sense to me. If anything, I’ve grown to resent the idea.

Stereotypically, teens love spending money. Between birthday gifts, clothes, and Friday night Chipotle runs, teenage wallets are rarely full. In fact, investment management firm Piper Jaffray’s Fall 2014 report, “Taking Stock With Teens,” found that clothing accounts for 21 percent of teens’ budgets. This seemingly small statistic adds up to around $1,100 annually.

Now, it is understandable to find certain clothes more appealing than others, but be reasonable. Judging by the fact that youth enrolled in high school had an average employment rate of 20 percent as of October 2017, according to “Child Trends,” it is reasonable to assume that many teens are spending money that isn’t even theirs. This conception that it’s okay to waste a parent’s money teaches teens from a young age to be careless with money, which could prove detrimental in the long run.

From a logical perspective, shoes, shirts, pants, and jacketsregardless of branddo the exact same thing. Shoes protect your feet, pants cover up your legs, and jackets keep you warm. A $600 pair of Gucci shoes is, functionally, not going to perform any better than a $30 pair of Converse All Stars.  

Frankly, the manufacturing of these expensive items is a waste of natural resources. For example, take Louis Vuitton, the luxury brand. In an effort to “save their brand value,” Louis Vuitton will burn or dismantle unsold bags. Instead of lowering the prices of these bags to get them to sell, putting them on clearance, or even simply placing them in storage facilities, the company completely destroys the unsold bags in an effort to make the remaining bags all the more value. Commercialism at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. Companies are so greedy with revenue that they will destroy perfectly useful products for the simple goal of maximizing profits.

The sad thing is that people are still buying these products. Just last week, I was talking to a friend who was considering purchasing a $500 pair of shoes. Intrigued by the outrageousness of what I had just heard, I proceeded to ask this person how many pairs of shoes they owned. They responded, “I don’t know; I can’t even count.” I, personally, own two pairs of shoes.

        It isn’t difficult to realize that teens are pretty much obsessed with their appearances. Because of this, realizing how little what they wear actually matters is all the more difficult for them. Regardless, clothing has seemingly become a staple for the teenage lifestyle. It is only a matter of time before they realize that they have been wasting their college education money on what is fundamentally just a few pieces of fabric and some string.