When I was in my 7th grade math class, we had to do a money project. We had to break into groups and all write down the price and brand of our shoes. I didn’t think anything of it because I had on these super cute clogs.Unfortunately, there was a very popular girl who had very similar clogs in my group.
I was excited to have shoes like hers, but she quickly shot me down and pointed out the brand difference. Mine were Route 66 from Kmart. Hers were from Abercrombie. She laughed in my face when we all had to say the price. Mine were $16.99. I tuned out how expensive hers were because I was reading the map behind her head to distract myself from crying.
From that day forward, she called me Kmart. She knew my name. We had almost every class together. Eventually, her friends joined in and called me Kmart until I was in the 10th grade.
The mean girl and her one friend cornered me after everyone was dressed and leaving the gym locker room. I was putting on my shoes and she came inches away from me. She smirked down at me and asked if I was still shopping at kmart. Then, she pushed my books off of the bench beside me. Her friend was laughing, until I stood up.
The mean girl had a relative who happened to be the teacher of my next class. Her relative was just as mean and was the type of teacher who played favorites. She thought she was untouchable because of her connection. I started to gather my things from the floor without saying a word. That’s when she called me “poor, white trash.” She emphasized every word.
I turned around very slowly. Dropped my books, and tightened my fists. I hit her so hard and fast she didn’t even realize her friend was running out the door. I let her nose bleed all over her American Eagle hoodie while I walked myself to the office.
A few of my teachers noticed her and a couple of her friends teasing me before, so I only got 3 days of out-of-school suspension and 90 minutes of detention. From that point on, I wasn’t picked on. I smiled everytime I saw one of those mean girls, because they knew to leave me alone. It was freeing.
I still had an issue. I had clothes from Kmart and Walmart. It was years before we even had a Target, so I got a job as soon as I could get a work permit. I started saving money. Then, I got a second job. I had two part-time jobs and was finally wearing some brands that were “cool.” I still wore my favorite band shirts and Vans. I had a mix of style, but at least the brands were seen as “acceptable.”
Fast forward 10 years later. The majority of my clothes come from Target and Walmart. There were a few years in college where I treated myself to Michael Kors and Coach items, but college wasn’t as bad as high school even though there are definitely still cliques. I slowly let go of needing brand names and caring so much. Once I got married and started having kids, I downized even more so than before when it came to designers. I had a few bags and some small accessories. What I didn’t sell, I still bring out occasionally.
I still wear a name my Coach tennis shoes on a sunny day, but I realized that some big brands were just overhyped. That mean girl and I had shoes that were almost identical except for the buckle style and label.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Victoria’s Secret brand Pink when it comes to yoga or sweat pants. I still have weak knees for Michael Kors bag and a good pair of Levi’s jeans. However, the majority of my shirts are from Target. My favorite tee and sneakers are from Walmart. Most of my decorations in my home come from Family Dollar.
The one thing that changed is that I don’t have any shame in shopping at stores, no matter the price range or popularity. I’m not even sure if people still get pompous over labels anymore, because I just don’t care. When it comes to style, I learned to like what I like, and being a mom intensified not caring what people think.
I have a few favorite items of mine that aren’t high end that I want to share. I think a big part of style is taking basics to the next level. Confidence and how you carry yourself are always elevators too.
I love this tote bag. Any simple bag that I can throw my wallet and a few essentials in without weighing me down is the best.
Some of my favorite go to sneakers are from Walmart. They have cute colors, and even if they don’t hold up as well as a pricey pair, they do pretty well in my opinion.
I love a basic tshirt. I have colors for every season, with varying necklines. I love Target’s brand A New Day. They have great tees and tanks.