Peer pressure comes in many forms. At East one only has to look at the insignia on students’ shirts to see the unspoken peer pressure in the halls. One of the most apparent changes that students go through is their sense of style.
Students go from wearing American Eagle and Abercrombie in middle school to wearing Lacoste and Vineyard Vines in high school. I don’t think we are wearing these outrageously priced clothes because they are better quality. And I don’t think we look better when there is a whale (Vineyard Vines) or a man riding a horse and holding a stick (Polo) on the front of our shirt. When students look around at school they see loads of these designer brands, thus they feel pressure to wear them.
Where does this peer pressure come from? I don’t ever recall having a conversation with a friend that included slamming a classmate because of the off brand they wear.
Maybe before spending $200 on a pair of pre-distressed, studded, ripped, skinny jeans we should ask ourselves why we are spending so much on something we could probably buy for a lot less. Chances are when you think about it you will realize you’re buying these clothes for the image they portray.
You’re not given a handbook of ‘what to wear at East’ at student orientation. But as you walk down the hallway the first day of school it’s hard to miss the Lilly Pulitzer dresses, Vera Bradley backpacks, Uggs, Northface jackets, and Rainbow sandals — the East mentality is thrown in your face.
If we dress from Target it’s not as though people will treat us like a pariah. I suspect if we blindfolded students and put them in t-shirt from Target, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste only a few could feel the difference. Yet lots of East students still spend loads of money on these clothes.
When you step back and think about it, it seems a little crazy that we buy a velour track suit that costs close to $300 just so we can zip up with a “J” and have the word “Juicy” written on our ass. It’s just another way students waste their parents’ money.
Yes, waste. And yes, your parents. Because I can just about guarantee that you don’t need a pair of velour sweats. And I highly doubt that you have a few hundred dollars just laying around. But somehow we Johnson County kids have a way with words when it comes to getting what we want from our parents.
No one ever says, “Go buy some True Religion jeans, they are so comfortable.” Because they’re not any more comfortable than throwing on a pair of jeans from the Gap. No student wants to admit that the sole reason they wear these clothes is for the self satisfaction and security. By wearing the most expensive clothes people think they will be accepted or thought of as a “cooler” person when really most people don’t pick their friends based on if they are wearing Seven jeans or not.
The peer pressure is not direct but the fact is we are surrounded by this image. When so many people dress a certain way it makes others want to follow.
If we are all so adamant on having the most expensive brands then why not get these items at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Or heck, go to the thrift store. What’s wrong with buying a polo that is $12 rather than full price, close to $75? These are still the same products, they just cost less money. There is no logical reason to spend about $60 more on the same item.
I think it is passed down year to year. We SMEasters are known for being a school with an above average family income, so we perpetuate that image.
I think that students at East are too self conscious about their appearance and how other students view them. If you want to wear designer brands, go for it. I won’t stop you. But at least think of why you dress this way. If the reason is, “because everyone else does,” then it seems pretty ridiculous to spend thousands of dollars on clothes just because you want to fit in.
Many generations ago this tradition began. They dressed the part then so now we continue to wear the finest money can buy. Is that right? No, but it is reality — at least at East.