by Nikki Ducas

As a little girl, I favored my Austin Abner boy Cabbage Patch doll over my girl dolls. I think it was in large part because his clothing was simple compared to the myriad of dresses, shoes and accessories in my girls’ wardrobe.

Not much has changed for me, as my husband can attest. When he was in high school, he spent majority of his back-to-school budget on Z. Cavaricci pants and the rest on a few shirts. His sisters shopped for as many shorts, skirts, pants, shirts and accessories they could afford within their budget. Did he really need less and his sisters need more, or is it a testament of quality over quantity?

Being a mom of boys, I can get away with buying them a couple of dress pants and belts, a few button-down Oxfords and ties, a sports jacket and a nice pair of dress shoes for church and special occasions. The rest of their wardrobe is the same laundry-rotated shorts, t-shirts, bathing suits, pajamas, underwear and socks. My boys just want to be “comfy” all the time.

I recently came to the realization that they had too many clothes when they started wearing the same outfit after laundry day, so I pulled half of clothes out of their drawers and used the Marie Kondo folding technique to allow them to see their options.

This gave me some pause and it was at that moment I realized the amount of clothes must be overwhelming to my sons as well. So I follow the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) Rule and only shop for a few nice articles of clothing each season to spruce up their everyday wardrobe. This keeps them looking sharp and the sundry of clothes to a minimum.

With school starting this month, I questioned which clothes my boys really needed. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Back-to-School (B2S) Survey, parents spent $286 per child on clothing and accessories. That seems reasonable to me, but in reality what kids really need depends on their age, gender, how frequently laundry is done, if they wear a uniform to school and climate.

Ideally, children need to have matching tops and bottoms for each day of the week plus underwear and socks. But who wants to wear the same shirt and shorts every Monday or be a slave to the laundry? Not me. I plan to have 8-10 shirts, 4-6 long sleeve shirts, 7 pairs of pants/shorts, and a few hoodies in their drawers. They’ll get a new pair of sneakers and, when the weather gets cold, a fleece and winter coat with hats and gloves.

Sadly, we live in a material world and often times we are judged on our appearance and what clothes we wear or don’t wear. If we can all get onboard and buy less for ourselves and our children, everyone won’t feel completely overwhelmed on laundry day.