Sunday, April 12, 2009

Style Points for youngsters

Over the course of generations among Christians around the world, Easter Sunday is a momentous occasion on the calendar. Part of the celebration, at least for many churchgoers here in the U.S., is to put on the Sunday best of outfits they can muster.

There's plenty of fuss to go around: Women gear up to look their best; so do men. Not least, parents want their children to be shining examples without breaking the bank.

Dressing children can be tricky. Some kids may resist having to wear clothes that are more formal than what they're used to. Others embrace looking stylish in following the example set by adults.

Motivation aside, where can parents go to give their children a next-level look?

After attending service in downtown Houston on Sunday afternoon, I ran into fellow Harvard grad Shannon Buggs, business columnist for the Houston Chronicle. She and her husband have a young son and daughter. All of them were impeccably dressed, and the family was preparing to eat dinner promptly afterward.

So I asked her where she got the cool vines for the family.

True to her beat, Shannon means business when it comes to finding clothes for her kids. "Marshall's and TJ Maxx," she said. They are excellent places for getting children quality clothes at reasonable prices, especially when they inevitably grow and will need different sizes for a number of years to come. For adults, one can find designer items at low prices as well.

I have heard some parents fret about their children refusing to wear clothes from discount retailers, that they run the risk of being teased for wearing cheap stuff. There should be no reason to not shop these places, especially during a recession. Any smart shopper knows that bargains are your friend, not something to be ashamed of.

That said, I have seen firsthand, as a part-time salesperson at the Brooks Brothers outlet store outside Houston, the last-minute weekend wave of shopping before Easter. Parents have no problem spending money on quality kids' stuff that sells for less than the ticketed retail price they might see on the clothier's Web site or the Brooks store in the Galleria Mall.

Bottom line: Dress clothes for children can be done in a cost-effective manner and for maximum Style Points.

To be sure, church is not a fashion show. But a multitude of well-dressed congregants in a house of worship is hardly something to ignore. Even I must admit that I do my part in joining the collective in the art of sartorial show-out. I never know who might be watching me, including the young turks.

But where possible, get it on sale. Sound familiar? Click here for a refresher.

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