I was deprived as a kid and tween. I never had a Kipling backpack or purse or pencil pouch and I still have nightmares about it sometimes. That was the first brand name I ever remember lusting after. I’m sorry mom, but was it too much to ask for something with a furry, plastic, freaking monkey hanging off it? I could spend an entire playdate sitting next to a friend’s bag, putting the monkey’s (did he have a name? or did you have to name him yourself?…see, it’s these things I missed out on knowing) thumb in his mouth. But for some reason, I just never became a member of the Kipling Kool Kids Klub.
I just wanted to tell you all that story so you can understand why I am such a tortured soul.Here’s why it was such a big deal… from about 4th to 6th grade brands were a big deal. They still can be, especially in girl world, but from 7th grade on it changes and gets way more expensive and over time thankfully I’ve matured and grown out of it….mostly.The height of my label whoring came in 5th grade with the introduction of the holy grail of pretweendom: the velour Juicy tracksuit. I mean, everyone was rocking velour hoodies, but if you had a J-shaped zipper, you were queen. By the time I figured this out, my mom already had the classic black tracksuit and after months of pleading let me wear it. Perfect, right? Wrong. Somehow, my mom had broken the “J” off the zipper. I finally was going to wear Juicy and no one was going to know about it. So the next logical option, being the superficial tween I was, was to just let the tag show as often as possible. I realized I could just role the pants over once and the tag would show (also a built in bonus of another 5th grade label staple: Hard Tails) and I could prove this was the real deal. I’m sure no one looked close enough to read the label, but I felt better. Eventually I got my own Juicy wardrobe, complete with real “J’ zippers, but by then everyone had them. Funnily enough, Juicy started putting their name huge on the butt of pants, which I’m guessing was someone’s solution to the tiny writing on the tag problem. (no? I’m the only one who tried that?)That same year, the new must-have “designer” trend was Ugg Boots. I had to wait to buy my first pair with birthday and Chanukah money because my mom refused at $100 a pair for boots in LA. The only options were Sand, Chestnut (or as I called them, Grocery Bag), or Black and they came in Short or Tall. I went Grocery Bag and Tall. There were knockoffs everywhere, but I had my real-deals and I was happy. Then, the next year, Ugg released the boot in Pink and Baby Blue. Code Red: I had to have them. But according to my mom they were just a fad and I ended up with pink Emus. I literally would press the backs of my ankles against walls so no one would see the label. Probably one of the most shameful moments of my life.And that’s my Throwback Thursday for you. Shout out to some of the other brand name items I had to have instead of the knockoffs: Rocket Dog wedge flip flops, Baby G watches, and Von Dutch trucker hats (okay I had one knockoff Von Dutch…sue me!)