When I was a kid, back to school shopping meant that my dad gave me a copy of the Sears catalogue and told me I had 50 bucks for clothes for the year and to make sure I had enough underwear and socks. That seems like too much responsibility to lay on a seven year old, I suppose, but this is the same guy who told us all to pack our stuff for a vacation at Grandpa Mac's house and then was surprised to find that my two year old brother and sister had failed to follow instructions.
I always managed to make sure I had enough underwear and socks, but whenever someone would rib me that my mother dressed me funny, I couldn't blame it on a mother. I was so clueless about anything resembling style. I went for functionability and ease. Jeans and t-shirts, sneakers, and then a jean jacket for fall and spring and a lined jean jacket for the winter. No one taught me about fashion, and when I got old enough to see that some people dressed nicer than me, I still didn't understand the concept of fashion. I looked at them as sour grapes, because I wouldn't have had the money for the clothes anyway, and even if I did, I wouldn't have known how to spend it. I still don't understand the science of fashion, and I guess I never will.
I do try to look presentable, but I am still on a limited budget. It doesn't have to be limited; if clothes were my priority, I could spend a thousand dollars a month on them, but throwing money at the problem doesn't fix it, and I still wouldn't know anything about fashion. I just know what I like. If I like the way I look, then I am going to present a better appearance because of my self confidence thatn if I am uncomfortably wearing the latest trend. I say uncomfortable, because trendy clothes are generally stand-outish, and I prefer to present a more subdued appearance; I am not a wallflower any more, but I don't want to draw attention to myself because of my clothing. I would rather draw attention to myself because of my wit, intelligence, and charm, and so if I can do that, it doesn't matter what I am wearing anyway, as long as my fly is not unbuttoned.
I've been shopping this weekend, because Independence has done away with sales tax on back to school stuff, which is an additional savings of 8%. I didn't have to buy a lot of back to school supplies, because the VA gives me a pretty stiff allowance to purchase paper and pens and such from the campus bookstore, but I did need some printer paper (recycled, of course). I also got three dry erase boards to hang on my walls for when I am brainstorming or working on a math or computer science problem. I have plenty of paper, but there is just something about writing on a big surface that makes my mind want to be creative. I got a new backpack, because my old leather one had one of the straps giving way and it wasn't going to have room for all the books I'll have to carry. I went ahead and spent some money on it, and got a Wenger, because it will last, and I'll use it for at least four more years. That averages the cost down a little. I also got two new pair of shoes for $85, because Shoe Carnival was having a massive sale. I got a set of Rockports to wear with my khakis and a set of Nike running shoes, because I am gonna start runing again. (I have developed a bit of a pooch and I prefer not to carry any excess weight, because it seems like a waste of effort.) The Rockports alone were usually $79.95, so it may well be the best bargain I have found all summer. Since I saved so much money, I got extra underwear and socks, just to make my dad proud.