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Thursday, October 10, 2013

4-H Clothing Buymanship Project

In honor of the start of the new 4-H year and National 4-H week, I am trying to start showcasing some the the projects available to 4-H'ers.  I have said over and over why I love 4-H, whether it is in the calf beauty shop or the projects that have nothing to do with livestock.  Sometimes it is hard for those who have never been around it to understand.  Let's look at what appears to be an easy project where the kids get to buy clothes.

One of the 4-H projects that I did not like as a child, but my kids seem to like is the Clothing Buymanship project.  Wait a minute you say?  Kids can get a ribbon for buying clothes?  Yes, but as a kid I did not realize how much I learned in this project.  As I sat through 2 different style revues for 2 different counties, I thought about all the things these kids had learned by buying clothing with their parents or, in many cases, their grandmothers. 

Let’s take a look at what these kids learn. 


Most judges want to know how much the kids paid for their outfit or how much they think it will cost per wear (total cost of the outfit divided by how many times they plan to wear the outfit).  This is wear kids that look for a great deal or even scour the resale shops do well in the scoring.  My boys judge this year also asked them where they purchased their outfits.  This told her whether they picked out the outfit or if someone else bought it for them.  

This gorgeous formal dress was purchased at deep discount because the girl and her mom fell in love with the dress, but found some issues with it.  The tulle in the under layers of the skirt had a hug hole in it from where someone had put their heel through it when trying it on.  The pleats under her arm were also coming unsewn.  These things were fixed easily, quickly and cheaply by a friend.  She got a beautiful dress for prom within her dad's budget and also won her count 4-H competition.


My boys love to pick out their own clothes, but let’s face it they are still boys and boys need a little help.    Here’s a list of things I came up with that they should learn:
Your belt should match your shoes.  Brown shoes=brown belt
Plaid shorts and striped shirts don’t go together.
Your waistline should be at your waist and not below your underwear line.
Black socks with black pants.

Fabric Content/Care Instructions

Judges will often ask what the outfit is made out of and how it should be laundered.  I think this is great for the kids to learn.  Unless we are born insanely wealthy, we all have laundry that needs to be washed usually by ourselves.

Appropriate for the Occasion

Most judges will ask the kids where they will wear the outfit or there may be some paperwork they have to give the judge that covers that topic.  The kids need to know what is appropriate for a wedding, school, church or even the livestock show ring.  I think all kids (and some adults) in society need a lesson in this.

Coordinating Accessories

The girls have it easy when it comes to accessories: necklace, earrings, bracelets, hair bows, rings, belt and purses just to name a few.  Boys are limited to shoes, belts and maybe a backpack for a school outfit.
Always make sure you keep with gold or silver jewelry.  I helped one girl that had a super cute outfit complete with silver sparkly shoes.  She had a gold anklet on that I am sure she wears all the time.  A judge could have counted points off for not coordinating.  It is the little things that get you extra points or counts them off.
My boys each modeled 2 outfits which means we ended up with 4 pairs of shoes!

Poise and Stage Presence

Smile at the judge.
Stand up straight.
Don’t turn on your heals.
Don’t lean against the wall.
Answer the judges questions clearly and speak up.


Our neighbor who used to babysit for the boys actually made the finals at the Kansas State Fair one year.  When they got to the end of the judging, they asked to see their fingernails to see if they had been trimmed and cleaned.  He had trimmed his fingernails while waiting for his turn to go in to see the judges, they were not super clean before as he had played football the night before.  He won Reserve Champion at the State Fair that year.

Now, let’s be clear.  The boys would much rather go shopping with grandma to buy their clothes.  She gives them a bit more of a budget than mom does, but they survived with me this year. 

A special thanks to the parents that gave me permission to use their kids photos on this post.  They sure have some cute girls that really know how to model well.

-A Kansas Farm Mom