I haven't been to Archer's new school yet. It's fifth through seventh grade, so while Archer is yet to turn ten, he has schoolmates who are up to 13 years old -- firmly in the early teenage years.
Noel confesses to being alarmed at how big and self-possessed those youngsters are. They are carefully dressed, he says, and carefully coiffed. It's clear that image and style are huge at that age.
I remember being a tweener -- not that we called it that at the time. Because I went to a small church-related school, I don't remember clothes or style being a big deal until I moved up to a prep school in seventh grade. Then having the right shoes, jewelry, and hair accessories became a huge deal. (We had uniforms, so people expressed themselves around the margins, but just as avidly.)
Fortunately, up until now neither of my children have strong opinions about what they wear. Cady Gray is sweetly enthusiastic about the clothes I choose for her, and Archer has no interest one way or another. I can't imagine Archer starting to care about Abercrombie and faux-hawks, but it is possible that he would be the target of ridicule for his lack of style. Noel's fairly sensitive about that because of times in his childhood when there wasn't a lot of money for nice shoes or clothes.
It's difficult for me to assess the harm that might be created if Archer doesn't know people are making fun of him. On the other hand, I don't want to wait until after he's been hurt to address the issue. My inclination is to keep dressing him just as we have been, but I recognize that preference may stem from not knowing how to change horses in midstream. Time will tell.