A cashmere coat is a great investment in wardrobe. A bag should be expensive, it is an important investment in your image! You cannot save on glasses, this is also an investment in your image! Probably, you also heard such messages. The glossy magazines are fond of them, they are marketing brainwashing champions.
For years, journalists and some stylists have been trying to convince us that it is worth paying more than we can afford, because, you see, this is not just a thing! This is an investment! To understand that this is nonsense, the very definition of the word “investment” is enough. Investment is a long-term investment of money for profit. Neither a bag nor a coat will bring you any profit.
Leaving aside the people of specific professions for whom expensive clothes and accessories are the keys to success in business. These include, by the way, politicians, all kinds of coaches and consultants, as well as professional fraudsters.
But for the vast majority of people, the purchase of expensive clothes does not automatically result in new achievements and improvement of finances. Secretary Olenka will not get a higher wage because of the fact that she spent a lot of money on new shoes. And accountant Tamara Petrivna will not be tomorrow’s chief accountant just because she has got herself a cashmere coat.
Therefore, all these stories about clothes-investment are the usual manipulation, the play of human vanity. Pleasure, a temporary increase in self-esteem, the joy of feeling your own worth, maybe could be brought by the expensive things. But this is not called an investment.
“A woman with a good taste will never walk with a cheap bag!”, they tell us. Come on, a woman with a good taste is, above all, a woman with common sense. But common sense will never react positively to a bag, worth three monthly salaries. And even half of the salary too.
Old as the world thesis “We are not rich enough to buy cheap things”, today also does not work very well. Since in the modern world, fast consumption almost does not produce things that are designed for centuries. Well, they made, but these are brands with such price tags that you may feel bad without a dose of sedative. All lines, more or less available to the average buyer, are still not designed for long-term exploitation. Jeans of famous American brands are also frayed and stretched at the knees, like cheap jeans from a youth mass market.
Needless to say that things can fall out of fashion, and you can change the size ‒ in one or another direction. Even supposedly “eternal” styles experience transformations over the years, changing the cut, accessories. And most importantly, you are changing, and what suited and adorned well five years ago may be completely unsuitable today. When a woman is dressed in expensive things, high-quality, but outdated and not in size, it does not add chic. This creates a sad image of “remnants of former luxury”.
Recently, I came across an interesting topic in the book of French style “Dress like a Parisian”. The author advises choosing a coat very carefully, because “you will have one, and you will wear it for three or five years ‒ or even a couple of years more”. And he explains his opinion by saying that “if you are a Parisian, or a Londoner, or a resident of New York, then most likely there is no room in your apartment for such a closet that can contain a lot of coats. And the coat is not cheap, so you can hardly afford the whole collection”.
We love to whine that we have a poor country, so women do not have the opportunity to dress with dignity. We envy the French women and Italians that they are always well dressed, they say, they have money for that. And here it turns out that a typical Parisian has one coat and wears it for five years in a row. After all, in fact, the lion’s share of their salaries, which are high by Ukrainian standards, goes for paying the exorbitantly expensive rent, utilities, transport, and taxes. The ordinary young woman has not so much left for the clothes. And they are well dressed, not because they spend a lot, but because they spend it wisely.
They do not buy things that do not correspond to their present income and lifestyle. They do not try to mislead someone by a bag that they really cannot afford. They do not spend money on signs of some ghostly “status”. They feel free to wait for discounts and buy basic things at expensive stores, but for a lower price. They buy clothes that are relevant and suitable here and now, and not something that supposedly “will always remain relevant”.
So, how much money should be spent on the wardrobe? As much as your budget can withstand without suffering a catastrophe. As much as it is enough to take things easy, not to tremble over them and easily part with them when they fall out of fashion or you when get bored. Do not try to look “expensive”. Try to look modern and at ease. Do not buy “status”. Do not buy “style”. Do not choose an expensive thing, to which you still have to buy a whole dress. Choose things that already have good partners in the closet.
And finally, a few practical tips:
– Things of neutral colors often look more expensive than they cost. By the way, bright colors ‒ on the contrary.
– The same story with style. By the way, simple, concise design looks more expensive; ruffles, bows, laces can make clothes look cheaper.
– The fewer details, jewellery and accessories on a cheap bag are, the better it looks.
– Look for sweaters, hoodies, T-shirts in the men’s departments. They are often of better quality for the same price.
– Well-kept shoes, even inexpensive ‒ always look better.
Text by Maya Tulchynska, fashion blogger