Frugal Beautiful

Frugal Fashion by Spending More?

Posted on: February 24, 2011

Can name-brand and designer pieces be frugal?

This post was inspired by a discussion I had on BlogFrog with Sally of Already Pretty (whose fashion I adore BTW).  She asked some of her fellow bloggers if they believe premium denim is worth the price, or if bargain brand jeans are just as good.  It got me thinking.

Oh my Gawd, have I loved to shop!  Just for the sake of having “something new,” I would go out and buy cheap items from mall retail stores just to “freshen up” my wardrobe and I thought it was totally justifiable because I wasn’t spend much on the items themselves.  Only problem was, the way I was going about it was totally backwards.  They say it’s hard to chase two rabbits and catch either one- and this was true of my wardrobe.  My wardrobe was not “fresh” and purchasing high quantities of low quality items didn’t save me any more.  I simply ended up with a lot of clutter and items that didn’t hold up or wash well and had too much to consider when putting together my outfits.

I always seem to tie in my time vs. money comparsion-  but I find with fashion, I am far more happy when I spend more time considering what to buy and subsequently- more money into the items I’ve decided on since I love them so much.

Consider this:  I probably had 8 pairs of cheapy $5-10 sunglasses.  I had a pair or two in my car, thrown in my backpack, in my bathroom…everywhere.  They were cheap so I didn’t care- and they ended up scratched, broken or lost.  In fact, one off brand pair I bought on the net were totally wonky and sat crooked on my face so I never wore them.  I remember going into the Coach store and finding a pair of sunglasses I absolutely adored- they came with a cleaning cloth and case but they were, GASP- $80. ( Holy cr*p).   Needless to say, I bought them, have worn them almost constantly since and they are in great shape.  I adore them, they are classic and I take good care of them.   I spent $80 on 8 pairs of sunglasses previously that seemed cheap so I treated them cheaply.  I also spent $80 on one pair that goes with everything and I treasure.  It’s the same amount of money but I’m way happier minimizing my clutter and caring for what I have.

This approach of minimalization of instant-gratification “stuff,” and the maximization of joy through less, but more powerful purchases is bringing me a lot of joy.  I went to the Coach outlet and found 2 bags, another pair of sunglasses and a wallet for 75% off retail and I use those 4 items for everything.  I can’t afford more and I don’t want more.  Now- don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating anyone buy anything just for the name- designer clothing is not always synonymous with high quality (but it can be with high prices).  If you are just buying something for the label without it being a meaningful purchase or something that will be the highlight of your wardrobe and you pay full price for it-  that, in my opinion, is wasted money.  I purchased my Coach items 75% off retail, as “foundational pieces,” for my wardrobe (more about this later) and budgeted it in with gift money I’d received.  I supplement the pricey pieces in with things I can get for cheap.

I am now on the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans.  I previously bought American Eagle brand because they were cute and cheap with my fluctuating weight…only problem was- new jeans should highlight your new figure, not create a “muffin top” look that you wouldn’t even have unless you purchased a poorly designed cut of jeans (facepalm).

Suggestions for this, along with other awesome have-to-try brands are recommended and can be posted in the comments section!


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