Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cheaper Is Not Better

The idea came upon me gradually; I can assure my audience that the change in thought process took time. 

When in stores like Daffy's or Marshall's, one may come across an item that is so stupendously reduced that one just has to buy it as a "Why not?" since it costs "nothing," $5, or $10, or $20, compared to its original price. 

If it has no purpose, it still qualifies as a waste. 

I learned this only after my room began to pile up with bits of garment and shoe that were never donned; it couldn't be worn in public, really, as it didn't suit me at all, but it was just so cheap. After winnowing down my garments for the local Chabad-run thrift shop, I figured better spending was in order. 

Don't get me wrong; I love markdowns and sales as much as the next person. But I don't let that equate buying everything that has a "75% off" stamp on it. Very often I'll leave a shopping expedition empty-handed, but then again there are plenty of times that I find something that even a lack of purchase can be satisfying. 

I know I have a tendency to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, but consider: $5 in your wallet is $5 in your wallet. It could be better spent on items one could actually use or need, like the big bottle of nail polish remover. And all those "just $5" purchases accumulate over time. 

For instance, let's say someone buys a $2 black coffee from Starbucks, five days a week. That comes out to over $500 a year. You know what sort of clothing you could have got for that? 

Lyz Lenz had this attire-epiphany after ceasing to clothes-shop for six months. Previously, she had for herself a $50 monthly budget for wardrobe, which she spend on cheap or ill-fitting clothing simply due to the low price. But quantity is not quality; the items tended to disintegrate, as well as not flatter her. So to reeducate her purchasing eye, she invoked a shopping ban.
Her time away from sales racks has resulted in her removing offensive items from her closet. She has now discovered that she has a "personal style," and when her six months are up she now knows what she will buy and for what purpose, and which garments are worth investing in. 

Her "nazir" method makes a lot of sense; by removing oneself from an everyday behavior pattern, one is able to reevaluate. 

There was a family in my neighborhood who really knew how to shop. Every season they would get for themselves one outfit, one outfit, that would be the sharpest, most "in" look at the moment, and wear it all the time. Did I notice they were "repeating"? Not really. The look was so fabulous and suited them so well that even repetition became chic.

I have skirts and sweaters and jackets and blouses for years, because I make a point to buy classic yet interesting items. Yes, they may cost more, but because I don't eat out I figure it squares out, and they last for a pretty long time. 

The bottom line is: To look chic, take the long view.    


FrumGeek said...

Hahahah! It's like my mother 'saves' money by buying things we don't need and won't use because it was on sale. I really don't understand the way the female mind works.

Tovah11 said...

It is a good idea buying one GREAT outfit over a bunch of Forever21 clothing, but this reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes out with the girl that wore the same dress on every date and it was driving him crazy.

Sporadic Intelligence said...

Forever21 is great when buying a very trendy item - the trend and the item will only last the season. For everything else - spend more (you can still get a great sale), and don't buy garbage!

I found that by developing my own personal style based on my figure and preference, I get to bypass fashion trends, and just be fashionable all the time. I usually find I'm ahead of trends by just following what I like - like I bought a Maxi dress over 2 years ago, and a pencil skirt has been a staple in my closet before they made a roaring well as the fuller skirts that are coming in now...and all my stuff are still in great condition because they were of a better cut to begin with...

Princess Lea said...

Tovah: I never saw that Seinfeld! Well, the secret is to buy one great yet classic outfit and let it accumulate over the years. :)

SI: Amen! I've noticed that I'm the same way - I wear something I like and then suddenly it's in style, so I went from unique to trendster. "No, wait, I invented this! It's MY patent!"

Devorah Maven said...

Love the term Nazir applied to fashion it had me snorting while laughing !!! For me bags and shoes have to be quality items , a pair of vintage gucci suede boots i own can make my forever 21 sweater go from blah to fab almost instantly : )

Princess Lea said...

My sister also has a pair of vintage Gucci boots (actually, they are accidentally vintage. They didn't fit her once and now they do.)

Everyone has a gauge of where they should invest. And everyone NEEDS that gauge.