From a ripe age, I recall my mothers mantra (which was often shared with me purely out of frustration) ‘buy one thing – but buy one good thing. Don’t waste money on plenty of cheap items. Invest in your purchases and yourself.’
My mothers stern warnings and my at times extreme work schedule, allowed me the opportunity to dabble in the luxury market and develop my own sense of style. As an avid shopper and keen bargain-hunter, I have developed my own criteria and rules when investing in my wardrobe. This criteria caters to my desires to own certain pieces and the ever-present reality that Sydney house prices will probably be the direct cause of me moving out when I’m merely forty-five.
Like Madonna said “’cause we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl“, I don’t shy away from the fact that I want nice things. In fact, if you claim otherwise, it’s about time to cut that **** and own up to reality.
Like any other young woman from my generation, I trust the experience and reccomendations of You Tubers, bloggers and others who are in the influencing community. Considering this, I frequently find myself gravitating towards #Luxury Addict Tag videos on You Tube. What has become incredibly obvious to me is that there is always a counter-community who judge and criticize You Tubers and bloggers alike for how they invest their money. As a result, influencers frequently feel the need to make disclaimers about how they spend their money and what they choose to do with their material items. Comments range from ‘what do you do to get your money? what a waste! Does your family fund your habits?’. The truth is – it’s no one’s business. So long as lifestyles isn’t funded by the proceeds of crime and no-one is getting hurt, who are you, or I, to tell another adult what to do with their money?!
This article is written for the benefit of those debating whether or not to invest in a piece, and equally to those who don’t understand why people choose to spend more money on fashion items (not that any of us should have to justify what we do with our money).
1.Luxury goods and inflated price-tags aren’t mutually exclusive
Something you come to realise as you get older, is that ‘luxury’ is a subjective term. Luxury doesn’t mean spending a small fortune on a pair of shoes, a bag or a blazer. To some, yes, that is luxury and to others a garment with 5% linen or cashmere constitutes luxury. Just like anything else in the world, the value is in the eye of the beholder.
Irrespective of how you conceptualise this term, there are shopping villages such as direct factory outlets (DFO‘s), where you can find designer pieces at a fraction of the cost. Further, consignment stores, luxury second hand stores and markets are a great place to scower for that showstopping piece (without devastating your purse).
2. Invest in staple pieces
I’ll put it out there, I am a complete and utter sucker for fashion pieces. Anything a blogger hypes up, I’m all over it. No matter how ridiculous or un-versatile the item is, I am indifferent and needed the item yesterday.
My all-time ultimate love goes to the GG Blooms Dionysus Bag. Safe to say I drooled on
myself slightly when I first caught a glimpse of the beauty. Yet, I am no fool and recognise that I might not ever reach for this bag after a few years, as it will likely look outdated. I compare this bag to the Gucci Boston bag (back in Gucci’s heyday), where sporting metalic loveheart patches was ‘the’ trend. In retrospect, my automatic reaction is ‘cheap’. I fear that if I was to splurge too heavily on the GG Blooms collection, I would find myself in the same boat. I do however promote purchasing small leather goods (SLG’s) in bold prints – better to not put $400AUD to good use, rather than $2805AUD.
Invest in staple pieces that you are sure you can get years out of. Whether that be a tapered coat, supple leather booties, a soft warm scarf or a designer bag. Go for staple pieces, pieces that age well and can undergo years of rain, hail, shine and spilt drinks on a friday night.
3. Quality, finishes and fabric
As an adult, I recognise that my mothers motto came from a place inspired by the quality of garments. She maticulously inspects the stitching on jumpers, the fabric content in pants and jumpers and sticks to recommended care cards like the Bible.
I continue to admire my mothers dedication to good fabrics, finishes and above all the quality of pieces (although it’s takes forever for her to choose the ‘right one’).
4. Cost-per wear is everything
Cost per wear is effectively conceputalising your potential material good as something that can be rented. If the GG Blooms Dionysus Bag retails at $2805AUD and I was to theoretically wear it on 250 occasions within the year, the cost per wear ($2805 ÷ 250 = $11.22) – meaning you are paying $11.22 everytime you wear your bag. The more you wear your item, the lower the cost per wear is, meaning you made a successful purchase.
I correlate this formula with a ‘renting’ scenario (whilst others don’t), as I compare cost per wear to the renting dress and luxury goods market. Yes, you can pay a handbag conniseur $300 for the weekend to borrow their Chanel – but at the end of the day you are paying off their purchase.
Whilst I love this business model and would be the last person to criticise it – why pay off another persons item, when you can pay off your own?! Likewise, I would rather pay slightly more and own my own home, rather than someone elses investment (again, I’ll probably live at home until I’m forty-five, so no worries there).
5. Elevating an outfit
Never underestimate the power a beautiful luxury piece. Pair it with a pair of $30 jeans from Dotti and a plain white top and you’ll still look incredible.
It will probably come to you as no suprise that my ‘thing’ is bags – in my eyes a good bag takes any plain old outfit to the next level. You can save your money for the bag or shoes, or whatever you invested in, on the rest of the outfit. Polyvore: Outfit Ideas & Inspiration sets it out perfectly!
6. Making money on investment pieces
The amount of time I have been laughed at when informing others of the value of a Chanel is ridiculous. Read it and weap my friends, Chanel handbags have skyrocketed in value, far past the stockmarket.
Images attributable to: BagHunter
7. Everyone has ‘their thing’!
At the end of the day, we are all adults here. We all make sacrifices and work for our material goods. So what that you think someone is wasting their money? So nothing.
Many young people splurge every weekend buying bottles upon bottles at clubs. Others love doing up old cars. Some love eating the most sought after delicacies in Michelin Starred Restaurants, whilst others like clothes, fashion and bags – and only God and my bank account knows that I’m one of them!