Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Some Thoughts on Fashion and Finance

I'm an Economics student in college and so this is something I've been thinking about a lot recently: I follow a lot of fashion bloggers and they all seem to be packing thousands of dollars of designer clothing per outfit. Now, I absolutely love designer fashion - I subscribe to many of the major fashion magazines (in fact, I one day hope to work for one of them in the marketing department) and am inspired and amazed by the intricacies and details of the clothing pictured. I have a deep love and appreciation for the finer things of life. While I hope at some point in my life to be able to afford more of them, at 19 years old, I simply cannot and I know this is true for most people. 

I used to work for JCPenny and most of my closet came from there or Forever 21 (the great favorite amongst teen girls). I was pretty happy about this for a while. But then I bought two button-up shirts at Forever 21 about two years ago. The next day, I put one on for the first time and two buttons popped off. I decided then and there I was done prioritizing quantity over quality. There had to be a way to have high quality clothing for less exorbitant prices than those of my favorite designers. Since then, I have systematically replaced every single item in my closet. 
Now, I know that I spend too much money on fashion and beauty. I work two jobs (one in the Economics department of my university and the other at a cafe) to save money for my study abroad next year and to afford nicer clothes. To me, it's worth it to have two jobs in order to fully enjoy my passion; I am a deeply artistic person and fashion is my creative outlet. But even with two jobs, there's no way I can afford Valentino heels or Chloe purses or Burberry jackets. And to be completely honest, if I did own anything that expensive, I would be terrified to wear it for fear of ruining it accidentally. 
So instead I found a compromise. I buy clothes from designers and websites that still use high quality materials, but are at prices I can afford. These include: Zara, Asos, Free People, FrontRowShop, DKNY, etc. I love the website Bluefly because it has a huge compilation of designers (Alice and Olivia, Elizabeth and James, Aryn K, French Connection, etc.) for pretty amazing prices. 

Of course, everyone loves to splurge occasionally and I am no exception. But, when I do, I make sure it's really worth it and the item is ALWAYS on sale. French Connection, BCBG, and Three Floor are my guilty pleasure brands ;). This Black Friday, for instance, Asos was having a 30% off sale. I'd been obsessed with three absolutely incredible Three Floor skirts for a good month, and so when I saw they were on sale (and that there were only 1 of each left in my size) I jumped on them. Or, every now and then, Nordstrom will have an Alice and Olivia skirt originally at $395 on sale for $45. Who can resist that?! 
I always feel myself getting jealous when I scroll a fashion blog and see that the shoes I was lusting after were Jimmy Choos and cost $800. And I lecture myself afterward because that's just not realistic. Fashion magazines are fantasy, and fashion bloggers are supposed to be reality. But lately, bloggers are just another kind of fantasy - and it's worse because it's the kind of fantasy that tricks you into thinking it could be reality. Maybe someday I'll be able to own a few real designer pieces, but I think I might have to question my priorities if I find myself at 30 in head-to-toe couture. It reminds me of that Sex and the City episode where Carrie goes "I spent $40,000 in shoes and I have no place to live!? I will literally be the old lady who lives in her shoes." 

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