Thursday, 23 April 2009

Dream Style: Doing Designer

Image thanks to styleserver

This post is part of The Dream Style Series

Buying designer clothes on a student budget sounds like lunacy, and on the most part it probably is, but the ideas surrounding it, for me, provide invaluable life-long lessons for building a sustainable dream wardrobe. I’ve already written about How to Build a Designer Wardrobe on a Student Budget at length over on Painfully Hip, so I won’t rehash that article, but I will say that dabbling in designer should not be something you instantly dismiss because, if you’re savvy, you can start building your dream designer wardrobe right now.

Do…recognise every designer buy as an investment. When spending a large amount on anything, always consider classic style, potential resale value and life-long personal value.

Don’t…do it for the kudos. Not only will this mean you’ll probably end up with too-trendy items rather than classic styles, it will also mean you’re buying designer for all the wrong reasons. Find the designers that you love and that push your buttons; the ones that you know produce unerring quality, and stick with those.

Do…save your pretty pennies. If you’re serious about owning designer garb in the near future, then why not set up an online savings account (incredibly easy to do if you already bank online) and every time you feel yourself compelled towards buying a £40 dress, transfer that amount into your savings instead? You’ll soon see it growing into a nice little fashion fund.

Don’t…buy the same thing twice. I’ve been getting away with this for years on the high street; multiple clones of exactly the same thing have formed the basis of my wardrobe for as long as I can remember. Once you start buying designer though, that next purchase can’t just be a black dress, it has to be the black dress.

Do…opt for long living fabrics. We’re talking cashmere, real leather, pure silk etc. Pay for the quality and not just the label to make your investment worth it.

Don’t…feel unworthy. If the thought of walking into your swankiest department store and demanding that the sales people bring you four different styles of shoe in three different sizes apiece sends you into a cold sweat, it’s likely that you don’t feel worthy of designer clothes. You have to dump that idea right here, right now. If you can’t even buy with confidence, how do you expect to wear it with confidence? If you’ve got the money to pay for it, you deserve to make all the demands you like!

Do…calculate a cost-per-wear. If a cashmere cardigan is going to set you back £190, but you know you’ll be wearing it at least once a week for the next five years (about 73p a wear) then it’s got to be worth it.

Don’t…take a gamble. You may be able to take a few risks on ebay, thrifting, and at the high street stores, but there is no room for risk in buying designer. Make sure you see the item, try it on, go away and think about it, write down the pros and cons, go back and try it on again, get an honest friends opinion, calculate your cost-per-wear and try it on again before you think about parting with your cash.

So, do you buy designer? Would you? Or would you rather suffocate yourself with your thrifted crochet handbag? I want to know about it people!


Foxie said...

Just found you from your interview with FB, which was great by the way. ;)

I totally agree with what you're saying. (Of course, being in the US makes me cringe at the thought of spending £190, but that's because of the conversion factor. :P) However, I started designer with low-entry Coach bags... And love 'em! The one I currently carry as my daily bag set me back $300, but I've been using it nearly daily for the past year, and it's still in amazing shape for the use.
Also have a pair of nice Ugg boots that I got for $175 instead of their normal retail of $300. Best quality boots I've ever had, and the most comfortable pair of three inch wedges EVER. Couldn't be happier with them. (Unless I could drive in them I guess.)
My latest snag was a deeply discounted BCBGMaxazria dress. Almost sad to say, I think it's my first dry clean only piece of clothing... But it's a very cute dress that I hope to get a lot of wear out, since it fits perfect.

Sorry for the long comment, it's just nice to see someone talk about designer clothes without talking about spending a ton of money at once. :)

Harriet said...

I'm all about cost for wear - as I keep shouting at my housemates to their dismay! My best purchase of all time was probably my Marc Jacobs watch which is on about 50p per wear and counting!

Although for the most part I'm a high street devotee I do think designer can be worth it if you buy *the* perfect item. Mostly I go for accessories on the designer front, and stick to high street buys for my clothes.

Voila Megan said...

Foxie - Don't you dare apologise! I LOVE long comments! Thanks for reading the interview and for heading over here, sounds like you're really up together on the ol' designer purchases. I agree that spending even just a little more can yield far better quality.

Harriet - Spread the word! Accessories is a super place to start your designer adventures, and things like handbags make for great cost-per-wear items (I've had the same one for over two years and it's only Urban Outfitters! I must be down to about £0.001!)

Thanks for the great comments girlies ♥

Aury said...

I truly feel inspired to shop designer now! U see, I live in Geneva Switzerland where there is an abundance of designer stores but I dont go into them because i feel i cant afford it . It might be worth it if I find my perfect LBD and a gorgeous, long lasting handbag in one!

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