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15-04-2008
  1
Margiela's Muse
 
shirleebee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Once you go designer, do you ever go back?
Okay, at the risk of sounding overtly materialistic and/or shallow, I thought it would be interesting to get your takes on this.

If you become accustomed to buying your wardrobe at a certain price point and/or quality level, is it possible to *comfortably* ever substitute these spending habits and taste levels for less expensive ones?

Let's face it, many of us are students or are just starting our careers, and cannot "responsibly" afford much of the designer merchandise we attain. I'm in a position right now where I'm in a great internship where I am earning experience, a place within a networking paradise, and a potential permanent role within my company. However, of course there is no pay. And that's becoming a problem, especially as in the months leading up to this life change, I was buying many, many designer pieces with money I had earned/saved in school. Luckily, this gave me a great wardrobe to wear to a design house everyday (and these purchases are definitely paying for themselves!) Sadly, I have to face Spring now with a much more meager budget, and I feel conflicted about whether I should buy high street stuff instead so I can have new clothes or whether I should just hang in there and wait until I can reasonably afford designer stuff again. There's always the serendipitous sale or impulse buy, anyway, so I won't completely have to give up my habits.

It calls into question, though...

Once you get used to purchasing designer clothes, can you ever turn back?!

Keep in mind, it's not just brand shopping, but a quest for unique, luxurious, and beautifully constructed garments. Something you likely won't find on the high street level. To me, it would be like an epicurean going from dining at a gourmet level to McDonald's. Or any other highbrow to lowbrow comparison. Of course, there's no saying you cannot work a little of both,into your routine and that's probably the most practical solution.

P.S. I find it funny that I am willing to pay $300 for a blouse from a designer I love (esp. if it's been marked down from like $700, because it feels like a bargain), but I am UNWILLING to pay full price (like $50) for a high street garment! :p


Last edited by shirleebee; 15-04-2008 at 01:06 PM.
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15-04-2008
  2
V.I.P.
 
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honestly, to me, head to toe designer seems really tired.

shop highstreet. take it to a seamstress. have stuff added/changed/cropped. it's like buying a McDo meal, take it home, add extra ingredients, stir things up.

with Zara stuff looking better and better, i find it hard to say no. plus, i have to worry less about making a permanent impression on a 50 dollar shirt than one that was custom made/1200 dollar a pop.

personally i just find high priced pieces of garment a cheap thrill and self esteem boost for people who so desperately need it. you can flaunt a 150 dollar dress just as good as one that cost 3520 bucks.

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15-04-2008
  3
scenester
 
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^I agree. Personally, I think its much more interesting and cool to see someone with a varied wardrobe of designer, vintage, and whatever else clothing. I think it takes more creativity to make a look with non-designer wear; pulling everything straight off the runway or a direct look from Neimans is really boring. I mean, anyone can do that and look good, who cares.
I mostly shop at vintage and thrift stores, because they're cheaper and I like the idea of having a piece of clothing that 548356347 aren't going to wear to death. Occasionally I'll splurge on a piece of designer wear, but only if I really love it. I prefer designers like preloved, because while their pieces are still pricey they're one-of-a-kind and handmade, and I feel like they're worth saving up for. I also think that there are certain purchases that will be timeless and are well worth saving for, mostly handbags. I think if you buy a timeless piece it makes sense, but spending $800 on a pair of boots that if you wear next season people are going to think you’re out of style just seems utterly pointless to me, unless you have the money to constantly keep up with that, and even if you do, who cares?
I still love looking at the styles on runways, and they influence the way I dress and the kinds of pieces I look for, but I'm not going to spend an entire month's paycheck on one thing (which I've done before, and while it's nice to have that piece, I would rather buy ten items from a vintage store and have more to chose from when I'm getting dressed in the morning!). When I get older and have more money I'll probably splurge more on designer goods, but at this point in my life it just doesn't make sense for me.

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15-04-2008
  4
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well i wouldn't all of a sudden start shopping at some low budget stores , but i would go for vintage. even at the high points of having a lot of money , a head to toe designer outfit doesn't look right unless you are like the first lady. For instance just breaking a chanel jacket down with jeans and tee or tank. But if you need new stuff its hard to go back to like fill in the blank. Therefore I would use some pieces you have , spend your money on basics, they always go. And a few vintage pieces or maybe even ebay, sellers are having trouble selling things on there , so you will get a better price.

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15-04-2008
  5
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this is an interesting thought, while my money is constantly fluctuating, my wardrobe is a clear relfection of that. wearing a £1000 bag with a £6 primark cotton sundress makes me feel even more fabulous if anything. i dont think i could only wear high street and bargain clothes, i need a few little designer bits to balance the look but its just like anything else in life... you need a little bit of everything or your not really dressing to your full potential. if you only buy the best you are missing out on great bargains and the thrill of getting a perfectvintage dress for a very low price. with luxury stores, its all very neat and political but in a market or a bargain high street store its evey woman for herself, the shopping experience is like a battlefield, it can be so thrilling if youre in the right mood! then you emerge, sweaty and exhausted and look at your findings, and usually there are some real gems in there and it was well worth the battle.

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15-04-2008
  6
Margiela's Muse
 
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Hmm, well I'm a huge fan of vintage pieces, too. And unknown brands that make really cool pieces that don't look mass produced. I didn't mean to give the impression that I think we should only wear head-to-designer, but rather, how would you feel if you had to give up high-end stuff entirely for awhile? If there's a certain style you are REALLY interested in adding to your wardrobe, would you wait until you could afford it from a specific designer or would you buy a cheap substitute from Express in the mean time? Like if you wanted a Rick Owens jacket, would you hold off until you could afford one or would you try to find a similar aesthetic from the high street?

Zara is pretty great, I have to say.

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15-04-2008
  7
Power to the 99%
 
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Since high school, I've bought key pieces of the best quality I could afford (then it was nice brands, not designer but I guess classic prestige brands as my style was different then), and that has really never changed.

I think food is a good analogy. I can enjoy haute cuisine, and I can enjoy great diner food. So designer's great, contemporary's great, and Simply Vera ... was great last season. I never thought I'd buy clothes at Kohl's, but there's a first time for everything

Back in high school, I shopped for basics from JC Penney and the Spiegel catalog, and I think it's safe to say I'm not going back to those sources. But I still buy basic pieces at a slightly higher price point.

If I really need to watch my cash flow, I tend to stop spending on clothes altogether unless I absolutely have to have something to interview in, for instance.

I think vintage is a great option if you need to buy clothes with limited cash on an ongoing basis--that was one of my strategies when I was a student.

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15-04-2008
  8
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it all comes down to what you love. i tend to spend money on shoes and sometimes bags. i dont have very many clothes that are designer but thats because i really love shoes and i get that 'omg i need them' feeling if i see some that i really love. so if you really really love something, buy it, if you dont love it enough to miss it then dont
thats how i do it anyways

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15-04-2008
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per your example-- a rick owens jacket cannot be replaced with something els, so i would just wait , wear what i already own , and then when i get the money again buy what i like .. can you do that? I dont think people have to always be shopping.. i mean i find stuff in my wardrobe and i am just like oh yeah .. i forgot i had this

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15-04-2008
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true^

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15-04-2008
  11
Noblesse oblige
 
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I always buy cheap jeans and I am not against much of H&M's stuff, but I could never wear cheap shoes or bags again (except from linen shoes and flip flops).

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15-04-2008
  12
scenester
 
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A variety, while balanced, is perfect in my opinion. In the equation of a fabulous outfit, adorning vintage + custom/one of a kind + basic generics + prominent designer pieces = a tremendous feat of wardrobe usage. However, if you're overbearing in one department (Dior overload, possibly?) you may look overdressed. And of course, head-to-toe BCBG isn't very impressive either :p And if you're very secure financially, cutting the generics out is an option.

So whatever you end up combining, cold turkey on any side of the spectrum is a bit outrageous. That is, if you follow a similar code to my fashmatics

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15-04-2008
  13
V.I.P.
 
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I'd rather save up and get high-end pieces than lots of things from the high-street. For example, I loathe places like Topshop & Primark & have never shopped there. They're more fast/cheap fashion & I'm not into trends so I avoid them. I'll go out in London and see about four people wearing the same thing & it's so tired- thats not to say that four people couldn't all be wearing the same Lanvin dress etc, but...well, I know what I'd rather be seen in. And also, the chances of that happening are nil.
I think Zara & Massimo Dutti are great, most of the pieces in there look well made & refined as opposed to trendy like other high-street places, but again, I'll only get something from there as an impulse that I know will only last for so long. And anyway, you end up spening like £70 for shoes in Zara when you could get some Prada's (that they've knocked off) for a little more, so I never bother. Oh, and there's always consignment stores that have past season Miu Miu & MJ for around £30!

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15-04-2008
  14
Margiela's Muse
 
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^That's what keeps me from paying full price for high street stuff. I know I can get real designer stuff for just a little more if I shop wisely. Like I found NWT Marni jackets for just over $100 in an NYC resale shop yesterday!

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15-04-2008
  15
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Shirlbee I understand where you are coming from. Highend designers the quality is the dealbreaker an always will be when it comes trying to leave. I do like some highstreet stores like zara i really do like that store an its good quality for the money. (That would be a good filler store for spring) Ive gotten more compliments on some stuff from there than my highend pieces an the funny thing sometimes its from the, designer store staff I will always prefer designer before highstreet as a guy I cant stand vintage stores, to much digging an I dont like old clothes. I think some emo/rocker guys can pull it off but its just not me. An to stop rambling I cant pay full price at highstreet (unless zara) because I always feel that its not worth the price an, you can get designer on sale if you look right.


Last edited by GalleriaResident; 15-04-2008 at 09:35 PM.
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