Sunday, June 05, 2011

Having a Budget = I Can't Dress Nice?

About a week or two ago, there was a big brouhaha over a post that Gwyneth Paltrow put up on her website, GOOP. It was a feature on her "essentials", and her items (a dress, sandals, cardigan, and bag) totaled around $18,000. Yes, you read right. Granted, she collaborated with Net-a-Porter. While I know that Ms. Paltrow is accustomed to such a lifestyle, it's particularly disheartening to see that the majority of fashion magazines list as essentials things that cost more that a month's salary.

I understand that most magazines are for inspiration, but they still sell the fantasy. I'm not going to lie and say that my wardrobe lacks expensive things. I love Marc Jacobs; I have a couple of his items that get much wear. However, I generally buy them second-hand through eBay or fashion communities where I can guarantee their authenticity and care. But, I'm getting sidetracked. My point is that I don't have money to burn. I like to save so I can travel and create wonderful memories, not dump all my cash on one dress that I would probably rip thanks to my fantastic agility and grace. Really, I've lost count on how many times I've hooked my clothes on grates, fences, doors, and sundry.

What bugs me even more is when fashion magazines make so-called "budget" features that have items that are well over a hundred dollars. I'm sorry, but I cannot afford to toss around that much money for jeans, much less a t-shirt. What with my bad knees, right foot, and back, I am forced to invest in good shoes that provide proper support, but even then, I make an effort to find said shoe at the lowest price. My most recent expensive buy was a BCBG dress for a friend's wedding. It is beautiful, and I love it to bits. But I cried as I handed over the credit card.

It was only $130.

Call me a miser, a cheapy, a Scrooge, but I'd rather put my money where it counts. Good jewelry that will become family heirlooms, travel, presents for my family and loved ones, money for animal charities, or crafting materials, I'd rather save for that. Whenever I buy something, I figure out the cost per wear and make damn sure that it's worth it, because otherwise, it's sitting in the closet. Doing nothing. Except maybe mocking me.

If I don't buy thrifted or make my own, most of my clothes come from regular stores like Old Navy, Gap, Ann Taylor, and Zara. Kmart and Walmart figure in frequently. I used to shop at Forever 21, but after reading up more on the company's practices, I haven't really stepped foot into the store in around 6 months. If I want something fancy, I go to eBay or the fashion selling groups. And I usually buy at the outlets. Sure, I have a Marc Jacobs, but it was bought on eBay with a steep discount.

Getting back on track, I think that my biggest gripe with the whole thing is how it affects consumers. I feel that magazines, media, everything that is shopping related, send the message that if you do not buy pricey items, then you are not fashionable. That in price point, there is class and quality. That you have class and quality. And I do not appreciate that. I do not want to be held in contempt for wearing something second hand or from an everyday store. I am not my jeans, my top, or my shoes. Clothing doesn't define me, it is simply an accessory that I use to express myself.

What do you think? Do you think magazines should tone it down and present more accessible options? Or are they just fine as is?

I want to hear what you think!

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