I'm sure I'm like most of you - I am a creature of wants rather than needs. I read a magazine and I want that new jacket. I read a blog and I want those shoes. I see someone looking cool walking down the street and I suddenly want what she's got. Let's mug her! I'm just joking. But the point is I want, want, want.
Problem is ... limited funds. But thankfully not limited imagination, resourcefulness and a willingess to compromise. I have no choice ... I haven't won the lottery ... or gone back to work yet. So what's a girl to do? She looks for the next best thing that she can afford. In these austere times, I think there should be no shame in exercising the thrifty gene ... as long as it's accompanied by a discriminating eye. The discriminating eye is what will hopefully draw the fine line between horrid cheap and tasteful cheap. This is essentially what goes through my mad little shopping brain when engaged in thrifty mode.
Wanted : Berry Tee
I put the Forton tee (£29.99) from Jack Wills on my wish list previously. Lovely berry colour - want, want, want. However, berry shades are everywhere and though £29.99 is not exactly breaking the bank, what is it about this tee that really stands out to me. The colour. So really what I need is a lovely berry coloured tee. And I would be better off with a plain tee because that's more me. I spied this one in Topshop in the most gorgeous deepest darkest auberginey plummy berry shade (I couldn't decide what it was called but Topshop call it Oxblood (I don't like the sound of oxblood as much as plummy berry). Okay, I didn't make much of a saving here - only £4.99 but I like to think of this one as more of an investment piece in wardrobe than the Wills tee in that along with the lovely trend colour, the fabric is a better weight, has almost a soft touch feel and is plain enough yet smart enough to be dressed up and down which makes it more versatile. And cough cough, err, it's a little more grown up. Anyway, tick. I've saved £4.99.
The inspro ....
The reality ...
Just updates the wardrobe with a little hit of colour.
Wanted : Grey Jacket
That Laura Bailey is rocking a grey jacket. I need a grey jacket!!!! That Emanuelle Alt looks pretty cool in her tweed jacket. I need a tweed jacket!!!! Hang about - why not make it a grey tweed jacket? Two birds, one stone. Want, want, want! Toast currently do a really nice grey tweed jacket for £175 but I'm not sure I can wait till it goes in the sale and when it does, the chances are my size won't be available. Hmmm. Once upon a time, I would have just said "Jump in to my shopping basket!" whilst rubbing my hands with glee but nowaday it's a stroking of the chin and "let's think about this more seriously". I know I'm fickle and usually I like a really good investment buy but if I think realistically how often I will be wearing this grey jacket being a SAHM, will I get my return out of a very expensive though lovely jacket? Probably not. So I've settled for a little grey tweed number from H&M for the princely sum of £29.99 which will tide me over for this year and probably next and knowing me, another five after that until I eventually happen upon that elusive perfect grey jacket. I personally think this is one of the better cheap tweed blazers being offered out there.... and one of the better jacket offerings from H&M. Some are not as well made and look "too cheap". This one passes my "looks not too cheap" test partly because it doesn't have any of the horrendous mock suede elbow patches which seem to adorn every other garment at the moment and it's not a tweed check which is a notorious giveaway for cheap goods when the checks don't align. Anyway, another tick in the box. And a saving of around £145 if comparing to the Toast one.
The inspro ....
Photo Credit : WhoWhatWear.Com & Zimbio.co.uk
Laura Bailey and Emanuelle Alt wearing their jackets well.
The reality ...
Never a good idea to put a picture of yourself under Laura Bailey and Emanuelle Alt
Note - the jacket was cheap.The stripy jumper was cheap. The jeans were cheap. But the accessories make the difference. Pay a bit more for the boots and the bag like I did and they should lift whatever you are wearing. If people see you wearing nice shoes and accessories, they probably won't be wondering how expensive the rest of your clothes are. They will assume they are expensive.
Wanted : Isabel Marant Dicker Boots
I didn't have £325 for a pair of Isabel Marant Dicker boots even though I really want, want, wanted these. So after a good scour over the internet, I found the Office Namesake boots. Good enough for me. These were priced at £75 when I bought them back in May and they were definitely a good buy. When I've not had the Krimble sandals on, I've had the Namesake boots on instead. Tickety tick! Because I've had my wear out of them, there is a part of me that thinks maybe I should have spent the big money in the first place but there is no way I could have saved up and then splashed out £300+. The other part of me is thinking what are the chances I would have destroyed them after two wears - they are light coloured suede after all? And then I would have been G-U-T-T-E-D! So let's just pretend I saved £250.
The inspro :
Photo Credit : Net a Porter.
Isabel Marant Dicker Boots - I'd tell you where to get them if they didn't sell out so fast!
The reality :
Wanted : Boyfriend Coat
I love coats and jackets and Isabel Marant makes some of the best around style wise. I want want want one of those Marant Bator or Xavier jackets. Hmm - I really must remember to buy that lottery ticket. Until then, I'll stick with my little Mango jacket which is rather cute. £39.99 to get a look. I can live with that. Just to please myself, let's compare the price (not the quality) against an Isabel Marant Xavier Jacket which I believe comes in at £270 (the only price I could find for it). Well, well, well - I have just saved myself £230. Tickety, tickety tick!
The inspro :
Photo Credit : Les Anti-modernes
Isabel Marant Xavier Jacket/Coat (No longer available)
The reality :
Wanted : APC Boots
APC suede boots - yum. Big want, want. Love the slightly blocky heel - lovely simple styling. How much? Just £310. Sorry, I don't have that much to spend on this pair of boots or the Dickers. Thank goodness for Carvela taking pity on me and offering up their Spoken boots for about £100 (they were reduced to that a couple of years back but they're a lovely boot so I'm making no apologies for them). So another saving of ooohhh about £200. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick!
The inspro :
Photo Credit : Net a Porter
APC Classic Suede Boots (N/A)
The reality :
Carvela Spoken Boots (old) - Love 'em.
You get the jist of how I work now. I don't like to think myself as a total cheapskate and I will pay out good money - well a reasonable amount of money in the high end high street stores when and if I can. The item has got to be worth it but sometimes, just sometimes, it's the cheap item which fits better than the expensive one in which case, this is always a bonus and just because it is cheap - it doesn't always mean it won't last. Sometimes I think it's down to the individual and what they put their clothes through and what wash cycle they subjected it to. Maybe I've been lucky so far but I don't think I've had too many shrinking incidents. I've had some body getting fatter incidents but not too many genuine clothes shrinking incidents.
On the other side of the argument and paying that little bit extra? Yes I'm prepared to pay more for something because just sometimes the art of compromise is not feasible. I will quite happily rationalise the purchase of a more expensive item when faced with "my bum looks much better in those expensive pants than the cheaper ones" or the stitching and finish is better on the more pricier item because bad fitting clothes and too cheap accessories can destroy the whole look and make you look cheap. Sometimes, there is no cheap altermative which can take the place of the more expensive original but that's okay as well. It's good for the soul to spoil yourself every now and then and at other times, you will need to rein in but ultimately, you will shop according to your tastes, wants, and budget.
Remember to try and take the inspiration and rework to suit yourself and your budget. If you know what look it is you are going for, keep it in mind and see what the alternatives are. For example, no one will criticise you for wearing a grey merino jumper instead of a cashmere one. You don't need to get a pair of black Hunter wellies specifically but you can buy a pair of good plain black slim fitting wellies for half the price. Train your eye to look at the details and the finish and you will come away with a winner.
Wear with pride and attitude and you will look wonderful. And it will be your secret how much you saved :o)
- Although I have been lucky and found "cheaper" substitutes for the items I really wanted, you also need to bear in mind when cheap looks too cheap and when it's better to pay more for a well designed, well made original, after all better a good original than a bad copy.