August 27, 2007

Fashionista priorities

My dear friend Julie of Almost Girl sent me a link to this New York Times article last night when we were chatting online. Basically, the author discusses all of the fashion items that one could go without in order to save up for long-term goals such as an apartment in Queens or a "decent" retirement. The lead, in fact, reads:
"Saving isn’t as much fun as spending, true. But once you get into the habit, what you might blow on your closet could end up netting a much prettier penny down the line."

This feature is interesting and reminds me a lot of the service articles that appear in women's magazines that discuss, for example, how going without your daily Starbucks could actually lead to hundreds of dollars in savings per year. But there are some points that I thought of immediately that discounts this seemingly sage advice immediately:

1. In order to actually save any of the amounts suggested, one would have to MAKE that much in the first place! How many of us (or NY Times readers) are even raking in $6657 a month anyway?

2. These are luxury items, and it's silly to assume that everyone is buying a fur coat each month. The reason that most people feel justified in spending that much on a fashion garment in the first place is that it will (theoretically) last a lifetime because of the superior construction, etc.

3. What if the small, monthly purchases cumulatively bring you as much joy as that kitchen renovation? Would they be worth it then?

Anyway, just some food for thought. The whole saving money versus splurging on fashion items debate is sadly quite prominent in my life currently - because I work in an industry that cares what I wear, I sometimes justify the disproportionately (to my income) extravagant purchases that I make by saying that it's an investment in my career.

Am I being silly?
What do you do?


Henna said...

I loved your take on this article and when I had first read it I actually laughed at myself for thinking that the tips would be useful to me.

I agree with you - it's hard to think about spending as an investment when you don't have much to spend in the first place!

Me? I like to splurge on pieces I love and that I think I will wear countless times. So splurging on a coat I might wear every single day is fine, but on a dress to be worn once? Not so much. Same with shoes, accessories, etc.

I do shopper's math: the more you wear it, the less it costs. Right?

Maria Palma said...

If you work in an industry where fashion plays a big part, then yes, I say spending on nice items is ok. However, there comes a point when you start to rack up major credit card bills - that's when I say it's not worth it. I know, because I've been in this position!

There should be a balance between saving for the future and being able to wear really nice, quality clothing. Why can't one have both? I think it's possible...

fashion theory said...

I agree with you guys. I obviously don't rack up debt (although I do go into savings) for fashion.

The shopper's math, henna, is great but also depressing! Even if I wear my new Prada bag EVERY DAY for 2 years, it would still have cost me about $1 a day!!

5%Celery said...

I know what you mean about disproportionate finances, fashion is so difficult to strike a balance between not letting nice clothes become (overly) monumentally important but still acknowledging the importance that one, as a fashion industry professional, has decided they merit, ya know?