The real deal


recently i heard the application of the "pays for itself" theory (where if you figure out the cost per use, let's say of a $50 scarf - if you wear that scarf for 2 months straight, then it cost you less than a penny a day) and it occurred to me that this would only actually work if you were putting that penny aside every day. it would work even better if you did that before buying the scarf. my priorities are longevity of the appeal, and the degree of the appeal. i have to love it, and think i'll love it for a while (i primarily apply these requirements when the price tag is substantial), and, ideally, it will last through all that love.

there are people who feel i spend too much on certain items, pay too high a premium. meanwhile, i'm very aware of how much exceptionally average things cost these days. sometimes it's a case of the brand being greedy - if they have a strong following, then they can throw a plastic headband into the collection and charge $200. sometimes it's a case of a brand being hopeful - if people will pay $600 for a famous designer's shoes, maybe they'll pay $200 for our junky ones.

for the most part, i have to admit that i'm more suspicious of cheap items than expensive ones...and i think this handicaps my ability to enjoy something that is more... reasonably priced. (ultimately, regardless of the cost, i always subscribe to the adage, buyer beware. )

which, in your opinion, is more of a good "deal": a high price on high quality, or a low price on average quality?

7 comments:

Candid Cool said...

Really it just comes down to having a discerning eye. Just because the label says Dolce & Gabbanna and has a 5 figure price tag it is some cases is made in the same factory as something that is Kenneth Cole and may be @ at a substantially less price point.

Sometimes I find pieces at F21 that really have stood the test of time, & then of course there are pieces from F21 that don't last longer than 1 wear.

But at times it's better to save up and pay more for a better quality item, because the cheaply made stuff has to get replaced more often because it doesn't last as long.

GenX Theorist said...

High price, high quality - no question! I was just thinking about this the other day...I've got this old MaxMara dress bought in 1998 that I still wear every summer. Such things make me confident that I do like my items to last.

Like you, I have a really different perspective on what "costs a lot" is from most of my peers. I am more shocked by how much stores such as BCBG and Banana now ask for really crappily made stuff. Like, pay $200 for something that'll fall apart in a season or $500 for an amazing item that you'll love forever?

Not that you can't find well-made items at BCBG et al. Candid Cool is so right, it takes that discerning eye. But, despite loving fashion, I'm actually not much of a shopper, so I go with the tried and true, my lovely Dries especially.

I know what you mean about the plastic headbands too. I'm curious Editor...and friends..what do you think about Marni Necklaces? I don't usually go in for accessories; but lately I've been so attracted to Marni's pieces - they're so much more about fabric and design. But...then we get into the ole' throwing stuff out there with a name on it and charging crazy prices for it. When is something worth it?

martha said...

i think i regard items differently depending on their lineage. if they come at a price, and from a desirable brand, i honestly value them more (i'm not proud of this...but i notice that it's true) and so therefore they last longer and in the long run are worth the investment, but this is based on my values more than the integrity of the piece...

genx theorist, i think a marni necklace is so unique that it has become somewhat iconic of that brand's whole aesthetic. it represents more than just a necklace, has become larger than an accessory, so it has a lot of staying power. like a pucci print, it will be referenced as a turning point, as a leader in it's area, etc. a good choice. plus they are genuinely interesting and pretty (imo), like sculpture.

Iheartfashion said...

It's a cliche by now, but I think buying the best you can afford is really good advice, whether it's from Filene's Basement or vintage if one's on a budget (and who isn't?) along with the occasional designer splurge.
I have mixed feelings about it, but I value the stuff I paid more for or that has a designer name.

Candid Cool said...

this reminds of that show What Not to Wear when they are going through the person's rack full of mismatched ill fitting old clothes and say "for all this crap, you could have bought 1 nice suit"

editor said...

candid cool - that is the precise conclusion i came to when i did my initial weeding earlier this year.

iheartfashion - ditto

Anonymous said...

I don't know based on how much I initially like an item, regardless of name or cost, how long I will wear it. There are things I loved when I bought them but never wore much and there are clothes like a black, raw silk pencil skirt I still wear after 20 years. In retrospect basics like that skirt are what I try to buy now. Makes easier to put together clothes for every day.