You have £200 to spend on clothes. Do you spend it on a whole load of seasonal, fast-fashion pieces, or perhaps two or three more expensive investment pieces that will never go out of style?
I did a Twitter poll about what people preferred and a majority (53%) said they would invest in a combination of the two – to invest in a few key pieces and purchase a few seasonal extras. It got me thinking and inspired me to write this post, because the way I shop for clothes has changed so much over the past few years, especially in the time since I finished university. For me, clothes have always been an experiment; I love outfit planning and finding new gems to add to my wardrobe. However, whilst I’m still on a budget, I actually prefer to spend a bit more money on clothes, but on less items. Why? It boils down to a case of quality not quantity. So if you’re not convinced, let me argue with you.
The fast-fashion false economy
Fast-fashion: Low cost clothing collections that mimic current fashion trends […] Fast fashion keeps up with these trends, but unlike with high fashion, fast-fashion garments are cheap and usually made out of lower-quality materials.
I used to love a trip to Primark as much as the next teenage girl! For £50, I’d come out with a whole seasonal wardrobe, complete with everything from basics to jeans to boots. Its the dream, right?
Well, it’s the dream if you’re growing quickly and finding your own style. I personally think it’s amazing that young girls can go out and afford to experiment with the latest trends without worrying about not having any money. However, as I’ve ‘grown-up’, I spent more time wandering into Primark and not actually finding anything worth buying.
Fast-fashion works for some people, but for me it’s a false economy. Take Primark jeans for example at £9 a pair. They were so cheap and weren’t made of proper denim, so I’d end up having to replace them every few months because they would stretch, fade or tear. So in a year, I’d perhaps buy about four pairs, which adds up to £36 a year on jeans – and that was just for one colour! Not so cheap now…
Two and a half years ago I bought some jeans from M&S which were thicker, fitted better and were overall much better quality. One pair cost me £22.50, and they’re still going strong. The black pair have been washed over and over and haven’t faded at all. Do you see my point?
“You get what you pay for”
This is something my Mum always says – a majority of the time, price tends to reflect quality, especially when it comes to clothes. I mean, there are exceptions. Stuff I’ve bought from Topshop has fallen apart within weeks and I’ve paid more than it was probably worth, and I had a £5 pair of pumps from Primark that I wore to death. Now I’m earning money, I think I’ve become more careful with what I spend it on. Unless it’s love at first sight, I really think about my purchases and whether they will last a long time.
Take my gorgeous wool coat from Marks and Spencer. It was by no means cheap, but I see it as an investment that won’t only last me this season, but the season after that, and the season after… and so on. It is so well made and is definitely going to last longer than one of it’s cheaper counterparts. Wool coats are also a bit of a boomerang trend – when do you ever go wrong with a classic coat?
It doesn’t even have to be designer to be amazing quality – 75% of the clothes I wear now are from Marks and Spencer, which is probably the higher end of high street. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to scrimp on quality, sales are the best place to pick up some great pieces. I have a Sparks card so get notified and early access when there are sales on. My bag in this post is currently in the Oasis sale down from £45 to £22 – and it’s real leather!
Fashion vs Style
“Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly; style lasts forever.” – Ralph Lauren.
My wardrobe is still quite full, but I’m gradually cutting it down into more of a capsule wardrobe, so I have fewer clothes that I will wear more. I think fast-fashion has it’s place for everyone and it is truly up to you how you spend your cash. For me, I will continue to invest in key pieces like jeans, jumpers, coats that fit in with my personal style. Seasonal pieces that are unlikely to hang around (fingers crossed that culottes DO stay) I’ll pick up from ‘fast-fashion’ retailers like Boohoo. Like I said, fast-fashion is the place to experiment when it comes to trends. I like to use it to see if I’m fully invested in a trend before getting something that will last. Accessorising is also a great way to show off your style as it can update it instantly. I love timeless, delicate jewellery pieces, scarves and bags. It puts the fun back into fashion and I love styling different outfits with new accessories to take them into different seasons.
What are your feelings towards fast-fashion and investment pieces?