Friday, November 7, 2008

Desire versus Denial - The Fashionista's Dilemma

Target Bag

Vintage Bulgari Bracelet from

Every Friday I look forward to reading the Life & Style section of the Wall Street Journal for the movie and book reviews, restaurant reviews and recipes, and of course, the fashion reporting by Christina Binkley and Teri Agins.

Today's article of choice by Christina Binkley is

The Latest Style: Self-Denial
In a Troubled Economy, Splurges Seem Shameful, and Cheap Is Cool; Needs vs. Wants

During the economic boom of the past decade, many people relaxed their definitions of "need." They upgraded from Timex to Rolex. When the price of Jimmy Choo shoes hit $800, many people said they "needed" the latest shoe anyway.
But as banks go out of business and friends get pink slips, the question "Do I really need it?" has a new resonance. After years of gluttonous shopping, forgoing our wants feels virtuous, like using up leftovers. That's why many people these days are boasting that they are "shopping" in their closets.

As more people economize, it's become cool to pay less rather than more. It's worth boasting these days about buying faux-leather Anya Hindmarch for Target handbags for $30 -- rather than the $500 versions at Ms. Hindmarch's boutiques. The digital marketing agency Zeta Interactive has measured a distinct increase in the buzz -- recorded by the volume of Web-site and blog postings -- surrounding discount retail sites. According to Zeta's research, for instance, discounter received 25% more buzz in October than in September, while full-priced received 19% fewer postings on blogs and Web sites.

Even before the the economic downturn it was obvious that things had gone too far when $700 seemed reasonable for a pair of pretty shoes and $2000 became the median price for a handbag. I've felt for some time that at least in the blogosphere I was on a one woman campaign against the "It" bag.

As I posted here in June, except for one knock out Piazza Sempione dress from Neiman Marcus, my entire wardrobe for last summer's trip to Spain was from Target. And, I still carry the Target handbag almost everyday! When you're wearing simple but stylish clothes (new or vintage) with a great classic vintage Cartier watch, Bulgari bracelet and Boucheron can get away with carrying the right handbag from Target.

I believe that in both economic booms and busts you should look for clothes and accessories that are well made and classic in style so that you can wear them for years on end. Obviously, that's why I am, above all, a proponent of vintage estate jewelry priced below retail. A well made piece of jewelry is practically indestructible and it's not a matter of wearing it for years, but of wearing it for generations.

And right now, who doesn't want to spend their hard earned dollars on any fashion item that doesn't bring enduring value?

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