Thursday, January 3, 2008

On Spending

When do you decide to buy a pair of shoes for less than or over a hundred? When do you purchase Cheap Monday jeans from Urban Oufitters and when do you purchase Balenciaga Jeans from

I lightly touched on this before when my friend called me impractical for purchasing somewhat expensive shoes. I think there are several factors to keep in mind when making a purchase:

-How common/exclusive is this piece?
-How much income do I have/How fluid is my finance?
-How much do I love this piece? Will it be there tomorrow?
-What is the quality and history? Have I invested in this company before? Do I trust it?
-Is it trendy?

I'll touch on each one and what my mind thinks on each question.

How common/exclusive is this piece?
One thing I hate is to walk down the street, go to a bar, coffee shop, school, library, bathroom, shopping, or to work and see someone having the same article(s) of clothing I have on. Yes, it could either affirm that I have great taste or we have similar bad taste. However, I rather much prefer a piece that few would have, or a piece that has low chances of me bumping into someone having it.

A reason I may be anti-common pieces is that because I love a individualize style. I think clothes can say so much and with some effort, you can say a lot without verbally saying something. But when companies like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, two companies I like, are being abused, I cringe. What is abuse? When your wardrobe consists of only Urban Outfitters and/or American Apparel. I call that the poser and/or lazy syndrome. It's so "scene" and easy to just mix and match. I don't think I'm able to walk down the street and not see an American Apparel V-neck, with a saturated color hoodie, and some skinny jeans with converse. Gag.

I like standing out and I like it when people ask me where I bought my clothes. I hate to think that I get lost in a sea of people. It's just too boring of an idea for me.

How much income do I have/How fluid is my finance?
As a student, I don't have much income or finance. As an independent student and person, I don't rely on my parents to compensate that void. However, I acknowledge that I do have this materialistic obsession with clothes, shoes, and everything fashion-related, I have to have some kind of "personal" income so I can indulge in this interest. Terrence Koh, a current famous asian artist, said, "You should go bankrupt for what you love. For art, for fahsion, for everything." Of course it was easy for him to say because he's a millionaire, which is why he could afford Fendi feather jackets and $10,000 Balenciaga leggings. But not using it to the extreme, if I find a piece I love and It screams me, I'm willing to spend on it. Some pieces are an investment, like Civics, not cheap KIAs where it depreciates right after it's put together by the manufacture.

At the same time, I have to be realistic and acknowledge the overhead I have in regards to rent, utility bills, meals, etc. But contrast that, since I work hard for my money, which may be different than money being handed to you, I tend to spend more because I feel like I have worked hard, therefore I should spend it on something that makes me happy and/or feel good, like a pair of Gucci Mocs.

I, personally, also hate cheap people. I think I got this mindset from my mother. She lives on the idea that I should spend today on something that makes me happy because I might not be able to spend it tomorrow. Yes, if taken to the extreme it may be stupid, but if practice wisely, I think you shouldn't be afraid to spend. Also, remember there's a difference between like and love. If you love it, I say take it before the chance is gone. Which brings me to the next topic.

How much do I love this piece? Will it be there tomorrow?
There are numerous times where I wanted something and I kept thinking about it, and thinking about it and by the time I finally decide that I should get it, the piece is gone and no longer in stock and/or no longer on sale. This happened so many time!

My new rule for this year is if I see something I more than like, and the price is reasonable, I should just get it. What is reasonable for me? Under $200. If the price is over $200, then it's fine if I think about it. Over $200 is worth sleeping on, for me at least. Since I also like exclusive pieces or non-common items, and (I) am a size small, it's rare that I have a large window of time to think about the desired purchase(s). I also factor that in. I also decided that if I look at the piece over three times online or in the store, I should just get it.

What is the quality and history? Have I invested in this company before? Do I trust it?
I think quality and history is so important to a product, especially one that is pricey. One of my biggest problem is that I don't like trying things on so I never know how the product is. I tend to purchase things impulsively, and if it doesn't fit I normally just stock it away in the back of the closet or give it away. Terrible, I know.

However, I counter that by reading a lot on consumer reports, or feedback in forums. Since I have an interest in fashion, I normally know what each Brand is known for, how good is the quality, if there's a life-time guarantee on it or not so that helps. Like I've heard multiple incidences where Marc Jacobs' bags aren't that durable. If the material isn't good, are you fine with just paying for Marc's ideas and concepts? Some people are ok with that, some people are not. Louis Vuitton Luggage or Gucci leather products are known for their quality because it's what they started out with and it's what their history is about so you know they can't just make second rate products. To me, quality is important. Concepts and ideas are great because it defines the product from other brands, but I need good quality.

Once again, finance comes in. If I have to invest over $300 on a product, I would hope it last longer than a month. If you aren't too product concious, the internet is there and just google a product and I'm at least 95% sure that somewhere out there customers are at least talking about the product.

In regards to history, what the company is known for is important, but it's also important to acknowledge whether you have a history with the product to know about it before investing in it. When I purchased a pair of Dior Homme jeans, I already own a pair so I understood their sizing, their quality. When I buy Gucci shoes, I understand that their sizing is a little bigger so I have to keep that in mind. When I buy a pair of cheap jeans from a certain label, I know that the quality is ok and that the dye will only last a certain amount of month after a limited time of wear.

It's also important to be honest with yourself. If you do have a pair of jeans from a known label but after you got it and you don't like it, don't be convinced to buy another pair so quickly because it's a brand. Don't be afraid to try new options or a less known brand. Sometimes prices do not reflect quality, sometimes you are paying more for the brand.

Is it trendy?
I hate this question. I hate trends because going back to what I discussed on the first question, if it's a trend, then the product is mass produced and in every public retailer our there in one version or another. I always encourage people to know themselves, understand proportion, know what works for them, and then evolve. Take little or large risks on yourself in changing it up a bit, but still being aware of yourself. I like people that inspire trend, not follow them.

Though I hate trend, some trend pieces do not have to be hated and disgusted with. A t-shirt can be boring, but if you buy an oversize tshirt where the hole for the head is big enough it tilts on one side to show the shoulder, roll up the sleeve a little, pair it with a slightly above the knee length skirt and some pumps, finished with an oversized bag or a clutch, you just altered its purpose and the whole look. Yes, it does sound in the trend in certain aspects, but it's a less mainstream trend and more impressionable.

When you go against the mainstream trend and take risks, it shows you are secure with how you look and radiates confidence. One of the thing that enters my mind sometimes when I dress is that if the Satorialist ever bump into me, would he want to take my picture for his website/work.


I understand it may seem a lot to think and consider about when making a purchase, but once you're used to it, it comes naturally. Make mistakes and learn from it. Make a stupid investment in some jeans, learn from it. Maybe you're someone who has to try the jeans on. Think about a product long enough where when you finally decide to buy it, it's no longer there. Maybe you're someone who needs a second opinion, or an excel spreedsheet to put numerical value to see if it all adds up. Or maybe you're just really good at judging products and that you shouldn't think twice and you should just buy something if you like it.

Maybe this is just me...

1 comment:

Tabitha said...

totally totally. i hate when people judge me for buying expensive things - they last FOREVER. and if they don't, the warranty will. i support all your decisions, Henri.