Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Shopping Revelation

The other day, I had a total shopping revelation. Many of us have these every once in awhile, and these revelations give us a new perspective on how we shop, what we buy, and what our style is. Let me start from the beginning....I'll keep this semi-short so as to not bore you with all the details....I wasn't sure if I should post something so personal, but....well, here goes....

I was one of those kids who moved around a lot because of my dad's job. Anyone who's ever moved around, especially during childhood, will know how hard it is to fit in at a new school. At some point, clothing became one of the ways to try to fit in, so I tried to dress like the other kids. Now, growing up, I didn't have a lot of money to blow on clothes - I'm not saying we were destitute. My sister and I were actually a tad bit spoiled - if we wanted something, we usually got it, so long as it fit my parents' budget - some kids ask for new shoes and get designer, we got nine west. Anywho, it was during my teen years that I learned how to bugdet shop - how to scout the thrift stores, the sale racks, the "cheapie" stores to find the inexpensive clothes that still made me look well-dressed. It was during these teen years that my love for shopping really started to take off.

Once I got to college, I was flat a$$ broke. I had enough money to cover bills and what not, but I didn't want to work during the school year because I really wanted to focus on school. Instead, during the summers, I worked as a waitress to earn money to live on during the school year. One summer, I worked at J Crew (in addition to the restaurant) at the ritzy mall in town where I was constantly taunted by the Coach store (which was across the hall), and all the rich women coming in with their designer bags and clothes, who blew through money like it was nothing. It really only made me want to work harder in school so I could get a good job after I graduated so I could one day afford designer goodies. Of course, I was still broke in college and couldn't even afford to budget shop - I couldn't shop at all - anywhere - period! Yea, it really sucked. I kept thinking, once I graduate, I'm going to get a good job and buy whatever the heck I want!

Well, after I graduated, I got a job with an ok pay...not enough to shop like I really wanted to - I could buy a couple things here and there, but it was no biggee. Then I got my second job, the one I have now, and I felt like I had really made it! I shopped like a madwoman, and oh was it fun! I started shopping at Banana Republic, which had been too expensive for me before, but now was juuuust right. In fact, for awhile, I only shopped at Banana Republic because it's right next to our office. I started going back to that ritzy mall - this time as a customer - and I shopped the stores I couldn't afford before: bebe, Guess, Banana Republic, Cache...the list goes on. Course, after racking up a couple thous in credit card bills, and tiring of paying the bills every month, I decided to take on Project Debt-Free.

For Project-Debt-Free, I decided to pay off as many of my bills as quickly as possible. This meant, if at all possible, to not buy anything until my debts were fully paid off. I actually did pretty good – it was just like being in college again. I had a few slip-ups, but I'm proud to say that I'm almost there! My Gucci shades I posted about a few weeks ago were a treat to myself for having come so far along in my quest to pay off my debt. Actually, lately, I've been slipping up a lot - as obvious by my posts of my latest shopping splurges, but I can't wait to reach my goal! Maybe because I said after I've paid off my debt, I'd blow the next paycheck?

Anywho, I had my shopping revelation a couple weeks ago. I had been thinking that once I pay off my debt, I could say goodbye to budget shopping and sale racks - that I could start getting more designer stuff, etc. Well, I had just purchased my Gucci shades, so I was feeling pretty good about my "spending ability." I decided to check out the designer section at Nordstrom to see what I could afford. I looked at a couple dresses - just simple dresses, nothing too fancy - they were like 4 thou each (I think they were Ralph Lauren). I found the Missoni rack and took a look at one of their tank tops - $400 a pop. It was about now I had my lil revelation....$400 for a freakin tank top?? No way. Maybe one day when I win the lottery or become a celebrity, but I just couldn't fathom spending $400 on a tank top, I don't care who makes it! I decided that while shopping, I needed to incorporate a little of who I was (in college) with a little of who I'm becoming (designer shopper), and that I needed to start integrating budget items with designer - that sale-rack & budget shopping isn't bad shopping, but rather it's smart shopping. So, one thing you may notice in my future posts is the mixture of designer and budget – I like to think of it as a challenge to look good on a budget. At least I've always believed in one thing - buy trendy cheap, buy classic expensive.


sunshinealways said...

You couldn't have said it any better -"buy trendy cheap, buy classic expensive"...Rings true to me.
I've had many shopping revelations and I am completely happy with what I decide to do after I'm enlightened. Seems like the latest light that enlightened me is brighter than the one before...or something like that. I enjoy combining the trendy and classic in my looks if that makes sense at all.One example I can give is that I buy trendy clothes on a budget (from India and here) and accessorize with classic traditional or western jewellery (whichever is appropriate). Jewellery to me is an investment in terms of being classic, traditional and preserving the family heirloom. My mother has given me earrings she wore when she went to college in the sixties which I wear sometimes. They're classic and I love them! So when I buy stuff that is expensive, I look for beauty, longevity, and of course if I like it or not!! Got off on a personal tangent here.....Said more here than I say on my blog.....see what your blog does to people Ms. D??

Shopaholic D said...

Exactly! I'm not spending $400 on a tank top that will be out of style in less than a year, but I don't mind spending the money for a Louis that will almost always be in style...I mean...once I save up the money of course! lol

all comments (so long as they are not rude, not that you would ever put one of those up) are welcome - personal tangents and all!

ooh...vintage fun!

:) D

moongjee said...

I'm in highschool and I'm beginning to think I won't make it out of college alive. Other than that, ebay is still my best friend. I can't afford most of the fashion I truly love. Luckily, fashion may be somewhat forgiving by providing less expensive and luxurious substitutes. Oh, and I borrow from my mother- jewelry literally from the eighties.

Shopaholic D said...

Awwww moongjee....sorry, not trying to scare you about college - it was a blast - best time of my life (except for the non-shopping part). At least people dress casually at college so you can get away with wearing t-shirts and jeans all the time. I still can't afford all the fashion I truly love, but I'm learning to incorporate a couple expensive pieces into my on the list - a louis vuitton! gotta pay off my debt first!

:) D

Anonymous said...

It's also worthwhile as you get older to really branch out and look at the different styles around you so that you start to develop a signature look of your own. I got here from the Sartorialist, and many of the people he features have style that is almost completely independent of current trends without looking cliched or dated. Classic doesn't have to mean a black suit or a Louis--it can mean an amazing high-waisted navy skirt that only looks good on you, or a bright red leather tote that gives you all the style without the label-whoring. Also, I love to shop when I travel--a cute top or sexy shoe is enhanced exponentially by the phrase "I got it in Paris" regardless of the cost of the item.

Shopaholic D said...

Anonymous - I couldn't agree more! This is actually something I'm trying to work on...I am easily caught up in the whole name-brand-thing, but what I really want to work on is developing my personal style & buying things that I like w/o caring if it's "in".

:) D

SugarBee said...

I can relate in so many ways; first, I also grew up traveling. My Mom did humanitarian work overseas, so I grew up in Vietnam, Thailand, and India. It wasn't so much that I didn't have money to spend, it's just that there was nowhere to spend it! Try finding a Banana Republic in Hanoi, LOL, espcially back then. Also, I just got out of college, so being broke is something I deal with everyday. There's a lesson to be learned here though. Now that I'm going to start working, I feel this urge to just go out and shop, shop, shop, but I guess I'll have to keep it under control lest I want to be saddled with credit card debt.

Shopaholic D said...

Yes Sugarbee! Learn from my mistakes...don't run up debt - only spend what you make. It's so freakin hard to pay off debt...and now that I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it's like i feel like i can shop again, when really, i should be putting my extra money towards the last of the's a sucky-endless-cycle that you should avoid, if possible. there's a saying that goes, "The wise man learns from others' mistakes." Feel free to learn from mine...hehe

congrats on the graduation though! :) D

shopdiary said...

"buy trendy cheap, buy classic expensive" - amen to that!

Shopaholic D said...

heehee...thanks ShopDiary! At least I got one thing right through my!

;) D

The Bargain Queen said...

"buy trendy cheap, buy classic expensive"

I completely agree, but that doesn't stop me looking for the classics on sale! I love department store clearances for beautiful designer stuff that's marked right down just because it's not as desirable that time of year.

Good luck!