I’m starting to doubt the wisdom of saving up for “clothing you’ll wear forever.”
When I was teenager, I spent a lot of time talking about how I was going to move to France, goddammit. Because, you know, in France people wouldn’t be such obese assholes. (It wasn’t a cute Cary Mulligan in An Education talking French thing, it was a God-I-was-such-an-astonishingly-terrible-tween thing). At the time, I read one of those “How To Be French” books and they gave a lot of advice, one piece of which was that you should only buy one or two very high quality items of clothing a year, rather than going out and buying lots of stuff like some gross piggy American. So I decided that I’d do that.
When I was 16, this meant absolutely nothing, because I had almost no income. Eventually my mom felt sorry for me and let me have her old Burberry trench-coat, which I wore in the middle of summer to smoke Gauloises and quote Sartre inaccurately.
I got over a lot of that (actually going to France for a while and spending a disproportionate amount of time watching American movies and being homesick helped). But I’ve always stuck with the idea of only buying investment pieces that you think you’ll still be wearing when you’re 40.
This year, I’ve been shopping twice. The first time I bought a pair of flesh colored Christian Louboutin pumps. The next time I bought a classic black Prada Bag. And, that’s it. There’s a Fendi dress I’ve got my eye on, but it’s going to take a few more months to save up.
It’s sort of like a life long shopping diet. The days I do go shopping are great, and I really like the feeling of having saved up for something. It makes me feel disciplined. I’ve always sort of liked the act of setting goals and then working towards them methodically. I also like being at stores where they will give you champagne as you shop and the attitude is more “spend the whole day, try on everything you want, look at the harpist in the corner, here, have a scone with that champagne” than “I’m going to monitor you to make sure you’re not a shoplifter”.
But lately, I’m wondering if it’s really worthwhile. With designers doing lines for H&M, do rules about saving up for “investment pieces” still hold true? Can anyone really tell the difference between a real Prada bag and a really well made knock-off? Maybe we’ve reached a point where investment pieces can just as easily be Jimmy Choos for H&M as a pair of Jimmy Choos for Jimmy Choo. Maybe it’s time to just take my savings, hit up Forever 21 and blow it all in a decadent burst of consumerism.
Or not. Investment pieces. Pro or con?