The Return of ‘Investment Clothing’

The recession is over. Ding! Dong! The witch is soooooo not dead!! Just sleeping at the moment. Though the recession is over (June 2009), people nationwide have little to celebrate. The one escape we used to have? Fashion Week. Every year, fashion week brings us the imaginations of those more talented than ourselves. A dream world only possible of achieving and visiting through the fine stitches of Alexander McQueen, and the classic shapes of Ms Coco Chanel. This years fashion was…wearable! Dun, dun, dun!!! [Insert dramatic music here]

Investment Clothing

In response to the played out “economic downturn”, Fashion Weeks’ and Fashion Houses from  across the globe showcased a ton of “investment” pieces this year. No it wasn’t the return of the Plain White Tees, but it was the comeback for – brace yourself – wearable fashion.

“Wearable”, a phrase that haunts the halls of high fashion magazines and couture designers alike. I know its scary but its practical. (Aaahhhhh! Stop the bleeding!)

Wearable? But why?

While fashion is and always will be about uninhibited creativity and self expression, at the end of the day, most of us shop for items that can be worn to the few places we frequent (i.e., work, school, dates, etc.). Usually, tops, sweaters, jackets, pants and skirts are classified as genres of clothing you should be purchasing as an investment. But finanshionistas alike shop for style and sales; we mix and match the highs with the lows, combining high fashion with complementary ‘boutique items’ from favorite vintage/thrift shops or the all to irresistible Target (Don’t act like you don’t shop there!).

But this year our designers have done us a favor by focusing on the demure; quality pieces we see as investments that will last well into the next season and years to come. No, it wasn’t (all) about the glitz or extreme glam but about quality sportswear infused with this years trends.


Photos courtesy of iFashion.co.za.

A few great designers took it a step further and created a separate (and new) collection/line for less expensive but still uber chic styles. Zac Posen, known for his glamour, tailoring, dramatic details and high priced gowns, continued to wow the audience with the launch and introduction of Z Spoke.

“I want to show clothing with the ability to be sold to the people,” says Mr. Posen. “The young people following the blogs, I want to create pieces they can afford so they can become Zac-ettes.”

Pieces range from $80 to $700, a far stretch from the usual $1,000 to $12,000. [Photos courtesy of IMAXtree.com and Matteo Volta via Elle.com]

While, yes, they (the designers) may have helped out a few finanshionistas who might have been struggling to stay in line and in style on her new budget, they did it for selfish and strategic reasons. They also wanted to help themselves out and their retailers by making options that were more commercial and sell-able. Before, secondary lines were showcased in private, far from the tents of Bryant Park, for a select group of buyers. To have them front and center in Lincoln Center is a definite sign of the times. [Photos courtesy of saksfifthavenue.com and style.com.]

The quality hasn’t changed but the materials have. Badgley Mischka featured its contemporary line, Mark + James, “made of cotton, linen and silk blends, rather than the double-face satin, chiffon and six-ply crepe used in the couture collection”.

The times, they are a changing, and designers need to stay current. Not only with setting the latest fashion trends but to the sensitivity of the price points of their consumers. Fashion is a business and sometimes the customers decision to buy an item or pass, is as well. Because in Fashion, ‘One day you’re in, and the next, you’re out!’. Let Heidi tell it…

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MNM Vocabulary Lesson: Fiscal Schizophrenia

Fiscal Schizophrenia [fis-kuhl] [skit-suh-free-nee-uh, -freen-yuh]

  1. Contrived mental instability characterized by dueling internal thoughts relating to money
  2. Being aware of your current monetary status and choosing to blatantly ignore it
  3. i.e., “Knowing she was over her credit limit and will induce a penalty, Carrie struggled with her fiscally schizophrenic voices but still decided to charge her latest pair of Louis Vuitton’s to the card”
  4. See “You Ain’t Sh*t and Other Things Your Parents Never Told You” to see why Carrie Bradshaw suffers from the illness

-antonym

  1. Just about anything else
  2. Conscious Consumer

We’ve all experienced it. Or seen someone going through it. She’s usually the one staring at a hot pair of new shoes, mumbling to herself; probably trying the shoe on and on again, trying to forecast upcoming weeks’ expenses. Having an internal dialogue between good and evil, cash or credit, paying more now or going to Payless. She’s the one who knows she may not be able to afford something (now) but is convincing herself she ‘needs’ the item and works out a way to pay for it.

Just as it is unrealistic for me to expect you to leave Nordstroms (for example) for Payless, Fiscal Schizophrenia is about giving in to an unrealistic belief. It’s really simple to determine whether you can afford something or not, but it can be difficult silencing the “want” in your head. Once you give in to the “wants” voice, you start rationalizing and negotiating with your wallet: a losing game, as your wallet has no leverage. It can’t make you miraculously have more money.

The facts are the facts and talking to yourself, albeit internally, just makes you look crazy.

Other vocabulary:

Mailbox Money – What to do when your mailbox starts making it rain…

New Money – Talking ’bout my generation..unless you got those cobweb coins!

It’s my house and I can decorate if I want to!

I’ve been hit with inspiration and am loving decorating my house. The original plan was to wait, grow a fund, get a inspiration board together, blah, blah, blah. But with the impending baby shower (did I tell you I am hosting a baby shower at the end of the month?) I figured I get started with the small rooms. First up, my office!

I wanted a ‘Tiffany Blue’ for the walls accented by a dark, charcoal grey wall, with all white or black accessories.

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There’s still a little bit to go. I ordered this fabulous translucent chair exclusively from Modern Classics via Hautelook (join here). I’m debating whether I should paint the bookcase and desk black and I need to make some black and white curtains, order blinds, and….so there’s more than a little bit to go.

What do you think?

“You Ain’t Sh*t!” And other things your parents never told you…

Carrie Bradshaw: A fiscal schizophrenic???

In browsing the other day, I came across a blog of a woman I frequently read in a magazine. Her blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, is about relationships and ‘real talk’ experiences of a vibrant female living in New York City. Her topic for the day, what intrigued me the most, was called “The ego epidemic“, a review and commentary of an article titled: “The ego epidemic: How more and more of us women have an inflated sense of our own fabulousness” by Lucy Taylor.

Ms Taylor describes an overwhelming trend found amongst females. That we carry and internalize almost delusional, “inflated” images and beliefs of ourselves. When we look in the mirror in the morning, its not the broke, head of over heels in debt, paycheck-to-Monday life that we see looking back at us in the morning but rather a ‘fabulous’ (said in the voice of Samantha Jones), Dior and Chanel-ed out, fierce female of which no man can resist.

The article brings to our attention that “US women are more egocentric and narcissistic than … ever”. That we have trouble accepting criticism or even showing some emotions towards others because we are so into ourselves.  “Am I making you angry by telling you this?”, the author asks. “It figures. Narcissistic or egotistical women do have an overwhelming sense of entitlement and arrogance.”

But what’s the problem here? In a male dominated world where they slap each other on the ass to congratulate each other, consistently promote their achievements and personal agendas, drive fancy, fast cars, and  attribute a personality and name to their man-hood  – what is wrong with an overtly confident woman? (Don’t worry ladies, I got your back). For decades women have stood behind their men, have waited (some are still waiting) for professional promotions and have subdued their natural sexuality all in an attempt to A) Not be called a Bitch, B) Not be called a Whore, and C) Not be called a Bitch!

What’s wrong with a little more than a little self promotion ?

I see one potential problem being confusing ones self-worth with one’s net-worth. Do we know the differences ladies?

Self-Worth vs Net-Worth: The two are NOT one in the same

The author continues on to say:

We have phony rich people (who actually have massive mortgages and piles of debt), phony beauty (via plastic surgery), phony celebrities (via reality TV and YouTube), phony genius students (with grade inflation) and phony friends (with the social networking explosion).

Her point here is that in an attempt to remain consistent, to match ones thoughts and beliefs regarding their self worth with their physical appearances and social status, the material things become a necessity and are no longer just a part of life’s more luxurious side, to be indulged on occasion.

Remember the Jones-es (found here)? They were the ones everyone used to want to be like – an imaginary couple who kicked up envious glances from the neighbors because it was the Jones-es who always had the new, new stuff that no one else could afford. Well, ladies we have created a set of dueling twin Jone-es in our own heads, if you will. They dictate what is appropriate to wear, drive, etc., in the world we’ve created in our heads.

That is fiscal schizophrenia!

Let’s remember that Carrie Bradshaw was at times a free lance writer who lived from check to check charging fantastic shoes at outrageous prices. And lets not comment on the all to entitled Rebecca Bloomwood of Confession of a Shopaholic fame. Don;t get it twisted. Both were glamorous fiscal schizophrenics!

With easy access to credit and the rapid flow of information one can see how you can become misinformed along the way. “Buy now, pay later”. I met a girl once who praised the invention of ‘lay away’ because the TJ Max by her house carried high end name brands. “Lay Awaaayyy!”, she continued on and on. “Lay Away!”

What toll does paying for those boots and purses take on your everyday finances? How can you keep to your normal monetary schedule if you now have to rush to pay off a layaway claim within six weeks?

Now we can’t be ones to dip into other pockets. I don’t know too much about what she has going on in her purse. But in making a diagnosis off of the sole reason she’s placing items on lay away, only to return every two weeks to make a small deposit on those items, I’d have to say she’s suffering from a case of fiscal schizophrenia.

Watch out now, it could become contagious.

This isn’t a post about layaway (excuse the small rant). But you can understand what I’m getting out here.  While I slightly disagree with the overall theme of the article, I connect with the idea of an inflated self worth leading to an out of whack, internal battle with one’s net worth. Your parents may have told you over and over again how great, awesome, special and pretty you are and that you deserve a pony, car, rich man, plastic surgery, and a great life, but did they ever tell you about the true costs of attaining those things?

Think about it.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1213212/The-ego-epidemic-more-inflated-sense-fabulousness.html##ixzz10p8AItBV. Photo found here.

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