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Does spending £££; mean better long term value.

(72 Posts)
Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 17:03:31

I am on a mission to lose weight and once complete update my look. I have always very much been a high street shopper. Next, Gap all the usual. But I have been enjoying reading all these lovely threads on here. I have noticed a lot of you seem to spend £££ on clothes and bags. I was a bit shock at the bags thread as I don't think my entire wardrobe cost as much as one of those bags grin.

After many years of not working or when working, paying childcare, we have both DCs at school so I have upped my hours and childcare costs are relatively low. So, I finally have some disposable income.

Should I look at some of the luxury brands? What is better about them? Do you find they last and what particular items do you not mind spending on? What happens if you stain something (as I often do)? Do you sell things on when you want something else? I have a £90 voucher for House of Fraser from my lovely boss so was thinking of getting a bag to start with. I have always been of the opinion that a designer bag is the same as high street one. What is different or is it a matter of taste?


kaiserfootmuff Thu 10-Jan-13 20:39:13

what's the opinion on viscose?

Sleepwhenidie Thu 10-Jan-13 20:43:29

grin @ french polyester!

I also buy mostly premium stuff but if its full price then i have to really fall in love with it to buy it or know that I would feel bereft if it sold out while I waited for the next sale grin.

So most items in my wardrobe are ££, mid range designer, not Lanvin/Carven smile and I think they are usually better quality, although I agree with mirmuppet about them getting better treatment. Whilst I am not precious about my better clothes - screaming "don't touch my skirt!" at your toddler is really not a good look grin, I wouldn't potter round the house with my family much in them either? Also I mix them with the odd bit of Zara or Gap, (H&M vests!), particularly if it is something particularly trend driven, eg a neon item or pleather top from zara rather than a real leather one that costs £££ and is unlikely to get worn next season. These can look fantastic and expensive with higher end jeans, classic trousers, or great boots or accessories.

I particularly think you should spend as much as you can on jeans, bags, coats and shoes/boots, the difference is noticeable. A warning on good cashmere, it is very addictive, lambswool will never quite do after you go down that route smile. I don't have many expensive bags, but the ones I do last forever, a fabulous big red Marni shoulder bag my DH bought me 7 years ago as a changing bag for example, still looks great and is used a lot.

orangeandlemons Thu 10-Jan-13 21:19:18

Viscose creases like mad unless it's jersey. I am wary of any woven viscose

keepmoving Thu 10-Jan-13 21:23:56

For those that wear Aubin & Wills, what is the sizing like?

kaiserfootmuff Thu 10-Jan-13 21:25:28

i quite fancy this jacket but it's viscose so it will crease all the time?

shopafrolic Thu 10-Jan-13 21:32:06

I wear a lot of A&W. I am a 12/14 and wear 12 in their blouses, L in knitwear and 14 in their trousers. They've always come up fairly true to size for me. Silk blouses for £29 at the moment.

RedwingWinter Thu 10-Jan-13 21:33:36

I like viscose and it has a nice drape, but it has to be a reasonable weight. If it's too thin, it's not good. Anything that is natural fibres is way better than polyester, and basically nasty man-made fibres are not worth paying any money for. (I am laughing at the special french polyester).

I think some luxury brands really are better, because the fabrics are better quality and the cut is better (cut is crucial). But I think you have to evaluate each piece because in some cases you are paying more for the name. Feel the weight of the fabric, look at the stitching, see if the cut is just-right or a bit off, and use that to decide if it is worth it or not. I also take into account whether something is washable, as dry-cleaning adds a lot to the cost of a garment.

I love Brora for cashmere in lovely colours that lasts forever. I think designer jeans are worth it because the cut is so much better.

Good quality basics that you will wear lots of times, and gorgeous pieces that are just 'you', are worth spending money on.

keepmoving Thu 10-Jan-13 21:34:53

shopafrolic can you give me an idea of length? I'm just under 6' and quite like the look of the silk tops.

shopafrolic Thu 10-Jan-13 21:46:48

I'm 5ft 9 and have no issues. If you want to link to the top I can see if it's one I own....

chartreuse Thu 10-Jan-13 21:52:17

The cut and the fabric are the deciding factors for me. I love a well tailored blazer and you usually have to pay £££ for that, but one of my favourites was 30 quid in the Zara sale. And I tried on Whistles trousers recently which were very well cut but the fabric was hideous, 100% polyester. I think you have to assess each item on it's own merits.

keepmoving Thu 10-Jan-13 21:57:12

Thanks shopafrolic I'm on my phone so can't link, I like the silk tee style. as you're tall, going to give it a go. I can always return if they don't fit. Thank you.

shopafrolic Thu 10-Jan-13 22:00:20

Let me know how you get on. I love the quality and cut of their clothes. Fingers crossed!

justasecond Thu 10-Jan-13 22:02:38

I think I ordered that today keepmoving is it this one? I hope it comes up long too.

keepmoving Thu 10-Jan-13 22:16:18

That's the one! smile

Mominatrix Thu 10-Jan-13 22:19:32

I buy the best quality I can find. Sometimes it is the most expensive and sometimes it is not.

For bags, I find it is worth it to pay more for the quality. I spend a seemingly obscene amount on one bag, but they are handmade, classic, and incredibly well built. They will outlive me! There are auctions in France (accessible on line) where you can get a crocodile vintage Hermes clutch in excellent condition for a couple hundred pounds. You can also find vintage pristine Kelly bags at a third of retail. Just have to know where to look.

For clothing, I find that it is rarely worth paying full price, and for many trendy labels ( yes you, Zadig & Voltaire), not even worth the sale price. I buy the bulk of my clothes from J Crew (fantastic sales), Massimo Dutti, and Uniqlo and fill in with designer things on sale. Underwear and jeans I purchase in the States, much cheaper. I also visit Bicester Village twice a year and always find incredible bargains there. I prefer to purchase in person, as I am petite and feel more comfortable trying clothes and shoes on prior to purchasing.

Definitely agree that cut and fabric are key - another reason why I like to touch and feel the clothes I am thinking about purchasing.

Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 22:41:31

Thank you all. I am feeling most pleased with making 2 pages, I don't think I have ever managed that. I am liking the idea of charity shops, more my budget. smile I also like all the tips about not paying full price. Mominatrix - Where are these French auctions?

I think I conclude the cut, fabric and fit are what counts. You are more likely to get this with premium brands but not exclusively. I have to say the best pair of black trousers I own are from H and M and cost £15. They hang beautifully and are made well. Unfortunately I can't get my fat backside into them at the moment. grin

happybubblebrain Thu 10-Jan-13 22:46:02

Most of my wardrobe is Monsoon or cheaper. The most I've ever paid for a handbag was £150. But I do have a few more expensive items - See by Cloe, Orla Kiely, Antik Batik, Paul Smith etc - so still not silly prices. These tend to be the most treasured of all my clothes and I'd never part with any of them because they are really beautiful. I've found them either in sales or from years and years of rummaging in TK Maxx. TK Maxx in Birmingham seems to have quite a lot of designer clothes.

I think you have to ignore labels and only buy something if you really really love and can't go on living without it. Otherwise, it's just tat that you'll be giving to a charity shop in a couple of years.

noviceoftheday Thu 10-Jan-13 23:06:39

I tend to buy things that I think are a one season whim at low end of the high street, and to buy my basic tops and jumpers from there (those I wear on the weekend with the kids). Other casual items tend to be mid/high end of high street (eg Gap).

Clothes for going out and for work, I shop at the high end of the high street (Phase 8, Kaliko, LK Bennett, Ralph Lauren are my current favourites).

I only tend to buy designer for accessories - shoes, bags, scarves and jewellery as they really finish an outfit and in my mind can really make a good outfit seem more expensive. Accessories will also far outlast the fashions so well worth investing in. I buy expensive shoes (Choos (but gone off them now as I think quality has gone down), RB, Rupert Sanderson, LKB) because they last well and also I wear 4" heels for work/big occasions and so need them to be comfortable.

I find the cheaper stuff lasts very well because I look after them well, particularly laundering. Eg I let most of my cheap £5 primark jumpers drip dry rather than tumble dry. I think that this makes a huge difference to the longevity of an outfit.

CaptainNancy Thu 10-Jan-13 23:41:19

I agree with happybubble- ignore the label, feel the quality- it's how I shop in TKMaxx... just walk around feeling the fabrics, you soon learn which are the quality items. I have had some great items from there in the past- Ralph Lauren silk shift dress for £8 was probably the best bargain, but it still looks brand new 12 years later.

Like justasecond, I really rate coccinelle and francisco biasia for bags- lovely quality leather, lasts ages, even with a lot of use.

BunFagFreddie Fri 11-Jan-13 01:34:42

I miss the Warehouse silk dresses and tops too. I wish they'd do more again.

MarshaBrady Fri 11-Jan-13 05:38:56

Do people always wait for discounts?

Amber you're a good sales guru, do you buy stuff at beginning of season and know it will be discounted but think oh I prefer not to wait.

I have an idea in my mind which seems reasonable (a few full price etc). For eg I need some flats. But won't wait for sales.

MarshaBrady Fri 11-Jan-13 06:05:15

Possibly a 50:50 split on discount / full price in wardrobe.

DonaAna Fri 11-Jan-13 06:12:40

Some popular items sell out early in the season. I still regret not shelling out the full price for the red Carven dress and blue Band of Outsiders blazer, both now sold out. If I have a strong hunch I'll love something, I can pay the full price (this AW, for example, the leather pencil skirt and my chambray shirt). I tend to do this to items that are on-trend or quite unique.

You will get better materials for a higher price, but for normal non-couture wearing mortals the breaking point is somewhere between 100 and 500 € (depending on the item). After that, it's hype, brand image, exclusivity, but rarely better fibers or craftmanship. A luxurious label is no guarantee that good materials have been used. Some of the worst synthetics and materials I've seen came from designer diffusion collections (See by Chloe for example).

I shop by finger feel. I hate synthetics (I also hate poor man's cotton, viscose, with a passion - if you must wear cellulose, tencel, bamboo and lyocell are the quality alternatives) and shoddy finishing.

One more thing: some expensive clothes are pricey to own. They need dry cleaning or continuous maintenance (ironing, steaming). Pick clothes that suit your lifestyle. I like to wear nice clothes at home every day, but I avoid linen and viscose and cheap cashmere (they require too much maintenance). My heaviest silks I save for parties, but silk/cotton is a superb everyday mix as are hardwearing merinos, good jerseys, chambray and denim, and other forms of pure cotton. Too much Lycra can feel cheap. Lycra also complicates laundering and ironing - I prefer a good cut and fit to 'forgiving' stretch.

Mominatrix Fri 11-Jan-13 06:14:03

Certain things I am willing to pay full price: things which will never go on sale (certain handbags, jewellery), items which are limited production and difficult to find (certain shawls/scarves, very unique design items), and basic shoes. Everything else I get on discount because I HATE the feeling of perusing sale racks to see things I purchased full price a month prior. If I need an immediate fix, I know it is time to make a visit to Bicester.

I buy from all over the place - and I think that some of the high end labels are not worth the money and have been disappointed with the quality. A high price doesn't necessarily mean better quality.

Anything I like but think will have a short shelf life, I don't like to spend much money on.

If something which will have a reasonable amount of wear - coats, knitwear etc then I'm happy to spend a lot more on. I always buy Heidi Klein swimwear for example.

I look for natural fabrics but do wear cheaper fabrics if the mood takes me grin

I think places like M&S are brilliant quality for shoes - unless you take them off you can't tell the difference between the M&S ones and the Choos etc that I have.

I'm not a handbag person and wouldn't look after a Mulberry etc so for me, it would be a waste of money.

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