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Style & Beauty

Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?

280 replies

follyfeet · 04/10/2022 18:59

Was just reading an old S&B thread about 'looking well put together,' not flashy or designer, just everyday casual yet decent clothes. Apart from the stereotypical claptrap concerning Barbour jackets and dog hair, it was a fascinating read!

What I can't get my head around is 'expensive' hair. Wtf is it exactly? Most of us can't help the way our hair grows (thickness, texture, porosity) so how can one alter that? I always imagine this is all quite subjective anyway, but for the sake of sticking to the theme, my very own blonde version of Kate Bush or Helena Bonham Carter (a bit mad, kinky and wild) wouldn't make the cut, lol.

It's all fashion isn't it at the end of the day? Today's preferred expensive hair is most likely Kate Middleton's, but that wasn't always the sought after style.

So what is expensive hair, in your opinion?

And then there's the clothes! Where are these 'well put together' peeps MN'ers speak of buying their togs? I like the idea of understated, which is mentioned often, but no one ever mentions the actual shops. Where are these lovely exquisite chunky knits and other understated items hiding? Most of the higher end high street sucks imo.

Some comments mention wealth or class, but having been surrounded with well off arty types throughout my career I only noticed a lack of make up and a lot of frizz. No one seemed to care.

I am in my early 40's, work in art (painter) and science (geologist), and love yoga, theatre, hiking and architecture, and I dress quite boringly, I think. I spend £150 per year on my hair and buy most of my clothes from superdry or white company (i suit their colour scheme). I don't seem to have a clue about style tbh, but I would like to learn more. Clue me in Mumsnet! I can never find shops with nice things that aren't either country casuals or overpriced cheap rubbish.

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LimeCheesecake · 04/10/2022 20:17

sorry, “we’ll looked after” hair doesn’t have split ends, is conditioned, colour is natural or professionally dyed in colours that haven’t been allowed to look brassy. It’s shiny, and we’ll, healthy looking !

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LimeCheesecake · 04/10/2022 20:21

Trying to think of a non- long haired example - Kirstin Scott Thomas is someone who has short, not particularly thick but expensive looking hair.

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UpToonGirl · 04/10/2022 20:39

For me Sophie Stanbury has 'expensive hair'. Always think of her when the well dressed threads are about. Although I will say she has recently added a few more highlights which doesn't make it looks as good as it did a year ago, I'm guessing she goes to a top hairdresser so it's not always just about spending money but making sure the cut and colour actually suit as well.

Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 20:42

My ends split as soon as they grow in Grin

I've got the decent blonde part down, it's a good shape, but my texture is fluffy. I can't be arsed with buying expensive tools and potions to change it either. I will settle into a batty academic middle age.

Must say some of the 'expensive' photo's do look a bit high maintenance, which is far from understated. It seems somewhat showy, but is still very nice!

And surely 'old money' is something of an outmoded term. It has rather a blunt, ugly feel to it. All of these ways of defining human beings are quite ugly. I'm not having a go at anyone who has said it btw, just that the the generalisations themselves are all a bit uurgh.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 20:45

UpToonGirl · 04/10/2022 20:39

For me Sophie Stanbury has 'expensive hair'. Always think of her when the well dressed threads are about. Although I will say she has recently added a few more highlights which doesn't make it looks as good as it did a year ago, I'm guessing she goes to a top hairdresser so it's not always just about spending money but making sure the cut and colour actually suit as well.

Beautiful colour. It is very glamorous hair, reminds me of 'hart to hart' if anyone remembers that series. Again, Hollywood inspired.

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bippityboppity87 · 04/10/2022 20:46

If I had to guess, I would take it to mean no "fast fashion" So classic styles in neutral colours. No polyester or viscose, but cotton, cashmere, wool etc and fits well, not overly tight or baggy and suits your shape

Good quality boots/shoes and coat. Regularly trimmed hair (not necessarily coloured) and well conditioned. I don't think it's the style or colour per se, but the overall maintenance if that makes sense. So not straw like or greasy and a cut that suits your face. Well kept nails. Clean, minimalist look makeup i.e; cc/bb cream (no orange or obvious fake tan)

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ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 04/10/2022 20:53

black, beige, tan, white and navy

Being a summer l look shit in all those colours except white.Confused

Prefer indigo, grey and ivory myself.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 20:57

Ha, forgot to mention I have just recently received a catalogue from House of Bruar, the photographs reminded me of those little magazines that used to come through the door advertising pull on trousers, magnifying glasses and other accoutrements for the arthritic over 60's. A very old fashioned perception, now.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:01

And isn't the camel coat thing a bit 2012 fashion blogger? I see this kind of palette as very city oriented, perhaps corporate. I remember those 'how to dress like a Parisian' articles, and 'wardrobe staples' - like an identikit collection for the uninspired. It's all very safe, which is probably why it works.

Never understood the trench coat thing, either, but I do love a nice tweed (hides Bruar catalogue).

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declutteringmymind · 04/10/2022 21:01

It really isn't something that you deconstruct, rather you put it together.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:06

declutteringmymind · 04/10/2022 21:01

It really isn't something that you deconstruct, rather you put it together.

I am intrigued now Grin

Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
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TabithaTittlemouse · 04/10/2022 21:12

I think your hair and style sounds lovely op. I definitely like the arty look (although superdry seems incredibly non arty. It’s where all the wannabe surfers on holiday in Newquay shop).

I love those old threads so loving this one!

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pastypirate · 04/10/2022 21:13

Frizz looks dry and neglected.

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Fairislefandango · 04/10/2022 21:14

No point getting a pricy cut if you have to spend half of your lifetime styling it.

Some of it just depends on what kind of hair you're born with though. I could spend a fortune on a hair cut and mine would still look awful without effort at styling, and still pretty crap even with effort at styling, because it's poker-straight, extremely fine, thin and mousy-coloured. Greasy unless washed every day. Looks better with highlights, but easily damaged by styling and bleach because it's fragile.

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WhyCantPeopleBeNice · 04/10/2022 21:20

I have extensions to add length as well as thickness, as part of the maintenance i have a weekly blow-dry...sounds excessive and high maintenance but I spend 1 hour a week at the hairdresser's and I don't need to wash, style throughout the week. Literally run the brush through it daily and I'm done
Sometimes the things that seem high maintenance are the easiest

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:21

pastypirate · 04/10/2022 21:13

Frizz looks dry and neglected.

No, at peak health, a person with kinky, porous hair will see frizz when brushed out. Nothing can alter that unless intended. You can't simply use a high quality conditioner, have expensive highlights and eat wild salmon. It is born in. It has little do do with health or wealth.
Many people with such hair change it via styling. Nicole Kidman for one.

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declutteringmymind · 04/10/2022 21:21

I'm no expert but half of it is that it looks so effortless and natural. So much more that it well has to be.

There are the bougies - I came across someone last week. She looked amazing but you could tell she tries very hard. Lashes, Barbour jacket, kanken, rucksack with DMs on in the Range Rover.

Then there's the very subtle highlight swishy hair with the buttery leather trousers and cashmere cardigan. Rosy cheeks, lip balm. Probably took her all of 10 minutes to get ready.

It's all subjective too so I'm the end if you're happy who cares.

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namechange3394 · 04/10/2022 21:22

Are you brushing your hair when it's wet or dry? What products do you use on it? Do you use conditioner?

If it's wavy I'd try at least only brushing it when it's wet, if not some sort of mild version of the Curly Girl Method.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:24

TabithaTittlemouse · 04/10/2022 21:12

I think your hair and style sounds lovely op. I definitely like the arty look (although superdry seems incredibly non arty. It’s where all the wannabe surfers on holiday in Newquay shop).

I love those old threads so loving this one!

I love superdry! I have some really nice linen trousers, cords and organic cotton tees and vests. The logo is very youth focused, but there are some very well priced, hidden gems with no overt branding. I have found their tees to outlive Toast, COS or Hush, at least. They wash very well. Also a fan of Fatface cotton. Great for basics.

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TabithaTittlemouse · 04/10/2022 21:28

@follyfeet in that case I apologise for my rudeness regarding superdry 😂maybe I’m just not looking hard enough. I am sorry.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:29

declutteringmymind · 04/10/2022 21:21

I'm no expert but half of it is that it looks so effortless and natural. So much more that it well has to be.

There are the bougies - I came across someone last week. She looked amazing but you could tell she tries very hard. Lashes, Barbour jacket, kanken, rucksack with DMs on in the Range Rover.

Then there's the very subtle highlight swishy hair with the buttery leather trousers and cashmere cardigan. Rosy cheeks, lip balm. Probably took her all of 10 minutes to get ready.

It's all subjective too so I'm the end if you're happy who cares.

I agree with this. A subtle thing it is. It isn't self conscious, it takes pleasure in a sort of generosity to the self, which has little to do with expense. I see this in the Gainsbourg family, especially Jane Birkin. Some may associate this with calls or wealth but I do believe she was quite unique. And still is!

Then again, I always thought a bougie was a french candle Grin

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AnnaMagnani · 04/10/2022 21:30

In my lottery winning fantasy, I would dress exclusively in Gabriela Hearst and Loro Piana.

Beautiful fabric, classic styles - total understated style and unbelievably expensive.

I'd also have a high maintenance colour and frequent salon blow dries. In reality I gave up colour as I couldn't be arsed to keep covering my roots.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:30

TabithaTittlemouse · 04/10/2022 21:28

@follyfeet in that case I apologise for my rudeness regarding superdry 😂maybe I’m just not looking hard enough. I am sorry.

It wasn't at all rude, I wouldn't step foot in there prior to a few yrs back thanks to the miserable low lamp wattage and the blatant logos. A bored afternoon on a city trip opened my eyes. A mooch into the shadows, with glasses perched, revealed some lovely things.

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Doris90 · 04/10/2022 21:33

Understated clothes, I associate that with good quality, particularly well-cut tailoring, blazer or tweed jacket and skirt.
There is also a way some of those women moved. They wore clothes that permitted movement enough to accomplish their task. So many wannabe celebs wear something complicated that restricts them in case it crumples or gets splashed etc. They keep presenting themselves as if for a portrait Iyswim.

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faretheewell · 04/10/2022 21:38

Why is looking 'expensive' synonymous with looking good?

Expensive brands aren't necessarily more worthy. They are not more ecological - designer brands would rather burn surplus stock to maintain exclusivity than risk it being worn by people with less money to spend on clothes.

It is not intrinsically better to spend vast amounts of money on complicated hairstyles or cosmetic procedures.

Why are people aspiring to this? Years ago aspiration in fashion was not so linked with wealth. Look at beatnik, hippy, punk, new romantic, mod, and goth subcultures. It's sad really.

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