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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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CrushedPistachios · 04/10/2022 21:43

I think looking expensive is different to looking fashionable or on trend, although there are certainly trends within the range of looking expensive.

looking expensive isn’t about wearing logos and brands, it’s about having the best quality of tailoring, fabrics and services.

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Lifeisaminestrone · 04/10/2022 21:43

I have Brazillian Blow Drys which gets rid of frizz but without making your hair poker straight.

They are £200-250 a pop and take 3-4 hours a time so expensive and time consuming. I’d be cautious on cheaper ones as concerned re the chemicals.

Been having for years now and they make styling effortless.

My hair is now bouncy and frizz free rather than looking like Hermione’s.

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CuteCillian · 04/10/2022 21:44

The Kate Middleton, very styled look is not what I see as classy. It is obviously expensive with frequent blow drying and subtly added extensions, but is that what you mean?
To me effortless and healthy looks very classy.

Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
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faretheewell · 04/10/2022 21:48

it’s about having the best quality of tailoring, fabrics and services.
Don't kid yourself it's about selling. They are all commercial enterprises which people pay through the nose for.

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MyDogStoodOnABee · 04/10/2022 21:49

Genetic? I’ve got naturally golden blonde, straight, shiny hair, I wash it daily, condition and blast with a Dyson hairdryer. Apparently I’ve got ‘really good hair that always looks good’ similar to Boris’ Carrie and I get complimented all the time, my hair is my hairdressers favourite to cut and blow dry. To me it’s just my hair that I’ve had for nearly half a century and I’m grateful it doesn’t cost me a fortune in time and money like my sisters does!

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ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 04/10/2022 21:49

That blue fishnet dress in the photo doesn’t look understated.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:50

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.

Exactly, why do people so vehemently trust in wealth or it's opinion? I suppose that is the result of living in a fairly berserk society that thrives on consumerism, want and envy. It is born of a belief that wealth is bound up with morality and hard work, which it often really isn't, especially the enigma of 'old money'. It creates an illusion of purity and intelligence, but is life really this simple? Did we even have to create a society that resulted in such divisions?

Sorry for sliding deep there, but it does have a connection to these types of thread. How conscious are we of 'why' we care?

Once, long ago, on a uni trip, a girl in my group told me that some of the other girls felt intimidated by me. Being a big soft arse I couldn't make head nor tail of it, but when pushed she told me they thought I 'was overly confident', 'aloof' and dressed 'too posh'. Sadly this translated to being 'up my own arse'.
It all worked out fine in the end, once we all got chatting, but my posh clothes were Primark jeans and a topshop shirt (hardly upmarket). How was I projecting that? I have no idea. My accent at least, was fairly bland, and I suffered a few anxiety and confidence issues at the time Confused

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:53

The images posted in the thread are all really gorgeous but very glam. Are we associating glamour with understated? I suppose I meant 'everyday' stuff, just popping to tesco or whatever brand you prefer. Picking kids up, walking the cat Grin

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faretheewell · 04/10/2022 21:54

Exactly, why do people so vehemently trust in wealth or it's opinion? I suppose that is the result of living in a fairly berserk society that thrives on consumerism, want and envy. It is born of a belief that wealth is bound up with morality and hard work, which it often really isn't, especially the enigma of 'old money'. It creates an illusion of purity and intelligence, but is life really this simple? Did we even have to create a society that resulted in such divisions?

Something I often think of. The division of course feeds commercialism. Discontent creates the perfect customer - ready to be sold a solution...

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CrushedPistachios · 04/10/2022 21:56

faretheewell · 04/10/2022 21:48

it’s about having the best quality of tailoring, fabrics and services.
Don't kid yourself it's about selling. They are all commercial enterprises which people pay through the nose for.

Well yes, all products are about commerce and have been for millennia.

I was referring more to natural fibres such as wool, silk, cashmere that are of a higher quality than synthetics designed to imitate poorly.
I’m fully aware that a higher price tag, or a designer label doesn’t guarantee you a better quality in materials or workmanship (Nike trainers will be made in the same factory as primark ones, and high fashion French or Italian design houses will get their products made in factories out in China with a made in Italy label attached in a factory that’s manned by cheap, badly treated Chinese workers in a port town in the country the label says.)

But there’s still a lot of crafts people who can make a bespoke Harris tweed blazer or coat, and that skill is what makes something appear expensive.

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faretheewell · 04/10/2022 21:59

wool, silk, cashmere that are of a higher quality than synthetics designed to imitate poorly.

But natural fibres that are not necessarily produced very ethically or wholly ecologically and sustainably.

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AlabamaWorley22 · 04/10/2022 22:01

follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:21

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.

Nicole Kidman has curly hair. Not frizzy.

Frizz is usually created by humidity, so someone with beautiful, perfect curls can suffer a bit of frizz if they haven’t used the right products to hold the curl and protect against humidity.

Those of us with curls usually come off pretty badly on these threads (much as I enjoy reading them), so I just feel that I should make this correction.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:03

faretheewell · 04/10/2022 21:54

Exactly, why do people so vehemently trust in wealth or it's opinion? I suppose that is the result of living in a fairly berserk society that thrives on consumerism, want and envy. It is born of a belief that wealth is bound up with morality and hard work, which it often really isn't, especially the enigma of 'old money'. It creates an illusion of purity and intelligence, but is life really this simple? Did we even have to create a society that resulted in such divisions?

Something I often think of. The division of course feeds commercialism. Discontent creates the perfect customer - ready to be sold a solution...

Indeed, create a problem then sell the solution.
I do remember the time before, when any suggestion of wealth in fashion sucked balls. I was an indie kid. Lower middle but pretty privileged, never went abroad because my dad was terrified of an air crash. Watched with nose pressed at window as other kids went off on a ski trip. No one wanted to identify with wealth, even if they'd have appreciated the perks. It just wasn't decent, lol.

Now they imitate punk and grunge for £££ without any idea what it actually meant.

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stayathomer · 04/10/2022 22:04

I never get that people CAN’T notice the difference between class/understated/polished! I’m from a probably lower middle class family, we were well off in a lot of people’s eyes but actually when I went horse riding we were very obviously seen as the poorest there (which I was gobsmacked at!) Saying that some people do understated so well- I have the frizzy hair, roseacea- I am always always going to look like I don’t bother, whereas sister in law looks like she needn’t even try- she’s just effortlessly classically stunning with the natural waves and clothes that look like they’re from a stylish magazine!!

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:20

stayathomer · 04/10/2022 22:04

I never get that people CAN’T notice the difference between class/understated/polished! I’m from a probably lower middle class family, we were well off in a lot of people’s eyes but actually when I went horse riding we were very obviously seen as the poorest there (which I was gobsmacked at!) Saying that some people do understated so well- I have the frizzy hair, roseacea- I am always always going to look like I don’t bother, whereas sister in law looks like she needn’t even try- she’s just effortlessly classically stunning with the natural waves and clothes that look like they’re from a stylish magazine!!

Hah, we have a lot in common! Lower middle, good money, except my folks spent it on a farm and 5 horses, and a pack of aggressive geese. Not 'the good life' by any stretch, but people thought we had it all, and of course we did by many standards. Unfortunately the down side to this was people often only made friends with me at school to get to the bloody horses, which I didn't even ride much (my sis and dad were the equestrians). I much preferred cats and pups! We did have a menagerie of small pets, from ducks to hamsters, though, and you learned to grieve very young!

My now GP used to have riding lessons with my sister. My dad was in favour when well off but after retirement the noise suddenly stopped. Not many of his friends stuck around :(
It was a whole heap of oddness, my dad refusing to shoot and my sister ditching economics for care work. We never quite fit anywhere. So I guess here I am as the result of all of that batshittery. Lots of love though, and that's the vital thing. All except my sister and I have gone now, so the memories are strong.

Dad's sibs were more conservative and sensible. Large houses but no lowly wax or tweed.

Apologies for the derail, no work tomorrow & I've had a glass of whiskey Grin

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:21

And sorry I meant to say I have the worlds most frizzy hair! No amount of health or money can intervene probably because I don't really care enough.

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Arnaquer · 04/10/2022 22:22

Lifeisaminestrone · 04/10/2022 21:43

I have Brazillian Blow Drys which gets rid of frizz but without making your hair poker straight.

They are £200-250 a pop and take 3-4 hours a time so expensive and time consuming. I’d be cautious on cheaper ones as concerned re the chemicals.

Been having for years now and they make styling effortless.

My hair is now bouncy and frizz free rather than looking like Hermione’s.

How often do you need to get them done?

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ZealAndArdour · 04/10/2022 22:22

follyfeet · 04/10/2022 21:21

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.

You seem to be missing that maybe brushing isn’t appropriate for “frizzy” hair. What might seem frizzy and unruly, when appropriately cared for with curly hair products and washed and styled according to that method actually becomes beautiful, glossy natural ringlets, that don’t need brushing except when the hair is wet and full of conditioner on wash day. Daily detangling is done with fingers and oil or leave in.
I think hair care has been very straight-hair centric for years and years, and so lots of people have been unwittingly damaging their hair and styling it sub-optimally. Fighting against the natural texture is damaging.

Pics attached of a few peoples hair improvements after they’ve started using properly curly styling methods, I think they look a lot more “expensive” and “done”.

Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:27

But all of these understated clothes, the 'dont have to try' kind of clothes, where do they come form? What shops or brands? I feel that I am aware of most brands but never quite like them.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:29

ZealAndArdour · 04/10/2022 22:22

You seem to be missing that maybe brushing isn’t appropriate for “frizzy” hair. What might seem frizzy and unruly, when appropriately cared for with curly hair products and washed and styled according to that method actually becomes beautiful, glossy natural ringlets, that don’t need brushing except when the hair is wet and full of conditioner on wash day. Daily detangling is done with fingers and oil or leave in.
I think hair care has been very straight-hair centric for years and years, and so lots of people have been unwittingly damaging their hair and styling it sub-optimally. Fighting against the natural texture is damaging.

Pics attached of a few peoples hair improvements after they’ve started using properly curly styling methods, I think they look a lot more “expensive” and “done”.

Fantastic pictures, thank you! I know what you mean, but I can't for the life of me not brush! Thankfully my frizz calms overnight and settles to a decent shine, with soft waves. If I try curly girl and encourage the curls that are there after washing, they are flat the next day even if I don't brush. It's just too time consuming and not really me. I would love to have spiral curls that always knew how to keep their form. I agree that the obsession with flat hair is tedious. Lovely for those who have it, but a bloody time waster for those who don't!

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ShangPie · 04/10/2022 22:31

OP, search for the Monty Don thread that occasionally surfaces here. Lots of interesting understated brand suggestions there without the ‘glossiness’ of some of these PPs

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:31

and oddly, the bottom right quadrant - i prefer her hair in the before pic, it is so pre raphaelite and beautiful. I would have been very content with that.

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MrsMorrisey · 04/10/2022 22:32

I have had curly hair all my life and never straightened it even through the Jennifer Anniston phase.

I think expensive hair is hair that is well cut and coloured and with curls, no frizz. This does require products.

After searching a lot of products, my go to is Redken curling cream, dry with a diffuser and then spray with a leave in conditioner.
It keeps my hair frizz free and feels better too.

As for clothes, I think it's more choosing your style and being comfortable and confident.

Some trends are great but others can not be age appropriate.

Coming into summer in Oz and there are a lot of crop tops and wide leg pants aka 90's rave gear.
We are at the mercy of what the fashion shops decide we should buy though.

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faretheewell · 04/10/2022 22:32

Pics attached of a few peoples hair improvements after they’ve started using properly curly styling methods, I think they look a lot more “expensive” and “done”.

I just think they look different, one is curly, one is what people now seem to describe as frizzy. Different hair are products and methodology are used. I actually like both. Years ago people didn't really seem to bother about frizzy hair. Mine was straight and flat, I actually aspired to a bit of what would be seen as frizzy now and used to purposely create it by going to bed with my hair up.

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follyfeet · 04/10/2022 22:32

ShangPie · 04/10/2022 22:31

OP, search for the Monty Don thread that occasionally surfaces here. Lots of interesting understated brand suggestions there without the ‘glossiness’ of some of these PPs

Ahh know it and love it! Thanks for reminding me, I will take another look, would be great if it's still moving!

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