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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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follyfeet · 05/10/2022 01:09

If you cared enough you would fix your frizzy hair.

cared enough about what?

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200degrees · 05/10/2022 01:11

This is why you shouldn’t care about things like this, everyone has a different idea of what “expensive hair” looks like judging by the photos. I don’t even think a

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200degrees · 05/10/2022 01:16

Posted too early. I don’t think any of the hair posted here looks expensive.

This is my idea of expensive hair, it just elevates her look. most of her posts are reels instagram.com/lilliegracep?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

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Redfrangipani · 05/10/2022 01:25

Yep 200degrees - that’s a great example of expensive hair, imo. It’s the type of hair I think of when I hear ‘expensive hair.’ Very few of us have the basics to create that hair I think.

It is a rather ‘dominant white society expensive hair’ example though. Oprah Winfrey also has expensive hair when they work on her natural curls and she goes with the lustrous curls, or when they blow dry it out and it’s straightish with waves.

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follyfeet · 05/10/2022 01:27

last 2 comments are on the ball!

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sausage767 · 05/10/2022 01:56

Expensive hair is just that... it looks like a lot of time and money has been spent on it. Sleek, shiny, wavy rather than curly. Perfectly cut and coloured. A colour that is impossible to achieve DIY - like a perfect creamy beige blonde, silvery cool brunette or impeccable balayage. That looks like the owner has just stepped out of a salon.

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MidnightMeltdown · 05/10/2022 02:21

I do think that it has something to do with hair type as well though.

Liz Truss for example, is never going to have expensive looking hair, however much she spends on it.

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Redfrangipani · 05/10/2022 02:48

Follyfeet wrote: “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 …”

I know, it’s just all wrong thinking - appearance, wealth, title, etc all wrong thinking. And it shits me endlessly.

The whole British Monarchy stuff that we’ve just been subjected to is the epitome of this. Not saying they are not good people - most of them probably are. But the lady living one suburb over who has been a foster mother to 32 kids over the years on a shoestring budget really has done something that deserves more applause than those getting dressed up to attend a charity do on the regular - ‘Work’ which is broken up by expensive holidays in castles and luxury homes.

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Redfrangipani · 05/10/2022 03:30

Bestcatmum · 04/10/2022 20:11

I'm 60 and my very long hair has been looking awful. Dyed blond to hide the grey but it's gone really brassy and doesn't suit me so I blew £300 on a lovely ballyage colour that really suits my skin colouring and based on my natural hair colour. It's been trimmed perfectly and falls in glossy waves. It's never looked better. It was worth every penny and looks classy instead of brassy.

Well done you. 👍 I love hearing about hairdresser success stories.

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LunaTheCat · 05/10/2022 05:01

Not anything useful to add but what a brilliant thread!
I am fascinated by clothes, I have always loved them and spend far too long looking at magazines or Pinterest.
I am lucky as I do have disposable income but I try buy carefully .. and often in the sales!
When I was younger and poorer I think I dressed better - more imaginatively
with what I had.
A larger income doesn’t mean better taste .. some of the most dreadful dressers I know are wealthier than I will ever be.
The perfect hair, the perfectly tailored clothes can be extremely boring..it can be hard to see the person inside.
I think the French have a saying that means “ a little bit imperfect” .. there is something very appealing about mismatched piece clothing, a scuffed shoe on a woman otherwise oozing confidence and joy and embracing life.

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Redfrangipani · 05/10/2022 05:13

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.”

Farethewell

I absolutely agree. Lots of fun in fashion now and back then, but maybe more pressure to confirm to what is rich looking now. As the world feels more and more unstable more and more people seem to respond by clinging to a narrower, more definite (often intolerant?) way of thinking, our dress codes may be getting narrower.


people seem to have to taken definite stands - for or against, often with no shades of grey tolerated. Uncertainty is unwelcome. Wealth has been a tool to alleviate a certain amount of uncertainty. Perhaps we are aspiring to the ‘expensive look’ as some sort of armour against uncertainty even though we aware that illusion of wealth is not wealth?

Fashion always tells us a quite lot about the times, I think.

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PorpoiseWithPurpose · 05/10/2022 07:52

I’ve found a good starting place is to find a fashion influencer you love and then copy their style. I love Chloe Samwell Smith, she’s everything you’ve described in your OP.

www.instagram.com/chloelovestoshop/?hl=en

she posts links to where you can buy the good quality, chunky knit jumpers she’s wearing, plus lots of other good tips for dressing understated, yet well put together.

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confused162 · 05/10/2022 08:02

@HamHand I would love to know more about your job! I love shopping second hand and vintage shops.

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HamHand · 05/10/2022 08:32

If you love it, you’re halfway there! I have my own ebay shop that I started out with my own things, mostly selling off my vintage collection I’d built up over years as I’m very very much not as skinny as I was before kids and most vintage is a size I’ll never see again. I’ve always shopped in charity shops, firstly through necessity, but then it was because I just couldn’t see the fun in normal shops. The thrill is in the chase, never knowing what you’re going to get. By selling my old things, I realised I could be the middle man for people who don’t have the time to put in to look around the shops in the first place, and buy to sell. It’s a lot of work, first in trawling the shops to begin with, in summer getting up at the crack of dawn to trawl the boot sales, travelling to different towns and cities for various fairs and sales, washing, photographing and measuring, and posting, but it means I can work around my children, one who’s still very little, and one who’s disabled so will always need to be in my care. I’d be a nightmare employee with the times I’m called into school and the amount of illness we deal with.
I really enjoy it. I have a great bunch of people in shops that I see weekly, when before I felt quite isolated because of my disabled child, and I’ve got an eye for what I’m buying. One slightly mad woman in a charity shop once called me unethical for doing it but I’m ok with that, I earn enough to have stopped my carers allowance claim and stand on my own two feet. I don’t get a discount, I don’t have things put aside for me, I don’t buy a tonne, and every year at Christmas I make lump sum donations to all the shops I buy from. I get up and put the hours in. It also means I can scratch that shopping itch without the guilt, some things I find are absolutely stunning. I couldn’t have imagined being in business by myself a few years ago but it’s going really well. It’s all about having the belief in what you’re buying, seeing the potential in things.

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confused162 · 05/10/2022 08:59

@hamhand that sounds like really hard work that has really paid off for you! I live in the SW and there are quite a few sellers that have stalls/shops that I follow on Instagram. I agree about the thrill in finding items, my latest is a Gucci belt for 3.50 in a charity shop. I think its harder to find decent items now than it used to be.

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almodovaresque · 05/10/2022 09:14

@HamHand Good for you, what a great story. Please can you share your eBay shop link?!

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ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 05/10/2022 09:14

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.”

Totally agree. However l think these sub cultures still exist, DD 16 is into all sorts.

l used to lecture history of fashion however. I’d say the 30’s was the last time people wanted to emulate the rich. This was a) because the world was in a deep recession and b) the influence of Hollywood.

I think there was a bit around in the 70’s too. Again when the world was in recession.

People wanted to look working class in the 60’s and the 90’s was just grunge.

l don’t particularly like it. We could all look good with a shit ton of money. Kate Middleton looks boring as F*. Some of her clothes are really fussy.

l think it’s better to aspire to an edgy look personally. Shows you can think for yourself. Or at least your own individual look.

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Bearsan · 05/10/2022 09:29

This is what the fashion industry thrives on - wannabes. KM and that ilk aren't for me. I love All saints and local boutiques.

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FunnyTalks · 05/10/2022 09:47

It is depressing when hair that is naturally textured is seen as something less than, lower than. I think there are undertones of racism to that too.

I had a boyfriend who wouldn't let me wear my hair down as a teenager, because it was so wild. He thought that it said something bad about my personality. I should have dumped him then, but I did at least dump him when I discovered he was also racist.

I've been very poor and also relatively well off. I'm yet to find a hairdresser that can do anything to my hair to make it look "expensive" other than straighten it. Which is unnatural for me and damages the hair so not "healthy" either.

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Cheeselog · 05/10/2022 09:49

follyfeet · 05/10/2022 01:06

But is your natural texture 'bad'? If so, who decided? Who told you that the hair you were born with was inferior?

Frizz isn’t my natural texture though. My natural texture is 3A. Frizz is what happens when I don’t treat that texture with the care it needs.

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PeloFondo · 05/10/2022 10:04

My natural texture is definitely frizz! I have waves but unless I wash and style it every single day (and it takes 40 mins to diffuse) it gets frizz
But I'm a redhead with waves and never going to look expensive Grin
This is straight after diffusing, it goes downhill about 24hrs after

Expensive hair & understated clothes. WTF is it?
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antelopevalley · 05/10/2022 10:25

So white people's thick hair is expensive hair?

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antelopevalley · 05/10/2022 10:30

ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 05/10/2022 09:14

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.”

Totally agree. However l think these sub cultures still exist, DD 16 is into all sorts.

l used to lecture history of fashion however. I’d say the 30’s was the last time people wanted to emulate the rich. This was a) because the world was in a deep recession and b) the influence of Hollywood.

I think there was a bit around in the 70’s too. Again when the world was in recession.

People wanted to look working class in the 60’s and the 90’s was just grunge.

l don’t particularly like it. We could all look good with a shit ton of money. Kate Middleton looks boring as F*. Some of her clothes are really fussy.

l think it’s better to aspire to an edgy look personally. Shows you can think for yourself. Or at least your own individual look.

Kate's clothes do not look expensive in the way MNers mean even though they are very expensive. Usually lots of bows and buttons and ruffled sleeves.
The Queen's clothes also did not look expensive in an MNer way although they were. She dressed in a very old-fashioned way that even women her age had largely stopped wearing.
In terms of looking good on little money, I agree that dressing funkily is the way to do it.

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Cheeselog · 05/10/2022 11:11

antelopevalley · 05/10/2022 10:25

So white people's thick hair is expensive hair?

For a non-white example I would say Priyanka Chopra has expensive hair.

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antelopevalley · 05/10/2022 11:14

So straight black hair is fine, but presumably not afro-textured hair? That presumably is always cheap hair?

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