Earlier today, I had a 20 minute conversation with a really lovely lady who I [sadly] only see and speak to sporadically, at any length. The sweet lady in question periodically reminds me of what is right with the world – but that is a discussion for another time.
In the middle of a busy working day, 20 minutes is actually a really long time – especially when talking about my wardrobe, as we were. The conversation arose after I randomly shared my experiences or rather my observation of other people’s reactions to me at times.
In summary, the problem with looking expensive is people can mistake this for materialism and cupidity.
Thankfully, I am neither [overly] materialistic nor greedy. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things and at one stage in my younger life, shopping was a vice as it was how I coped with unremitting bullying. Having said that, I still never bought anything super expensive (because I was a student).
Nowadays I try to buy things when I need them and splurge on indulgences from time to time but truth be told, I am not expensive.
I remember a couple of years ago when a friend of mine (who is a celebrated poet and has amazing personal style) told me “you look expensive.” I laughed at him. When I had regained my composure, I told him I really wasn’t but he didn’t believe me.
Admittedly, he had the upper hand in this debate as I was having a preppy moment that day and sat opposite him in a Ralph Lauren cable-knit sweater but amusingly and unbeknown to him, I got it from an outlet mall in Miami. If I remember correctly I think I had some bargain brogues on from Primark that he erroneously thought were expensive.
Recently, people that I am in constant contact with have been
boasting talking to me about their material possessions, designer labels and ‘famous’ haunts that they frequent. I tend to just nod and smile impassively but had to stop one woman and let her know that those things don’t impress me.
I don’t begrudge anyone who has a love for labels or aspiring to live how ‘the other half’ do but I’d prefer to spend my money on holidays, shows and memorable experiences in general or surprising the people I love.
I read in a random Blavity article today that “…there is power in being broke. You are your most creative, passionate, determined, tenacious being when you are struggling to make it.” I believe this to be true. Just as I am a believer of the Bianca Frazier quote “dress how you want to be addressed” and as a result I’m usually received pretty well.
I dress according to how I feel and I am a savvy shopper. I’m not a huge follower of fashion, I like my personal style and what looks good on me. Case and point: I wore a dress to my friend’s wedding a couple of days ago that I bought earlier in the year for less than £20 (down from its original price of £65-85 …I can’t remember exactly?)
The picture aboove got almost 180 likes on Facebook. Which quite frankly is unheard of for me without tagging my parents or brother who are all infinitely more popular than me! To get that number of ‘likes’ usually people need to be announcing an engagement, pregnancy or some other life changing event but I digress.
If money were no object, half of my wardrobe would comprise of a designers because I like the simplicity, detailing and fit of specific ranges.
But it is.
My goal is to create wealth and I won’t get there by wearing it. “Wealth is not a number of dollars. It is not a number of material possessions. It’s having options and the ability to take on risk.”
As I have progressed in life, been given better opportunities, strived towards the creation of wealth (not simply making money), I would like to believe that it has not fundamentally changed who I am; “I’m just wearing better shoes” (as Oprah Winfrey would say).
The sweet lady who prompted this post was astonished as I went through a number of my Instagram pictures and told her how much I paid for each dress. She said she had a new found respect for me because she too thought I looked expensive.
Whether people continue to hold this view of me or not is irrelevant and I’m just going to continue to take it as a compliment every time someone tells me they’d love to run through my wardrobe. However, I don’t want to paint a picture for you that simply isn’t true.
And if you feel that anything you see here is unattainable, then you need to change your thinking. Unlike other blogs, I want you to see things and think, ‘it’s her today, but tomorrow it could be me’ whether it pertains to writing or style and lifestyle. Effectively, this is the premise that my blog is built on: Me Today, You Tomorrow.
I rarely spend a lot of money on my clothes. They aren’t assets. As long as I look good and I’m comfortable, then I’m happy. You should be too – no matter what label is sown into your clothing. I wear my clothes, they don’t wear me.