‘ I have decided that I am going to buy a bag. A nice, good looking classic bag’
‘ Nice. How are you going to fund this purchase?’
‘ I am gonna take it out from my monthly clothing budget for three months’
‘ Allright. Take your time. Think about it some more. It means no purchase for yourself in the next three months’ NO..PURCHASES.
That was the conversation I made with myself around three weeks ago. Some days ago, this bag arrived. Do I need this bag? Not really. I have…umm..three bags so far. One black, one brown, and one small grey ones. For special occasion like party (which does not happen often), I have one leopard clutch that I had since forever and one small black leather purse with gold details that my lovely mother in-law gave me as a Christmas present two years ago. For somebody who works in fashion, this might comes as a surprise. But I do have rules about my spending (moreover now after moving to Germany) as well as careful thoughts about fashion items that that I am going to invest in…..
In the past, when I was still living alone in Indonesia, I had a room dedicated for a walking wardrobe. I was still running my fashion boutique and shoe shop, I was 23 and I am a sucker for beautiful things. I bought shoes from my own shoe shop and clothes from my own boutique. I do remember having the privilege of sorting out the beautiful pieces first before putting them on displays. I had no luxury items. I never thought about investing. I wasn’t TOO careful either about my spending. I buy and I buy and I buy. I toss and I toss and I toss. That is, until I went to fashion school I became picky. I became very..very..picky. That was the time when I finally said to my self : enough. From now on…I want to..invest.
Everybody has their own concept on what luxury items should be. For me, luxury items mostly are two things. Material and durability. Sometimes I consider luxury items based on their price, or how hard it is for me to find it, regardless the price. For some people, perhaps, there can be this high-end fashion brand that is older that your great-great-greater grandmother, or simply a new fashion brand that has just been there for several years but instantly become ‘hip’ and everybody want to get their hands on it.This concept is so vary, but yes, some people tend to go to the first one for pure luxury. Take my sister for example. She found her luxury items on her Chanel Flap, some of her Louis Vuittons, and some Pradas. Gucci too, perhaps, not sure.
I knew a few friends in Indonesia who have Chanel Suits, or having their Balenciaga just dropped on the floor when having a meal, carrying Birkin to school, or having a full rack of Louboutins. Here in Munich, I saw young girls with their Louis, Prada, and one lady with Tory Burch flats, Céline trapeze bag, and hands full of shopping bags trying to capture a shoot of herself. There was also a chic lady who has the most interesting androgyny style carrying a Kelly and wearing one of those Isabel Marant sneakers, sitting in front of me in a subway. I looked at her, she looked at me. We exchanged smiles. In translation : I know what you are wearing.
Not only in real life, luxury items are now becoming more and more familiar with the amount of fashion bloggers on the internet (not to mention fashion magazines). Nowadays we can easily see so many fashion bloggers around on social media flaunting their branded items, make us drool, of course, sometimes also think at the same time.There are fashion bloggers who are still a bit moderate, mixing high-end pieces with street-style budget items, there are some luxury bloggers who are exactly branded head to toe. So which one is right? None. Because this is not a question about right or wrong. This is the question about preferences and capabilities. The questions are also sometimes about business.
People who love fashion and works in fashion (including me), tends to have an ‘invisible bond’ with high-end brands, I believe mostly due to quality and prestiges. It is absolutely no question that some beautifully crafted pieces mostly by hand and took the process of hundred of hours indeed have their own appeals. Weather or not it is worth the price, this is now a question of personal choices. I am far away against these fashion bloggers, or anyone who indulge themselves in luxury items, when they can afford it. There is this lady who always come to Hallhuber ( where I work right now) and always looked so sophisticated, mostly carrying high-end branded items. I found it she has three different jobs to keep up her lifestyle. It is..once again..come to personal choices.
For my self personally, I am not so crazy about brands. Over the years I have fell and out of love with fashion brands. I have always loved Valentino, mostly for their feminine dresses, as well as Céline, mostly for their minimalistic beautifully crafted bags. I have always had a crush on Kate Spade, for their colorful lively pieces, and recently Delpozo, for their crazy details and amazing cuttings and volume. I stopped loving Moschino Cheap and Chic for a while and I can’t really relate to Louis Vuitton, no matter what. One thing that stay though, since I run my fashion boutique, moreover since I learned fashion in fashion school. I found out that fashion is more interesting when you can mix pieces together. Why not mix those H&M slouchy white basic tee with a classic Hallhuber green jacket, skinny jeans from Zara, cute bright nude court shoes from Coast London and if you have, a chic Chanel flap? Pour Example.
Another important thing that I learn as well, that I always try to say to everybody who come to me for styling or wardrobe problems, is that they need to learn a system of a wise spending. Because fashion can make you feel good, only when you know that you don’t sacrifice one month budget for food or having a huge credit card debts that you can’t pay full the next month. Some people laugh at me. It’s true. Some people also don’t believe that I can live with just four bags and seven shoes (include a sneaker and winter shoes), but I can. I used to have so many shoes. Did I wear all of them? Barely. Do I now by just having seven (good quality) shoes, the one that I exactly need, can buy a little affordable luxury items? Yes. Like this little Selma here.
This bag is a luxury to me. First because I don’t need it. Second because it cost three months of my clothing budget. The rest are because it is made from good quality material that I believe the durability will last. I was torn to at first to choose between the green and this navy. I was so much in love with the green since I saw it last year, but I realise that green is a trend color. I need something classy, and after thinking back and forth between Michael Kors and DKNY, I stayed with Michael Kors. Not because everybody seems to wear it in Munich right now (true), but because from all aspect (color, material, shape, practical use, price), this is the one that I want and I can afford at the moment, and I am very happy and satisfied with my choice.
A few tips before you go and buy something that you consider ‘luxury’ :
As I said, there is really nothing more calming than knowing that you are ‘entitled’ to buy this item. Don’t spoil your love for the items with headache every month when you see your credit card bills. For those of you who lives in Germany and Austria, there is this great website called FASHIONETTE, where you can buy branded bags and pay it every 3 to 12 months. I would suggest, if you really really want to do it, then have the shorter terms or pay it full once you have your fund. The interest is not too much. But why spend it on interest when you can spend it on something else? If you don’t have anything in mind, then go ahead. Perhaps a little commitment won’t hurt. Otherwise, a website called THE OUTNET also offer big discounts for high-end pieces. I once spot a sneaker from DKNY on sale worth less than 100 Euro.
- CONSIDER EVERY ASPECT
Consider weather the color, shape, practical use (carrying and hang it on your shoulder for example), is something that you really really love and suits your needs. If this item can ‘fit wonderfully’ in your wardrobe. Meaning that you can mix and match it with most of your collection. Consider also if this item can be wear for a long time, it’s not just a temporary trend. Sometimes you found something and you are so in love with it, that you feel you must have it, but the next days the feeling is not the same anymore. So really consider every aspect before you blew up your money for something that you might leave it un-used.
- RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH
There must be more than one place selling or offering this items that you are looking for. Internet would be one of the best solutions. Surf online to find the best offer. Don’t stick to one place or just go to the real store. Be patient. Unless it is one of those limited edition things, make sure you find the best place to give your money to.
We all wanted to look our best. Just within the context of providing us the prestiges and beautifully handcrafted design, luxury items can help us to do so. But again luxury items from high-end fashion houses aren’t always the best. Stay true to yourself. On what suits you. On what your style is. After all, for having a successful looks that makes us feel good about our selves, good taste is the key..not the brand. Not the price.