Designer clothes have become a lot more readily available over the past few years. Sites like Vestiaire Collective and Buy My Wardrobe are resale sites for second hand designer cast offs. Even TK Maxx has got in on this burgeoning market by selling designer clothes in their Gold Label sections. However, not all designer clothing is a hit: you only have to look at the tat on eBay to see even designer designers can have a bad collection.
Buying a designer label doesn’t make you stylish.
It doesn’t even mean you have money – fake handbags bought from abroad do a roaring trade. Yet we still live in the age of conspicuous consumption – I had the FCUK t-shirt splayed across my bust in the late 90’s (I didn’t even like the t-shirt – I got foundation on the neckline and had to buy it to hide my shame…) – and a subtle logo can go a long way.
This year I met a wonderful client who had been promoted at work in the finance sector – a wonderful and well deserved experience yet her promotion was riddled with doubt over what to wear. The client had a bad habit of stress shopping on her lunch hour and as bargain basement shops were the ones nearest her work, she furnished her wardrobe with cheap 1 hit wonders which didn’t reflect her pay grade or job title.
I’ve worked with a lot of accountants, financial advisors and Finance Directors over the years and the most important thing I say to them is “you have to look like wealth, you have to look like money.” A client coming to see their accountant wants to know said accountant is handling their money well. If that accountant is in cheap, tatty clothing it doesn’t even look like they can manage their own money, let alone that of a client.
The delicate balance to strike between your pay grade and your wardrobe is to ask yourself what your wardrobe heroes are and invest here.
Then spend more on these pieces. For instance if you love to wear dresses for work and wear these most of the time you could buy into a higher price pointed dress with sleeves but save on your jackets if you don’t wear them that often. I buy designer bags and jackets are these are my wardrobe heroes, the pieces I return to again and again. My jeans are still Topshop, my pants are M&S’s finest but on my arm there now swings the Mulberry Effie Tote, a Longchamp bag and a Louis Vuitton Speedy. I wear vintage t-shirts with Helmut Lang jackets.
So what happened to my client?
I furnished her wardrobe with an awesome mix of pay grade appropriate labels which suited her style: Cecily, Winser, LK Bennett and COS. The subtle logos we employed were a Mulberry tote and wallet alongside Jimmy Choo heels.