Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let's Talk about Labels

We're reading "Shopaholic Takes Manhattan" on the subway for a nice pre-and-post-work diversion, and it's simply lovely... but we realized immediately that it is impossible for us to empathize with the heroine, given as she is to near-vapors at the sight of a designer label. Yes, we have a shopping problem, to an extent, but rarely does a single piece we buy top $30. Have we mentioned that we don't care for things that are expensive just because the designer has a certain image? We admit that frequently the higher-end labels have exquisite workmanship-- which is why we surely squeal a little at finding a huge bargain in a Calvin Klein skirt or Ralph Lauren dress (the savings off the original price tag is only part of the excitement)-- but we find it simply astounding that women pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for things just... because! Not couture, not hundreds of hours of beading, just that it's the "it" thing (waiting lists for handbags? o_O

To us, something being the "it" thing means that far too many people like it and we should steer clear. Tiffany jewelry and Coach bags don't say upscale to us, they say conformist. Maybe it's because we've never actually had money to throw around to that kind of extent, but we're simply aghast at times-- like last weekend when we stepped into a Macy's for the first time. You can talk all you want about the supposed sales, but this store terrified us. Arranged by designer?? What if we want to look at all of the dresses? Or all of the dresses that have been marked down? What a travesty. We ended up spotting and buying a top that we were looking for (black, slinky, tummy-control, $30) for a bachelorette party, but we got the hell out of there quickly after that. And the jewelry, mind you, was way overpriced, terribly generic and horribly gold-heavy (we forgot to mention in last week's "nevers" that we do NOT wear gold.

So anyway... we got to wondering what kind of a girl goes in for that sort of thing. We know a few who love select designers-- and that's all fine and well; if you find something you love, run with it! But do you have to grow up with money to appreciate rather than denigrate the clothes in Vogue, for example? We remember even as a child not thinking "wow I hope someday I can afford this" but "what is wrong with people?"

We're probably cynical, but other than a nice solid pair of shoes or coat or bag that you will use every day, we don't see spending more than $100 for any attire.

What do you think? Does a name brand guarantee quality? Are high-end designers worth the price to you? Does the brand impart something that we are missing? (Or perhaps just don't care about) Do you think it is bred through luxurious upbringing, or perhaps a spartan one, inspiring excessive longing? Give us your thoughts!


  1. I don't think I own a single thing that could be considered 'designer'. Partly, I can't afford it, partly, I'm intimidated by the stores, but mainly, I don't see the value in paying more for something that looks just the same to me.

    I admit, there would be something magical in opening a Tiffany's gift box, but I don't actually believe their products are any better than anywhere else.

    I'm even trying to get myself out of the middle-of-the-range stores (Ann Taylor, J Crew) and into Target and Old Navy... next stop, thrifting :)

    Thank you for stopping by my blog!

  2. I've often read the suggestion to buy designer clothing when possible because of the quality. But no, I don't think it's necessarily better quality. The only thing that guarantees good quality is looking at something and deciding if it's good or not! That can happen at a thrift shop, or a store brand, as often as not.

  3. i'm probably as anti-brandname as you can get. i despise it. and i always have. i, too, did not grow up with money, so the popular name brand stuff was not even an option.

    and having working in a clothing alterations shop, i've ripped apart, mended, taken in, let out clothes from every possible price level. and i can tell you that $300 pair of pants is not any better quality than the $10.99 pair of pants. we once had a customer bring in a pair of pants so mangled they were barely worth fixing. and we told him so. "But they're {insert brand name here}!" we offered to remove the brand label and sew it on another pair of pants for him. he was not amused.


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