Monday, November 15, 2010

Hey, big spender


If you've watched What Not to Wear more than a handful of times, you've probably seen one of the episodes featuring the dreaded bargain shopper. You know the one, the girl who makes it through the ambush, accepts the $5000 and the trip to New York, and then can't bring herself to buy $400 jackets and $200 jeans. Stacey and Clinton roll their eyes and throw up their hands and tell her, "It shouldn't matter! It's not your money!" but the poor client is still standing there wringing her hands because she just can't get past the price tags. I guarantee that if I were ever to be chosen for that show, I would do the exact same thing. I don't care whose money it is, I would get the vapors if I spent that kind of money on one item. I got invited to a fashion party the other day -- like a Tupperware party but for clothes -- and I decided to check out the merchandise online before I sent my RSVP. Good thing, too, because it's for a line of $34 tube tops and $60 T-shirts. I'm still trying to get my eyebrows to come back down to their normal position.

I buy all my clothes on sale. Other than maternity clothes, I can't think of the last time I bought something that wasn't from a secondhand shop or a clearance rack, and even the maternity clothes were bought on sale or at a second-run retailer like TJ Maxx. I have a closet full of decent clothes that I bought for a song. Unfortunately, hardly any of them fit. I've been laboring under the delusion that eventually this baby weight will fall off by itself and making it through by alternating the two pairs of jeans I have that fit. I was hesitant to buy another pair since I really do hope to be a smaller size in a few months and especially because I'm sort of between sizes right now. The 16s I'm wearing are baggy in the butt and the 14s that I can technically fit into are still pretty unflattering in the muffin-top region. I finally had to break down and admit that I needed another pair of jeans last week when Nico put his finger through one of the artfully-distressed spots on my favorite pair, removing the precisely arranged white threads that separated my thigh skin from the light of day. It's a really small spot, but I still feel weird about wearing pants with an actual hole in them to work, so I knew it was time to sack up and buy some jeans.

I decided to go to Old Navy because I had a 30% off coupon and because my recently-mutilated favorite pair of jeans is from there (though I got them at a secondhand shop for $5). I've been fretting, too, over the hoodie I've been wearing to work, battling a sneaking suspicion that at my age I really should have a slightly more professional-looking sweater to wear, so while I was at the store, I tried on one of their cute basic cardigans. I bought the jeans, bought the sweater, and then immediately was consumed by angst. So much! I spent so much! Even with the coupon, my clothes plus three pairs of socks for Nico's Christmas stocking cost 45 dollars. FORTY FIVE DOLLARS. Man, I could've bought NINE PAIRS of jeans at Goodwill for that! I'm sure right now most of you are laughing in your ass-flattering Seven jeans, thinking that I'm a nutbar. And I accept that you're probably correct. (I mean, come on. OLD NAVY. It's not like I'm buying couture, here.) I found out last night that I'm not alone, though. I vented some of my angst by posting on Twitter how weird it felt to buy non-clearance clothes for myself, and it turns out that I have some soul sisters. (Holla, ladies!)

So, I may be a little bit insane for freaking out over $29 mall brand jeans, but I have found peace. I know now that I'm not the only one who gets itchy when the clothes aren't on sale. I know that I'm not the only one who justifies it by trying to average out the full-price clothes against the closet full of dirt-cheap stuff. I know I'm not the only person with the potential to drive Stacey and Clinton stark raving mad. Blessings be upon the bargain hunters. So say we all.

11 comments:

  1. I used to not think twice about spending $30 for a pair of jeans. I know that isn't high end but now $30 seems like a lot. Although if they were originally $120 marked down to $30 I'd grab them in a second. I love a bargain but I am weird, I guess.

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  2. Shelly, I would totally spend $30 on a $120 pair of jeans and do a victory dance afterward. That would be a steal :)

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  3. I am the same way! I think I get it from my dad. When I was younger, I'd find a really cheap pair of jeans (for $15 or something) and run up to him excitedly and ask, "Guess how much I paid for these?!?" And he'd always say (only half-kidding): "No more than five bucks, I hope."

    $30 is my personal jeans price. $20 is even better.

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  4. Here's what happens. Eventually you will have more money and less time. It's supply and demand. So you spend money ($300 for a jacket -I cant spend $400 yet - or $80 for jeans) because you know that brand fits you, you know the size, their sizing is standard, and you dont even have to try it on to know it will look good. So, calculate how much time you spend on trying on clothes and hunting a bargain. It really helps if you know how much your company will charge for your time. If they charge $150 an hour, and you spend 3 hours hunting down a jacket, there's your $450 right there.

    That's how I got there anyway ...

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  5. $30 is desperation limit on pants (be that i desperately need pants or desperately want THOSE pants.)

    bought new work pants recently for $12 with a coupon code. of course, that's plus shipping and the cost to have them hemmed because my legs are slightly too long to just buy petites.

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  6. I'm intrigued by that...however, at my salary / hourly pay, I can spend weeks hunting for a jacket.

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  7. I can sympathize to a degree, but I really have few qualms about spending $40 on a pair of jeans. Mind you, this is because at my size, there's only 1 pair of jeans at goodwill that *might* fit, and they're scary elastic-waisters. I may be getting older, but I ain't *that* old!

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  8. AMEN! I had a boss that would buy a new Coach purse every 3-4 months.That's $300-$500 each. Even if I had that kind of money I could not spend it on a purse. And I love Goodwill and other thrift shops too.

    FYI I have several nice dress/work pants and stuff in size 16. Email me if you want them.

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  9. Maria - that's very kind! I can't find your email on your blog, so drop me a line if you see this.

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  10. If you're conditioned to bargain hunt, it's no thrill at all to pay full price for something. I know. Like when the first butcher shop opened and the hunter's girlfriend made him go buy some prepackaged moose meat for dinner and he was all, where's the fun in that? Peh!

    I like to pay full price when I'm supporting a local business or an artist. Etsy. Farmers market. Independent booksellers. Or for underwear. Underwear is important.

    But jeans..no.

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  11. i have a hard time with this because i'm exactly like you when it comes to what you want to pay, but i HATE shopping for myself--especially the endless trying things on. it's torture. so i crank up the amount i will spend on say a pair of jeans, and then i will wear them until the patches on top of the patches have worn out. i hate shopping so much that i try and buy nontrendy items and take really good care of them to avoid having to hunt down something new. so i'm ok with spending $70 on a pair of jeans because i'm pretty sure i'll be wearing them for at least four years.

    that, and my mom and i buy a lot of clothes for each other. it's much easier.

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