Monday, August 15

Clothing Budgets

It's on my mind and I'm wondering readers: Do you have a disproportionately larger budget for clothes in relation to your other expenses?

I admittedly do and I'm not sure if it's a problem or the literal price to pay for my aesthetically driven existence. I'm a saver, hunter and gatherer. I know the inventory of every store I shop at and am aware of the incremental sale schedule even though I don't work there. What's more, to be honest, I'm ultra cheap when it comes to basic means of living: food, household items, music, etc. For example, I'll buy the off-brand of tylenol to save $1 and never order any drinks with meals. But when it comes to shoes, bags, dresses, tops, jackets and coats -- I always make a mental argument for the exception. Slashing a price down to 60%+ percent off is my kryptonite. If it's marketing, then it's working.

I put a major premium on the original design and creativity in a garment so to see something I've been coveting go down from $800 to $250 makes me want to pounce. But herein lies the problem: $250 is a lot for most people but $250 it is - again and again. My true rule - established by a fabulous woman I admire -- is that you can walk away but sometimes, "You just cannot forget that dress." I would like to believe that I notice every single detail about an item, appreciate it, understand it and then make an argument for it. For example, on these Alexandria Rag and Bone heels, I know that the footbed is extremely cushioned -- well because, I just happen to know all Rag and Bone shoes are extremely comfortable. (See the Wessex boot). And like countless amounts of women out there have exclaimed while trying on something: "I just need these!"

Now let me also preface these comments by explaining that I almost never buy anything full-price, ever. This probably explains the epic shopping that happens at the end of every summer sale and beginning of every year. My ceiling price range, however, is steadily increasing - and perhaps it's because I'm a single twenty-something without any major expenses like children or owning a home - but I'm pretty sure that this is a lot of money and sometimes, I feel guilty. A lot of times, I feel guilty. Since most of us have to correlate our budget with our priorities, I can't tell if archiving clothing and collecting additions to my wardrobe -- like pieces of art -- is truly a problem or intrinsic to my relationship to my own body and surroundings? So I'm left to wonder: where is my happy medium -- and how do I find and stick with it?

I want to hear from you: How do you shop and what motivates you to make a purchase? Do you prioritize clothing when it comes to budgeting? And most of all, should I get these shoes?

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