For some time now there is been a huge trend in the blogoverse to applaud and be proud of thrift purchases. Many bloggers, including myself, proudly parade their amazing purchases at next to nothing prices. Many bloggers have added the ‘We shop secondhand first’ badge created by The Citizen Rosebud on their blogs.

It seems that we often only include the price of a new items if it was really cheap. I know I do this sometimes to show my readers that I’m not a rich, compulsory spender, but could not resist an item at a discount. 

Although I applaud buying clothes at second hand stores, I think we should also not forget that it can be good to buy items at full price too.

And be proud for doing so.

For, as brilliant as some of the purchases are in thrift stores or at the sales, many of those purchases are not a success for the following reasons:

  • They get worn only a few times.
  • Sometimes the items not only are cheap, they look cheap as well.
  • You may have sacrificed a perfect fit or bought something that is not really your style (see also how you can avoid buying mistakes in sales or thrift stores)
  • Although it’s true that you are reusing clothes (and thereby helping the planet), you also keep on stuffing your wardrobe with new items, whereas it may be better for you to concentrate on fewer, better items. Many thrifters buy lots of stuff (which is still a lot of consumption) and more is not always better. Ultimately, it will be better for the planet to consume less altogether.

On the other hand buying items at full price, especially from emerging, local designers or environmentally conscious designers can have many benefits too:

  • You ensure that new designers will continue to emerge with new ideas. Only if we buy their items at full price, will they be able to make a living and sustain their business.
  • When you buy something full price, you make sure it’s absolutely perfect. No compromises on quality, fit and style should be made.
  • Buying items full price forces you to think long and hard about your style and what message you want to give to the world with your clothes. Understanding your style better is a good thing, as it communicates the message of who you are more clearly and can give you a signature look. It may also lead to a more minimal wardrobe.
  • You can still support the environment by only looking for natural fabrics or supporting ec0-friendly designers like Gustavo Lins.

Of course high price items can be a failure too and that will hurt twice as bad. But you cannot let fear of that happening, stop you from buying high priced clothes. Quality IS more important as we age. You need to be really careful with wearing cheap fabrics or outdated designs as it will just age you and look frumpy.

So I’m hoping that we will see more mentions of pride in the blogosphere of high ticket items that were a huge success. Those items that we paid big dollars for, but that have proved their worth time and time again, since you always feel and look fabulous in it.

I think buying those kind of really successful high quality items is a lot harder than buying something cheaply in a thrift store. And when you succeed in doing it and it pays off, you should scream it from the rooftops with pride. One of my goals for 2012 is to get better at this. To really shop for high quality basics that will stand the test of time. Items that will become the backbone of my wardrobe and will always be there for me when I feel that ‘I have nothing to wear’.

Of course this does not mean that you should stop shopping at thrift stores or sales, but I would say, do so in moderation and create the right balance.

As Ines de la Fressagne said in a recent interview with a Dutch newspaper: “Even if you can afford expensive clothes, you need to mix them with a t-shirt, jeans or a leather jacket. Women that buy designer clothes often forget this”.

I so agree with that. It’s all about creating the right mix. Both with your dressing and shopping.

So tell me, which high ticket items did you buy that were absolutely worth it?

Photo: pants from Theory, Brooks Brothers, Reed Krakoff and Armani.


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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