Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Thursday, 7 May 2015

In Defence Of Never Spending Any Money On Clothes

In Defence Of Never Spending Any Money On Clothes

The Debrief: In defence of spending your 20s wearing cheap-and-cheerful clothes, rather than slaving over a capsule wardrobe. Yawn.

I am 27 years old and I point blank refuse to spend a lot of money on clothes. Actually, not just a lot of money. Normal money. Anything-above-charity-shop money.

Basically, when I was a young, poor, sad waitress, I bought no new clothes except from this shop that was run by criminals who cut out the labels of high street clothes that were almost definitely stolen. Mainly because the tattooed eastern European man who ran it said 'They are stolen'. The ethics of this caused the odd pang, but on the other hand, I was living off a monthly £200 defecit and had large holes in my tee shirts. Plus, the restaurant manager kept saying things like 'Stop wearing Doc Martens to work' and 'Why are you still wearing Doc Martens to work' and 'Stop lying and saying you can't afford any shoes other than the Doc Martens you keep wearing, or do more shifts'. 

Charity shops became my Burberry, especially considering some of the ones in posh areas often contained actual Burberry which I still couldn't afford (due to an understandable price hike) but was able to try on in the dressing room and hope/dream. 

When I got my first job, I went on a shopping spree. Because I was so used to wearing stolen clothes that all cost £5, I couldn't believe that high street prices were so... pricey. Twenty quid for a top made my eyes water, so my shopping spree involved a heavy dose of Primark with some charity shops on the side- exactly the same as what I used to buy, just in bigger quantities. I bought five huge bags of clothing and had only spent £100. Yeah, some of it ended up the size of my thumb after a few washes, but I only needed them for a year or so - then I just bought more. And now, three years on, I'm still doing this.

Why? Why the fuck not. And also, for the following - more thought out - reasons.

Because I get incredibly bored 

I know people who are really rich (yeah, get me) and they have walk-in closets full of Hermes and Givenchy and other brands I didn't even realise I couldn't pronounce until they laughed at me, but these people still say 'Ugh I have nothing to wear'. I feel like I could run around nude covered in glue and emerge from their wardrobes looking excellent. But the point is, that they don't. And if they're bored of their incredible collection of garments, then I'm not about to spend fuckloads on a skirt that I'll whine about in a year's time. I'd prefer to drop £8 on one and throw it out after ten wears, to be honest, because when people talk about capsule wardrobes, they're ignoring the boredom factor. And they're usually about 45 years old. 

Because it'll look embarrassing in a year's time 

That cut won't work in next year's season because it'll all be about fringing. Or boxy cuts. Or flares. And whatever you just spent £900 will be obviously 2015 because it isn't made of tin foil (I'm not a fashion wizard, I can't tell the future). Back to the capsule wardrobe - as far as I can see, all the 'capsules' still have to be stylish otherwise those capsule wardrobe enthusiasts would still be wearing bootcut jeans and kitten heels. Alright, alright, they're probably 'in' right now but they haven't been for years so my point still stands: buy fashiony shit cheap, and then go through it like nobody's business because everyone will laugh at you if you're wearing the same jeans you wore in 1998. 

Because it's more fun 

Hey, fancy an afternoon carefully selecting one black turtle neck while a woman stands next to you saying things like 'Oh that's very you'? Or fancy throwing yourself into the bright lights of the low-end high street and emerging with ten pieces of varying ridiculousness. A mesh cropped top! A skirt that looks like a window! A cropped window that looks like a mesh skirt! Way more enjoyable and, ultimately, more satisfying because you'll have loads of fun stuff to wear rather than the same turtle neck. 

You don't cry as much 

Today I realised I had stained a top I've only worn three times. While it annoyed me on multiple levels, it wasn't the end of the world because the top cost £6. If this top had cost me any more, then I would have had a big cry. 

Because you've got your whole life to wear expensive, classy clothes

When I'm 35 plus, I dream of a closet full of whistles. And next to it, a closet full of the slightly-too-expensive-right-now brand Whistles (this is a really excellent joke). I'm looking forward to that stage of my life, because it'll mean I've got class and taste and am the sort of person who says 'Do you need a spare toothbrush? Just go into the left hand drawer' when someone crashes on your sofa, rather than asking them if they've got a toothbrush you can borrow despite the fact that it's your flat. I want to have this phase to look forward to, rather than trying to force it all to happen right now by spending all my meagre salary on one pair of shoes. I'm 27 and my wardrobe is full of Primark and weird jackets with labels from charity shops that say things like 'Sarah's Garmz'. Right now I want to spend my salary on loads of nights out I won't forget, great food and one holiday per year, rather than a nice jacket that isn't by 'Sarah's Garmz'. The next phase of my life is Whistles. I am happy with this progression, because if I progressed right now, and started having sensible clothes that last for ages, then I'd have nothing to aspire to. 

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Follow Stevie onTwitter: @5tevieM

Tags: Fashion So-Called Rules, Getting Ready