*Read with a pinch of salt, an air of caution and a lick of sugar to sweeten the news I’m about to break to you…
When it comes down to it, we’re all liars. But sadly, as with all top-of-the-range, catch-me-if-you-can liars, we actually believe our own little lies.
Yes, I am talking about we ‘fashion people’. Myself included in this, of course – and anyone else who uses common fashion phrases we all know and love. Come to think of it, if you’ve found your way over to this site or my social media, you’re probably included in this yourself.
You may try and drag yourself away, kicking and screaming, but we’ll drag you back. We know where you live (well, the ASOS delivery man does and I have his number). You may not be involved in fashion, you may not work in fashion, but if you’ve ever made a purchase way out of your usual ‘£35 max’ budget then you can be included in this. I’m sorry, but it’s time we faced the music.
We repeat, religiously almost, the same common place phrases. We repeat them in our heads. We repeat them to our poor, long-suffering boyfriends. We repeat them to our parents who will often be the ones to remind us of our lies. Indeed, these are the fashion lies women have used the world over, and here, we debunk them…
‘Cost Per Wear’
This, my friends, is not a thing. It’s not a phrase, it’s not a justifiable excuse. It doesn’t exist. I’m sorry to be the bearer of (what I will agree) is really sad news, but ‘Cost Per Wear’ effectively has no meaning.
It’s a phrase cultivated by one very savvy shopaholic to another. I hate to be the one to tell you, but the price of your £130 cotton-voile sarong skirt from Isabel Marant doesn’t decrease each time you wear it. Net-a-Porter won’t refund your bank account every time you take your new bag out of the house. There’ll be no ‘Cha-ching! That’s an extra 78p back in your account for today, Lydia! Just another 55 years and you’ll have paid this Louis Vuitton off!’
It may come as a shock to you, you may even have to crack into that mini bottle of prosecco you got free from Tesco when you bought Aperol on Friday to process the news, but that is the reality. Unfortunately the old ‘cost per wear’ trick is void. No longer. Na-da. With that flash of the Visa Debit, your money is gone forever. You may have replaced that legal tender with a beautifully crafted, fully-lined, black-leather Givenchy piece, but unfortunately you can’t trade this with your landlord in return for free rent (unless, perhaps, your landlord is on the lookout for a small, leather tote brandishing the Givenchy logo).
Now this can go one of two ways depending on the amount of zeros ending your bank account figure…
If you’re a woman of wealth, this is a way of pretending you’re cool, down-with-the-kids and that you can ‘fit in with the rest of ‘em’. You throw on a splash of H&M (yes, it may just be a white t-shirt) with your Mansur Gavriel straight-legs and Tod’s loafers and call it ‘High-Low’. You sashay over to your Prada-clad friends, who suddenly look a bit insipid and passé next to your ‘high-street brands!’. These are the women that use the high-street to look down-to-earth, not because they enjoy the merits of ‘high-low dressing’…
And then there’s the rest of us folk. The ones who will ‘high-low dress’ for quite the opposite reason. We scrimp and save, buying the cheapest butter and discounted blueberries at the supermarket in order to get our hands on some of the ‘high’. We splash out on a designer piece, we use the ‘cost per wear’ myth to guide us, to convince us, to cajole us into typing out our CVV numbers…
And then… THEN! We kid everyone and pretend we could be the women wearing head-to-toe Prada and we’re choosing not to. ‘It’s high-low dressing’, we say. And people believe us! They bought it, hook-line-and-sinker… Because you know what, they’re lying about something too!
‘This is an investment piece’
Similar to the ‘cost per wear’ scenario addressed early, the ‘investment piece’ is a canny little saying. Where ‘cost per wear’ suggests repeated use in quick succession, the ‘investment piece’ carriers a meaning with more status. It infers (we hope), that we will be wearing this item for years to come. YEARS!
‘I’LL HAVE THIS UNTIL I’M SEVENTY!’, we cry.
‘OH, I CAN WEAR THIS YEAR AFTER YEAR!,’ we declare.
‘THIS WILL BE SOMETHING I CAN USE EVERY SUMMER!’, we coo (somewhat smugly).
Now let me ask you this. How many times does your 80+ grandma drag out a beaten old handbag from 1962 and talk about the cost per wear? I’ll answer for you now – never. And if she does then you’ll agree that it’s time she binned it (unless it’s a limited edition Hermès Kelly with a 30x increase value, in which case you need to convince her that you REALLY like it… I digress).
Ladies, it’s time we admitted it. There’s no such thing as an investment piece. You may love it for one season, you may love it for a second season and thus declare it as, ‘PERENNIAL!’. But in two years time, those bee-covered Gucci loafers will be gathering dust in their beaten-up box at the back of your wardrobe (kind of like Jessie on Toy Story when she gets thrown under the bed and left for years… Sob!). The new ‘investment piece’ will come along in six months (and mark my words, it absolutely will), and you’ll have to start the process all over again. Exhausting, isn’t it? This lying business…
And so, on such a somber note, we ought to cheer ourselves up with some online shopping. I have, in fact, been eyeing some Cult Gaia mules myself. They’ll go with everything! I’ll probably get my wear out of them. Well, I will. I can think of at least five occasions they could work for. In fact, I think they’d even be good for winter too (a bit chilly round the ankles, but still)… And useful for next summer! Right, where’s that debit card…?