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fashion women

Style notes: How not to wear Prada

So, I saw a black Prada Saffiano handbag perched on a desk this morning. Sometimes, my office can look like a designer boutique. That worn and faded lap blanket that resembles your grandmother’s sofa cover, is from Mulberry, London, and those antique tea mugs with the quaint flowers, are from Wedgwood.

Prada Saffiano tote bagImage courtesy Pinterest.

On Monday, some of us were talking about the dessert, but one of my colleagues misunderstood and dug a Montblanc pen out of his desk drawer. He said he couldn’t be bothered filling it with ink through the converter. The three of us tried to jump him to get it. We were bickering quite loudly. And, I saw it first, so hands off.

The thing I wonder about when people spend a lot of money on name brand things (not fountain pens, or fine stationery: there is no limit to how much you should spend on those), is how come they don’t notice the other stuff?

I don’t care if you use a gold nib fountain pen and carry a beat up briefcase. That’s the way it’s got to be. I applaud you if your clothes are from twenty years ago and you’ve got a vintage Rolex on. What I don’t get is how come a woman spends so much on one handbag when she clearly should have spent a third of that on a full year’s wardrobe at the outlet mall just down the street.

Montblanc fountain pen and inkwellImage courtesy: Marcus Link

Seriously. I am proud to say that I own skirts or dresses that cost less than thirty dollars. I mess them up with food, paint, ink, more food, more paint, more ink. The cheap ones never die, by the way, wash after wash. I’ve got $12 wool sweaters I bought fifteen years ago at Uniqlo. They go right to the cleaners and return looking as good as new.

This is me talking about what I personally prefer. I prefer natural fabrics and I also enjoy synthetic fibres, as long as I don’t look flammable. I don’t want to collect silk shirts because I can’t wear them without fretting about getting raspberry sauce on them. My favourite skirt is charcoal gray, in cotton and it cost me nine dollars. It goes for formal and casual events with the right jacket. No one can tell I bought it eight years ago.

I have absolutely no opinion on whether other people should be paying a lot for clothes, so that’s not what I’m going on about here. My concern is about balance.

I am also one of those individuals who can resist a designer label if I don’t like the thing. I enjoy having the labels that most people can’t recognise from a first glance or from the logo. I pay attention to labels because sometimes people model counterfeit bags and shoes as if they were real, and I want to stare blankly at them while they’re trying to impress me with a fake Hermès Kelly bag.

Prada: Image courtesy fashion lover

I don’t believe that possessing designer labels is equivalent to having good style. Labels can sometimes encourage us to escape from the responsibility of carefully arranging ourselves. I’ve seen some awful looking things from Dolce and Gabbana and Versace and would never let them near my body, even when they were offered to me as gifts. “It looks awful, but it’s from that designer, therefore…” I don’t think so.

Easy bun hairstyles
Easy bun hairstyle from Gal Knows

But let me put it to you, women. What is the point of carrying a Prada bag when your sweater’s all stretched out and faded? Or your patterns and silhouettes are mismatched? Why have you got that $4000 bag and a very large scrunchie in your hair holding up what could have been a cute chignon? I’m sorry, but I just cannot with scrunchies. Please, someone, do something. Do you need a Prada bag, or did you need an extra two minutes to find a black ponytail holder?

A balanced style requires time, rather than money. I like the idea of rearranging a few items of clothing week in, week out, to get a brand new total look. Perhaps I am that way because I had to wear uniforms to school until I was seventeen, and after that to work in a bank. I enjoy the challenge of getting creative with limited items.

That’s what it means to have a personal aesthetic. Labels cost money, and they take time to acquire but in the end, they’re products. A designer label doesn’t always do a good job of cleaning up your presentation and it certainly shouldn’t.

 

By ΠιCΘLΣ

Life is short, so let’s be decent.

24 replies on “Style notes: How not to wear Prada”

It’s like the quote “don’t buy things you can’t afford with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like” lol. it’s all about status. People fake it till maybe one day they make it hahaha. Brand = high status. It’s quite pathetic. Los Angeles is all about it

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Thanks so much for your comment. I like a brand or two, but I like Etsy for this reason: small businesses, authentic, quality products. Much like your rosemary hair growth treatment which is full of natural ingredients. Why pay more for nothing at all just to say you have the product? I have heard about LA and the fake it to make it attitudes. As long as you don’t lose yourself in the race you’ll be fine.

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It has never occurred to me to wear a scrunchie – in fact I don’t think I know what that is… You’re going to laugh, but I met with an image consultant last year. I was so depressed and ashamed of my presentation at the end of that discussion – even though she greeted me and told me I looked fantastic. She was nothing like you! Apparently Amal what’shername who’s married to George Clooney was a good baseline for me in terms of style – except I don’t want to marry George Clooney, so… um, I took the entire discussion as a wrong way-go back sign. I’m going to wear whatever the hell I feel like. And yes, my oldest clothes are my frequently my favourites and I am sad each time I finally wear an item out.

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Thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear about your image consultant. I’m not sure why she went all out to interfere with you, but we’re not supposed to be in the business of making cardboard cutouts of women. Why look like other people, when you can just look like yourself? I can’t believe she Amal Clooney’d you. I don’t understand her. You don’t need a scrunchie, a comb or anything with that fabulous hair. I let a team of good looking male stylists play with mine, not that they can get it to stay down, but I am very spoiled by the attention. Yes, it’s sad when you wear an item out, and that’s why I always buy a thing in more than one colour, or two in the same colour. Yes, wear what you like and wear it to the end.

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I do the same thing! I have 3 x shirts exactly the same, in fact I have many duplicated items in my wardrobe. I used to have my hair really short because I wanted to look exactly the same all the time. Now that I’m over that phase and it’s grown again, my hair gives itself a new look every day and I have no say in it at all.

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I’m so glad we have that in common. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Versatility is important. I realise that if I wear a decent looking outfit, my bed hair gets compliments. My hair does not respond to things like serums, conditioner, oils, flat irons, pins, combs or stylists… I just decided to go with it.

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Who really cares about carrying a Prada bag? Labels mean nothing, and I am pretty happy to find a blouse or handbag at Khol’s or JCPenney. It is all about happiness in the heart, not what adorns the body. While I love fashion, and looking at the magazines, keeping myself well groomed, I can do that much less expensive way. I would rather have $5,000 in the bank than carrying it on my arm.

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I know what you mean, about having the cash in the bank instead of in a purse which devalues after each use. I love fashion magazines, too, but I will tear out pages to paint on! It’s called recycling.

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If you like something, wear it. Does the brand really matter? In a century or two, what will be left of Lacoste’s little crocodile, or Chanel’s entwined double-C? Although, tell me I can’t use my No.5 and we may have a fight on our hands 🙂

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I have a similar philosophy: wear what you’re comfortable in. But at work, for me the presentation has to be balanced, part you, and part the perceiving public; and definitely I am a Coco Noir fan, myself. I don’t think I can wear clothes by Chanel as they’re not made for me, but I do love their fragrance products.

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It’s very sad that we can’t do what we want to do, and to some extent, it pains me to conform as well. I should definitely find an alternative. Thank you for the thoughtful remarks.

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Staring blankly is something we should all start doing. We’re just feeding the fire by reacting to those who wear designer brand products. That was a great point you’ve made! Awesome post.

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I’d have to agree with you fully on this. I am a self-proclaimed shoe-a-holic and I must say that I’d much rather spend my money on sexy, comfy, thrifty shoes than a ridiculous amount of money on a pair of shoes that don’t look as nice simply because they are made by a designer.You hit it right on the nail when you said “I don’t believe that possessing designer labels is equivalent to having good style”. Style can come from Walmart; it doesn’t always have to be Christine Dior. Well written gurl!! 🙂

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Thanks for the encouragement and the kind words. I am a shoeaholic, too, and it’s absolutely crazy the number of uncomfortable footwear I have archived. I had to stop wearing heels for two years due to cartilage damage from climbing, and it was not as bad as I thought, not wearing heels. But sometimes, I do need to stretch higher, if you know what I mean.

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I believe the explanation is “you can buy fashion but style one must possess”… That being said I have my LV purse, ipad cover, key wallet and am often found in hole-y jeans and jackets with frayed cuffs. I wear my clothes until they die. Ditto the purse but it lasts better. But I would never be caught dead in a scrunchie.

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Thank you for this quote, and I like the fact that you wear your clothes to the end. The thing is, mine never seem to die. The point is not the newness of the outfit, but the attention to the fit and coordination and the occasion. I just love purses that have been around for a while and get that worn in look. And thank you for understanding my issues with scrunchies in the office.

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I never wore scrunchies at the office when I was a paralegal. But now that I am a waitress and bartender, I pull my hair back with one of those invisible hair bands. I straighten my hair first, so that I might look elegant and well groomed. It is a matter of presentation even when in the service industry as I work.

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Thank you for adding this. I love invisible hair bands, and I like neat or messy ponytails, too. The point is, and we both agree, to be conscientious about presentation at work. Scrunchies everywhere else, I won’t notice at all. Have a lovely afternoon.

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Thats good! Who needs a 5000-Dollar bag? You have to let the price tag on it, so everyone could recognizes how expensive was the bag . It would still add that high-quality label don’t always pay attention to how their goods are made. The fashion market is hard fought and pushes manufacturers to use inferior raw materials or the workers have poor working conditions. Child labor I will not start. (Sorry my bad grammar, I hope you can understand it yet – my school English is old)

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I understand you perfectly, and your use of English is fantastic. Thank you for adding your thoughts here. I absolutely wonder about the way in which products are made. I have had to take back designer items to the store for repairs just as they hand them to me at the point of purchase. As a result, I look for quality first, and that doesn’t always mean label. You’re right. Sometimes the price tag is the only thing that’s not glaring at you the way people display things. It’s always a pleasure hearing from you. Thank you again.

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