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Psychologists define it as the guilt complex. The obsession with the idea of having done something wrong. I suffer from it. More so after shopping than any other time. See I like, no, love expensive things. It must be my affinity to quality, or at least the perception of it.
There is no greater guilt trip that I’ll take than after a fashion spree. Which is why I’m so quick to get rid of the price tags so I don’t have to squirm whenever I read those finance blogs that illustrate how the money I just blew on a handbag, invested at 10% per year could have made me a millionaire by x amount of years. I also get rid of them so my guilt trip doesn’t lead me to returning the items. It’s pathetic, but I’d rather be sad in the comfort of my expensive items than living free of guilt without them. Don’t judge!
As with all negative emotions, true transformation begins as soon as the victim makes the decision to break free. I had reached this point. To release myself, I decided I would shift my paradigm regarding my expensive habit. Instead of viewing the purchased items as a waste of hard-earned money, I would view them as investments. Exchanging this negative view for a positive one would keep the guilt-complex at bay, thus making me shop less. No I’m not making any of this up. There’s a science to this. According to Hale Dwoskin, New York Times best-selling author of The Sedona Method: “guilt frequently triggers us to do, or to continue doing the exact same things that we believe we’ve already done wrong — again as self-inflicted punishment. It is one of the main causes of actions that we later regret.”
In changing my perception, I now apply some of the wisdom I’ve gathered on choosing investments on buying expensive clothes. Gathered with the help of two of the top-selling assistants at the globally renown DvF store in Soho New York , namely Niya and Fania, these are the 4 main investment philosophies that one can apply when purchasing expensive “investment” clothing items:
1. Invest for the Long Term (Seeing beyond trends):
“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”- Warren Buffet
Fashion is exciting since it happens so often and there’s always going to be something new that comes up. But we can’t always keep up with the latest trends. Unless of course one has a never ending supply of funds to keep them going. Even so, it is so easy to get taken in and get carried away by the latest fashion trends. Niya adds, “sometimes we get excited and say ‘ Oh my gosh I love this neon green tote bag!’ Which is great, but how many times am I going to wear it? Sometimes it’s nice to splurge and ‘be in the now’ and kind of feel very current. However, you’ve also got to think logically.” Buying expensive trendy items is something that should be done with caution. Since you will end up spending a lot of money, and then end up having things sit in your closet that you are never going to wear. Wasting money you could’ve invested in something else. Defeating the urge to conform to trends comes with growth and financial maturity.
2. Think Legacy:
“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.”- David Brower
How many of us hold on dearly to items inherited from our parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents? This is the benefit that quality clothing can afford one. The prospect of one day having your style (good or bad) live on through your items passed on to younger generations.”With things like those, we have the iconic DvF wrap-dress- which Diane designed in the early 70’s but is still one of the main items being sold in the store” says Fania. The dress is said to never be up on sale as a result. Niya agrees adding that “Because it has been a historical fashion piece, a lot of people do have the thought process that this is something they want to save. We even had a girl come in the other day, she was actually wearing the wrap-dress which looked very familiar but we all couldn’t identify why we recognized the dress so much. But it was actually her mom’s from like 10 years ago, so that was interesting”. Keeping that generational aspect in mind when buying expensive adds the sentimental aspect to your investment.
3.Get your money’s worth :
“Make your money work so hard for you that you don’t have to work hard for it”- Napoleon Hill
This incorporates spending more on versatile items that you can form numerous outfits from. Aside from the staple fashion items (black jackets and trousers etc..) if you are going to try something more trendy both versatility and good quality are important factors. The higher the quality and versatility, the more of a good investment the item becomes, since the money you spent widens. This is ideal since if you are going to spend $500o an item- you’ll rest assured that you will be getting your money’s worth.
4. Buy Wonderful Clothes- that make you feel wonderful:
“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”- Warren Buffet
The importance of brands comes into play here. For example there’s a certain person you would envision when you think of a brand like Ted Baker or Ralph Lauren. According to Niya since the clothes we wear are something that are a part of our lifestyle, the clothes you should be shopping for should not only focus on the aesthetic but also the company attached to it- how they make you feel emotionally. She adds “that is why most people shop within a brand like DvF, they not only connect to the clothing pieces but they also connect to Diane as a person. Because she’s super transparent, she has told her story and she has made people to aspire to be something but also to be themselves- which is all part of her mantra.” So buy something that is wonderful and looks wonderful on you (very important). But also and more importantly the clothing should also make you feel wonderful, especially when you associate or relate that brand with who you are, how you see yourself or who you aspire to be.
We are so prone to view expensive fashion items as the enemy of good financial sense. Which is probably the main reason behind my guilt complex. Merging the two concepts in a complementary manner helps us change this view, and most importantly boot big bad guilt out the front door.