It’s a universal truth that having the means to indulge in high-end fashion is generally reserved for those with money burning holes in their pockets. Like when you’re casually browsing through Net-a-Porter and you stumble upon a $1800 chunky-knit wool and cashmere blend sweater from The Row and realise, “I don’t belong here”.
But does that mean it’s wrong for me, a middle class twenty-something who lives from pay cheque to pay cheque, to allow myself to indulge in items I can’t realistically afford through sacrificing what some might call necessities?
Take my car for example – a generally reliable four-door that is approaching an age where it should probably be stripped for parts. It doesn’t receive the love it deserves, but that’s because I’m too busy devoting time and energy to items such as my Prada top handle, with its sleek, curved edges, saffiano black leather and gold hardware.
The same can be said for buying toilet paper at the supermarket – that requires a solid five minutes reading the wee price tickets comparing which brand I can save 2 cents per sheet on. But when buying a basic white T-shirt, I’ll opt for the $250 Isabel Marant one because it feels better on my skin.
I don’t know when this mentality started – where the price of fashion is non-negotiable, and the needs of everyday requirements – food, socialising, having a car that doesn’t leave you red-faced with embarrassment – come in at a very distant second. Vanity seems likes the simplest explanation to this dilemma, but I think it delves deeper than that.
It’s prioritising my modest income so I can be an imposter in a world I can’t comfortably live in. So is it worth it? Munching on a diet consisting predominantly of bread and peanut butter, because I accidentally bought that Acne singlet that will be oh-so perfect for summer and I now have no cash to last me the two weeks until the next pay?
My wardrobe screams yes, my bank balance almost certainly mumbles no (it’s not nourished enough to muster the strength to scream).