When you buy clothing, shoes and accessories, you make an investment into your personal history; Helen Fielding's Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination contains a list of sixteen rules for living, which include‘It is better to buy one expensive thing that you really like than several cheap ones that you only quite like' and 'Only buy clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance.'
Having been on a budget for the past few years, I have found that adhering to these rules has yielded me a half-closet full of really special clothes; quality materials and classic patterns, as well as staples like cute black shoes, broad belts, button-down shirts and reliable pants.
The other half of my closet is a hodgepodge of clothes scavenged from friends' closets, male and female. The average twentysomethingista is always accumulating more cute tops shirts and dresses than he or she actually wants. Or can fit into.
On the average day I wear cut-offs of someone else's jeans, a belted shirt or a repurposed baby tee, a beat-up belt and second-hand boots that I was lucky enough to score at a vintage sale earlier this year. When I have to ‘dan it up', I have a couple neat pieces that I can accessorise and work accordingly. Over the years I've been trying to make more hits than misses, as we all do.
Keeping up with trends is exhausting, expensive and thoroughly baffling. Brands and labels only mean so much- you can use them to situate yourself within a culture, or just as a safe decision that what you are wearing was manufactured with quality materials and original style.
Unless it's a gift or an emergency purchase, I can't see myself spending money on a top or dress that I know will only be worn once or twice.