Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lessons From A Shopaholic

Anyone read the book or seen the movie 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'? I read a few of Sophie Kinsella's books over the years, and have to admit I liked 'Shopaholic and Baby' best, however I found the movie about the first book in the series pretty entertaining. The adorable Isla Fisher-Cohen stars as an out of control shopper, who is hiding from debt collectors, making up any excuse she can about Finland and working for a finance magazine giving real life debt suggestions. However, her character is in financial ruin herself and trying to get help for her 'addiction' by attending a shopaholic support group.

In the film, Fisher's character writes an article discussing cost versus worth. This is something I often think about as a shopper and someone who works at a retail store at the mall (that charges a little too much for their clothes). What exactly is worth and what is cost? Cost I think of as literally how much did this cost to get from the cutting floor to the store. You're paying for the materials, the manufacturing, the shipping, the label, and the shop girls salary. Truth be told, a dress that cost $100 at my store, which shall remain unamed, has an 100% markup value, and would have cost somewhere between $10 to make and $5 to ship, making it cost a grand total of $15.

The real question though is what is it worth. Do you love this dress, and will you love it a year from now? Will you wear it season after season? Is it quality? Is the material rich? These questions will determine it's worth to you. I bought a dress at a vintage store for $10, it probably retailed for somewhere around $250 originally, it's 100% silk and has boning in it... it isn't worth $10 to me or $250... it's worth to me is determined by how much I wear it, how many compliments I earn, and how confident it makes me feel. My $10 find makes me feel like a million bucks, so maybe that's it's worth.

Some questions I tend to ask myself to determine cost versus worth are... Was this made in China or another third world country? In almost all cases yes. Is this fabric organic cotton, one hundred percent silk, or leather? Sometimes, always read the labels though ladies, a dress may be masquerading as 100% silk when really it's a polyester. Is this silk dress worth $250? Debatable. Like I said, look at the craftmanship, is it pleated, has lots of intricate stitching, embroidary, an expensive cut? Chances are, whoever made it took their time if there is a lot of detail and this is the reason behind the price. However, sometimes a dress is just a dress, and the price has nothing to do with the dress but everything to do with the label. This is when I have to ask myself, do I want the dress, or people to know I wear the label?

Isla Fisher's character in Confessions of a Shopaholic may as well be wearing clothes from Target for all I care, because her stylist was made her look ridiculous. Sometimes, wearing Louis and Christian and Prada for the sake of it is a mistake, especially when you look as lurid as she did. For the record, I really hate most cat walk fashion.

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