Status Anxiety and Purchasing

When making a purchase, I’ve always tried to remember quality over quantity. However, in recent years, I’ve noticed that even some designer items aren’t expected to last the test of time, and so the new status symbol is not buying a really good handbag and using it forever. Rather, the trend is to treat every item as if it’s fast fashion – designer included. It seems that some designers are playing into this disposable aspect; I’ve bought shoes that turned out to be lined with cardboard (a fact I only noticed when they got wet) and seams stitched so poorly that they were coming undone before the garment was worn. Also, up to a certain price point, it seems that items are of a similar quality and buying the most expensive version means spending money on a name alone.

This has made me rethink my wardrobe editing strategy, as relying on the designer basics has been a mistake. Conversely, I used to believe that buying something from H&M would not last me more than a season, but have had a few things last for years. Of course, items need to be both long-lasting and stylish. With this kind of nonsense occurring, it becomes harder to choose items correctly – items that will last and stay true to my own style.

It’s made me wonder – for whom am I dressing? Did I choose a designer bag because it was hardwearing, or was I hoping to sway others’ opinions of me by carrying it? Clothes are less instantly recognisable, but it hasn’t stopped me from splurging when I could. And yet, as I edit my wardrobe, I find that the designer stuff is often not as wearable as I thought it was.

Dressing myself and owning the right clothes has been a much steeper learning curve than I expected. It might be time to build a couple of capsule wardrobes from my current pieces. I’ll look forward to choosing pieces for my own requirements rather than out of status anxiety.

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