Man, it's been a minute! Last time I spoke with you all I was headed to Seattle...which by the way was an AMAZING trip! It's funny how my last post was about forgetting the numbers and just "doing you", and yet, I wound up on the LiketoKnow.it Instagram page which has over 2.9 Million followers...yes, MILLION! Funny how the universe works! Any who, I wanted to talk about fashion. SHOCKER! lol. If you've been following me, you've probably noticed that I've stopped linking so many "fast fashion" stores. And here's why.
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Back in the back in the day I used to work for The Limited, which is a woman's retailer that's known for it's work wear, quality, and great day to night pieces. I worked for them for about 6 years and knew my biggest take away was the "quality over quantity concept". When I began my career in fashion, I was still in high school and really didn't know too much about spending money on investment pieces. The first time I hit the sales floor and saw that a basic black blazer started off at $148 I was shoooketh! To me, $148 could get me 5 full bags of clothing at Wet Seal, Rainbow, or Charlotte Russe. $148 was just so much money to me at the time...until I became knowledgeable about the quality and longevity of clothing.
The Limited offered a new hire incentive that gave all new employees 60-70% off their first full suit, camis, tops, and other staple items. And if I remember correctly, it was actually a requirement to buy a suit jacket. So, what did I do? I bought my jacket and slowly over time built up my staple wardrobe. During my time at The Limited I found myself transitioning from places like Forever 21 to Bebe(their quality was actually great, especially for night time), to BCBG, trading in my teen jeans from American Eagle to nicer jeans from 7 for All Mankind and Joes, to pushing my Charlotte Russe heels to the side and instead waltzing around in Aldo or Nine West. All of those places had one thing in common and it was my pieces were lasting me longer. So much so that when it came time for me to began my career in Property Management 6 years later, I had already mastered my essential "grown up" wardrobe. I never had to worry about buying a dress from BCBG and it going bad in the wash 2 weeks later. I never had to worry about my zippers popping off on my Bebe dress, or my feet being on FIRE in my Nine West heels. I noticed that if I just skipped out on buying 3 winter coats from Forever 21 that just "look cute", but won't keep me warm and instead buy a real wool coat from The Limited that is ACTUALLY warm, I would actually began saving money.
So that's what I slowly began doing. Year after year I've seen my wardrobe get smaller and smaller. It's not because I don't like shopping or I'm just trying to cut back(whicchhhhh is technically not a bad thing lol), but because my desire to shop fast fashion stores has decreased. Places like Boohoo, H&M, Zara and Fashion Nova, are cute an all, but at the end of the day they still offer the same, often times cheap material and quality. I can almost bet that each one of you have had something rip, not zip, or get damaged within a month of purchasing it from one of the said stores. So, am I cutting fast fashion out completely? No not 100% and here's why.
I do think there are hidden gems and great items with some fast fashion stores. For instance, H&M. H&M is a brand that is known to mix high high with low low. They have basic tee's that are $25, but also basic tee's that are $5 and the best part about it is that you can physically feel what your paying for. Your $25 tee will most likely be soft, relaxed and perfect for washing, where as your $5 tee will be rigid, feel cheap and will probably be a tee you end up just using as lounge wear. But also keep in mind the fit will be different as well. That $25 tee will probably fit you great, where as your $5 tee will shrink up in the wash. Also, the mens section of H&M is about 75% better quality than the women's. I am also of the belief that not everything has to be luxe or expensive. You guys know that I have a love for graphic tee's, but truly do not feel like spending more than $15 on them, which is why I buy a lot of my graphic tee's at Target. I used to buy them at Urban Outfitters for $28, until I saw the exact same tees at Target for less than half the price! I think super casual and seasonal items such as tank tops, denim shorts, bodysuits, basic cotton dresses and lounge wear can be bought at fast fashion stores.( we really don't need $100 Lululemon leggings to run errands in). Items such as sweaters, jackets, jeans, nice blouses, pants and certain dresses should be bought with more care in mind, because those items can be worn ALL...YEAR...ROUND!
My go to places that you may see me link quit often are Express, Mango, Topshop, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters. Not only have their pieces lasted me year after year, but their also brands that don't break the bank while staying on trend. People often think that quality means expensive and it's just not true. Those stores that I mentioned above tend to ALWAYS have some type of coupon or sale going on. I purchase alot of my workwear from Express, my denim from Urban Outiftters and Topshop, dresses and one of a kind pieces from Anthropologie, and accessories and tops from Mango. During the colder months you'll find me shopping places like J Crew or J Crew Factory for sweaters, Banana Republic for coats and Clarks for boots. Also, places such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Kohl's, and DSW are all companies that will carry your quality brands at deep discounted prices, so don't forget about them! Online stores such as ASOS carries a plethora of different brands and Missguided carries items similar to Forever 21 and Topshop, but at a decent price. Oh, and did I mention they too ALWAYS have some sort of coupon/sale? So, do I have any fast fashion stores I like? Target because....well, do we really need an explanation for Target? lol. H&M because their basics are the best and always on trend and Boohoo, because you can really rack up on simple basic items.
My final thoughts are this. We love fast fashion because it's inexpensive. But we hate fashion because it's cheap. The saying goes, "You get what you pay for" and that saying couldn't be any truer than in this industry. You can't expect your $30 Forever 21 suit jacket to last you year after year. You can however expect your $148 plain-weave blazer from The Limited to not only last you year after year, but to make you feel confident during that job interview, land you that dream job, be the best dressed at work and the most stylish out of the bunch during the evening! Your quality of life shouldn't just be limited to the roof over your head or the foods you put in your body, but also the clothing you put on your back! I hope this gives you a little insight on why I'm choosing to slowly transition out of fast fashion and more into fortified fashion!