Do you find yourself wondering “are designer clothes worth it?”
There's no doubt that it can be hard to justify spending a lot of money on clothes if you're frugal.
However, I believe that designer clothes are worth it and that they can actually save you money in the long run.
When I was younger I was always told that designer clothes we're just the same as basic brands and that we were paying for the label.
However, as I've grown into frugal adulthood I've actually found the opposite. I'm going to show you why designer clothes are better…
When I first met my partner Helen a couple of years ago she used to spend every lunch hour in the budget retail store, Primark. Her entire wardrobe was made up of budget outfits from budget retailers.
Clothes are simply one item where I feel you get what you pay for. By which I mean, designer clothes are made to last. But that's not all.
Designer clothes are also more comfortable and make you look and feel great. Whilst Helen had opted for the buy more – cheap. I'd gone for the minimalist design approach with five pairs of trousers and eight t-shirts.
- Who's The Better Shopper?
- Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Applying The Comfort Principle
- Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Applying The Good Enough Principle
- Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Designer Clothes Are Better Because They Make You More Money
- Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: How To Buy Quality Designer Clothes
- Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Designer Clothes Are Better Because You Can Sell Them
- Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: The Budget Always Comes Up Trumps
Who's The Better Shopper?
For you to really see the effect of both the spending habits we're going to need to look at this from a five-year perspective.
Helen – Bargain Shopper
Helen goes out to Primark, all her tops are worn. The zip on her jeans has gone. The colour has faded she needs to replace some stuff.
She buys three new outfits each made up of trousers and a t-shirt.
The t-shirts cost her £5 each and the trousers cost her £12 each. Her three outfits come to £51 – bargain!
Except four months later Helen is back where she started. Her tops are worn, the zip on her jeans has gone.
The colours have faded and she needs to replace those three outfits she bought just four months ago.
Helen repeats this process three times a year for the next five years and ends up spending a total of £755
Me, The Mini Millionaire – I Love Designer Clothes
The time has come where I renew my wardrobe. I go out the same as Helen and look for three new outfits each made up of a t-shirt and trousers.
Except, mine are designer. Because, of course. I believe designer clothes are better…
My t-shirts cost me an average of £30 each and my trousers £50. That means each outfit costs me £80 and all three outfits cost a total of £240.
My shopping spree has cost almost five times the amount of Helen's – Yikes!
However, when Helen comes to me four months later with her broken jeans I'm still wearing mine, they're great!
When she comes to me with a top that's faded mine still look as fresh as when I first bought it.
In fact, I only needed to renew my wardrobe five years later when Helen was on her 15th shopping spree.
My £240 designer goods have lasted me five years or fifteen times longer than Helen's bargain clothes.
This means that I spend a third of what she did saving myself over £500 over the course of five years.
Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Applying The Comfort Principle
If my investment method hasn't convinced you that designer clothes are better, then it's worth applying the comfort principle.
Unless you're a nudist then it's likely you find yourself wearing clothes for 100% of the time in which you're awake.
By the time you're 80, that's going to have been 52 years of your life in which you've been in some form of clothing that's the equivalent of 65% of your lifetime.
Which means if you're buying budget you're spending 65% of your life in clothes that are worn and uncomfortable.
After just one year you'll have spent over 5,000 hours in some form of clothing. If you spend £500 on six great designer outfits and wear them for an entire year it's going to cost you £0.10 per hour.
All this comes down to is applying for the most money where you get the highest return on investment.
A bad return on investment would be spending £25,000 on a new car if you work from home and have zero commuting time. That's before we get into the depreciation discussion.
You can also use this same equation for working out how much it'll cost you every time you wear the item/outfit. This is especially good for items you're unlikely to wear as much or more than others.
Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Applying The Good Enough Principle
I noticed a huge difference between mine and Helen's clothing. An average outfit of hers cost £17 and mine cost £80. However, I noticed a much smaller difference in quality – if any between my outfit at £80 and my mum's average outfit at £150.
Another example of this is that we noticed a huge difference between a three-star hotel and a four-star hotel, but a much smaller difference between a four-star hotel and a five-star hotel.
As with any purchase, there is a fine line in finding the best return on investment. Unfortunately, this tends to come down to personal experience.
What is good quality for one person isn't for another, so you're going to need to try out multiple designer brands in order to find out which particular brand provides the best return for you.
Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Designer Clothes Are Better Because They Make You More Money
The phrase ‘dress to impress' didn't come from anything… If you're heading into the office with a smart designer suit on you're going to feel the business.
This confidence is going to come across in your meetings, presentations, in absolutely everything you do whilst at work.
Designer clothes are better because not only do they help you to feel great, they help you to look your very best.
Stats show you're more likely to get a promotion if you're in a more expensive suit. You're also more likely to be taken seriously in interviews for promotions or important sales pitches.
Not to mention the fact, that once you're done with your designer clothes they'll fetch more money on the second-hand market. Giving you more money to go out and buy fresh, new, designer clothes all over again.
Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: How To Buy Quality Designer Clothes
If you've never bought a high-quality garment in your life then it's hard to know what real quality looks like.
I'd, therefore, advise either looking at the outfits the people in your office are wearing or going to a high-end store that you know stocks high-quality clothing (whether it's in the budget or not doesn't matter) to get a good point of reference.
The difference is often in the detail so take note of the fabrics on the label, try it on to get an idea of how the fabric feels on your skin. Be sure to take a look at the buttons and the stitching.
Just because a brand produces designer clothes doesn't always mean it's going to be of the highest quality. Which is why it's important to try any item of clothing on before you buy it to test the quality and the fit.
If you're looking for a suit it may be worth visiting a tailor to get the highest quality and the best fit.
You may cost an extra ten percent on top of what you would usually pay however the item should pay for itself with it's fit and quality.
Don't forget, you can still get a discount at a number of designer stores with a student discount card to help you save further on your purchases.
Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: Designer Clothes Are Better Because You Can Sell Them
Buying designer clothes can sometimes be a risk… I mean what if you put on weight? lose weight? change your style? etc. etc. That investment in designer clothes has then surely been wasted, has it not?
No. Your money hasn't been wasted, the reason being that designer clothes can be sold second hand for good money.
Whilst there's nothing actually stopping you from selling your second-hand clothes from the likes of Primark and H&M you're unlikely to see it sell quickly, or for any worthwhile amount of money.
That's because the consumer can simply go directly to that shop and buy the item themselves, brand new for such little money it's not worth the hassle for them to buy it second-hand
However, second-hand designer clothes are seen as affordable. I can often get between 50% to 70% on clothes that are over three years old that I've worn hundreds of times, provided they are clean and damage-free.
Designer Clothes vs Regular Clothes: The Budget Always Comes Up Trumps
Unfortunately, you're not always going to be able to apply any of the above principles.
While this is a long-term saving method it's also an investment. If you're already struggling financially it's worth finding other ways to save money.
It's safe to say that Helen has seen the light, she too now believes that designer clothes are better. This has meant that we've been able to go a year without buying clothes. Let me know in the comments if you shop budget or designer.