A Sassenach Soliloquy

Sunday, December 26

Cheap thrills

Shopping for Christmas stuff a few days ago with T. we wandered around a few trendy stores in Covent Garden where t-shirts cost £30. Why so much? It's not hard to find a funky, equally well-made t-shirt in a charity or second-hand store, so why pay these silly prices? "Because...", I guessed, "..fashion represents an easy way for people with no style to look good".

You don't have to think much on the high-street; the marketeers who group consumers and channel their product accordingly do all the thinking for you. As a customer you just have to identify the shops that have targeted you as their core audience.

But buying - how shall we say? - independently, you have to think more. Lots of the stuff in markets and second-hand stores and charity stores and the back of your parent's wardrobe is, simply, rubbish. Or perhaps it doesn't work on you. You have to make judgments. You have to think, and have an eye for the aesthetic. But it's fun, isn't it? The joy of finding a real gem of a piece buried among all the crap far outweights the guilty pleasure of buying what you can't afford, consequences be damned. Just like learning to cook well actually reduces your food bill, then learning to dress well reduces your clothing bill. Fashion may cost too much, but style is cheap.

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