Recently I was going through my closet and I realized I had a lot of branded stuff- clothes, shoes, bags. You name it. I had at least one piece from every category that was branded, and that surprised me. I was never a person to go for only branded stuff. I still am not. When I was in college I used to pretty much loathe anything that was branded. One of the major reasons being the fact that most of the branded outlets in India did not carry anything in my size. Plus, I was not earning and being a student and being dependent on my parents, I didn't want to splurge their money on designer duds for myself. So I stayed away from anything that was branded. Even when I started working in India I still had difficulty buying branded stuff. Being minuscule in size and stature was my biggest woe. Add to that the fact that branded stuff was overpriced compared to normal Indian fare and I balked at the sight of anything with big name on it.
All this changed once I was in Singapore and started making my own money. For one, I worked in marketing and having to meet clients on a regular basis meant I had to dress well. I used to wear kurtis and jeans to work too but those were on days when I was sure I would be stuck at office and would not be required to meet with anyone. Else I had to be turned out in a professional manner and that required me to spend money on good clothes. The first time I shopped I didn't buy any of the big name brands. I bought formals form this place called G2000 and that was it. Once my paycheck started coming in, it was a whole another story. I started with a nice pair of Levis. Ok Levis does not qualify as "high fashion" but for me, it was a big deal. Dropping 150 dollars on a pair of jeans is no joke! Not for me at least. The best part was that I found a pair that fit me like second skin, which I had never been able to manage in India, and I have had them for 3 years now and except for the fact that they have faded a bit they are still in wonderful condition!
This is the golden version of the white ALDO sandals I have. I couldn't find the white one online. :(
Even then, I wasn't crazy about brands. That was when I discovered this brand called Mango. I was on a trip to Malaysia and Mango had a sale happening. Plus, Malaysia is a cheaper shopping destination compared to Singapore. I checked it out, and walked out with a fab purple paisley print dress. I wore it a couple of times, loved it and decided it was Mango for me for all special ocassions. Then on a random shopping expedition in Singapore one weekend, I found ALDO. I was looking for a pair of white sandals and there they were, eyeing me from the display case. I walked in, tried them on and walked out with my current -favourite pair of sandals. I didn't have to splurge either since Singapore is the land of sales, and ALDO happened to be having one then. I have had the sandals for a year and a half now and I have worn it practically every day that I could, and I have to say, they are still in fine shape. And foot wear is something that never lasts longer than a few months with me.
This is an ALDO bag I snagged on one random shopping trip more than a year ago I think. I use it almost every time I go out. Love it!
The next piece I acquired was another Mango dress for my birthday. It was one birthday in a long time when I was gainfully employed, and that dress was a gift to myself. Needless to say, I had fallen completely in love with Mango by then. They had amazing clothes, they had stuff in my size and they weren't as expensive as I thought they would be. They lasted really long and was worth every penny I spent. And thus began my love for brands- Mango, Zara, ALDO, Charles & Keith, Topshop, Bebe, Stradivarius, River Island, Fossil, Promod, Steve Madden.. The list goes on. But before you go ahead and classify me as a brandwhore I have to say I am not one. Yes, I love branded stuff. But not all branded stuff. I still find some brands exorbitantly overpriced. Even the brands I love, I only buy stuff I feel are classic pieces or stuff that will go with a lot of other outfits/ footwear I have. I buy stuff mostly during sales and try not to pay full price as much as I can. And I always, always buy stuff that is durable.
This is a Mango dress I bought last year around my birthday! :)
I also love mixing and matching stuff. Like pairing a 10 dollar skirt with a Mango top or a nice, expensive pair of sandals with a kurit and jeans. I buy stuff that I love- period, irrespective of the price tag. But my earlier disdain for brands is not there anymore. I love branded stuff and I love stuff you get at street markets too. I love swiping my card for dresses and I love haggling with street vendors for a colorful stole too. I might go to work in branded outfits but I have no qualms about going out for dinner or a party in a dress I found in some quaint store for 10 dollars. And to my sister and S who think I am extremely brand conscious, I say I am but I do not buy branded stuff blindly. I am always cautious shopping you see.. :P heh...
Images courtesy Google :)