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Monday, February 27, 2006

When is a bargain not a bargain?

Kiss Me Stace wrote a great post about unflattering prints, which really got The Bargain Queen thinking.

The Bargain Queen generally doesn't like lists of fashion dos and don'ts, because they change all the time, they're unfair and because the exceptionally stylish ALWAYS break some rules, so the best you can become by following the rules is a fashion victim.

All that said, if The Bargain Queen had a definitive set of fashion rules, this would be at the top of the list:

Rule #1: Never buy anything unflatttering

(Rule #2: never let anyone give you unflattering things either. But not even The Bargain Queen knows how to enforce this, especially with cherished relatives and close friends...)

This probably sounds like the most obvious fashion rule possible, but before you stop reading, The Bargain Queen has a confession to make: it took her a really long time to learn this. For years, The Bargain Queen bought 'bargains' that made her look horrid - i.e. bargains that aren't. While this sounds like an incredibly dumb thing to do, it's actually an easy mistake to make. Having a bad day, being in a hurry or getting trapped by a lying mirror (or shop assistant) can all lead to very bad purchases, which harm both the budget and personal style.

For example, at a Zimmerman sample sale a few years ago, The Bargain Queen shared a communal changeroom with a very successful young model. Needless to say, the girl makes twigs look overweight, so she made The Bargain Queen look like a heifer. In a fit of "Of course it makes me look huge, I'm a bloody hippopotamus", The Bargain Queen came away with:
  • black pants that made her legs look like over-stuffed sausages,
  • a black skirt that created a rounded belly out of The Bargain Queen's hard-won washboard, and
  • a beautiful purple skirt that not only added inches to the belly and wobble to the thighs, but also made the butt appear to drop a few inches.
This tied up a substantial portion of The Bargain Queen's clothes budget in things that she didn't want to wear. While these all sounded like fantastic deals on paper - good-quality classic garments at 75% off - they were actually one of The Bargain Queen's dumbest ever purchases.

They did, however, teach The Bargain Queen an important lesson:

When you look horrible in your clothes, blame the clothes.

These beauties perfectly illustrated how much difference the right cut, colour and fabric makes, even on classic items. And thankfully, it wasn't too expensive a lesson in the end. The Bargain Queen saw sense a few weeks later and too them all to a consignment store, where she got most of her money back.

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