When I got my first ‘proper’ job, I splashed out on a whole new wadrobe.

A few well chosen, pieces from Jigsaw and – wait for it, – a brand new CHANEL dress,  with an adorable matching jacket.

Finally, I thought-, a Grown Up Wardrobe! No more H&M,  Goodbye Top Shop days! Back then Chanel was not nearly so heavily branded and was much more work appropriate – not  quite as expensive as it is now either, I hasten to add.

I still have the belt from Jigsaw and the Chanel jacket still fits and looks tres chic. Everything else was a disaster, and has now left my wardrobe and been donated to charity. There is little doubt that the jigsaw clothes were well made in quality 100% pure linen.  Pure linen, as any experienced fashionista would have known, proves to be, too high maintenance to survive a 9-5 work day in London. (fashion error # 1) The CHANEL dress really just ended up too formal and making me look somewhat matronly, (fashion error# 2). I had it altered twice, at considerable expense, tried it dressed it up and down, but realistically it had to go, to avoid frumpidom.

Those first purchases contained so many  fashion lessons, there somewhere: about how even the best clothes have a sell by date, buying too much, too cheap or too expensive. In this case, the clothes themselves are lovely, but the crucial error, was they were bought too fast, without a proper evaluation of what I actually needed. Throwing money at something doesn’t solve the problem, as I were to learn. Buying slowly is key.

None the less, I had now spend the money and wore my new wardrobe at work , every single day. My colleagues would come in bragging about a new frock (that’s a “dress” for the Brits) which was such a bargain. “Sarah”- they would say, ” don’t be a snob, you could get a whole new look for the price of a pret sandwich!”
So, I went back to Top Shop and Zara. I can mix it up a little, I thought. High end and low end, as those savvy fashion editors love to tell you! Who is to know? Add an expensive bag to elevate the look, and Bob is your uncle Funny is your aunt.

Let me just explain, that the expensive bag with a cheap outfit, looks exactly like an expensive bag with a cheap outfit. It destroys the planet, and doesn’t elevate anything. It may look ok in a photoshoot or in someone’s sponsored (some bloggers get paid per click) blog, but in real life don’t wear Chanel jacket with a Primark top. It is not a good contrast. In fact I’d go as far as to say that mixing flamboyant designer items with sweat shop, bits and bobs screams of such an absence of social responsibility, it is verging on the obscene.

How I made my transition from fast fashion to (real) slow fashion – final post in the series coming up!


The fight against evil
The fight against evil must go on, please help to spread the word or make a donation to Save the Elephant from extinction. Whatever you can give makes a difference.

© Ladysarahinlondon

14 thoughts on “Real Fashion Vs Fast fashion # 3 (and how to save the planet and look good to boot)

  1. Susan

    Great topic!
    It is difficult, if not impossible, to combine low quality with high, I agree entirely.

    I will add the other time one must alter the wardrobe is when body changes take place (aging and/or weight gain). Tight fitting clothing is not an attractive look. Clothing that hugs our body can be unattractive at any age or it sends the wrong message. Additionally, particular cuts in clothing work better than others, depending on the body type and figure.

    Knowing our bodies and purchasing clothing that fits and adds to our body type and figure makes the outfit work, to say nothing of making one feel great, looking great.

    I acknowledge, we all have body attributes that we’d like to change, but with dressing right one can minimize the attribute or turn it into an attribute. (For example, to add height to carry a long or mid length dress, a wedge or 4 inch heal works wonders. To reduce height a print or horizontal stripe works well too. ( What do others do to address their particular body type with wardrobe adjustments.)

    I also believe matching the right shoe or boot for the outfit and occasion is key. A mismatch takes away from the outfit and screams error, regardless of quality.

  2. dottoressa

    I would really like to read your future book(s). I think that you don’t realize how good you actually are in writing
    The thing I appreciated first here,was when you supported (unknowingly,of course) my thoughts about real life style. I go out regulary,to theatre,concerts,dinners with friends and I was really ok with a couple of outfits I liked…..but my friends were always nagging “buy more dresses,don’t repeat your outfits,come with us for sales……”! Here was the first place that suggested that I could be right.
    Have a nice weekend
    P. S. Susan,I agree and like your comment

  3. Archana Paladugu

    I am loving this series. I can identify so much with what you wrote in Part 3.

    Also, I write in a way where I am too afraid to offend or scare people. I do admire the conviction you have when you state facts. Something I need to learn from you.

    One of my closest friends bought a cardigan for 2$ on a chinese website that charges 0.5$ for shipping. It has a hole after 3 washes. She is throwing it out for another that is coming next week. My heart bleeds as I watch her do it. But I can’t seem to say what I feel offline. I hope to lead by example but they write me off as “too elegant”.

      1. Archana Paladugu

        Thank you ! I will.

        My husband and a few relatives who read my blog have come around. My family listens when I tell them the facts. With friends, I am still figuring out how to drop hints.

  4. Antonia

    I have an older friend who loves to shop at this store here in America called Ross. It’s like a very low end TJ Maxx. She loves summer dresses because she lives in FL for the winter (which is where Ross is). She gets all excited to show me all the dresses she got for $16 each (most still have the tags on them and have never been worn). So for her it’s the thrill of the bargain and quantity is better than quality. I think this stems from when she was a young girl and the oldest of several children and never having enough money to buy nice clothes or having very few clothes so it’s like now she can buy all these things. I just wish I could get her to stop shopping new at Ross and buy used at a consignment shop. She probably spends more than I do (because of the quantity) asI prefer less of high quality items for my minimalist closet. Looking forward to your final post in this series LS!! 🙂

  5. Heidi

    This is an interesting comment on the expensive bag and cheap clothes – I wrote a blog post on the Hermes Avalon blanket in which I stated that it didn’t make cheap furniture and furnishings magically look expensive. For some reason quite a few people were highly offended by me saying that. I think that there has been such a brainwash from magazines pushing the high/ low mix that a lot of people seem to have been fooled into thinking that if you wear cheap, shoddy clothes with an expensive bag, it makes everything look expensive and the same thing is true in Interiors. To me, living in Australia where there is easy access to well made fake bags in our cheap holiday destinations (Asia), it just looks to me like you went on holiday and brought back a fake when you pair it with a poorly cut polyester dress. Most likely this is the case, but if not it’s a great shame, and a huge waste of money.

    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      Thank you for the imput, could you please add the link to your post as I’d like to read it? I love your line about the difference of real design which is meant to make life easier, and decoration, which is simply superficial.

    2. Sharron

      I had this conversation with my 13 year old daughter recently at the airport. She said to me that ‘What’s the point in having a real louis vuitton bag as you always assume they are fakes from Turkey’ She then went on to point out a lady at check in and said ‘Like look at that lady over there, she looks lovely but the maxi dress she is wearing is from Primark, my friend Jess has it, and anyone who shops in Primark can not afford a real designer bag’ Definitely food for thought….

  6. choosewellbuyfew

    Is there anything you wouldn´t purchase secondhand?
    I have purchased a few designer secondhand pieces for about the same price as a new (let´s say) Acne item (acne is still expensive, but not as expensive as the really expensive brands). I wouldn´t afford the designer piece full priced, so do you think it is okay to still have a wardrobe with designer pieces? My friends raise an eyebrow when I say where my dress or shirt comes from, and then I quickly have to add that I did get it on sale or secondhand. But it still feels like it does not 100% belong in my wardrobe.. Have I just hacked my way in to quality, designer items? Or .. I don´t know, mabye I am overthinking this haha

    1. choosewellbuyfew

      That was a two-parted question haha!
      And btw I don´t tell my friends what I am wearing, it is more if they ask or if they happen to see where it´s from. Because it´s not about a designer or a brand for me, it´s all about the quality. I want to keep the items I shop for years and years and know that it has been made well.

      1. Archana Paladugu

        Mine is all second hand designer closet. I have friends who think its strange to buy other peoples used clothes. and exclaim that they would rather buy first hand GAP. I dont see it that way. I am keen on getting the highest quality for my money.

        I wouldnt buy worn in shoes because they would have moulded to the wearers feet. And denim. They stretch to fit only once. I want mine to mould to me. And intimates of course.

      2. lady sarah in london Post author

        I would happily buy anything second hand as long as it suits my lifestyle and is clean and washable. I think knitwear is good second hand option as easy to wash, shoes i never bought myself, but I would consider if ‘new’ second hand- especially if I needed dressy shoes which don’t get much wear. Coats are I think a good choice, someone wrote to me about some ladies visiting uk from a hot country for about 3 months. They bought their quality vintage coats from a charity shop used them for their 3 month trip, and donated them back. Very impressive.

    2. lady sarah in london Post author

      Dear choosewellbuyfew- Exactly as you say it’s all about quality and cut – the brand should be irrelevant. I look to buy certain brands because of their consistency, for example I know their size would be a good fit /cut for me but I stay away from obvious branding.


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