All the Cool Kids Are Frugal
One of the persistent threats to financial common sense is the fear of rejection. People think that if they buy the cheap option instead of spending as much as everyone else they won’t fit in. This is an illusion and the perfect example just came up.
Joe at Timeless Finance recently pointed out how Canadian retailers do a cheap imitation of Black Friday, using it as a marketing event rather than an actual sale. In his post he mentions something written by another blogger about a sale:
“Zegna black military inspired coats with a zip-out lining were $1,499 from $3,595.”
Now high-priced fashion is nothing new. We know there’s a world where people consider it acceptable to spend thousands of dollars on otherwise ordinary clothing items. But the thing that caught my attention is the “military-inspired” coats. What’s going on here?
This must be very desirable item if it can sell for nearly $4,000. But why is it “military-inspired”? Do military uniforms have a tradition of using only the finest silk? Unless this is the new wave of supporting the troops I’m guessing that it’s imitating a recent style. That means it’s military-inspired because someone else was wearing a military-inspired coat or an actual military coat. In turn they were probably following someone else who did it first.
Who was the person that started the trend? Most likely someone who couldn’t scrape together $100 to buy the current fashion at the time and had to resort to doing something inconceivable to the average person just to get wearable clothes, like shopping at army surplus stores or deep-discount vintage stores (as opposed to the high-markup vintage stores). This was so unusual that people noticed it and decided it was cool.
At last we come to the true story: the highest priced clothing is an imitation of people who can’t afford to buy even ordinary clothes! For $3,600 you don’t just get something fashionable, you also get a big serving of irony to make you even cooler.
It turns out that the regular TV show joke where someone makes a “fake” fashion line consisting of people wearing actual garbage and it turns out to be wildly popular is not that far from the truth. That’s not to say that frugality means living in a trash heap. It just shows that people will mock things one day and then spend the average family’s annual salary on them the next year.
Want to be ahead of the trend? Just find ways to spend less! Frugality is not the new fanciness, it’s the old fanciness that has always been around. This actually fits very well with the rock star approach to life. Frugality combined with a little creativity is a great way to stand out when everyone else is chasing the latest high-priced fashion.