By Jessica Frost

Short answer… ok there is no short answer.

You’ll hear from some that paying more for clothes just because of the name on the label is worth it. Others think it’s insane how much designer brands sell their clothes for and would never find themselves going past their local Westfield to pick up new threads.

I typically hate spending my hard earned cash. I refuse to get the air con fixed in my car, even over the hottest summer Australia has had on record, yet somehow find myself rationalising a designer purchase by cutting out meat and blueberries from my grocery list. Not to mention a total ban on buying lunches for the rest of my twenties. The only way I can really justify it is the idea of investing in the quality that comes with a designer name.

There’s something to be said about the phrase ‘You get what you pay for’. I’ve never gone from excitement to disappointment faster than the time I bought a $60 white tee and washed it. There I was thinking I’d been a savvy shopper and would get at least a year of wear out of the tee before I created an irreparable stain. All it took however, was my decision to go for the cheaper, fast fashion version over one that was more expensive and probably made from material 32 times better. Stingy AF.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bargain. But buying something you only get to wear a handful of times a bargain does not make.

Don’t think that picking up those blouses you plan on wearing to work every day from the two for one sale rack is worth it. The quality that comes with a designer price tag means you won’t be accumulating those horror stories of the washing machine destroying your wardrobe. Wait a New York minute for them to come on sale and you’ll be laughing all the way to the food court on your lunch break.

I do have to put in a word of defence for those who think the cheaper version is just as good. There are ways to be smart with your purchases and sure, designer doesn’t automatically mean better in every case. Those trackies you wear when you’re hungover on a Sunday, no one but you will care if they’re Couture or Kmart. Making the low look high is a coveted skill.

I wouldn’t approve of going out and spending a week’s worth of wages on a single dress. It’s just as easy to buy a designer piece and have it sitting in your wardrobe, basically wasting your money just as quickly as that cheap, now destroyed, tee. For a one-time party piece, you can find perfectly suitable options that may not have a designer name tag but won’t make you cringe when someone spills their drink on you at a bar.

Just like everything in life, I suppose it’s a case of finding a balance but value and cost are very different things. Have your million dollar staples, bargain finds you only need to wear once or twice and your blueberries too.