I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend! I don’t think St. Louis could have asked for more perfect weather for the weekend. Sunny, 70, with a light breeze. Lovely.

I’ve been thinking [musing, if you will] a lot about the obsession with brand names and designer labels lately. I think most people have experience with yearning for something that is either out of our price range or so wildly impractical it’s not worth the money, even if you have it. I am certainly no stranger to these feelings. I think about brands constantly, not just because of writing this blog, but because of my own wants. Right now, I am dying for a new purse. And it simply must be Kate Spade or Marc Jacobs. When I say it like that, it sounds so ridiculous. Most of the time I acknowledge this, but just let it slide because, hey, I like what I like, right? But when I stop to think about the emphasis I put on designer brands daily, I feel ashamed, selfish and materialistic. It’s not a good feeling.

I know exactly why I yearn for brands like Citizens of Humanity, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs and [one day, maybe] Manolo Blahnik – status. Once you’ve achieved enough wealth to be able to afford these labels, you just have to show the world. I think there is a sense that anything with a designer label must be perfect, but it’s just not true. There are plenty of ugly designs by KS, MJ and so many other designers.

I firmly believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying yourself a luxury item, if you can afford it. Treat yo self. But I cannot get on board with buying a designer item just because it’s a designer item. When I look at an ugly designer bag or dress, I don’t care who made it – all I care about is how ugly I think it is. And I would bet that most people would react in the same way. So all the status goes out the window and all you’re left with is a hideous item that cost more than what some people pay for rent.

I get a lot of feedback from readers of my blog – some saying that I include too many expensive items, while others want more high-end options. I am constantly trying to find the balance between writing about luxury items that [let’s be honest here] most people can’t [or won’t] pay for and reporting on clothing that is cheap [price and quality]. It’s nice for me to be reminded to “keep it real” [i’m still emmy from the block…thank you Kym] and write for the majority out there who can’t afford Louboutins. Because I sure can’t afford them. Or maybe I could if I chose not to take care of my family. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t want them.

Labels don’t make you better than anyone else. I think that’s my point here. I could take our savings and spend it all at Neiman’s and come back with a truckload of designer labels. But it wouldn’t make me happy. Eventually I would feel empty and depressed that I have no money left for our future. And when I put on those designer shoes I would be reminded of my mistake. And to me, it’s not worth it. So that’s what I think of every time I want to splurge and buy myself something gorgeous, fabulous and expensive. Is it worth more to me than my husband and our life together? No. It’s just not.

Maybe someday we will be in a financial place where a $400 Kate Spade purse is reasonable every 6 months or so. But not right now. And until that happens, it’s important for me to remember what really matters. Not labels. Family, love, fun, laughter, friends. I’ve come to realize in the last 4 years that I’d rather spend $200 in gas visiting a friend for a weekend than spending the same amount on a pair of shoes.

I will always want things like Citizens of Humanity jeans, BCBG dresses and Kate Spade purses because I have proof that they are good quality items and usually worth the money. But I think what I’ve finally realized is that jeans, dresses, purses, shoes aren’t worth sacrificing my family’s happiness. I don’t want my extravagant spending to cause financial stress for us.

With that said, I will still include designer items because I think they’re beautiful and I would buy them myself if they fit into my budget. But I am making a huge effort to be conscious of the costs of items that I write about. And it’s not just for my readers, but it’s for me. To remind me that high quality, stylish fashion isn’t just found in Neiman Marcus or Saks. To remind me to shop within my means.


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