The Power of Designer Stalking. Or, why I “torture myself looking at things I can’t afford.”

Is it strange to think that the style of one’s home and one’s fashion are similar?  There is the way we house ourselves, mind and spirit, and our bodies. I believe that it is a positive thing to have a vision for both, whether or not we are able to achieve the vision at this moment in time.  Outside of how much something may cost, our visualisation of where we see ourselves often provides us with inspiration and motivation leading to an accumulation of knowledge.  This inspiration could lead us to a DIY or renovation of something long lost, breathing new life into something once loved or a firm ability to recognise something of worth among a pile of things you wouldn’t look at twice.  No matter how discouraging people in your life may become on ‘coveting’ things you’re unable to afford, knowledge and the appreciation of modern creations can touch our lives in unexpected ways.  

For instance,  I often find myself gazing at designers’ websites or those that encompass the best, such as net-a-porter.com. This site truly houses articles of clothing, beauty, and home that are nothing but works of art.  I idly gaze at the latest designs, dreaming up my perfect wardrobe if I had been born in the life of an heiress.  I envision myself at the site’s recommended most luxurious places to vacation, draped in the crocheted bikini’s of Missoni or the vibrant prints of Mara Hoffman, prancing in laced sandals that cost more than my monthly rent.  

 MARA HOFFMAN Embroidered crinkled-voile dress. Retail price: £275. Image via Net-a-Porter.

MARA HOFFMAN Embroidered crinkled-voile dress. Retail price: £275. Image via Net-a-Porter.

Missoni Elisabetta crochet-knit triangle bikini. Retail price: £310. Image via Net-a-Porter.

From this point, I find myself downsizing.  I no longer look for the ‘perfect wardrobe’ but my ultimate wardrobe essential, such as my ultimate Louboutin or Jimmy Choo high heel sandal. “This is more realistic,” I tell myself. “One or two well chosen and versatile items that I will care for and love forever.”  Surely, every girl has to own a pair of shoes that fits this description?  This is where my ever-realistic financial conscience (i.e. my partner) begins to peer over my shoulder to see what I am doing and why I have been browsing non-stop for an hour without saying a word. “Jeezzzz,” he unnecessarily emphasises. “Who spends that much on a pair of shoes?! Why do you torture yourself looking at things you can’t afford?”  Ahh men.  I don’t think they will ever get it. Still, my mind persists and I continue to browse.  I’d like to think I browse unaffected, but there is a small voice in my head that insists, ‘if you are going to spend so much on a designer item, at least have it be something you can use and love everyday!’ Well played mind, well played. 

I click on the perfectly simplistic block capital white letters against their clean black background and I begin to search through the plethora of beautiful leather bags.  Chanel.  Chloe. Dior.  Fendi.  The list goes on and on and once again my imagination is finding it hard to find one bag to compromise with realism. I truly believe that finding that perfect bag, the one that you can find no fault with and that you would truly love every day (particularly if you are basing your opinion from computer images) takes more than one evening’s browse.  No matter how hard I try, I can never find just one that I feel I can’t live without. Colour, season, size, style- all factors that need to be taken into consideration.   The list of coveted items could continue for pages.  For the sake of making the point of my story, we will focus on what I consider the most necessary everyday handbag essential: the tan leather satchel.  It works for every season, almost every occasion and with every colour combination- plus, it’s practical (I am a person who needs her bag to be literally draped around her so that I am unlikely to lose it and/or drop it and sizeable for everyday items.  I also think the shoulder-cross strap provides protection from theft.)  After hours and hours of searching and imagining, my mind was left focused on two. 

1.) The Proenza Schoeler PS1 medium leather satchel in tan.  Perfect, classic, versatile.  Italian made, retail price £1195. Upon googling pictures of the bag, images of Hollywood royalty such as the Olsen twins, Kirsten Dunst and Olivia Palmero pop up to show its icon status.  While I am not the type of person to pick an item based on its celebrity appeal, I can certainly understand why the bag is favoured in elite circles.  It’s. Just. Perfect. 

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Proenza Schoeler PS1 medium leather satchel in tan

 

2.) The Mulberry Alexa leather satchel in Oak leather. This bag happens to be based on the British style icon Alexa Chung who, like so many model success stories, had her life totally changed when she was spotted for her statuesque appeal at a market one afternoon.  Predominated made in the UK, Retail price £1100.  This bag, once again, has an avid celebrity following but beside that it boasts a traditional tailored look that only becomes more appealing with its wear.  I love Mulberry.  My partner, being the lovely man that he his, bought me the Mulberry textured- leather Continental wallet for Christmas last year (and yes, I cried).

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The Mulberry Alexa leather satchel in Oak leather.

 

Now, needless to say, having just finished my both degrees, with international fees (which I could never regret having met the love of my life.  Who could ever put a price on love?), the £1000+ price range is out of my budget for the minute.  Along with not picking a product based on its celebrity appeal, I am equally not the type of person who would ever feel comfortable with a knock-off.  Plus, it is a serious crime in France and I certainly wouldn’t want that type of hefty fine ruining my visit home to see my mother. Nor do I ever get the same sense of satisfaction with a semi-look alike (do they ever look that much alike?!) So what am I left with?  An innate knowledge of designer brands and their products? The feeling of wanting more than I am able to achieve?  More than that.  I have detailed images of what the brands I love look like.  This is important.  This is true style inspiration and it can come in handy at any time.  

Take my last birthday for instance.  I am an April baby.  Looking at the same designer sites during spring only emphasises the versatility of the style of bags mentioned above.  I not only find myself imagining what having these beautiful bags would be like, but now envision all the colours they come in.  Pale yellow or soft robin blue would be perfect for this time of year.  For my birthday, my partner’s sister very sweetly gave me a TK MAXX voucher (one of my all time favourite stores.  I am, quite literally, home obsessed).  Instead of looking for something in particular, I went with an open mind.  I perused every section, noting what took my interest.  And there it was.  Smack in the middle of a bags I wouldn’t look twice at.  A soft baby blue L.Credi bag that looked EXACTLY like the Proenza bag.  EXACTLY.  I don’t even know how L.Credi was legally able to make a bag that matched the Proenza so closely.  I searched this bag to find a flaw.  I even liked the lining!! (When does that every happen?!)  Price of this bag: £19.99. Not only do I love this classic design, with its same soft and slouchy style, but it is the perfect spring colour.

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My ‘Proenza’ and my Mulberry <3 Who would know the difference?!

Now, I am certainly not saying that this encounter is little more than a fluke.  I also realise that I am slightly contradicting myself in terms of my satisfaction rating given it is a look-alike and not the real thing.  But I love this bag and the fact that I bought it in a legitimate shop, with knowledge of its designer appeal based on hours of designer stalking makes me appreciate the bag all the more. True- the L.Credi bag certainly is not real leather and will therefore not last the rest of my life like the PS1 would.  Regardless, for all those girls (and boys) out there who feel like, or are told, they are wasting time because they ‘don’t have the money,’- You are investing in something far more important: knowledge and inspiration.  Both things are necessary for true creativity.  If you can learn about something you love, and envision it, you never know when the opportunity to utilise that knowledge, turning vision into reality, might present itself. I think this is true with every aspect of home and beauty.  So much of it comes down to vision.  I still dream about the day I might extend my Mulberry collection, or have my genuine tan leather PS1 satchel, but as for Spring, I’m satisfied 😉

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About Mara

Hi there! I'm an American gal who fell in love with an English fella. I am in love with home style, seasonal decor and some serious DIYs! Follow my home journey through building furniture, creating a homey space from scratch and collecting inspiration from my travels!

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