We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through Instagram and come across a well-curated outfit shot that makes your thumb stop in its tracks. Then you read the caption and it’s something along the lines of, “Isn’t this top gorgeous? And it’s ONLY $60!” Or maybe it’s a “less than $70” pair of shoes. Or a “just under $50 sweater.” (Yes, all of those have actually graced my timeline.) Pardon my ignorance, but since when are those price amounts affordable? The word “affordable” is ruining our shopping habits, and, well, making us feel bad about what we buy.
Just about everyone cares about what they wear, whether they want to admit it or not. Some people want to be on-trend at all times. Others are aiming for maximum comfort. But just about everyone puts thought into their daily outfits — especially in the age of Instagram. I will be the first one to admit that it feels good to look good. I just don’t think that you need to spend your entire life savings or a few maxed out credit cards to do it.
It can be easy to make excuses to do so though. Influencers are being paid to promote brands that are sometimes not so affordable. Bloggers have brand deals with companies. They look great in the clothing, which makes you want them too. In both instances, both parties normally benefit from someone’s purchase. Which, you know, means often have the word “affordable” in the photo caption. It’s a win-win, right? Wrong. The word “affordable” is killing your shopping habits.
First off, let me just say that the word “affordable” means something different to everyone. For the influencer, maybe that means a $50 sweater or $100 pair of shoes. For most of the world, it means something very different. But when you see that word over and over in your timeline, it can make you feel like you are wrong.
Spoiler alert: you are not wrong. You have been conditioned to think that.
Personally, I cannot even imagine paying $20 for a t-shirt anymore. (Thanks, thrift shopping.) I actually held up an $10 sweater the other day and was shocked to see the tag. To think that I used to spend $30 on a jean jacket or $60 on a pair of sandals just five years ago makes me feel like I am living in a different lifetime than my past self.
That’s not because I’m poor or stingy with my shopping habits. If any of you have seen my frequent live-thrifts on my Instagram Stories, you’ll know that I love to add new items to my closet. It’s because I think very hard about the items I buy, why I buy them, and what value they bring to my life. That is how I gauge what’s “affordable” to me.
The point is not to save as much money as you can. The point is that not feel bad about what you’re buying. I used to feel buyer’s remorse about clothing all the time. Every mall trip left me with less money in my wallet and a feeling that I didn’t really need what the blogger or influencer said I did. That’s why you’ll never see me push a brand just to do so.
I will continue to show you what I buy and why. But I will never make you think that you should buy items just to look good.
If I use the word “affordable,” it’s because it is an unbelievably low price. It’s not a word that I throw around lightly. The problem with the fashion industry is that there is too much out there, which can make you think that you need it all. In reality, the brands don’t hold the power. YOU do. By slowing down, thinking about what you buy, and understanding how the item will truly value your closet, you have the power to feel good about the closet that you build.
So next time you see the word, question the person saying it. Is it really affordable? Or are they just trying to get you to buy something. Because if there’s one thing that’s going to change the world, it’s going to be asking honest questions.