Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Real or Fake?

Let me begin this post by saying that, at least until college, I had never once owned a designer label in my life. And actually...I don't really think I do, still, since the espresso-colored faux leather "Dolce and Gabbana" bag I carry around was purchased for a whopping $20 at a knock-off flea market. I've certainly splurged for the nicer things that I couldn't live without, like my bandolino boots. And my North Face fleece is warm, cozy, and honestly sort of par for the course for a New England liberal arts college campus. But usually the only times I splurge for things are when there isn't a satisfactory knock-off around. I don't believe you should have to have a lot of money to own great fashion. That's why I even devote a lot of my blog time finding cheap look-a-likes to the season's biggest fashion trends from pricier places.

HOWEVER. This is all not to say that I have something against labels, or that I'm an anti-capitalist who thinks that consumer culture is disgusting and going to be the decline of our society. Honestly? If I had the money? I would certainly treat myself to a pair of really nice shoes or a really nice bag. (I'm dying over the solid acorn Madison Maggie.) And even though my H&M one fits and looks just fine, who honestly would not want a Burberry trench coat? I mean, look, all I'm saying is if someone offered it to you for free, you wouldn't turn it down!

I don't really think there's anything wrong with rewarding yourself for working hard and feeling your best. Having a wealthy older gentleman caller or having your parents pay for these things? Different story. I can usually feel my best in an ensemble purchased from Old Navy and flip flops, but that doesn't mean that slipping something eye-catching and somewhat coveted doesn't give me a little thrill.

(Of course, high school Michelle would have none of this, and would probably slap present-day Michelle in the head.)

But I'm a woman, I've grown up, and I'm going to be starting my career soon. So why not put my best self out there? Why not make my outer self be as competitive and well put-together as my resume?

Anyways, that's a bit of a digression from what I wanted to talk about today. Which is shoes. More importantly, Jack Rogers sandals.

This should be proof of how rarely I covet major labels: until last weekend in Cape Cod, I had no idea what Jack Rogers were! Honestly! I'd always noticed and admired C.'s pair, but that's because I LIVE in sandals, hardly ever wear anything else, and they were metallic and looked sturdy and well-made. Which is sort of essential if you wear flip flops every day of the year, at least from March through November, and hate wasting money when they fall apart after a month. (I'm looking at you, Ciao Bella silver strappy sandals.)

This last weekend, however, Jack Rogers basically vomited all over my life. C., her mom, her mom's friend Trish, and their friend were all wearing Jack Rogers at dinner one night. I started feeling the itch. I had no idea that they were a major label, or how pricey they were. So I did a little research and found out I was totally under a rock, and that they were a big deal. More importantly, that the pair I wanted, the Hamptons Navajo in platinum, would run me $96.00. At least I could get them with free shipping on Piperlime, but still. Not cheap.This began a dilemma of sorts. I knew I would wear them all the time. I knew they looked great. And honestly? A little part of me liked that they would be recognized and well-appreciated at my somewhat elitist school, and that I'd be recognized for my put-togetherness by virtually any girl I walk by. Is that shallow? Maybe. Is it the hidden truth at elite colleges everywhere? Definitely.

But then, my good sense saved me. In that I found these. For only $19.99. A comparison:
Jack Rogers Hamptons Navajo flat sandals in platinum. $96.00.
Target Merona Enid Whipstitch Flat Sandals in gold. $19.99

I really struggled. My biggest fear was that the Target knock-offs wouldn't hold up, and I'd have to purchase three or four of them to get the same life that I would have gotten out of one pair of Jack Rogers, thus making the money saved irrelevant. But the reviews said they were super comfy and long-lasting--some people even said they were more comfortable than the real deal! And in trying on C.'s Jack Rogers, I've noticed that they're extremely slippery, and since I have a penchant for being clumsy, I didn't want to go flying down any carpeted staircases. Plus, I wanted the platinum color so that I'd be able to wear them with both silver and gold, and in reading the reviews I found that the knock-off "gold" version is really closer to a platinum color.

So, clearly, I went with the knock-offs. I feel good about saving the money, but I'm still apprehensive as to what the quality will be like. So perhaps a pair of real-deal Jack Rogers isn't far off for me.

Do you guys treat yourselves a lot more than I apparently do? Or do you also like finding cheap look-a-likes and saving money along the way?


  1. Yeah...I'm ALL about saving money. You can get adorable clothes and accessories for way cheaper than the brand name, and honestly, sometimes the cheaper stuff lasts longer. Other times I'll opt for going to a consignment shop or second hand store that carries only up scale cast offs. I've found some amazing finds that way. I rarely splurge on clothes-the wedding has me spoiling myself so much that I'm going to feel guilty buying anything for myself for the next ten years!!

  2. I'm a girl who isn't going to spend a lot of money on clothes. I mean, I balk at spending over $40 on American Eagle jeans! And I'll never pay over $30 for a pair of shoes. There are other things I'd like to splurge on!

    But I do love this post, and how you found what looks like the EXACT same pair of shoes for much, much cheaper. And those shoes are cute!

  3. I would have definitely gone for the knock off too! I've always been more on the cheap side, and when I splurge I sometimes suffer big buyer's remorse! (Not that I don't splurge anyway). I really love the target shoes, they are super cute, and they make me want some!

  4. I totally agree with all of you, girls! So glad you guys are making me feel good about my decision. There's better things to save my money for (like a new car and an apartment next summer, perhaps!)

    @DG: Ooo but the wedding is such a great excuse.

    @Stephany: Yeah, I used to buy AE jeans too but then I decided to go with Express, which are only usually $10 or $20 more expensive but MUCH higher quality. I feel like AE jeans don't take hips or butts into account at all!

    @Brittany, you should get them! Oh I suffer the WORSE buyer's remorse, for everything! I love nurturing my bank account and watching it grow.

  5. I use shopping as a way to cheer myself up if I've had a bad day or as a reward if I've done well as something, say a test. This means I probably spend much more on clothes/shoes than I should but I shop a lot on ebay or cheaper shops and very rarely splurge on anything hugely expensive. I think the most I've actually paid for something is a pair of Twenty8Twelve jeans and even then they were reduced to £60. Labels don't bother me very much but a Mui Mui handbag is oh so tempting! I would go for the knock-offs too - easily replaceable and I wouldn't feel so bad if it was sad £6 down the drain instead of £96.!

  6. Those are great! I love the silver!

    I try to steer clear of fakes, and look for unique and budget friendly pieces, with a few real indulgences here and there... but I would definitely buy those sandals... knock off or not, love them!

  7. Yeah, there is something sort of cheap-feeling about a badly-made fake...I'm sort of just pretending these are cute sandals I found at Target without even knowing there was such as thing as Jack's hah!

  8. I cannot find them on targets website, can you send me the link please?

  9. I got jack rogers flower gold on ebay, barely any signs of wear for $26 and theyre the real deal!

  10. I meant glitter gold. Stupid autocorrect.