Totally not worth it

Last year, I wrote a column Worth every penny, which highlighted, in my humble opinion, fashion staples that are worth spending a few extra dollars on.

Today’s article is the opposite. Over the years, I’ve wasted money on both very inexpensive and very expensive items.

No matter the cost, I feel these are things you should think twice about purchasing:

Cheap silver, especially piercings

Many of us have been there — on a tropical beach where a vendor comes by selling inexpensive silver baubles or at a fashion store advertising 925 jewelry at an incredible price. But think twice.

Silver can make gorgeous and affordable jewels, but if it’s not made of the proper mix of alloys, it will tarnish or turn your skin green. Worse, cheap silver can actually cause infections in pierced ears.

Stick to quality jewellers such as Tiffany, Tacori, Pandora, David Yurman and John Hardy for silver that you intend to wear regularly.

Expensive costume jewelry

On the other side of the spectrum is costume jewelry meant to be worn for special occasions or with certain outfits. For this type of bling, I find it doesn’t make sense to shell out a bunch.

I love the look of Hermes’ leather cuffs and Marla Aaron’s chunky gold hardware, but cannot justify having thousands of dollars sitting in my jewelry box to only be worn a few times a month.

In these cases, it is worth finding look-alike (but not counterfeit) styles at accessories shops. I’ve also found great costume jewelry on Etsy and in Value Village.

Expensive T-shirts

About a decade or more ago, a curious trend started with cotton basics being elevated to premium status with a correspondingly high price tag.

Brands such as James Perse and Velvet supposedly made softer and better T-shirts.

I’ve worn $10 tees and $100 tees, and my experience tells me there is no significant difference in quality or durability. In fact, most of my premium shirts ended up with holes in them after a few washes.

It’s true that designer cotton tees used to be crafted in more interesting shapes and cuts, but now companies like AE and Old Navy have followed suit.

Designer denim

On that note, the same trend happened with jeans. And yet again, I didn’t find my Nudie or 7 For All Mankind denim fit significantly better than my Gap jeans. They just cost four times as much.

However, if you prefer designer denim, don’t buy new. You can find it at great discounts and already worn in at Frock & Fellow and Value Village.

Cheap workout wear

One type of clothing worth investing extra funds into is workout gear. From shoes and socks on up to tops and bras, the adage “you get what you pay for” fits here.

I’ve tried to curb my exercise-wear budget by buying inexpensive tights and shorts from Gap and George, but sadly they just weren’t up to the task. They stretched out, or just weren’t comfortable, and become useless within a few workouts.

Meanwhile, I’m still using the same Lululemon shirt I bought a decade ago.

Pleather shoes and accessories

Shoe manufacturers save a bundle by using plastic-y faux leather for footwear. But I will never again buy anything that goes on my feet composed of pleather.

It doesn’t breathe and it doesn’t stretch. It’s a recipe for blisters and pain.

Even if the soles are made of synthetic materials, always look for the leather symbol for the uppers.

While pleather handbags and wallets won’t cause you physical distress like shoes, they will cause pain to your budget when they fall apart within months.

If you do prefer vegan accessories, I’d recommend the brand Matt and Nat who specialize in quality faux leather goods instead of cheap fast fashion brands.


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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