Will buying exclusively designer clothes make you look effortlessly stylish?

Alaskan style blogger at the Chena river in fit-and-flare summer dress, sandals

Second-hand designer clothes can be affordable for Jane Doe

My blogging friend Gail from Is this Mutton recently started a discussion about fast fashion and thrifted chic. My regular readers know that I am a big fan of thrifting to add items to my wardrobe and wrote several posts to help you score high on eBay, to score high in a conseignment store and 9 tips to save time when thrifting. And yes, I wrote a post on 5 tips to buy excellent high-end fashion on a budget.

A wardrobe of only designer clothing looks unreal

Of course, one could imagine to use just designer labels to create a wardrobe. Or even more extreme, buy these items on sale at the end of the season. The big question is would doing so be a shortcut to great style, i.e. a way to avoid looking up style recipes, read how-tos on getting ageless style?

Some big names never go 40, 50, 60% off

As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a designer sells at full price the least likely is that you will find this designer at half the price or less (unless you buy second hand). When you find a pair of Gucci horse-bites mules, new without tags and without box at 60% off, it most likely is a knock-off. Some desperate exes may sell a real piece way off because they want to cut their losses. However, ask for the receipt and all the certificates, etc. to ensure it’s not a knock-off. Actually, it is best for them to sell thru a certified seller specializing in high-end designers.

Alaskan midlife woman in sleeveless designer summer dress walking at the river
Banana Republic no sleeves summer print dress, Very Fine Dancing Dancesport sandals, statement panther belt, cuff, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Winkwood wooden sunglasses (all own)

Head-to-toe one designer is never in style

Even when you didn’t pay full price wearing just one designer head-to-toe or only high-end designers looks just expensive. It doesn’t even look rich. Instead it screams inconfidence all over! It doesn’t matter that the clothes are second hand in great condition (never buy vintage or mint unless you want to create a collection for the local fashion museum).

midlife blogger in a medium price designer enjoying the cloudy sky
Banana Republic abstract print fit-and-flare dress, Very Fine Dancing Dancesport strappy sandals, statement panther belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Winkwood mirror wood sunnies (all own)

All high-end designer clothing most likely also contra-dicts with your real lifestyle. Remember:
Clothes convey a message! #agelessstyle Click To Tweet
Are your clothes lying about you? An empty-nester Jane Joe, whose two kids are in college, who is working 9-to-5 as an administrative assistant, sales person, teacher, you name it, wearing all Prada in a small town somewhere in the middle of nowhere? Looks like Scotty beammed her there by mistake when he actually planned to beam her onto the catway at the Fall/Winter Milan, London, New York, Paris, … Fashion Week. Even in the fashion and style capitals like Milan, Paris, New York or London, she would look unreal when walking the streets.

Head-to-toe one designer is never in fashion, nor in style. #agelessstyle Click To Tweet

Yes, Jane Doe can wear some designer clothes

When you only buy things that last forever, i.e. classic investment pieces, you’ll get bored and look, well just expensive, not stylish. Most likely you even look conservative and old-fashioned. However, you don’t want to wear just the latest trends either. That would look either like you rioted your daughter’s or even grand-daughter’s closet (even when you don’t have any of these). But there is nothing wrong to have the one or other items from your favorite designer(s).  Just don’t wear them all in one outfit.

Not sure what designer brands to look for? Grab my list as a start.

over 50 years old fashion blogger in white sandals and pruprle print designer garment

Style blogger Nicole doning a Banana Republic purple gray dress

midlife blogger strolling along the river in high low brand lotd
Details of the LOTD: Banana Republic abstract print fit-and-flare dress, Very Fine Dancing Dancesport shoes, statement panther belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, silver cat cuff and Winkwood wooden sunglasses (all own)

Too much or too few effort, both is not stylish

Great style is all about looking modern, up-to-date and your best ever. Great style is a balancing act. And on contrary to the saying uneffordably stylish, it takes a great effort. On the other hand, making too much of an effort looks like trying too hard.

Mix high and low end fashion

You need to know when to splurge and when to bargain. A mix of cheap and more expensive is best. Wear that expensive Burberry blazer you found second hand or on sale (it never goes 40% or more off) with a $20 pair of great fitting jeans and a graphic Tee or the Dior over-the-knee boots you scored on eBay with leggings or skinny jeans and a trendy (read cheap less than $30 aka fast fashion) tunic or mini dress.

style blogger over 50 walking down a boating deck
Back view Banana Republic classic work dress, Very Fine Dancing Dancesport heels, belt and Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own)

Style is not in the genes, it’s an art you can learn

Personal style is all about knowing who you are, how you edit your wardrobe, how you combine things and knowing when to wear what and how to wear it right. The good news is you can learn it. I had to learn it, so you can learn it too if you have the willingness to do so. It’s not too late to learn How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.

Style is not in the genes, it's an art you can learn. #agelessstyle Click To Tweet

P.S. Like my look of the day? If so, please feel free to pin the photos to your own Pinterest board.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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