Budgeting for space and money

Last year I bought too much lingerie.

The past half year has been more Hanky Panky camis and underpants than I really needed, with some of it in storage. Ah well. It’s not like black stretch thongs go bad if I don’t wear them, and they’re more forgiving of size changes than, say, bras. The never-worn still-tagged ones can be resold or donated if I don’t find myself reaching for them.

hanky panky batik cami and short
but seriously that batik print is so unusual

I also went a bit crazy buying tap pants, pajamas, and chemises. Mary Green was going out of business, so I bought whatever I could in winter 2015. I also bought two Julianne of London knickers and a pajama set for…reasons. The pajama set is so cool, though! Then I visited Christine’s shop in Vancouver and couldn’t resist another chemise and a robe since they were so pretty in person and inexpensive in-store.

julianne
wicked smaht, right? also on sale

There was my luscious Pillowbook purchase. That was just worth it. More about later, I keep promising, once I figure out how to get the demonic yellow eyes out of the photos. That’s not what I think of as doing justice to the pieces.

Bra-wise, I’ve been buying more of the same. Replacing my slightly un-sized Dahlia, Dessous, Decos. Taking some bras out of storage and putting others in because I go back and forth with size! More sports bras, because some are a little small. At the end of the year I purchased some discontinued styles: another elomi Caitlyn because the previous is a bit small and an elomi Rita for its convertibility. Should I review Rita, since it’s being discontinued? Eep.

It’s been a year of discovering more unpadded bras for me. I go back and forth on what I want. I like the lines I get with some padded bras, and unpadded ones are just better for traveling, which I do a bunch (they pack smaller and dry faster when I don’t have drying rack access).

I want to be conscious of what I buy because I don’t have all the space in the world, and I want to stick to a clothing budget. Last year I went over, which I could, but I now know that I don’t need that many clothes/underwear. Cora Harrington of The Lingerie Addict made a resolution to buy 16 pieces of lingerie for herself. I don’t know if I can do that, but I think I may start by keeping count of what I acquire and keep. I’ve already bought three pieces to try on for this month, four if you count pajamas. Do pajamas count? I will try not to buy any more camis or chemises or tap pants for the time being…until something falls apart, anyway. Or swimsuits.

At the end of last year, I also purchased an elomi Bijou and Kris Line Marilou. Reviews for those should come. I’ve also got some PlayOut, PACT and Dear Kate underpants. Anything you want to read about first?

If you’re curious as why there’s been less blogging the past half year, it’s because I’ve put more of my spare time into science fiction romance: writing, reviewing, and blogging about that. As long as I have anything useful to contribute, though, I’ll continue.

 

 

The Middle Class, Buying Habits, and ‘Luxury’ Lingerie

I see the term luxury tossed around for pretty much everything these days, as has The Lingerie Addict. Figleaves calls its vast library of clothes and foundations luxury, when they carry some low-cost brands. Huh? What does that mean, I asked?

Economically speaking, luxury goods are high markup and high prestige. The designer label is important. Some of them are veblem goods, meaning that demand for them is proportional to a high price, which contradicts the law of demand. Humans have funny psychology concerning prestige, exclusivity, and quality, and how they relate to our self-worth. Conspicuous consumption is desired or commended in many social circles or circumstances no matter our income bracket. In the United States, both ‘luxury’ and ‘middle class’ have become stretchy terms. Several models agree that ‘middle class’ means at least some level of college. I’ve heard the term apply to adults whose personal income is anywhere between $30,000 to $200,000 annually. Cost of living varies widely across the country, but I think the idea is to indicate some financial security. However, there are many smart, college educated people working full-time or more and living month-to-month.

The Baby Boomers (and probably earlier Americans) that had lived in the United States for more than a generation tended to have material goods of consistent grade. If you had hand-me-down furniture, chances were you didn’t eat out much unless it was fast food, wore hand-me-down clothing, went to public schools, and if you had a car, drove a small Chevy, GM, or Ford (before the nineties Japanese cars had high tariffs) and kept it until it stopped working. If you were ‘comfortable’, you probably had had decent quality furniture, some technological gadgets, maybe some music or dance lessons or sports for the kids, a mid-size or minivan, and went out to dinner once a week. If you were more than comfortable, my impression is everything in your house was supposed to be expensive unless it had sentimental value.

Today, many young people are opting to ‘trade up.’ Within our budgets, we choose what’s emotionally important to us and invest proportionally more in that good or service and cut on other things. A well-to-do person can have a smartphone, a Roomba, a semi-pro camera, two computers and a tablet, a big entertainment center…and IKEA furniture and no pants that cost more than $30. Another person might take singing lessons, nice audio speakers for the home, $80 bras, and share a place with many roommates, get $20 haircuts, and always brew their own coffee which they bought at the grocery store instead of stopping in a coffee shop.

This applies to lingerie buying as well. You can buy Parfait by Affinitas, Lepel, Pour Moi? and sale lingerie most of the time (or just not have a ton of bras) to save for one Angela Friedman or Christine (often considered luxury) piece. Or like the person above, spend money on pricier bras and have roommates who may hate you. Many people who wear lingerie are on a budget. I tend to buy big brand bras, underpants from $8-20, and simple chemises, pajamas, and loungewear. I go for variety rather than mega high end garments in my bra drawer. (One could argue that the Masquerade bras are high end, but $80 rather than $60 does not seem to be super luxe to me compared to La Perla, Agent Provocateur, Lise Charmel…)

Photography by Matjaz Tancic
Photography by Matjaz Tancic

This year was the first time I indulged in made-to-measure (often considered a luxury) lingerie: pieces from Pillowbook: two dudou, a pair of pants, and slip. I’m super impressed and love the results (more on that in future posts). However, I feel like buying luxury/couture will not become a regular habit. I’m not a fashionista and regular offerings from the Eveden group, Panache, Parfait, Hanky Panky, Wacoal, and Josie satisfy me most of the time.

What are your priorities when buying lingerie? Do you get a few expensive items, or a larger quantity of economical ones? Do you put aside money in case something you dream of comes to light, or is there a special something you’re saving up for?