Debt is Beautiful Only After it is Repaid

Happy New Year to all of the Pin Up Persuasion readers! It appears to be a bitterly cold start to the year for many of us in North America, especially in the North Eastern parts. Please stay warm everyone and we shall ride it out like we do every winter. 2018 marks a huge milestone for us as well…6 years since Pin Up Persuasion began! I never thought this little labour of love would become what it has today. A lot has changed over the years in the world of blogging and I am very thankful to still be here due to your loyal readership. There are times that I truly thought it was time to pack it in for various reasons that I will not bore you with but my heart has always guided me back to my senses.

As many of us have set new goals for 2018, I wanted to bring attention to a very serious topic for those just starting out or long term collectors of vintage and vintage reproduction clothing. Over the years, especially as I became more entrenched in the vintage community a very scary trend has emerged…people prioritizing buying vintage clothing over basic necessities like paying rent/mortgages, car payments, bills, etc. If you are saying who does such a thing, I can tell you that there is an incredible amount of people that fall into this group and it is becoming a bigger problem as prices of vintage and vintage reproduction increase.

First things first, I am not here to pass judgement on anyone’s spending habits as I personally have gotten sucked into a bad pattern of spending money I did not have (ie: on credit, Paypal pay after delivery, etc.) as it has become all too easy to click “buy” and worry about the financial repercussions later.  My reality with our low Canadian dollar vs the American & Euro/British currencies, makes it even less affordable to purchase clothing these days. The average vintage 1950s day dress or novelty print skirt currently starts at $150USD which is over $200CAD; not yet factoring in shipping and customs. So this is why the buy now, pay later attitude quickly leaves my bank account seeing red after paying our monthly bills first, leaving a growing debt for my “luxuries” that I simply cannot pay off.

Let’s be honest here, buying vintage and vintage reproduction clothing is NOT a necessity, it is a luxury. Unfortunately all too often we see individuals purchasing luxuries with no means to then pay their monthly bills. Now if you are wondering how I know strangers financial situations, it is all too easy to see in the world of social media. These individuals are often buying some of the most coveted collectors items that are insanely expensive only to turn around posting those same items for sale months or weeks later to “make rent” or not lapse on their mortgage payment. The reality is that their passion has become an obsession of hoarding/impulse buying. Honestly, it is all too easy to fall into this trap with how competitive the vintage markets have become in recent years. Prices are soaring with vintage being so popular and unfortunately some people will pay ANY price. It is definitely sellers market in 2018.

Although I cannot help those individuals personally, I wanted to bring awareness to this growing trend that is only going to hurt us all in the long term if we do not start to make changes now. Now let’s review some helpful tips on how you can still indulge in your love of beautiful clothing but remain financially responsible.

A) Identify your monthly “luxuries” budget – The key here is MONTHLY. Many of us are online for several hours each day and it is easy to buy multiple items that add up very quickly in a month. By setting spending budget each month, you immediately know if you can afford that item or already reached your limit. If you absolutely do not want to pass it up (ie: rare vintage items), you have to have a plan B or C, or even D to stay in the green.

B) Alternate payment options – This is where you have to be very careful, this too can lead you down a dangerous black hole if you are not mindful of keeping track of pay later options. Many vintage sellers on Etsy will offer layaway (payment plans) on items over a certain amount, check their shop policies section or contact them directly to discuss possible payment terms. Again, take your monthly budget into account when establishing the installment amounts to coincide with your pay days. Paypal occasionally offers “Pay After Delivery” when using your bank account as the method of payment. This gives you 21 days grace period before the payment is withdrawn from your bank account. So if this brings you into the allotment for next months luxuries budget, keep track. There are other services online merchants offer like “Afterpay” (in Australia), that are similar to layaway that you can take advantage of to defer payments into the future to stay on track with your spending budget.

C) Clean out your closet – The most effective way to stay on track is selling items you no longer wear to replace them with new to you pretties. Whether it be to sell one item to replace it with another, or making a huge closet clean out to amass funds for future purchases…this is a excellent way to always remain in the green. I personally leave these funds in my Paypal account and utilize them the next time something I want comes along. Honestly, it usually isn’t too long before the money is spent but at least it does not come of my monthly spending budget.

D) Have a back up plan – Sometimes life happens and unforeseen expenses arise (car repairs, illness, vet bills, etc.) and no matter how much you budget, there is not enough funds in the reserve to cover them. Make sure you have a plan on how to cover your bills and put the luxuries on the back burner. There is no shame in selling some items to amass funds quickly, just be careful not to be rash on what things to part with as you will have severe regret after the fact. Select things that you have not reached for in several months, pieces that do not fit (be honest with yourself, holding onto these items will not result in your losing 2″ off your waist) and projects that you just never get to fixing.

E) SPENDING BAN – If you have exhausted all those recommendations and your bank account is still in the red once all your monthly bills are paid….DO NOT BUY ANYTHING! Establish a self imposed spending ban until things improve financially and make sure to stick with it. I see all too often people claiming to be on a spending ban, only to turn around sharing on social media they just HAD to buy another luxury item. DON’T DO IT!!! Go back to options A-D and if those don’t result in extra funds for luxuries, you CAN live without it. TOUGH LOVE!!!

In the end, only WE can control our spending habits and are ultimately responsible for our own financial welfare. Practicing self control and making changes is not easy but they are essential to ensure our passions do not result in an obsession surrounded by severe debt.

Understated Beauty

Often times we see a particular item and we instantly all gravitate towards it’s beauty but what about those with an understated beauty? Maybe it’s simply due to the fact of being created by a lesser known brand or lack of marketing that lets these diamonds in the rough slip by unnoticed. The buyers at JBR Clothing seems to have a knack to finding these hidden beauties and allow us the chance to be the first to give these gems the recognition they deserve. So far H & R London has not disappointed and I couldn’t be more smitten with the Vintage Navy Floral 50’s Swing Dress.

Available in sizes XS to XXL ~ MSRP $46USD

IMG_0411The one small downfall with the H & R London dresses, sizing seems to be inconsistent and varies with each style. Thankfully I always have the lovely Rachel at JBR Clothing to give helpful advice and she has never steered me wrong. Upon her recommendation, I ordered the Vintage Navy Floral Dress in a size Large as it seemed to run small in the bust. As soon as it arrived I fell head over heels for the breathtaking floral print and it’s classic feel. The size Large fit well throughout with enough room in the waist for comfort. The design features a soft sweetheart neckline that gathers to the bust with cap sleeves and flared swing skirt. The cap sleeves allow for ample arm movement and do not restrict or cut into your underarms. In my humble opinion, I find the built in bottom hemmed tulle underskirt cheapens the design and choose to remove them from all my H & R London dresses. Don’t let the price point fool you, the Vintage Navy Floral Dress is made from a thick soft cotton material with a slight stretch. As mentioned earlier, the bust runs small and would recommend sizing up based on the size charts. For those of you who do not fancy side zippers, this is the only feature I dislike on this particular design. It appears the bust does pull very slightly to one side and believe it is due to the side zipper. Regardless, it’s quite minor and a quick tug puts everything back into place perfectly.

IMG_0403Quite often I find dresses with sleeves to be too long in the torso and require alterations every time. To my surprise, the Vintage Navy Floral Dress fit perfectly off the rack and so happy to avoid those pesky costs associated with custom fitting garments. I have to admit, this is one dress I’ve worn a lot to work as it’s so comfortable and suitable for both summer and winter due to the contrasting navy background with bold floral print.  If you choose to keep the tulle underskirt trim be weary that it is quite irritating on the skin when sitting if you’re not wearing any tights or stockings. Since I work at a desk job during the day, this was the main reason why it had to be removed.

IMG_0408The Vintage Navy Floral Dress is missing only one thing, a thin white belt to cinch the waist. Luckily I snagged one in my closet from another dress that works wonderfully. The classic feel to the dress pairs perfectly with a single strand pearl necklace. Often times I wear it with white flats for work and my high heel Mary-Janes for more festive occasions. Less is more with this style and wouldn’t suggest too bold of accessories to not take away from the lovely floral print. For a little added volume, a light petticoat or crinoline will do the trick but it’s definitely not necessary.

IMG_0406Marketing can be a great tool for many brands but more importantly are the retailers with a keen buying staff to know what their customers will love. I give big kudos to JBR Clothing for seeking out these new brands and giving their customers something they will truly enjoy. The extra bonus is the fact H & R London is affordable for almost any budget.