Don’t Let Your Dreams Just Be Dreams

Let me start off by saying a heartfelt thank you for the overwhelming response following last week’s post. I am so humbled by the outpouring of support and to those who took the time to share their stories with me. Together we can make a difference and be the ones to start the conversation.

With my closets overflowing, I have been rather conservative with my shopping in recent months and focused on appreciating what I already own. For ages, I lusted over owning a gorgeous vintage dress with three dimensional roses but they always seem to elude me; either selling in a heartbeat or simply way outside of my budget. One day, I spotted the magnificent Rachel Jensen (formally known as Chicago Chic) wearing a stunning wiggle dress with 3D roses by Heart My Closet. It inspired me to reach out to Heart My Closet in hopes of creating my dream dress without breaking the bank.

They did not disappoint, Cynthia (the lady behind Heart My Closet) sent me photos of a custom sleeveless dress they had created with cascading roses in a beautiful blush pink. I knew that was exactly what I wanted but in a more classic design; red roses set on a solid black background, a full circle skirt and cap sleeves. The price was sadly outside of my means at that time so I put my dream dress on the back burner once again. A few months later, I received a newsletter advertising 30% off sitewide so I immediately contacted Cynthia to see if my custom order dress would qualify for the sale…and she said YES!!!

The custom design process was quite simple: I sent inspiration photos for the style of scoop neckline and sleeves from another of their designs, matched with the full circle skirt of the original blush 3D rose dress. They requested a simple list of measurements and my dream dress was soon to be made a reality.ย  Although the production time was estimated at 4-6 weeks, my dress arrived in less than a month. It was love at first sight…it was everything I had ever imagined and so much more! I was blown away at the beauty of the intricately hand sewn roses cascading down the bodice and skirt.

Seeing as this was my first purchase from Heart My Closet, I was truly amazed that the fit was absolutely perfect. It fit like a glove! There is a fair amount of stretch that allows for ease and comfort, the cap sleeves aren’t restrictive whatsoever. I was incredibly impressed by the superior quality and craftsmanship; honestly well worth the regular $200 price tag. Each rose is painstakingly created by hand using satin ribbons. The bodice is fully lined, made from quality fabric that drapes effortlessly, and has an invisible back zipper closure.

I first discovered Heart My Closet when the show Mad Men was making its way into the mainstream. They made gorgeous reproduction of Joan’s classic sexy secretary pencil dresses. I had heard so many great things about their designs but never pulled the trigger for no good reason at all. Let me state for the record, I am kicking myself now for waiting so long. My dream dress has been hanging proudly in the closet since this past August, going unworn waiting for that special first occasion. There was no better time than New Year’s Eve to take her for a spin and I fell in love all over again.

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.ย  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 –ย 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.