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Is Loud Budgeting the New Quiet Luxury?

fashion beauty runway is loud budgeting the new quiet luxury
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There is this nonsensical myth that if you’re frugal, you’ll end up looking like all your ratty clothes came out of a garbage bin from The Salvation Army, and that your style is not only poor, it’s completely tasteless. Basically, you are a walking fashion nightmare. 

At the other end of the spectrum of this hilarious fiction thrive the ten percent — no, make that the VICs (‘very important customers’) or EICs (‘extremely important customers’) because though they only make up two percent of total customers, they drive around 40 percent of revenue for luxury brands — who spend lavishly on high-ticket items and are guaranteed instant fashion star status, no matter who they are. 

Well, guess what? Neither of these two commonly held beliefs spells out the complete truth — there are always many grey areas

First of all, being smart about where you spend your hard-earned cash (if there is a glaring absence of trust funds in your future) doesn’t mean you’ll look like a hobo out of a Dickens novel. Nor being superrich instantly elevates your name to that of a creature of exquisite taste, permanently styled for a Vogue photoshoot.

No. 

Fashion is about wearing garments and accessories while styling your beauty in ways that express who you’re truly about, deep down inside. “It’s about something happening on the exterior that suggests an interesting interior,” says Rachel Tashjian, the fashion writer from The Washington Post. 

So, no matter where you source these items, it’s who you are intrinsically, in your soul, that comes across through the magic lens of fashion. 

With the ongoing economic uncertainty percolating (and maybe even puncturing our collective budgets), could loud budgeting be what’s in for 2024? The concept originated with a TikTok user named Lukas Battle who explained it to his viewers in December 2023. “Loud budgeting is a new concept I’m introducing for 2024,” he announced in a video that now has more than 1.5 million views. “It’s not ‘I don’t have enough.’ It’s ‘I don’t want to spend.’”

The difference is that you’re now 100 percent owning your frugality. According to him, rich people hate spending money. “So it’s almost more chic, more stylish, more of a flex.” 

Now, let’s translate that into fashion and beauty speak, shall we? 

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Be Stylish but Spend Less 

If you remember girl math, the hugely popular hashtag from last year, that was about finding humorous ways to rationalize the often ridiculous ways us women justify an extravagant or unnecessary expense. (“I really NEED those boots to walk my dog!”). That was then because, well, you only live once. 

But one year later, it’s almost frowned upon to overconsume and de-influencing is a thing on TikTok (basically creators encouraging people not to buy products that are super popular online), while being thrifty is cool. 

Of course we’ve all heard of the concept of ‘shopping in your closet’ and, trust me, if you’ve been in the habit of buying a bit too much, a bit too often, to compensate for difficult times (you know them…) you’ll end up being surprised at what you find exclaiming, sometimes at an alarming rate: “Oh wow, this is so pretty! I didn’t even know I had this …  (include the name of the item here)” “Oh my god, three corsets? How come?” “Soooooo many sneakers!” 

Loud budgeting is a welcome cultural shift from the conspicuous consumption reflex we’ve all been subjected to in the last decades. Our economic system is hard-wired on overspending, from the endless and ever-churning trend cycle to abundant credit made more accessible than ever via buy now, pay later programs. But excessive consumption has wide-ranging consequences beyond dwindling your savings, particularly on the environment. OK, that’s another story.

But, just in case you haven’t overindulged in the last little while and you’ve been super frugal all along, here are some tips that I’m happy to share about how to find the best fashion items you at a consignment shop or your local Renaissance or Goodwill. 

  • Check for labels and fabric content if still attached to the garment. They will give you an indication of the quality of the item, and the brand they’re from. You know the good ones.
  • Prefer fabrics that are natural, as they are a sign of a good quality: silk, cashmere, merino wool, linen, cotton twill… 
  • Avoid purchasing second-hand T-shirts and velour items, as colours fade on jerseys and pile fabrics like velour prematurely show signs of wear on elbows and knees. 
  • Party dresses are always a great find as they’ve typically been less used than everyday clothes. 
  • If you see an authentic fur coat or jacket, grab it immediately! Particularly now since natural furs are making a huge comeback (oh my, mink!) with the mob wife aesthetic and the opulence of the 90s decade being in the spotlight once again. 
  • Think of vintage clothes shopping as a way to pair the ultra-affordable with super expensive items you might already have. Some examples: linen find with your classic designer horse bit suede loafers, or straight-leg jeans with a green classic velvet blazer, or even a graffiti-printed loose 80s shirt accessorized with multiple gold chains adorned with charms. 
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Investment-Savvy Beauty Strategies 

In terms of beauty, there are many things you can do to save dollars and still look ultra-amazing. But there are major changes to implement. 

First of all, it’s time to forget about anti-aging cremes or serums. Hint: They don’t work. 

The only thing these high-priced mysterious potions will deliver is expensive moisture. Oh, and a beautiful fragrance, a stunning flacon, and a well-designed packaging with all the current pretty colours and fonts accoutrement. 

Yes, even prestige brands like Dior, Lancôme, La Mer, Guerlain, etc. can’t really deliver on all their hefty (but mostly empty) promises. Do yourself a favour and read the fine print when it comes to claims. Some of them are so well written you could actually swear they do achieve some type of wrinkle miracle, but mostly it’s all fluffy marketing and linguistic acrobatics. As a matter of fact, some of these companies have departments exclusively devoted to consumer communications to ensure messaging is as flawless and flattering as possible to temp you into buying into the myth. We all love fairy tales…

What to do, then? 

Choose a good quality face oil like Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil combined with a no-frills everyday moisturizer with hyaluronic acid (the best cost per use has to be CeraVe). Your wallet will thank you. And never, ever, forget to wear sunscreen every day. That is the best ROI you can give your skin. 

If you want real, proven results for a visibly plumper, bouncier, and dewier face, splurge instead on fillers, neurotoxins and high-performance anti-age treatments like laser, Morpheus8 or Sculptra. Just make sure you choose a clinic with accredited experts in the field of medical aesthetics. 

Remember there are no ‘deals’ when it comes to your health and beauty. 

Despite them being overly democratized (“Oh, Botox is just like makeup!”), fillers and the majority of anti-aging procedures done in aesthetic clinics are delivered through injections or cannulas and other technical equipment; delicate medical acts that require extensive training and in-depth knowledge of the face morphology. In Montreal, we love the vibe and meticulous attention to detail from all the staff at Face MD, particularly nurse Lydia for her soothing touch and professional knowledge.

So, ready to implement your new loud budgeting strategies for fashion and beauty? Go ahead and have fun! After all, nothing looks better on you than financial stability.

Image credits, in order:
Image by halayalex on Freepik
Image by lookstudio on Freepik
Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

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