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How to Battle A Brand Whore

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Louis Vuitton SignOr, “Tips to Keep the Clothing Budget in Check When Someone in Your Family is a Brand Whore.”

Just as some people have specific preferences for food, others have preferences for specific brands of clothing. In your family, this person may or may not be the same person. In ours, my husband is the guilty party on both charges – he’s just not that adventurous of a person. He has specific stores he will shop at for clothing, and specific brands clothing he will buy for himself if left to his own devices. He’s worn the same exact style and brand of jeans for all his adult life – he just buys more of the same exact one when one wears out. All his dress clothes for work are from the same exact store, and they are specific cuts and styles he prefers, all of the same brand.

Is this by definition a bad thing? Not necessarily – if you find what looks good on you, you may want to stick to that style, color, or type. But taken to an extreme, or buying brands simply because they are a specific brand, and you fall prey to spending top dollar on your items when middle or low dollar may work just as well. Slowly but surely, I’ve been expanding his wardrobe specificities, and here’s how.

Broaden their horizons – a little at a time. When trying on the items they like, convince them to throw one (or two) other items into the mix they would never pick out on their own. When I go shopping for clothing with my husband, I usually pick out at least one item he would have never picked up off the rack to try on if he left to his own devices, and have him try it on too. It only takes a minute, and it has actually helped expand his clothing horizons to some degree. He still will only buy one specific brand and style of jeans, but he is more open to dress clothing, sweaters, and other items he would never have considered before. And the more options you have, the more likely you will be to able to find an option on sale.

Think outside the box on stores – try discount stores, outlets, or even used clothing are all good options. While it was difficult to convince my husband, it paid off handsomely in the end. Once he agreed, it cut down his clothing expenses considerably. We don’t have any outlet stores in our area, but if you have outlet versions of your favorite stores available, be sure to give them a look because they offer great deals. Before we moved, I was able to save money on clothing by checking the outlet first. We do, however, have discount overstock stores, like Marshalls and TJ Maxx, that carry name brands. These stores carry overruns of brand name clothing and I have been able to find the same shirts my spouse buys elsewhere for half the price (or less!).

The one that was the hardest for me to get my spouse to agree to was used clothing – I am an avid Goodwill shopper and see clothing for him there all the time. But once I showed him that I can even find “new with tags” clothing there on occasion for him, he (slightly) warmed up to the idea. I have been able to purchase several of his dress shirts there for $4-5 each. He still wouldn’t go there himself, but he doesn’t freak out when I walk in with the Goodwill bag any more.

Use eBay to find hard to fit measurements at less than premium prices. eBay can also be a great source of name brand clothing at discount prices. There is a vast selection of clothing on eBay to choose from, and much of it has competition that drives the price down. It isn’t a fail-proof method, but I have had success finding many almost new items on eBay that I would have paid twice as much (or more) for brand new. Keep an eye out for the NWT acronym, it means “new with tags,” and anyone seeing it would have no idea you bought it off eBay.

When there is someone in your home who always has to have a specific brand, shopping can be a frustrating and expensive experience. Hopefully by incorporating some of these tips, you can slowly open their mind to think beyond the label or specific style and open up a whole world of possibilities to them. Or, at least have fun experimenting with your family member’s comfort zone.

(Photo: fukagawa)

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6 Responses to “How to Battle A Brand Whore”

  1. It’s easy to mistake brand-name for quality. I think you should only buy a brand on purpose if you have a particular reason behind it – like if you’re trying to buy “green” clothing based on your environmental beliefs. Otherwise, like you, I believe in expanding your universe and paying bottom or middle dollar.

  2. Posco says:

    I’m the brand whore when it comes to jeans: Levi’s 501 shrink-to-fit. Definitely middle-dollar for medium quality denim that wears long and well. Even the preshrunk 501 are too thin and frail for me. I think it’s a reasonable preference; I’m not whoring after $300 jeans. My wife has tried to broaden my horizon… last time we went shopping, I caved and bought a pair of Levi’s 505, and a store-brand pair. They’re both okay. But when the difference is less than $10/pair, happiness with The Original is worth it.

    The Real Question is: If I think it looks fine on me, and my wife disagrees, how do you reconcile THAT difference???

  3. thomas says:

    my favorite brand is Clearance.

  4. Blessed says:

    I was initially going to pass over this article: the name just was not that appealing, but decided to take a look at the content and it does apply to someone in my family…

    I don’t care about them wearing the same brand, as long as the bargain shop for the brand…and I have taught them how to do that…if they don’t see a certain price tag (amount), they don’t purchase….and I can live with that!

    be blessed..

  5. Tim says:

    My name is Tim, and I’m a brand whore. I am, because the clothes of a particular brand simply fit and have always fit, i like them, and they are of good quality. if it is something other than clothes, it is because i am familiar with the product and know it in and out, i trust it, it is reliable, etc. i know exactly what i am getting when i stick to the same brand. i have wasted money, time and effort trying to compare or trying out other brands, but they simply do not meet my needs. So why would i try something else, when i know exactly what i am going to get if i just buy the same brand? this is why i am a brand whore. it doesn’t mean i pay full price for anything, though.

  6. Jenni says:

    I have tried a lot of different brands over the years, even some from Europe that was given to me. Since I gained weight, it is easier for me to use any brand. Before at 27×34, it seems like all the others of that size would get there before me. So I would end up going to RCC for jeans, just because they fit right. This isn’t a good reason to add a few inches, but it has made it easier to by jeans. I am just looking forward to this hip hugging fad to pass, I am from a generation that wore the waist at the waist, and they seem hard to find where I live. And I want to the bigger glasses to come back too. When I was younger only the librarians wore glasses like what are in style now!


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