My name is lifeslap and I’m a former label whore.
It’s an embarrassing chapter of my life I call 9th grade-post college where I’m so sad to say my style was limited to being seen in boldly branded pieces that often did not look good on me. I paid way too much for things that didn’t last, physically and fashionably, and never had an individual style. I bought things just to buy them and to tell people I bought them so they’d be jealous. Everyone’s done it, but some people just can’t stop doing it. That person is the label whore.
I wouldn’t call my sense of style today refined- I get excited about elastic waistbands and like those gel insoles in my heels. I like to wear leggings with sweat shirts. I like tapered leg sweats. I just LOVE sweats. I will, after a long night of dancing and liquor consumption, take off my shoes in the middle of a casino floor and showcase a pedicure that is three weeks past the “you should’ve had a pedicure two weeks ago” stage. I wear a lot of black because it takes very little mental power to match and hides a lot of imperfections. It’s also the perfect background to showcase simple jewelry and accessories. I like pieces that are functional and that last.
I do like certain labels, but not because I like to be seen in them but because I legitimately believe in the brand and quality. Things should last-especially if the thought of spending half a paycheck on them crosses your mind.
So what makes a label whore? More importantly, are YOU a label whore? Five identifiers. Why am i talking about label whores? Because this blog is a sounding board for my pet peeves. And behind the artist sell out on my list of pet peeves is the label whore. p.s. I use the word whore a lot in this piece-not for the faint of heart.
1. A label whore likes labels for the sake of liking them. The label whore loves to name drop. It’s like a sport to them. How many labels can you identify in a 60 second period? Several, as long as they’re clearly displayed. Better question, who is the creative director for those labels you just rattled off? :: Awkward silence:: They know nothing about the brand outside of the logo and what celebrity just made it hot. Label pride says two things: I know nothing about fashion and I feel important when people see me wearing what they presume to be something I spent a lot of money on. They like to let their fashions do the talking for them, in the wrong language. A label whore looks at a tag to determine whether they want to like a piece. A non-label whore looks at the tag after evaluating their feelings of the piece. A label whore does not care about quality. A label whore does not care about branding besides the branding that can be seen from space without a telescope plastered across the back of a pair of fleece sweatpants or multiplied 15 times over on a bag that will not only fall apart but will fall apart within 365 days of buying it. The bottom line: a label whore will buy something that they don’t only hate, but doesn’t work for them for the sake of saying they have it.
2. A label whore will sacrifice personal style in the name of fashion. It’s one thing to wear something on the runway, it’s another thing to be delusional enough to think that the same fashion that worked for a 90 pound hungry Brazilian model will work for you. A label whore in fact has no personal style, no style identity because their wardrobe is based on a revolving door of brands that have risen to quick popularity (and will die just as quickly). A label whore is a chameleon of sorts, a chameleon of visibly poor choices.A non-label whore uses clothing as a way to define their sense of personal style where as a label whore will let a label define their non-existent sense of style and kind of suffers from continual identity crisis.
3. A label whore likes to tell people how much they paid for something. Even more, they like being asked. The label whore gets offended that you get offended by their line of questioning and doesn’t realize that the only other people who want to know how much your overly logoed (is that a word?) bag was, is another label whore. Sharing price and place of origin cheapens the piece. I’m sure this is in fine print somewhere in Robert’s Rules of Order (obvi), but when it comes to clothing it’s incredibly bad etiquette to a) ask someone how much they paid for something and b) ask them where they got it. It’s none of your damn business how much someone paid for something and the only reason someone asks a question like that is because they like hearing it out loud and they like the potential of one-upping the other.
“How much was your Fendi?” (they know this because your bag is covered in the letter F)
“Oh it’s cute. (take note that this is said with forced enthusiasm. Like when Regina tells Cady her bracelet is cute.) I’m thinking about getting the ____ bag. It’s like $1400.”
“……” ::They’re thinking, well I didn’t ask you how much you want to waste on a purse you’re probably not going to like, but ok::
Like any other, there are exceptions to this rule i.e. if someone tells you they got their Hermes scarf discounted somewhere, not only is it ok to ask how much it was discounted but they’re kind of obligated to tell you since they brought it up to begin with. They’re also sort of obligated to tell you where they got it so that you can share in the joy of the elusive Hermes discount (which I’m 98% sure doesn’t exist). Someone who asks price, isn’t interested in the piece, they’re interested in the status which they believe is related to the piece based on price. It’s true, status bags are expensive. They’re status bags because they are expensive and expensive because they are status bags. Want to desecrate a status bag? Mention the price. Totally makes it’s status irrelevant and outs you as one who practices label whorism.
4. A label whore thinks it’s ok to wear faux labels. In this case, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Not only is buying a bag out of the trunk of Uncle Ricky’s car tacky, it’s offensive and completely disrespectful to the designer, no matter how offensive their design was to begin with, to say hey, I can’t afford your shit, so I’m going to buy the lesser version of it off of someone else in a black-market like exchange. If you can’t afford it, not only do you not need it, but you shouldn’t have it in any form. Find something that fits you, label or not at a price that fits into your salary parameters. If your main concern is “I need to get this NOW” you will not want it or want to be seen in it in 4-6 months.
5. A label whore doesn’t know how to read a Vogue and has no idea what WWD is. This is important because more than anything, the label whore pretends to know about fashion but didn’t know who Anna Wintour was until the Devil Wears Prada came out on Netflix. I started reading Vogue when I was in 7th grade and by the time I was in high school I knew that magazine from back to front, which writers I liked and which ones I hated. Which designers I wanted to drown myself and those whose studios I wanted to set on fire. With time, I got a life and lost my interest in reading Vogue (also started to find it really pretentious and outside of Jeffrey Steingarten’s food reviews, not applicable to my life), but I did not lose a sense of who I wanted to continue to be loyal to. Label whores read Vogue because they like to be seen reading it, not because they absorb anything from it. A label whore flips through a Vogue looking for ads for their favorite brand and missing the big picture. Don’t know what WWD is? If you’re not a label whore, it doesn’t matter, however it’s fun to browse the site from time to time and keep updated if you’re into that. I’m lazy, so my exploration of WWD is limited to bi-annual visits.
Do I pick items based on label? Sure. Do I base this purchase solely on the label? Hell no. Would you buy a crib because of the label even though it has bad reviews and is notorious for collapsing in on sleeping infants? I didn’t think so. That’s a drastic comparison, it would be just as dumb to buy a pair of jeans because the label is hot right now even though four of your friends have said that the jeans unravelled after one spin in the washer. I believe every woman’s wardrobe should be armed with four things: a good suit, a good pair of shoes, a good bag, and a signature jewelry piece. These four things should be bought with the mindset that the rest of your wardrobe for life will be able to built around and on them. Price is a non-issue as you’ll reap the benefit in time and wear. Which means if you have to save, then do it.
So do I want to take this moment to call out the identities of my four cornerstone pieces? (Maybe) Do you even want to know? (probably not, she’s a snob!) Will you still judge me as a label whore? (absolutely) Will this cheapen my defense? (yes). But I’ll tell you anyway.
Suit: J.crew. Personal service and variety of timeless styles. Note: If I was dude, Ermengildo Zegna. If I ever get filthy rich, I’m going to commission them so I can score a Su Misura suit. Pretty much the most perfect suit ever.
SHoes: Louboutin- basic black pump. Goes from day to night easily.
Bag: TBD. It was Venetia.
Jewelry: Earrings and trinity ring.
My style icon will forever be Jackie Kennedy. Every piece she picked was right for her and she made it look easy. Everything about her was graceful and elegant and my barefoot adventures will forever keep me from being out of her league, but I hope that one day I’ll find my niche and wear things with as much class as she did.
Understanding style and fashion are two different things and that in a nutshell is what separates label whores from the rest of us.