As mentioned previously, I had another one of these planned down the pike. Now that we’re out of the Halloween collections and right before the holiday season, I wanted to put out something to also keep my pinup anti-haul game strong, because there’s a lot of temptation coming out this time a year with Black Friday and other sales, and I want you all to keep your bank accounts as strong as your spirits should be.
If you are not familiar with the concept of an anti-haul, please use this post for reference. As a reminder: this is not intended to be mean-spirited, it’s supposed to encourage smart purchasing habits and minimizing unnecessary consumerism. There are always better ways to spend your hard-earned money (be it paying off debt, savings, whatever), and while I believe moderation in all things, I also believe it’s OK to be spending on things with the caveat of being smart about it and really knowing yourself instead of buying aimlessly.
Without any more delay, let’s get into this holly jolly not buying shit discussion.
Janie Bryant x Unique Vintage
Before we get into it, I have to be upfront and tell you I have a bone to pick with them. Unique Vintage bothers me for a few reasons, but mostly because of its slow and exorbitant shipping rates and fees. There are plenty of vintage reproduction sellers that offer faster shipping at lower rates in that same neck of the woods (e.g. Micheline Pitt, Heart of Haute, etc.) Hell, even for some of the UK brands they carry–it’s cheaper (and faster) to buy direct from them than Unique Vintage. It bugs because, primarily, I would like to support American companies (as an American) and would like to help keep them afloat, but when I’m staring down $12 for shipping for a product that comes within 8-12 business days versus going to the UK and having it free because of the cost of the product between the exchange rates (and getting it faster), what’s the point? Stop making it so difficult for me to love you, Unique Vintage; that’s all I’m asking.
All right. Now, here’s where it gets back to being an anti-haul. As with a lot of anti-hauls, some of the products in them are really subjective. What I think is not worth it may not be what you think actually is worth spending money, and that’s OK! But after seeing this hyped collaboration I’m not sold for the most part.* Here’s an example of why I’m not sold on this collection:
$138 for a black and white polka dot strapless dress and another $48 for the matching bolero. So, in total, we’re looking at $186 for a matching set.
Looking at that dress, I’m having a hard time justifying that price tag, especially with mesh as one of the fabrics. Mesh is not a favorite fabric of mine; I’m not sure of your own experiences with it, but it gets caught up in everything. Because this gets caught up in things, it’s prone to tearing easily and gets worn out faster. Outside of petticoats, you won’t see my ass shimmy into any piece that is primarily mesh. I know it was a popular fabric back in the day, but there are some vintage things that should just stay where they were. When I see anything over $75 with mesh as a fabric, you better be able to justify the costs by at least being a unique piece.
And guess what?
It isn’t. Black polka dot dresses are a dime a dozen and one of the first stereotypical pinup outfits you could probably think of thanks to I Love Lucy’s influence on pop culture. There is nothing unique about this $186 set that can’t be found cheaper and just as high quality elsewhere. If that’s the case, what’s the point in buying that?
The entire collection is riddled with similar pieces like this that fit the mold of “stereotypical” pinup but at extremely high prices when there are similar products out there for cheaper, better shipping (prices and time-frame; although, both pieces together do hit the $150 USD free shipping threshold), for me, it’s not worth it. Not buying it.
* = I won’t lie, the suit dress is incredibly tempting and probably the most unique piece out of the collection. Plus, it never hurts to have professional-style clothing in your repertoire.
All the velvet limited edition dresses/gowns
There’s a handful of brands doing this right now so they’re all getting lumped into one.
Much like mesh, velvet is another fabric I don’t love. It’s fussy, it’s difficult, can be really stifling, and really, it’s not something that you can wear all year round. My personal clothing habits are generally things I want to wear as much as possible and can be worn both in summer and winter (with the exception of items intended for winter use like a coat for obvious reasons.) If I’m going to be spending a decent amount of money, especially on a reproduction piece, it has to be something I will wear more than once and at least semi-regularly.
In being honest with myself: when am I really going to wear a velvet dress/gown outside of the holidays, and even then, that’s assuming there’s a holiday party to go to where it would be appropriate? Answer: there isn’t a time (outside of maybe a Halloween costume? But even then, there aren’t a lot of stars that I can think of that would be recognized on velvet gown alone.)
Erstwilder Christmas Collection
This isn’t a traditional reason to encourage you not to purchase something, but this is one of those companies that really chaps my hide with its lack of transparency. I don’t dislike Erstwilder, but I do find it to be unethical in its marketing practices, and this is one that’s been driving me nuts because it’s the most obvious one out there.
We all know the pinups that sport these brooches for an Instagram photo or two all around the same time and then you never see them wearing the brooch again (seriously, when was the last time you saw anyone that hustled how much they “so loved!” the Grease brooches actually wear one in their IG photos?)
I can’t confirm for certainty (because, obviously, no one is knocking on my door), so this is pure speculation on my end, but my suspicion is that Erstwilder is giving them as PR (so they can be given for free), or, and possibly as a sponsorship or ad. I don’t know for sure because no one discloses it, but it’s sure pretty suspicious when you see the major players getting all these brooches before the official release talking about how they all love them…
The pinup community (versus the makeup/beauty community, at least–which isn’t great, but yards better in comparison), in general, is terrible about being transparent–some stating that “it is my page and I can support whatever I want,” and to a degree, I agree. You can absolutely put what you want on there. Though, I strongly err on the side that the line gets drawn when you get compensated for it–be it monetarily or with items–for your support, especially when others don’t get cut the same deal and you know your influence is part of why people are buying it. So, the very, very, bare minimum thing you can do is put #sponsor or #ad on there when you’re pushing something on Instagram. It won’t kill you or make you look bad, I promise. Also, not disclosing makes it look like you have something to hide and that makes me think you’re untrustworthy and shady, so why risk it?
I bet you $10 that after the holidays, we never see any of the people who are peddling these brooches that they think are so adorable never break them out again. (And why would they? The holidays are over and there will be another holiday collection to replace it next year that they will be asked to promote.) So what’s the point in buying it in the first place? It’s just more clutter in your house that you don’t need because you’ll wear it a handful of times throughout a very small portion of the year. Move on.
That’s all for now, folks. Feel free to tell me all the things you’re not going for this holiday season!
Yours ’til Niagara Falls,