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Rethinking Luxe For 2011

With a new year, one must try new things. I’ve been on a roll already this year, visiting a new country, dining at new restaurants and generally being more open to new activities/social outings. But over the last week, there is one part of my life that has taken a few steps back instead of forward: my love affair with all things luxe.

When it comes to beauty and fashion, it’s a “the more you know, the more you grow” type of sensibility that draws us in. Beauty retailers, brands and publications push the notion that drugstore/mass brands like Revlon, Olay, Pantene and others are good—but that luxe brands like MAC, Dior, Chanel and others are inherently better quality and better for you. The same goes for fashion, especially denim, which brings me to yesterday.

Fresh from the laziest workout ever, I found myself walking in the SoHo neighborhood here in New York to make a much needed trip to Bloomingdales to buy a new pair of jeans. I’m a tall girl, with a curvy but streamlined build, and have always had a hard time finding jeans that didn’t turn into to cropped pants or were so ill-fitting that my uterus complained when I sat down. While Hills has been #teammavijeans for a few years, I’ve been all about Hudson denim. The fit is perfect and wider waistband complements my frame, but the price is a killer. The average pair will run you about $175. I can afford it, but who wants to afford it? I rationalized that I don’t wear suits professionally and a good pair of denim is like work wear and need to be invested in….right? right?

One block before Bloomies is Levis. They were having a sale and I was cold, so why not? About 30 minutes later I walked out with 2 great pairs of jeans and a shirt for about $180. They flattered my shape (the Demi curve, see above image, middle ass) and fit great, and didn’t give me buyers guilt. This coming about 5 days after I found the perfect shade of powder/foundation in the CoverGirl section at a drugstore in a pinch after losing my MAC studio-fix before an important meeting. Let’s see – $26 vs $9? Easy decision. Why thank you Queen Latifah…

So does this mean that mass or “masstige” brands are catching up concerning quality? While I’m still not giving up my love affair with all things NARS, Vuitton, Hudson (when on sale), Marc Jacobs and others any time soon, this new year is proving that just because it’s a “luxe” brand doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for me. I’ve always been a fan of “hi-lo”styling, but for 2011 it’s taking on an entirely new meaning.

Thoughts ladies? Have you found yourself going “backwards” with certain brands only to find that it’s making you happier?

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington