When I was younger I would always choose clothes that are "unique" - frills, dramatic details and all! They made me feel special because I knew very few people would wear them. What I wore defined my identity, not the other way around. How silly that is! I was just a fashion victim, then, like most people. I was just misguided in thinking that if only I can dress better and have better things, I'd be important.
Listen. Fabulous clothes, bags, makeup and hair shouldn't be the measure of your value as a person. Don't get huffy. You know you feel that too, how a branded and/or trendy article of clothing makes you feel like you're somebody. Maybe there's something to it especially if you have a bag that's equivalent to about half a year of minimum wage. You worked hard to be able to dress a certain way, by god you deserve to flaunt it!
That's true. You do! But do you do it for you or because you feel like others will value you more only if you look expensive and/or unique?
If it's the latter, that's no way to live a life. I'm not too old yet but as early as now I've learned that if others only appreciate what you look like or objects you have, your relationship with them - be it personal or professional - is dangerously shallow. Once you can no longer afford all that stuff, where would you stand with them? Who would you be?
Don't get me wrong though, I think it's important to have nice things. They make dressing up easier and faster, and in certain jobs, the best-dressed have an edge. But that's exactly what it is - an edge. No more. What really matters are the skills and ideas you can bring to the table. In business, you have to solve the basic problem of how your company can be more productive i.e. earn money. In relationships, how can you make the other person happier? Consistently?
If you can hack these things, it doesn't matter if you dress like shit. You'd be the shit. (In a good way.)
So now, I invest in things that will make me more productive or develop a new skill. It makes me happier than the mindless buying I used to do whenever I have extra cash. When I do buy new clothes, shoes, or makeup I always look for basic ones that I can style to my own taste. I don't like things that turn me into someone I'm not. I'd rather use them in a way that enhances who I am.