#AskSuperbalist: Frugal Fashion

How junk status affects your style

Denim is the people's fabric, buy right and it can last you a lifetime.

Dear Superbalist,

What is junk status and what does it mean for me? I understand that petrol costs will rise and housing costs will rise and interest rates will rise and basically everything will be expensive and everyone will be poor, but like, will I have to dress up in last season’s looks for the indefinite future? Please say no.

From Snoop

Hey man,

First thing’s first: let’s dispel this ridiculous myth that SA’s credit rating getting downgraded to junk status will result in a cultural collapse towards an exclusively Mad Max-inspired, hessian-based fashion aesthetic. Firstly, the only thing that will get people dressing like that is Afrikaburn. Secondly, if we’re being told to tighten our belts, people will be making damn sure that said belts are perfectly complementing a variety of stylish ensembles. (Finally, accessories are getting the attention they deserve).

There is a phenomenon called the Lipstick Effect, which describes the general increase in lipstick sales during times of national and economic crisis. Different experts have different theories to explain why people turn towards beautifying in times of financial uncertainty, but as far as we’re concerned, it has a lot to do with the increased appreciation for small luxuries, when frugality becomes the social norm. When finances get a bit tight in a country, and people get more disciplined with the big expenses, they get their boosts with the small luxuries. Don’t underestimate the appreciation one still gets from a pair of shoes, or a dress, or a standout accessory, to lighten the burden in more difficult times. 

Listen, we’re not suggesting that everyone go and blow their budget on cosmetics. Things are going to be tough all over, but with a little bit of research and a keen eye for a good offer you can still maintain your high style standards no matter what. Even when petrol and food prices start to rise, R349 for a pair of jeans will remain excellent value. Download the app and get 25% off, filter by price, and find that value by matching low-price, high-quality pieces with sale deals and bundle offers. You can build an outfit with boots for R399, knits for R299, and a bag for R249. Similarly, you can buy in bundles in neutral tones and indulge in some Yeezy-inspired style.

Finally, you can never go wrong using your tried and tested investment pieces. That’s the stuff you paid a premium in exchange for it lasting a lifetime. Value brands like basicthread and dailyfriday supplement your established items, and make sure you have enough variety to stay on point, always.

Well, have you?
Make your knits last longer
Why the noughties were so nice.
Transitional dressing for the stylish man