Show me the money

Knowing where to put your hard-earned cash in the current retail climate where branding is everything and cost can have absolutely no correlation to quality, can be bloody stressful.

Zara SweaterASOS TightsCitizens of Humanity JeansLanvin Mules – Vintage ScarfAnthropologie Couch*

*which isn’t the colour I ordered, so I have to return it, and now I’m back down to my bed being the only piece of furniture in my apartment. Life.

  • Plum Pretty Sugar

    Couldn’t agree more <3


  • So, that Anthro couch has been on my wishlist literally FOREVER — i’m dying to get it in Forest Green!!! Color aside, do you love it? Is it comfy?
    p.s. THANK YOU for being honest and realistic about mixing highs and lows in your wardrobe. some of the people i follow online make me feel so guilty for shopping fast fashion from time to time… but i truly feel that if you invest in ANY ITEM in a non-wasteful way, you’re doing your own little part… i just hope fast fashion brands stay accountable to maintaining acceptable working conditions for their employees – what happened in Nepal a few years ago is devastating.
    xo, coco |

  • Emmanuelle

    I’m working for a fast fashion brand and since then I’m even more conscious about what and how I consume. The thing about working for a big retailer is that you have sample sales which makes the employee an even worse customer than actual people. What I mean by that? Simply that people buy even more clothes than usual because what you find at 50 or 80 bucks in the shop cost 5 bucks in a sample sale. So people buy for the sake of buying and end up being not satisfied with what they bought. This made me think that sample sales are still good, I mean I love them when I NEED (not want which is different^^) an item, but I also really believe that some brands should think about re-purposing these clothes for a better cause than just pure consumerism amongst their employees.


  • Agreed! But due to Sydney’s high AF rental prices, I can now only afford the low end unfortunately! These are the times I miss living with my parents, haha!


  • Glad to know that you mix both, being practical is sometimes the way to go. :) Love how honest you are about this!

  • Em

    No real mention of sweatshop ethics or that fast fashion helps make the clothing industry the 2nd most polluting industry…

    • Jennifer

      that’s a different conversation altogether – i think she’s done a blogpost about it before… gonna try find a link.

  • Interesting …I agree with most of your opinion.

    Today on the blog, don’t miss my Interior design post…with more ideas that I will use when thr refurbishment of my new flat is finished! ;)
    Kisses from

  • This is so true and so glad an influencer, like you, shared it. I was in India over the winter to see how craftsman work and seeing the business behind it is really upsetting. The embroidery and benares (jacquard) work we usually see one dresses and blouses and trousers for 100s of dollars are being replaced by machines. I saw something similar in Zara being sold for £30 :( People just want to wear it a few times and throw it away because it won’t be “in” anymore. This is why I’m focusing on curating a capsule wardrobe. So happy you said to just wear it even if it’s not “this season”.

  • These days we just need to buy what we need and not waste what we don’t need, that’s a very good way to live life, if not at the end if the day you’re not happy with your purchase just because everyone is using them but that doesn’t mean that you should

  • Wow how can be so effortlessly chic, love everything on and around you! Happy Chinese New Year!


  • Bloggers Issue

    Hi lovely,

    Your blog post will be featured in Bloggers Issue Magazine.

  • You are absolutely right!

  • This is such a well written piece and I’m with you on it. I am in love with designs from certain brands but then when I see the quality of the pieces, I’m often disappointed. It often just cannot justify the price tag!

  • Lucia

    I’d also consider the impact of global accessibility in the driving the likes/hearts/droolings from people along with effective storytelling behind big $ brands. And for that, we are all participating in it one way or another ;)

    happy CNY!

  • Same.


  • cindy

    Agreed…And I hate how much wastage there is in retail, mainly chains. I don’t know why retail chains these days have to kill perfectly simple clothing such as a grey knit sweater by stitching on stars all over it or adding zips to the sleeves of a t-shirt. No one buys this stuff and it ends up going on sale and being reduced right down to 20% of the original price just to get rid of it. They won’t even donate to charity. The company ends up losing money, customers aren’t getting anything out of it and the environment is worse off – it’s a loss for everyone. If there was a way these big retail corps (i’m talking the likes of Zara, H&M, Glassons, Topshop, Witchery, Seed, Decjuba etc) could stop producing so much crap and for godsakes actually design simple and good quality clothing the world would be a better place. I hardly ever shop in chains anymore – I only now thrift and buy a few branded items and mix the two together. Nay to consumerism and yay to minimalism I say…

    • And so much of the stuff is bad. I look at pieces and am like “was the design direction: make something horrible” garrr.

  • viktoria

    This is really incredible

  • Love the post! And your hair looks great!

  • May

    Omg yes. I literally think of this every day. I’m actually in the process of making a vision board (recommended by therapist), but horrified at the thought of it looking like another email advertisement.

  • Loving this look!


  • That is a really key piece of advice – you are so right. Shoes are always a fabulous investment and it’s so important to really really think about what you are buying. It’s not worths pending tons and tons of dollars (or pounds in my case) on something that is going to last you a few months.. where as spending on something that will last you a lifetime makes more sense. Less is more right?


  • Agree with high end/low end. I’m usually not impressed with the stores in the $100-$300 price point and affectionately call them “Pricey Polyester”. But the $350 and up is still out of reach for me, for the most part. Really, I spend the most on cardigans, denim (but good denim lasts for well over a year), and boots. For the things I spend less money on, I just take care of it. I enjoy thrift shopping the most. It’s actually fun and very hunter-esque, and the clothing has been washed and worn, so you have a better idea of how it has aged. Most of my favorite items were thrifted in college & I still have several of the pieces (blue maxi dress, James Perse sweater dress, jean jacket, and most recently Cole Haan loafers for $8).

    I think investing in shoes is key, but read reviews from Reddit (Amazon/site reviews can be questionable now!) At the same time, I love my some Old Navy flats ;) $15 and they last for quite a long time and people actually stop me all the time to ask where they’re from.

  • It is a beautiful coloured couch though lady! And amen what you said about the high and low, not the in between!

  • But I liked that couch so much. Just had a conversation regarding this very topic… cheap high fashion rip offs, no matter how unethical, make fashion accessible to anyone and everyone and actually, I can’t properly hate them for this.

  • So very true, great insight and refreshing!

  • Stephanie Liu

    Everything I consider when purchasing anything new.

    x Stephanie

  • Londile Black

    Quality has been really compromised in the “affordable” sphere of the market. It has almost become a wash to wear once type of garments. I’ve literally had to take some few items to the tailor to fix a tear just after wearing once. I’ve also observed that some stores opt to copy the most expensive stores designs and use low quality material and put their labels on them. I will admit, I’m guilty of buying such because in honest truth, I can’t afford an expensive piece every day of the month. Yes there are some items I don’t compromise on, but others will have to take the back seat.

  • My wardrobe is 50% Zara (I feel personally responsible for the rise of Inditex), 30% mid-price point brands (Sandro, Club Monaco, Acne Studios), and hmm 20% shoes.
    Your words speak to me, as always.

  • Sophie Lee

    So true, i always think of how long i can wear when i buy 1 item <3

    xoxo, Best Wallets for Women 2016

  • I really have to agree with the essence of this post. I have a very extensive Chanel collection, and I’d be many thousands the wiser if I had not spent my money on the really trendy and season rtw items that are honestly too fragile to allow me to get a great cost per wear. Some things I will never regret like designer staple coats, bags, shoes and costume jewellery, but other things like my very delicate hologrphic jeans from the Chanel supermarket collect would probably have stayed in the store with what I have learned now.

    Adrianna xx

  • Great article. It’s so true that quality clothes last longer. I have clothes that sit in my closet for YEARS before they come back into style- but everything comes back around eventually! Make statements with a few high end pieces and fill in the gaps with less expensive items. All you need are a few stand out pieces to make it through the season!

  • Lovey Fleming
  • This is true though! Trends do come and go, and the wisest thing to do is not to be influenced by it on a greater absurd scale. One must know when to put aesthetics and practicality in good sense. “Recycle, repurpose, layer, deconstruct, and buy transeasonally.” Couldn’t agree more.

    Nice work, MZ. :)


  • Catherine Wen Xi Xiang

    You just talked about a topic that I’ve had on my mind for a while in the most eloquent way! Thank you. Mixing highs and lows, repurposing, deconstructing etc. is definitely the way to go and it took me a while to realize that. Sometimes there are so many influencers that it’s hard to figure that out.. :P
    Amazing writing as always.


  • I’m the kinda girl who likes to get the most of her outfit but struggle to invest in high end pieces. It’s something I’ll get on with this year.

    PS Loving your hair colour ????

  • Great post! Your posts are always well written!!


    Love your blog!

  • Alexis

    This is really well put! I can definitely empathize. Especially when it comes to formal business wear I definitely go for quality and fit, while my casual wardrobe fits the lower end of the spectrum.


  • Eve

    I completely agree! We must combat this throwaway society.

    I’m a British fashion/travel blogger, check out my post on my recent trip to the adorable Dublin, Ireland here:

  • Anniedora

    I love this post and you’re so right

  • Lucie Colomb
  • I totally love this article and agree with all points. It is hard to find a good quality even if you pay a lot. I am faithful to several brands and I am willing to invest in them and wear them over and over again.
    Have a wonderful weekend, sweetie.

  • I love how honest and open you are. It can be so hard to balance your love of fashion with your love of the environment, sustainability and ethical practices. I am at that point because I went to school for fashion created a blog but got to a point where I didn’t know if I could do any of it because it felt wrong to me. But I am trying to work through that and still loving fashion but also holding these bands accountable and making sure they know that we the consumer are watching. Great post!

    xx, Teeara

  • Great post! I totally agree with you.

  • robert
  • Sophie Lee

    This is so well-written, totally agree with you <3

    xoxo, All about trendy hats

  • lauren

    what an insightful article!!!!

  • neha goyal

    Dress & outfits are looking very fashionable.

  • Jenny

    Such a great post! I absolutely agree with you!

  • Minal Kanwal
  • haya khaan

    informative and impressive post love it

  • Liz Kao

    I love this. thanks for the insight. makes me more conscientious of where i put my money in fashion xoxo


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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