Thrifty Living: No, I don't want to dress like sienna, even if it is cheap
Saturday 15 March 2008
Spend thrift Janie comes round for a cup of tea, looking very pleased with herself. "Ever heard of the Sienna syndrome?" she asks, semi-rhetorically. I try to look as if I am very up to date. Trouble is, I can't immediately remember exactly who Sienna Miller is. Is she the one who was dumped by Jude Law for the nanny, or the one who was hooked mid-nanny, or the one who was seduced post-nanny, but later dumped just before the Olivier Awards? I think the problem is that she has one of those instantly forgettable faces, a bit like Dido.
So, no. I haven't heard about her syndrome, although it could be the making of her. After all, you have to be pretty special in order to have a real syndrome named after you (as Baron Munchausen might agree, were he still around).
"Sienna syndrome is the name given to people who want to look like a star. Actually, for those who want to look like Sienna Miller. But can't afford it," continues Janie happily. Is that all? So what's the cure? "Finding cheap ways of looking like her, of course."
I'm trying to get my head around wanting to look like someone whose looks I can't actually recall; in which case, why would you want to look like her in the first place? "All right, call it the Duffy syndrome if you like," says Janie, irritated. "Or the Kate syndrome, but without the help of Topshop."
OK, I get it. In another era it would have been known as good old-fashioned envy. Now, however, it is dressed up as a "syndrome". And not a very serious one either, as relief can be found via outlets such as asos.com, which guides you towards the Sienna look, the Posh look or the J-Lo look, or TK Maxx, which has such a plethora of slashed-price designer goods that should you suffer from a multitude of syndromes, you could look like one star in the morning, another in the afternoon and another at bed-time.
And yet, you have to be a bit of a devoted shopper to really deal with your syndrome. Asos.com has a whole range of rather chavvish stuff to avoid; and who has time for TK Maxx, unless you have an entire morning to "find your size and flick through" one of its cavernous stores?
As ever, the French seem to have found a voguish way around this. They have come up with a rather jolly website that purports to offer "private" sales of Sienna looky-likey designer goods at huge discounts, a little at a time. Brand Alley is its name. It was invented in France in 2005, and launched in the UK last month.
The idea is that Brand Alley operates as a sort of discounted e-boutique, with everything cut in price by 30 to 70 per cent. The site is billed as a vente privée, (meaning private sale, but a very chic one), under the banner of specific designer labels. The catch? Each vente privée only lasts three or four days, with about four different sales a week, each of which starts and finishes on different dates.
Chloé, D&G, Fendi and Elle Macpherson underwear are some of the brands that have already been flogged cheap on Brand Alley. Soon to come will be sales from Guess childrenswear, Nike iPod running accessories (in time for the London Marathon) and Gucci sunglasses (in time for the sunny weather, ha ha). The stuff on sale comes from excess manufacture on certain lines, and has been picked by Brand Alley's buyer. Everything is in authentic packaging, and there's an eight-day return and refund policy.
According to the press people, Brand Alley also acts as a "style concierge", as there's quite a limited choice. Each vente privée only has about 12 items on show, or at most, three pages. In Brand Alley's view, this signals exclusivity. In my view, this signals smart marketing, and should be the way all online fashion outlets operate. If a site is too enormous (net-a-porter.com), it just seems far too troublesome to venture into, and as for TK Maxx, forget it. I prefer living, rather than devoting my life to "finding my size and flicking through".
Once you sign up to Brand Alley, you are "invited" by email to every sale. This, of course, could be the end to any meaningful frugality, as Spendthrift Janie guiltily admits. "I've bought Diesel jeans and a gorgeous pair of Fendi sunglasses," she said. "But, at 70 per cent off, I sort of had to do it. And I am suffering from a syndrome, you know."
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Five Questions: Changes to car tax discs
Ticking time bomb: Interest rate rises are coming, so start preparing now
More than 300,000 adults are too deeply in debt to apply for bankruptcy
What is pension death tax, what is going to change and how will it affect you?
Almost two million people are facing winter weather without heating
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
Day In a Page
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors