Your Closet: When to Splurge and When to Save
Over the last few years I've worked very, very hard on my wardrobe. I've never been one to be entirely happy with my clothes and my "look" since...well, I've never really had one. It's constantly changing (like my mood) and I've always found it incredibly hard to have consistency in my clothing.
I hate to admit it, but I've put a lot of time, effort and money into my wardrobe over the last few years, and by doing so I've learned a lot about knowing when to splurge on items, and when to save a few bucks.
I don't have an endless supply of money flowing through my bank account (as much as I'd like there to be) so I've had to be very picky about where I buy clothing and accessories. I'm going to share with you a few tips today that I've learned if you're struggling to create the perfect wardrobe as well.
Know what your "must have" items are. Whether it's purses, shoes, jewelry, denim or sweaters, pick one item that you absolutely MUST buy in a higher quality. For me, it's denim. Denim is my kryptonite. I wear it almost every day and it has taken me a very, very long time (circa early 2000's) to find brands of denim that I absolutely LOVE. I decided that American Eagle and Bluenotes jeans on sale at 2 for $40 were not cutting it anymore since I was going through denim more than I was going through bottles of wine. Now I stick to a select few brands that I don't mind paying a little extra out-of-pocket for once in a while. Also, because I'm spending a little bit more on these items than I normally would, I find that I tend to be a little more stubborn about what styles, colours and cuts I buy and I try to avoid buying "trendy" denim. And guess what? They are lasting me way longer than the cheapies I was buying before.
Stick to the basics when it comes to splurging. When I'm browsing through a higher-end store I try to only pick out items that I know are going to stay in my wardrobe for at least a few years. For example, I buy a lot of plain camisoles, turtlenecks, t-shirts and classic (little black) dresses that cost a little bit more. If it's something I'm only going to wear once, I don't splurge on it. Also, when I'm trying things on that cost a little more money, I try to picture at least 5 outfits or events that I can wear that item with or at. If I can see myself strolling around the Bayfront AND going out for drinks with the girls in it, then I'll buy it.
If you've been dying for an item for a really long time, take the extra time to shop around until you find the perfect one. I really wanted a sweater dress for the Fall for the last two years. I probably tried on 30 different styles at 30 different stores until I found one that I absolutely fell in love with. There were so many that were mediocre that I could've bought but I knew the right one for the right price was out there waiting for me. Lo and behold, I found the perfect one at Oak & Fort, and because I had been searching for so long I didn't mind spending a little extra on it.
Special occasion shoes and dresses that I'm only going to wear once I usually buy used. Basically, if I'm only going to wear it once, I'm not spending more than $40 on it.
You can find really great name brands second-hand. I bought a pair of tall black matte Hunter boots off of Kijiji for $80. The heels were worn down a bit, so I took them to a local Shoe Cobbler who put a brand new heel and sole on them, and buffed them up to make them look all shiny and new for $20. In total, I paid $100 for a pair of rain boots that retail for $200+ brand new.
You have to go thrift shopping A LOT to find great deals. I have friends ask me constantly how I "find such amazing deals all the time." It's as simple as this: I go thrift shopping 10 times a month and only walk out of the store with a bag in my hand (maybe) two of those times. You really have to search for the gold when you're thrift shopping, and sometimes the gold is hidden really, really well.
Spend the extra money on a really good Winter coat. I went years cycling through cheap Winter coats wondering why I was always freezing to death every time it snowed. Then I splurged on a really great Parka from Aritzia and 3 years later it still looks brand new and I don't even feel the cold when it snows. If you live in Canada a Winter coat is an investment, and it's not an option. You'll thank me later.
If you're buying very trendy pieces, don't splurge. If it's only going to be in style for a season or two, why would you spend $100 on it when it has no long term value in your wardrobe? It's just going to wind up sitting in there season after season or being donated to Value Village because you can't re-sell it.
Don't buy just because a salesperson makes you feel obligated to. If a salesperson is being pushy, don't be afraid to say that you're thinking about it and you might come back later. Most stores let you put items on hold for a day so that you can think it over. If it's costing you a couple hours worth of work on your pay-check, then think about it. You're not there to make the salesperson money, you're there to spend your own hard earned cash on something you LOVE.
It comes down to this:
Take your time, think it over and don't splurge unless you know it's something you're going to love for a very, very long time. Just remember that basics never goes out of style, but trends do.
That's why they're called "classics!"