Most of us shop with a relatively limited clothing budget and have to make some choices regarding how we spend and what we invest in versus what we don’t. When it comes to when to splurge, some garments are investment pieces that will last for years and remain wearable throughout those years. A few rules can help you spend smart to create a wardrobe that is practical, fashionable and meshes well with your lifestyle.
If you need classic professional attire, tailored pieces are a smart investment, including wool skirts, blazers and dress pants. Choose heavier wools for winter wear and lighter, tropical weight wools for warmer weather. Avoid trendy cuts and select garments that work well with your figure. Classic options include pencil and A-line skirts, two-button and three-button blazers with a moderate lapel, and trouser-cut or straight-leg pants. Don’t hesitate to invest in alterations for a perfect fit.
When your lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to trousers and blazers, you may find good-quality fine wool or cashmere cardigans, well-fitting jeans, or outerwear a smart long-term investment. If you’re opting to splurge on jeans, look for a cut that won’t be dated in a year or two. Straight-leg and boot-cut styles are the least likely to go out of style, particularly if you opt for a midrise jean. Outerwear, from wool coats to leather jackets, can keep you cozy for years.
Top-quality shoes, boots and bags can also be a worthwhile indulgence. Again, skip the trendy pieces in favor of versatile and wearable ones. Basic pumps, ballet flats, and flat or heeled knee-high boots will last for years, particularly with an occasional visit to the shoe repair shop. A medium-size handbag or larger tote in basic black or another neutral can also serve you well. While those splurges and investment pieces can help create a classic, core wardrobe, you’ll want to freshen it up with on-trend pieces.
Lower priced tops and casual sweaters can provide color and variety for the office or weekend wear. This year’s jeans can come at a bargain price, as can bright bags and heels. Cotton knits, from tees to maxi skirts, can be bought relatively inexpensively and replaced when they wear.
Try this test when deciding when to splurge whether its investing your dollars or spending on more pieces for the same price.
○ Will it last for years?
○ Do you want it to last for years?
If the answer to these is a no, keep your spending within budget. If the answer is a yes, consider saving up and buying one item you love, rather than several you only like.