The older I get, the more I understand the value of investing in great quality pieces for my wardrobe. But being a person who loves to shop and who also appreciates trends, it can be difficult to know when to splurge on a more expensive item and when to save my money for something I’ll really appreciate and enjoy for years to come.
If you’re working on sharpening your shopping skills, here are some great tips that will keep you on the road to making wise purchasing decisions!
Is It Comfortable? 1 of 7
This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but I've definitely shelled out a bit too much cash for a pair of shoes with impractical heels and poor construction. Everyone's foot is made differently, so it's important to try on a pair of shoes and decide which ones arch just right for a comfortable fit. High heels don't need to be mean discomfort! I've learned that it's worth spending more money on a pair of heels that are well made, padded, and properly arched.
Similarly, when I spend money on nice jeans or a pretty dress, I like to make sure that I feel really great when I'm wearing them. For me, the comfort of jeans depends on where the rise hits my waist. For other gals, I know that it's all about how they fit their thighs. Decide on the most important area of fit for you, and make sure that you're completely happy with how something fits you before you make an impulse buy that you'll later regret.
Another little detail to consider when you're considering comfort is how much your weight fluctuates. If you've lost a bit of weight recently, you certainly should be allowed to reward yourself with a new purchase, but beware of spending too much on that purchase until you've maintained that weight for a few months. You never know how much weight will creep back on, and you would really hate it if you couldn't get into the $150 pair of jeans that you just splurged on!
Is It Trendy? 2 of 7
Because our culture is so in touch with media, we're easily influenced by trends. It's okay to spend money on trendy clothes, but try to be aware if what you're buying is something you really like. Have you just become open to it because you've seen styles like it on your friends or in department stores?
Beware of shelling out too much cash on fads, which are outrageous styles that fly quickly onto the fashion scene and then disappear just as quickly. An example of current fashion fad would be the vertical striped pants that we've seen so much of in the past year. They're a lot of fun and they're easy to wear with a big, classic black sweater. But don't overspend on a pair of these pants. Instead put that money towards the classic black sweater that you know you'll love for years to come.
First pair of pants available at ASOS for $231.37
Second pair of pants available at Daily Look for 34.99
Is It Flattering? 3 of 7
Another problem with trendy clothes is that they are often more of a statement than an asset to your figure. Let's consider capri pants and crop tops. Sure, they have their moment in time, but are they really valuable? Are they going to become investment pieces in my wardrobe? I'm going to have to say no.
When I decide to spend a lot of money on something for my wardrobe, an important factor is how that item accentuates my figure. I know that 1950's dresses are a great look for my bustier frame, so spending a good amount of money on a dress in that style isn't as big of a decision for me. I know that I look good in it, and it's not just a trendy item that might look awful on my figure.
To figure out what clothes are the most flattering on your body, it might be helpful to have a little photo shoot in the dressing room or in your bedroom at home. It's easier to evaluate how you feel about an outfit in a photo than in front of the mirror. Once you've decided what styles you like best on your body, make a mental note and know that these will be your wardrobe investment purchases in the future.
Plus Size Calvin Klein dress available from Nordstrom for $158
Is It High Quality? 4 of 7
Just because something is expensive, doesn't mean it's well made! Sometimes when you are paying more for a designer item, you're just paying for the label not the craftsmanship. If you only plan on wearing the item a few times, quality isn't something that should be a major factor in your purchase.
If you're splurging, you probably intend to keep the wardrobe item for years to come, right? So you'll want to examine the stitching at the seams, the fiber content (natural fibers are more comfortable and age better), the knit, and the pattern run. Does the pattern match at the seams? If so, then the manufacturers probably paid attention to other details in construction too.
Be aware that satin fabrics won't last as long as regular weave fabrics, because a longer portion of the thread is sitting at the surface, making it vulnerable to snags. Sheer fabric is also vulnerable and blended fabrics tend to pill as time goes on, so watch out for those too!
Above jeans are from Imogene + Willie for $225. Imogene + Willie are known for their high quality jeans.
Is It Easy to Lose? 5 of 7
This might seem like a silly question to ask, but if you're someone who's frequently losing sunglasses, then maybe you shouldn't be splurging on a pricey pair of Ray Bans. Forever losing your winter gloves? Then get them at Target instead of at Bergdorf Goodman.
I love to wear earrings, but I'm always taking them off and forgetting where I laid them down. So now I know not to spend too much money on a pair, because often times I only get to wear them once or twice before they disappear! Bottom line don't spend a lot of money on something that you will probably end up losing.
First pair of sunglasses available from Bergdorf Goodman for $450
Second pair of sunglasses available from Target for $12.99
Is It True Love? 6 of 7
Sure, returns are always a possibility. But it's better to know you really love something before you bring it into your closet. My personal rule is that if something costs more than $100, I have to consider it for a week before purchasing. If I lay awake in bed thinking about that dress, and if I'm still day dreaming about it a week after finding it in the store or online, then I know it's true love.
Set your own standards and timeframe for considering a splurge. Don't make an impulse buy at the store, because if you carelessly spend your shopping money on something you only "kind of" like, then what will you do when you stumble on true love and you're penniless? That's a sure recipe for a wardrobe heartbreak.
Above is a silk velvet dress from Toast for $266 that I absolutely love, but have been waiting to see if I find something else like it before I take the plunge.
Is it in Your Budget? 7 of 7
The easiest way I decide on making an expensive wardrobe purchase is if I have money for it in my budget. Before I kept a strict budget, I used to splurge way more often on clothes that I didn't absolutely love. I didn't analyze big purchases like I do now, because the monetary restrictions weren't there.
I still love to spend money on clothes. But at the beginning of each month, I put a specific amount of money into an envelope and once that money's gone, my shopping fun is over. Sometimes that means I have to save up for months to get something I really want, but that's when I know it's true love and worth the wait.
However you decide to budget your shopping money is up to you, of course! What happens if you fall in love with a splurge-worthy item that fits all of the other criteria laid out in the previous slides, but you don't have the money for it? It's not worth the splurge! Maybe try skipping your daily lattes or going out to eat less often. If it's worth the splurge, then maybe it's worth the sacrifice!
Above is an Orla Kiely dress from ASOS for $530 that I absolutely love, but will never be able to afford!