One bag, black or brown. The one guideline here is to get a classic shape without any crazy frills or hardware. If you take care of it, no one will be able to tell if you’ve had it for one week or three years. And you don’t need one of each because you can wear black and brown items together, remember!?
Wool coat. A classic-cut, quality coat will last for years and it’ll be challenged with furious wind, snow, rain and icy temps, so don’t be stingy. In the doldrums of February, you will be glad you have that pwetty wool frock to hold you back from a deep depression. Pick a neutral color so you can play with fun colored gloves & scarves and make sure the cut looks fantastic on your body type. If you live in the Midwest and have to wear wool coats for most of the year, I think it’s fun to get a few less expensive, trendy coats to add to the mix, but make sure to have that fancy staple as your outerwear backbone.
Denim. That fits really, really well; in a classic cut and dark wash. You can wear lots of cheap stuff with fantastic jeans and still look grrreat. Alternately, if you wear ill-fitting jeans, it will throw your whole look off and distract from any expensive pieces you’ve paired with it. How much to splurge on jeans is a fine line. There’s no need to drop a fat load on jeans but you do need to hit a certain price range to get a pair that fit well, don’t lose their shape easily and last a long time. Good thing is, you don’t need more than a few pairs: Bootcut for heels & wedges, skinny jeans for flats, sandals & tucking into boots; and maybe a black pair of skinnies. That’s it.
Watch. Because you (should) wear it every day! It’s an insanely classic piece of jewelry that will dress up almost anything. Splurge and get a watch from one of your favorite designers. Because you’re investing, take time to consider a style that fits your wardrobe and level of dressiness. If you’re an old-school or earthy type, try a leather band with a modest, clean face; if you’re a bit glam or wear lots of neutral colors, opt for a gold, mens style with a large face; if you don’t want your watch to overpower the rest of your look, stick with a simple white gold band; if you’re super feminine, wear mostly neutrals and want to be a bit trendy, rose gold is a fun choice.
SAVE (buy it cheap)
Trend-centric colors. Hues that move with the tide of trends. This summer was all about neon, mint & coral so I got a few inexpensive dresses, skirts & tanks. These are summer fling items. Have some fun in them for a few weeks, then accept that they may lose their fresh edge and sit in your closet for years. If you spend very little on these pieces, you needn’t feel remorse!
Most shoes. Definitely shoes with fun colors and even neutral, classic pumps don’t need to be way expensive. If you’re a true shoe maven, it’s tough to spend $100 on each pair and most importantly, you really don’t need to. Trends fluctuate and it’s nice to have lots of options. If you want to splurge on a pair or two, go with brown or black knee-high heel boots and a black or nude pump. While I’m all about investing in classic pieces, I have very inexpensive shoes that last just as long as my expensive pairs. God, I love shoes.
Wallets, clutches, colored bags. Same reasoning as above. You will want several options depending on the event and colored bags will certainly not match everything. That’s what you have your pricey black bag for, right?
Blouses. Styles change, babe. Even with blouses. Plus, there are so many variations to suit your mood or the season, it helps to have a whole heap of em. Button-down, peter pan collar, studded, frilly, bright, neutral, print, and so on. If the blouse is made of viscose or polyester, it’s still going to look dressy and expensive even if it was $20. Especially if you pair it with nice jeans, a high-quality bag and classic jewelry like a watch and diamond studs. Ooh, the trickery!
If you’re struggling between that $150 buy or the $30 version, no matter what the item, give yourself a quick quiz to determine whether or not to feel utter and total regret or complete fashion satisfaction over an expensive purchase:
- Is there a very obvious quality difference to the naked eye? (If you can you “pull off” the inexpensive version with clever concealing, then go that route)
- Are you having trouble finding the exact shape/design/cut you want with the less expensive options? (then just buy it already!)
- Is it following a trend or something that would still be convincingly chic years from now? (If trendy, opt for cheap)
- How many different colors, cuts, styles or versions of this do you want? (If more than two, go for the save)
- Is this particular spendy item poised to be your most valuable item and something you will wear in more than one season for more than one year? (If yes, if truly yes, then do it)