Where to spend; where to save?

20150517_154905As we approach sales season, its a good time to plan ahead and decide where its really worth spending more on quality items.  There are a few guidelines that have served me well over the years, so well in fact that I realise that there are some items in my wardrobe I’ve had for over 20 years now.   So what is it really worth spending a bit more on?

  • Classic items and quality basics that combine easily with other things (Q: how many outfit combinations can you imagine the item alongside?)20150517_154556
  • Items that will lift everything else, from a classic handbag or a beautiful scarf to a great pair of jeans
  • Items distinguished by their design and quality – Sacai and Comme Des Garcons deliver designs that often become classics because they are so individual
  • Things that you expect to cherish for years – we have all experienced that coup de coeur of seeing the item that you just know was made for you…
  • Things that hold or gain value – very few do in the fashion world so beware anything described as an “investment”, but there are two notable exceptions: Hermes handbags and Chanel jewellery (costume as well as real) as well as some other more specific collectables.

20150517_150238Examples?  Generally spending more on these will be worth it: handbags and shoes; eye-glasses; a suit (quality and fit really show); a leather jacket (but vintage is a good option too); your haircut.

Items where you can afford to go low end: peacoat (to take whatever the weather throws at it); basic chelsea boots/brogues for rainwear; travel tote; sunglasses (fashions change fast); white shirts/t-shirts; tights & socks (with the possible exception of cashmere socks – a wonderful luxury); marinieres (lots of wear and wash).

Finally, a note on the exceptional: what to do if you need an amazing evening dress or a hat for the races? Fix your budget before you shop, decide how many wears and years you want to get out of it and be strict with yourself. The more trend-driven and eye-catching the item, the more it may restrict how much use you can make of it. If you absolutely fall for something and want to blow your budget, sleep on it before acting….you may regret being too impulsive and these kinds of purchases always carry the danger that you will fall hopelessly in love with an exceptional piece and go berserk.

Finally, William Morris’s benchmark remains hard to beat: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – If it ticks both of those boxes, lifts your heart and fits your budget, have no hesitation in making it yours.


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