READ THIS BEFORE ADDING LUXURY TO YOUR CLOSET
People are always talking about saving money. We're not afraid of going to the other side. C'mon, let's spoil ourselves.
We all have something perpetually sitting at the top of our wish lists…right?! Currently topping ours: a classic double-breasted Balmain blazer, in black, gold hardware, yup, all twenty-four hundred bucks of it. It’s by far the most exquisitely tailored jacket available right now. It simultaneously cinches your waist and gives you a sleek, strong-shouldered silhouette that makes you look like you put lots of thought into your outfit, even if you’re wearing it with a plain white tee and old skinnies. It turns anything basic into a lit AF outfit. Our favorite part? It’s pure exemplification that you can have an elevated style aesthetic while committing to a cruelty-free wardrobe. Both the velvet and cotton versions use no animal products. Victory.
Although all luxury isn’t created equal – we all know some of it is just a fancy label slapped on something basic – there’s a certain status factor that comes along with owning things that only the elite (or those who like to pretend we are) can afford. There’s no doubt that owning expensive, beautiful, and in the case of Hermès, rare things makes us feel more accomplished, more successful, and like we made it (aw), especially when you work to own them versus being gifted them. But you want to make sure you make the right choices when splurging. You can’t just buy anything. Your decisions should be premeditated and thoughtfully considered.
True luxury, whether it’s a piece of fine jewelry, a piece of luggage, an SLG, or anything between, is designed to stand the test of time. They are well-crafted and generally made with durability in mind. These are not pieces that should be replaced often. They are also not pieces that should sit on your shelf to collect dust. If you are going to drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars on certain forever pieces (oh, hello Chanel!), you’d better plan on using it until it falls apart at the seams (more on that in a sec). There’s nothing worse than buying something and hating it as soon as you go to wear it. Okay, buying something and realizing your accidentally left the bag in the back of your Uber hours later would be worse, but buyer’s regret sucks. When you splurge on something you want to love it for years. Here’s how to make the right choice when deciding what to splurge on.
Calculate the CPW
A.k.a. the cost-per-wear, or how much you pay each time to wear something. The equation would be the price you paid for it divided by number of times you’ve worn it. Using this formula, the lower the CPW for a certain piece, the more bang for your buck you will get. Granted, this will be an estimation, but you will calculate this number based off of two factors: what void it will potentially fill in your wardrobe, if any, and the CPW of similar items in your closet. This way, you will get a pretty accurate figure to use to judge whether the splurge is worth it in terms of how useful it will be to your wardrobe. What you want to avoid is splurging on pieces that will not close gaps or fill holes in your closet because you won’t end up getting your money’s worth. Pieces that have clear-cut roles are the pieces that will be worn the most, therefore will accumulate the lowest CPW.
If you already have a large black structured handbag that is in good condition, don’t splurge on a Saint Laurent Sac Du Jour because there is no distinct need for that addition. It’s not improving the function of your wardrobe and could potentially do the opposite. It may seem like having multiples or slight variations of the same pieces will increase the utility of your wardrobe by providing variety, but what tends to happen with having excess options is that, not only does it become a struggle to navigate your closet, but those multiples don’t get worn enough to dwindle the CPW down to a reasonable figure.
It’s much smarter to have versatile pieces that not only serve specific purposes, but can be mixed and matched within your wardrobe effortlessly. This way you have less stuff to sift through and creating outfits becomes a much more streamlined process. Besides, if you’re going to be dropping major bucks on something, you’d better get something that can be styled with a good chunk of your wardrobe.
If you are contemplating buying something that is very similar to something you already have, first really consider if it’s worth the valuable space in your closet. Aesthetically speaking, do you absolutely love it Once you decide it’s definitely something you anticipate you will be excited to incorporate into your outfits, you want to estimate how often you see yourself potentially wearing it, making sure to take into consideration the pieces that serve the same purpose in your closet. Typically, pieces that are similar to something you already have are not pieces you should be spending too much on because you’re not going to get as much us out of it as you would something that you have nothing similar to. This doesn’t mean you have to go the cheap, disposable route. But you do want to make sure that your splurge pieces are the ones you’re going to get the most use out of so you eventually get your money’s worth.
There are exceptions. Let’s say you have a uniform of pencil skirts and bodysuits. This is your go-to look for work, date nights, and casual weekend activities. With the right accessories, you even find a way to make this work for fancier events and special occasions. In this case, it would be wise to have a few similar versions of the same skirt or bodysuit to account for laundering/dry cleaning, and just to have a healthy dose of variety. Because you wear the style so often, you can get a decently low CPW for each of them even though they’re similar.
Decide if it will be an investment piece
FACT: the term, “investment piece” and the phrase, “investing in your wardrobe” get thrown around a lot and they’re often misused. Typically, when advised to invest in your wardrobe, you’re told to invest in good jeans, high-quality basics, you know how it goes. But dropping $60-$90 bucks on an LNA tee or a couple grand on a capsule collection of Equipment button front tops for work isn’t a true investment as there is no potential for a future profit. In other words, although designed well and made to last, after you purchase those kinds of items, most likely you won’t be able to sell them for more money than you purchased them for. You’ll be pretty lucky to even be able to sell it for half of what you paid for it once it’s been worn.
Legitimate investment pieces are pieces whose value will increase after the moment of purchase, not decrease with time even despite being used/worn. It’s the same principle of investing in real estate. The most classic investment piece is a classic Chanel bag — think a style like the medium double flap. Unlike most designer bags that typically fall into the IT bag category, the value of this bag increases every year. That means if you purchase it today, five, ten years down the line you will probably get what you paid for it and more. And that’s true even if it’s gently worn. If it’s seen a considerable amount of wear and tear, you’ll still get at least what you paid for it. But if you buy with the intention of holding onto it as an investment piece, you won’t get any signs of wear on it so you’ll certainly make a profit. Best part is you can use it to glam up your IG feed.
So, point is, if you’re going to splurge, be clear on the intentions you have for your purchase so you know whether to preserve it or not.
We bet you’ve been lusting after one of the ubiquitous Gucci Dionysus bags, huh? Seriously, who hasn’t? From the bold Blooms print to the refined black suede style, it’s by far this year’s biggest IT bag and is still reining strong into A/W. But even though this bag is constructed with fine materials and made to last, the design is so signature and so all over everyone’s Pinterest and IG feeds that this time next year everyone will be way over it. Just a predication. Who knows? Maybe the style will have some staying power, but ultimately it’s not a classic design and it will become irrelevant soon.
Bottom line is, splurging on a trend-driven piece generally isn’t smart because trends have a pre-set window for when they’re going to be relevant and when they’re going to be yesterday’s news. Unless you’re balling and can afford to spend offensive amounts on things you don’t use past a season or two, your splurges shouldn’t be the pieces that the editors inside the latest Elle, Vogue, or Harper’s Bazaar are raving about. The only case where it’s great to invest in something on-trend is if it’s something that you’re confident that you will still wear it when it’s no longer the du jour. If you check out our IG account (@gococollective) you’ll see the cold, hard evidence of our obsession with the Bardot silhouette for tops, dresses, jumpsuits, basically anything. It’s a keeper for us and worth splurging on a few pieces because it’s the most flattering silhouette on us.
Unlike when you shop the big box stores and snag cute stuff for the price of lunch, when you splurge on something luxurious, you want to make sure it’s something you’ll be able to keep on rotation in your wardrobe for years, decades if we’re talking handbags, watches, or jewelry.
Weigh it’s versatility
Remember all that talk about calculating the potential CPW before deciding on a splurge? Well, the main factor you’re considering when making your estimation is versatility. Sure, there are other factors that come into play when predicting how often you will wear an item – the fit, the comfort level, whether it’s a classic or trendy design, and the quality/durability level. But the factor that has the most influence is versatility, or how well the piece can be mixed and matched with other pieces in your wardrobe to create outfits.
Versatility can be measured in a few different ways. The most versatile items can be dressed up as easy as they can be dressed down and worn year-round. Some elements you’ll want to consider the versatility of are: the color, the style, the fit, and the fabric.
Neutrals are by far the most versatile shades. They can not only be mixed and matched with each other effortlessly, but all neutrals can be paired with even the wildest, boldest hues. But you should also consider semi-neutrals that in certain circumstances can act as neutralizers without coming off as boring or predictable. These are colors like Bordeaux, indigo (denim), blush, and leopard print/snakeskin. Aside from red, primary and secondary colors (think rainbow blue, green, orange, purple, and yellow) are the least versatile colors.
You know your personal style better than anyone – who could know who you are and who you want to be better than you? (If your style is a little all over the place, then creating a style uniform is a great place to start. You can also sign up for “Your Ideal Wardrobe,” our free 10-day email series where you will be walked through the exact steps to take to hone in on your personal style philosophy. Once you have your concept nailed, you’ll have no problem refining your personal style and curating a wardrobe around it.) Anyway, pieces that are exactly your style will get mixed and matched more within your closet because they are the pieces that make you feel your best.
Clothes that are ill-fitting definitely won’t be versatile because bad fit goes with nothing. But also think about fit more in terms of variables like loose or slim-fitting, sleek or chunky. Think about silhouette. Pieces that have bolder silhouettes are likely to be the ones that are the most difficult to pair other pieces with. On the other hand, pieces that are simpler are generally easier to style and interchange with other pieces in your wardrobe.
From a plain white tee or a pair of vintage Levi’s, cotton is one of the most versatile material because it is breathable and when constructed well, very durable. That means it’s comfortable to wear and will last. It’s not one those fussy materials that you have to be delicate with or dry clean, so it’s low-maintenance too. Another great thing about cotton is it can be layered easily so it works for all four seasons. On the contrary, materials like wool and leather are typically only appropriate for half the year, and in some warmer sub-tropical climates (oh, L.A. we’re so jealous) it’s not that wearable, so you will not use it to create outfits often.
BTW, there’s an entire day dedicated to the importance of versatility and how to curate the most versatile closet possible in our masterclass.
Consider the durability
You’re probably noticing a trend here – the more you will potentially wear something, the better a splurge it is. Hard-wearing pieces are worth the money because they will last. When it comes to measuring durability, you want focus on these two categories: the craftsmanship and the fabric used.
When you first consider buying a piece, go straight to the seams. They will tell you everything you need to know. If hanging on the rack there are already loose threads, then the item is not made well and definitely will not be durable. Thick fabrics tend to the most durable. Think high-quality denim, canvas, and cotton. (Some non-vegan durable fabrics are leather and wool).
Two whole days are dedicated to assessing quality and durability of garments in our free 10-day masterclass, just saying.
Have a maintenance plan in order
Confession: one thing we’ve never been great at is taking care of our stuff. Our mom used to always say, “That’s why you don’t have anything. You don’t know how to take care of anything.” We’ve made some strides, but TBH, we still have a long way to go. It’s mostly because for our college and early-twenties years (yup, we’re practically old ladies now) we were all caught up in the fast fashion game where everything is disposable anyway. There was rarely something we owned during that span of time that was even worth taking care of. But now that we’re working on consciously curating a versatile, fully functional wardrobe, we’re all about selectively adding in pieces that we will adore, even if that means occasionally going the extra mile to make sure they’re well-maintained.
Here’s the thing: forever bags are only forever bags if you take care of them properly. If you’re thinking about picking up a pair of luxury designer everyday shoes, make sure you’re comfortable potentially having to get them resoled. Maintaining high end accessories can potentially go farther than storing them in dust bags. Depending on the material it’s made out of, you may even have to go as far as getting it professionally polish and cleaned. When it comes to splurge clothing or outerwear items, you might want to invest in getting it tailored so it fits you and only you.
If you’re not going to be willing to properly maintain your splurge, then you should reconsider if you really want to add it to your wardrobe.
Wait three months before purchasing
If nothing else, a splurge should never be an impulsive purchase. It should be a well-thought out decision based on all the factors listed above. They say it take 90 days to break a habit. Steve Harvey says that’s the amount of time you should be monogamous with a guy before having sex. Point is, there something special about that three-month mark and we think it’s the ideal amount of time to spend contemplating a significant purchase.
We know, we know – waiting three months seems like forever. Trust us, we get it. When you want something, you want it five seconds ago. There’s nothing wrong with taking this approach with cheap, trendy clothes that don’t do any damage to your bank account. But with pieces that you’re going to be saving up for, you want to make sure you’re making the smartest decision and aren’t reacting to an impulse.
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting something because certain people have them or certain people are saying they’re cool. Giving yourself 90 days to consider purchasing gives your head time to clear. Besides, three months is the perfect amount of time to properly save up for an item so you don’t have to go into the hole. More on that next.
Don’t go into debt over it
There is just no fashion item, not even the crème de la crème Balmain jacket we mentioned at the beginning of this post, that’s worth going into the hole for. If you can’t afford it, wait until you can and pay cash or debit.
Saving up can actually be fun. First, start out by pricing your splurge piece. Next, pick out a goal date of purchase. To make it easier, and perhaps even a little more rewarding, you can choose a date that already has significance to you – your birthday, an upcoming graduation, the anniversary of when you quit your 9-5, think along those lines.
After you have your date selected, be detailed about planning how you’re going to save up enough money to actually purchase your splurge piece. Calculate how much per paycheck you will have to contribute to your fund. A great place to start is 5%. But if you can commit to contributing more, great. Also factor in any bonus money, like if your birthday is coming up, that you can add to the fund. During this step, you may find that you have to readjust your goal date and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s actually best to add a little cushion or contingency of time to account for any unexpected expenses that may come up while you’re saving. This way you avoid being disappointed.
SN: A great way to make some extra money to contribute to your fund is by cleaning out your closet and selling any unwanted (but lightly worn) pieces on sites like Depop.
Remember, what will be worth the splurge in your wardrobe is completely unique to your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle. But if you want a little inspiration, below in the “SHOP THIS POST” section, we’ve curated the top 10 luxe pieces we’re currently coveting. All these pieces will instantly step up the cache of your wardrobe while elevating any look. Best part is they’re also all cruelty-free.
Have you made any luxury splurges in your wardrobe? Were they great purchases you stand by today or do you regret them? If so, do you have anything to add to the list above that will help others make better splurges? Do share in the comments section below.
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