I keep thinking about those articles in the back of Elle and Glamour called Dos and Don’ts and things like that. I love them because they feel expert, definitive: a welcome change from life’s shades of gray. Of course they’re snarky, exclusive, aspirational…that’s a big part of the appeal. In the end they tend to provide pretty sound advice. Here’s a take on my favorite of the genre: Save vs. Splurge (an expert guide to fashion budget allocation).
1. Tee Shirts and Cotton Underthings Cotton basics need to be replaced often so don’t spend money on them : ) The good news is there’s virtually no difference between yummy 100% cotton tee shirts from Walmart or Saks.
2. Anything Trendy Who doesn’t love a good trend? They’re fun and keep things relevant, but they have a short half-life. A good rule of thumb: don’t spend on things you won’t want to wear in two seasons.
3. Sneakers, Gym Clothes, Phone Cases "Don't invest in sneakers, gym clothes, or phone cases," says Nordstrom fashion director Jeffrey Kalinsky. High-use items that need to be replaced often shouldn’t be investment pieces.
1. Coats and Outerwear Never underestimate the power of outerwear! Start with a dark neutral coat that’s classic, cut well and warm (the best fabric you can afford). Over time add pea coats, trenches, and other timeless styles to your capsule.
2. Jackets Like outerwear, great jackets are wardrobe heroes. Spend money on traditional, expertly tailored jackets in dark colors (first). They should be versatile and a little sexy: something you can wear with a pencil skirt, 501s or a slip dress.
3. Shoes and Handbags Get the best you can afford because these are signature pieces that define everything else you wear and put it in context. Start with a statement bag you love—maybe in a neutral so it can be worn throughout the year. Consider adding other classics annually. Regarding shoes-fine black pumps or oxfords are a good place to begin.
The big take-away here is to invest in classic luxury pieces that serve you over time and save money on everything else. Start shopping this way!
Remember that all this advice can be heeded on the second-hand market to great effect.
Thank you to references from Elle Magazine, Diply, and Vogue Magazine.