This weekend, I received an ecstatic text message from Amanda. She found adorable patent leather Jimmy Choo wedges for a STEAL. They were so “Amanda,” a fabulous price, and a timeless piece. She may have gone out for chicken, but she came back with Choos.
That happens sometimes. Maybe its milk and Manolos, or produce and Prada, but sometimes we go out and find an amazing deal on a must-have-or-I-will-surely-die item. The question is – should I splurge? I recently found an elusive Diane von Furstenberg dress for $60. I found myself in the age old conundrum – it was chic, discounted, and I may never find this deal again. Should I splurge?
The next time you find yourself wondering if you should make an unexpected fashion investment, ask yourself these questions:
1. Can I afford it? Of course this should be the first question, but it can be a tricky one! A splurge often occurs outside your regular budget. In all honesty, sometimes we buy the designer jeans on clearance even if it dips into next week’s budget. As long as you are smart, honest, and responsible about your finances, I think this is okay. A true one-off piece at a great discount that you are willing to invest in might be worth cutting back on your daily Starbucks habit for a week or two. However, if you have to seriously cut back for a month or two, or if it jeopardizes your ability to pay rent, buy groceries, or get to work, the answer is a firm no. Buy things you love at a price you love more – and never sacrifice your true priorities in the name of fashion.
2. Is it an asset to my wardrobe? Sometimes we get caught up in the find, we lose sight of the item we are about to invest in. Lets say you have four Little Black Dresses with 3/4 sleeves and a v-neck. Even if you’re holding a $40 black Theory dress with 3/4 sleeves and a v-neck, it is simply not a closet asset. If your wardrobe is filled with professional suits and dresses, Prada sneakers won’t be a great addition. A sequined Marchesa gown might not be the most practical choice for a stay-at-home mum. Build a closet you love filled with versatile, functional pieces – even if you have to forego the Missoni blouse at a great price.
3. Will I wear it? This is the most difficult question for me, because I suddenly become Becky Bloomwood. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve bought sometimes because “they’ll call me The Girl in the Green Scarf.” The thing is, I never wear green… Once you’ve determined if you can afford the item and if it will compliment your wardrobe, decide if you will actually wear it. You may be able to afford the classic cashmere cardigan, but do you wear cardigans? You might like the style of the James Perse t-shirt, but perhaps t-shirts aren’t something you ever wear. Once you have a true style defined, you’ll invest in quality pieces that you’ll wear all the time.
Here’s the key: invest in quality pieces you love. When you love the price, love the item, and love the possibilities, you’ve made a smart decision on an unexpected fashion investment. When Amanda found a great sale (#1!) on a pair of classic wedges (#2!) that she could wear to work (#3!), she made a small splurge and invested in a fabulous wardrobe asset.