I’m sixteen and flipping through a magazine when I come across a side-by-side “Save or Splurge” piece that shows two identical tops, two identical skirts, two identical pairs of sandals… with two very different price points. I scan the save column and am still not impressed by the supposedly “savers” price tag. I go online and find yet another identical top for half the price. I order it and proceed to feel like I’ve outsmarted everyone.
This has roughly been my philosophy on shopping into adulthood. Why would I pay more than I have to? Why not wait a few weeks and then buy it on sale? I know I can find something just as cute if I do a deep internet search.
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve splurged on my wardrobe. Yes, if you’ve been following along you will have noticed I recently bought a purse that came with a price tag so high that I let my mother think it was a knockoff from Chinatown – sorry mom! How did someone like me – a self-proclaimed deal lover – decide a bag is worth as much as a plane ticket to Europe?
Here is a savers advice on when to make that wardrobe splurge:
When you can’t get it out of your mind. I’m talking star-crossed lovers longing here people. I was 19 when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, home of – among many things – Guccio Gucci and his namesake luxury label. On one of my last free afternoons of the semester, I took a solo stroll down the main shopping street. A red, tasseled cross body caught my eye and thinking, “what would a semester in Florence be without stepping foot inside the Gucci flagship?” I went in. I was so close to draining what was left of my account on that perfect bag when reality gripped me. I thought you cannot spend this much money on a purse and about the fact that it would mean saying no to a final trip with friends. So instead I went to Rome the following weekend for my third time that semester.
And guess what? I regret it to this day.
Conventional wisdom says “experiences will bring you more joy than things,” but as I found myself posing for pictures in front of the same monuments as a few months ago and shivering in my tiny peacoat coat (none of the movies show Italy in December when it’s cold), I wished I had bought myself that ultimate Florentine souvenir.
When you know it will work for your life. While some may disagree with this, I say pick a splurge that you can use in your regular life. Nothing perks up a dreary Monday like your favorite bright coat, or makes you feel glam at a happy hour with friends like your signature statement earrings. To me, special occasions are special enough that they often don’t also need some massive new purchase like a designer gown I will likely wear only wear once or twice. I love that this little bag is the perfect size for a night out but the soft color also makes it work during daytime with almost any outfit. I get a thrill every time I carry it – so why not make that as often as possible?
Plan for it like you would any big purchase. When planning a vacation do you start by buying the first plane ticket you see? Of course not! You scroll through Pinterest for inspiration, you check your vacation schedule at work, you set up a flight tracker to see when prices will be cheapest, you start a one year savings plan to make sure you have the cash to make it happen. It should be the same with any big wardrobe buy! There is an idea out there that splurges are spontaneous, but I think that is what leads to buyers remorse and – much worse – people getting themselves into a bad situation with credit card debt.
In the years since my Florentine encounter, I’ve pined over that little bag and watched it climb almost 30% in price. I told myself I needed to move up at work and then could get my first designer bag. So, when I recently got my first promotion, I knew exactly how to celebrate!
What are my few other wardrobe splurges you might wonder? My classic riding boots I bought in college and – with the help of my trusty shoe repairman – I am still wearing to this day. My pink bow coat that has become a signature item. My ultra-warm winter parka. My favorite bikini that I got for our trip to Miami this winter. This list also represents my favorite and most worn things I own (well I would like the bikini to be a most worn item) and I think that’s how it should be!
I would love to hear about your wardrobe splurges and how you decide when it’s worth the price tag in the comments below.