Bankrolling your first big fashion purchase is at once exhilarating and daunting. Hence, we’ve devised an easy-to-follow guide to make it more of the former and less of the latter. Play by these rules and you’ll feel all the more confident that your new Chanel bag/Cartier bracelet/Isabel Marant dress is a sound investment.
Image courtesy of Adam Katz Sinding
Even if you don’t opt to pay in Benjamins, make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover the item, so you don’t go into credit card debt. Is this obvious? Sure. But it’s also easy to forget when drooling over a truly memorable purchase.
Just because you know you were born to wear those Tom Ford leather trousers doesn’t mean your bank account agrees. Be realistic. Does this item fit into your budget? Herewith, a cheatsheet.
If you couldn’t give a hoot about whether the item is brand new or not, it’s worth checking the regular haunts (eBay, local designer consignment boutiques, online resale shops) to see if you can find a gently used version. By doing a modicum of research, you can save anywhere from 15 to 40 percent off the original price tag, which is never a bad thing.
As much as we’re fans of e-commerce, we understand that it’s hard commit to an expensive item sight unseen. Make a trip to a brick-and-mortar store to try the piece on and see how it fits before you ultimately pull the trigger—on or offline.
Trust us on this, there is nothing worse than spending the equivalent of a weekend in Vegas on a pair of shoes only to have them go completely out of style the next season. Heed the advice of Amber Valletta (something of an icon, herself): “The more expensive things should be gems that you keep in your closet, not trends.”
Here’s a dirty little secret of the fashion industry: just because something has a fancy label, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s well made. The onus is on you to make sure the tailoring is done right, the fabric is luxe, and the leather is buttery soft.
You’re suffering from a broken heart and need to console yourself with a brand-new bag. Or you got a promotion and are ready to celebrate with the first sparkly thing that catches your eye at Barneys. These are not the scenarios that best lend themselves to splurchasing. As with any big investment, you need to be levelheaded when you ultimately hand over your Amex, so try and keep the emotions on the backburner.
Sure, that tangerine ostrich feather jacket is totally quiche. But what can you actually wear it with? Prior to buying the item you have your eye on, we suggest going through your closet and making a list of all the pieces it would look good with. If your final tally is under 10, you may want to rethink your decision.
Is there a time of year the piece goes on sale? What do online reviews say about it? Are the people who own it generally happy with it? By asking yourself a few key questions before buying and educating yourself about said item, you’re sure to make a smarter purchase and minimize any potential buyer’s remorse.