Remember that really cute plaid shirt you paid $200 for last fall? We can pretty much guarantee there are equally ones just as stylish for just $50. You could’ve saved that extra $150 for a timeless pair of black pumps you’ll wear for years to come. That’s how smart shoppers think—and we have 16 chic wardrobe staple examples to prove it.
Scroll down for our spend vs. save guide —smarter shopping awaits you!
Monserat De Lucca Botevara Large Pouch ($110) in Rose Gold
Save up for a quality everyday bag by getting an inexpensive, simple clutch with one or two standout details. This roomy metallic pouch with a tassel zipper pull is a great option—you’ll only use it occasionally, so justifying a higher-priced option would be tough.
Gap Boyfriend Shirt ($55) in Red Plaid
There are countless affordable, quality plaid shirts in the retail universe. Purchase a few, and rotate them throughout the year to create different outfits. We particularly love this oversized Gap version in one of our favorite classic color combinations.
Everlane The Slingback Sandals ($98) in Fig/Rhum
Finding a pair of affordable, well-made sandals is an easy task, as they don’t require a lot of material. Needless to say, you’ll probably burn through them in one summer, given how much you’ll wear them to the beach and beyond—so don’t spend more than $100. We love the versatile color combination and simple design of this pair.
Sophie Hulme Stamped Zip Plate Tote Bag ($940) in Navy
Look for a roomy handbag made of quality leather with interesting details, such as the studded gold hardware plates on this stunning navy satchel. Err on the side of classic, as opposed to trendy, and you’ll carry it for years to come.
Theory Jaho Crepe Blazer ($595) in Black
This perfect black blazer will come to your rescue in a multitude of situations. For the best fit and fabric, invest in a go-to brand for quality, such as Theory (shown), Helmut Lang, or Rag & Bone. We’re obsessing over this version’s notched-collar detail—we recommend wearing it with a high bun to show it off.
Saint Laurent Paris Classic Pumps ($625) in Noir Black
These classic pumps are sexy, sophisticated, and stylish. You’ll magically feel more confident when you slip them on, whether you’re going to work or out on the town. This Saint Laurent pair is beautiful and sturdy.
Equipment Sloane Cashmere Sweater ($270) in Camel
A cheaply made cashmere sweater is not a pretty sight after a few wears and a trip to the drycleaner (there will be a pilling situation). Instead, invest in quality cashmere in a neutral hue. Just be sure to store it properly when not in use, to protect the delicate fabric.
Iro Tara Front-Zip Leather Jacket ($1,260) in Dark Brown
It goes without saying that we’re obsessed with leather moto jackets. Most fitted, buttery-leather versions won’t come cheap, but the joy your purchase will bring when you repeatedly reach for it will justify how diligently you saved your hard-earned cash. We’re particularly smitten with the unique color of this Iro design.
3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Tapered Pants ($375) in Black
There’s something about a pair of expertly tailored black pants that can’t be replicated on the cheap. This silk 3.1 Phillip Lim pair is everything that black pants should be and more. A slightly cropped version will allow you to pair them with flats or heels—versatility for the win!
Do you agree with our save vs. spend suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!