It’s easy to dress with elegant style when you have an unlimited budget. You can buy the best of everything and engage a stylist to curate chic, fabulous ensembles. (Doesn’t it make you wonder why some wealthy celebrities display so little taste?) But for those of us with a sense of style yet limited spending, how do we know when to splurge and when to save?
I have some suggestions to share. But first, a note on ‘splurging’ and ‘saving’.
When to splurge and when to save
Yet we create financial stress when we spend more than we can afford. We create visual stress when our homes and closets are overstuffed. We create mental stress when we cram our lives with too many choices – starting in the morning with what to wear.
A note on ‘splurging’
So when I say ‘splurge’ I’m not talking about spending with wild abandon. I’m not suggesting you buy whatever you want ‘because I’m worth it‘. You’re worth a chic, organized life and financial peace of mind, actually. I don’t buy expensive things without careful thought, and I urge you not to, either. Buy fewer things of higher quality that fit your unique style, but only as you can afford it. Take your time. Your style will evolve anyway, so allow yourself the luxury of creating your personal style at your own pace.
With this in mind, a more accurate word than splurge might be invest – we ‘splurge’ on items that are expensive, but good investments. Splurge is a more fun word though, so let’s stick with it.
A note on ‘saving’
What about the word ‘save’? If you’re picturing a trolley full of bulk buys, please, non! Just because it’s inexpensive, doesn’t mean you should load up. Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean you must buy it.
Anything you bring into your chic life, regardless of price, should reflect your individual style, work with what you already have, and suit your colouring, figure, and lifestyle. To be chic, curate everything!
My splurges and saves
I buy very few things and have a fairly compact wardrobe. Not quite capsule, but close. I take excellent care of my things, so they last well.
The most expensive items I have purchased are:
- a Givenchy Antigona (medium) in glossy black – the perfect structured day bag
- a Dior evening bag in classic black – an elegant little number, yet it still accommodates all the essentials a girl needs for a chic evening out
- a classic Georg Jensen Vivianna watch – created in 1962, and so unusual!
- Prada sunglasses – glossy, black, oversized
- Chanel spectacles for work – they contain small cultured pearls, Gabriel’s favorite, in the arms; Dolce & Gabbana spectacles for bedtime reading
- A Scanlan Theodore ensemble – it’s the one I’m wearing here
- A Zimmerman dress – suitable for events and weddings I just can’t get out of
- Tiffany pearl stud earrings – in fact, a birthday gift from Craig
Apart from the spectacles, which are about three years old, I’ve had all these items for at least five to ten years, and plan to enjoy them for many years to come. Each was something I considered for some time. Each has brought me great pleasure. I don’t get much joy from travelling, so I’ve been happy to spend my vacation, gift, and indulgence dollars on these little luxuries instead.
As for more moderate purchases…
- Most of my closet staples are from higher-end chain stores – well made and long lasting, but still well priced.
- In winter I live in sweaters and every few years I update them – once I’ve worn them repeatedly and they no longer look their most chic.
- Occasionally I’ll add an inexpensive on-trend top, pair of new-season jeans, or fun accessory to freshen up my wardrobe.
- I don’t buy anything ‘cheap’. It rarely feels nice against my skin, the zip pulls, it washes poorly – you know the story. It ends up being a false economy.
So what about you? How can you decide when to splurge and when to save? Here are some guidelines.
When to splurge and when to save
Splurge on classic, timeless pieces that will stay stylish for years
EG a fabulous pencil or A-line skirt, polished, well-cut trousers, a chic cashmere sweater, a crisp white shirt
Splurge on staples that can form the basis of many outfits|
EG well made dresses, skirts, pants, and tops that flatter your shape and coloring
Splurge on neutral colors
EG navy, black, and white; or chocolate, cream, and taupe.
Splurge on quality handbags, sunglasses, and coats
EG a structured day bag, chic evening clutch, wool coat
Splurge on well-made shoes and boots
EG classic knee boots for winter, evening stilettos, chic ballet flats
Save on a few trend pieces in this season’s styles
EG trendy jeans, current accessories, tops in this season’s colors
Save on highlight items that freshen a look and can be changed up over time
EG chain store items that update your outfits
Save on bright colours or strong patterns that add a bit of zing
EG Items that go on sale at season-end in non-classic shades
Save on casual footwear and accessories
EG espadrilles, fashion footwear, runners
Most of us have limited fashion funds and to be chic, we need to allocate our style budget wisely. The secret is to invest with care in quality items that will give us plenty of wear and last a long time. And to indulge occasionally in less expensive things to brighten or update our basics. Use the guidelines here so you know when to splurge and when to save.