It’s so important to have a balanced wardrobe of high-quality investment pieces and lower-cost trendy items. Today I’m breaking down where to splurge or save when it comes to building my wardrobe.
My wardrobe is made up of higher-end pieces and more affordable options. I’ll never tell you to spend large amounts of money on every piece of clothing you buy, but there are some areas where I prefer to splurge rather than save.
There are a few things to think about when deciding whether to invest in a piece or buy the inexpensive version.
Think about these things when deciding to splurge or save
1. Consider your budget
- When it comes to saving versus splurging, your budget should always be your biggest consideration. The bottom line is, if you cannot afford a splurge purchase, do not do it! It’s never worth it to go into debt or over extend yourself for an item of clothing. I’m not a proponent of all the “dupes” and knock-offs since so many brands knock off higher end brands’ exact designs with cheap labor and cheap materials, but there are so many similar alternatives out there now that are much less expensive and worth the savings.
2. Think about cost per wear
- Have you ever thought about cost per wear? If you buy an item for $100 and wear it twice, then your cost per wear is $50…that’s fairly expensive! But if you buy a $100 item and wear it one hundred times, your cost per wear is $1. And if you wear it more than 100 times, your cost becomes pennies. So think about this principle as you purchase splurge items….is it something you’ll get a lot of wear out of? Or something you’ll only wear a few times?
3. Be willing to splurge on wardrobe staples (as long as they work for your style)
- Although you still need to consider your budget, if you’re going to splurge on anything, it should be closet staples that you can and will wear for years to come, and in lots of different ways. For me, jeans, sneakers, and jackets are the biggest closet staples that I will splurge on. But these might not be your closet staples! Pretty much every closet staple list that I see has a pencil skirt listed as a closet essential, but pencil skirts are not my style so I would never splurge on that item because I know I’ll get little to no use out of it. It’s not worth my dollars.
4. Think before splurging on a trendy item
- I hope this is obvious, but trendy items mean they come and go quickly, and splurging on an item that you won’t want to wear in six months is probably a waste of your dollars too. However, some trends stick around longer than others, so if you see the trend having staying power and feel that it’s worth investing or splurging, and you know you’ll get lots of use out of it, then go for it if it’s within your budget. For me, Golden Goose sneakers started coming on the scene a few years ago and they’re a major splurge sneaker. I sat on the idea of getting a pair for about a year, and then finally splurged when I realized that I was wearing sneakers almost every day and knew I’d get tons of use out of them. I finally bought a pair and have worn them HUNDREDS of times. I loved them so much that I even bought two more pairs and wear them a ton as well. And now almost five years later, they’re still very on trend and have showed that they have staying power. This was a splurge purchase that was absolutely worth it for me, but I took my time before purchasing.
5. Think about quantity vs quality
- Would you prefer to have 20 cheap sweaters in your closet, or 5 good quality sweaters? This answer will be different for everyone. You decide if you prefer having MORE options, or LESS options, and if the quality matters to you!
6. Splurge on the pieces that matter to you
- You have to decide what items are worth splurging on within your closet. For me, I wear sneakers and jeans all the time, so I’m personally willing to splurge on those two items. I really like purses, but I like to change up my purses all the time, so splurging on a bag is not as much of a priority for me, and I tend to buy nice ones, but not designer bags.
7. Be willing to splurge on difficult to find pieces
- You know when you’re searching for the perfect peacoat or leather jacket or pair of heels, or the perfect pair of jeans, and it’s super hard to find THE ONE? Well, if you finally find that thing, be willing to spend a little more on it! If you’ve been shopping for it for years, and you finally find it, be willing to splurge a little more on it, since you know how difficult it was to find!
8. Save on style you’re new to trying
- If there’s a style or trend that you’re thinking about, but aren’t willing to splurge quite yet, it’s a good idea to try a similar pair at a cheaper price and see if it’s a style you actually love and will actually wear. It’s like a test run. I really loved the Hermes Oran sandals but didn’t know if that style would look good on my feet or if it was a style I’d like to wear. So I found a similar pair (LIKE THESE or THESE) to see if I liked them and would wear them. I ended up really loving them, and finally splurged on the Hermes pair (they were actually a gift from my husband after I mentioned them a bunch of times). I have worn my Hermes pair hundreds and hundreds of times since I got them and their price per wear is minimal a this point. Definitely worth the splurge for me, but I was glad for the test run on a cheap pair before I got the real deal.
9. Don’t forget you can rent!
- I’ve been using Rent the Runway for a few years and I can’t recommend it enough. If you have an event and don’t feel like you can or should spend several hundred dollars on a dress or a bag, just rent it! Rent the Runway has a huge selection of dresses, skirts, tops, bags, and outerwear, and my discount code RTRMERRICKW works for 40% off their 2-month 8-item plan. I just went to an event this week in Dallas and rented a gorgeous sequin dress for a cocktail party. I had no need for an expensive dress I’d wear one time, so renting was a great alternative and I got a stunning designer dress to wear for one night.