When I look back on my journey as a fashion blogger, I’m always appalled at how dramatically things have changed over time. There are definitely some things I wish I knew about building a wardrobe that I know now. For instance, biting the bullet on an investment piece that I can wear repeatedly versus buying 10 versions of a high-street alternative that gets replaced every season. I have to be honest – the benefits of ensuring my purchases make sense in the long run have definitely paid off. So today, I thought I’d switch things up from the usual trend topics and share some of the most important style lessons I’ve learned and how you can approach luxury shopping on any budget.
1. Keep a wish list
In more recent years, I’ve started keeping a running list of all the luxury items I want and this has proven to be game changing. It not only helps me keep in mind what I should be saving for but consciously forces me to skip out on tempting trends. With Instagram making fashion so accessible today, almost every luxury bag or brand name can make you feel a little FOMO if you don’t own it. The great thing about having a wish list is that I’ll sometimes cross things off without buying them because I realize I’m falling into hype. Shopping from a list has helped me build a wardrobe I’m so proud of and love today.
Pro Tip: If you’re an avid online shopper like me, bookmark your favorite items and check them out at the end of the season. You’re likely find them on major sale!
2. Start with a handbag or shoes
When you’re ready to make an investment, I always recommend starting off with a great handbag or a pair of shoes. These items will allow you to see the power of investment pieces because they hold up so well even if you’re not as careful with them. Classic silhouettes like tote bags and pumps in neutral hues are always smart buys. You can also research designer brands and signature pieces that are meant to stay in style. I personally love Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Gucci, and Gianvito Rossi.
3. Try it on, then wait a few days
Always try on a designer piece to make sure it works for your height, size, and lifestyle. You’ll be surprised at how you feel about an item in person versus online (or on someone else). This especially holds true when it comes to shoes. Pumps are one of the most debated items in the fashion world. Obviously, I love my Christian Louboutin’s, but I know so many other women who don’t. Once you get around to trying an item, I recommend waiting 2-3 days before making the jump. It’s a real test of whether you truly want an item and how functional it is for you.
4. Don’t be afraid to shop pre-owned
Going the pre-owned route is one of the best ways to score huge savings on a designer piece. I also love the idea of shopping more consciously and sustainably. I personally have a few pre-loved pieces, including my Chanel bag, a Celine tote (which I’ve now sold) among others. All bags tend to see slight wear over time, so if small dinks or light scratches don’t bother you, then don’t be afraid of secondhand bags. For a full list of places I shop, check out this post HERE.
Pro Tip: Compare prices across as many platforms as possible (e.g. Fashionphile, eBay, The Real Real, etc.). Then, analyze them to determine which combination of style, price, and condition best meet your budget. You can also source brand new designer pieces for less than retail by signing up for Gilt and shopping at Cettire. I scored my Gucci Princetown mules that way!
5. Invest in fabrics that last
My approach to shopping looks very different in my 30’s compared to my 20’s. I highly value great fabrics that transcend seasons, such as real leather, silk, linen, cotton, wool and cashmere. These are all materials that get better with age as long as you properly care for them. That explains why my Balmain blazer is so desirable as well as my Burberry trench coat and scarves.
6. Set a budget and go from there
Indulging in luxury pieces can be an impulsive (and dangerous) process, especially when you are on a tight budget so it’s crucial to have a budget. You should know how much you are willing to spend and then commit to it. On the topic of budgeting, I recommend setting funds aside in a different account specifically for your designer splurges. It forces you to think more intentionally about what you’re buying.
Pro Tip: Sell unused pieces from your closet on sites like eBay, Poshmark, or Depop. Then put the funds towards something you’ll actually use.
Luxury Fashion Items I’ll Keep Forever…