Whether your priorities are sustainable fashion, a tiny closet space, or saving your coins, knowing when to buy a more expensive piece of clothing versus when to hunt for a deal is crucial to building a wardrobe. It’s taken me some time to figure out what I prefer to save money on, what I will save up to buy, and what I’ll choose to rent, but I feel like I’ve finally gotten it down pack! If you’re looking for a quick and easy guideline for when to splurge or save on clothes, keep reading below.
When to Splurge
Now a fashion splurge means something different for everyone. A splurge buy could mean a $50 top, or it could mean a $3000 bag. Whatever the dollar value, a splurge purchase is one that requires quite a bit of thought and consideration (hopefully… we don’t want to be racking up credit card debt!). I recommend splurging only on things that you envision yourself using a lot for at least five years. The PERFECT perfect pair of jeans (that fit your waist, thighs, AND make your booty look good ??), a cashmere sweater, a multipurpose black dress – those are things that I would definitely spend money on, because the quality of material and construction makes a big difference in price, as well as longevity.
However, your clothing size may fluctuate, and some trends may go in and out of style. But unless you have some weird growth spurt, your shoe size won’t change. And since bags don’t have sizes, those usually stay the same too! I’ve started investing in well-made shoes and handbags that I know will last me for years, and I feel comfortable spending $200+ on a bag or pair of shoes that I can wear until my knees stop working. A few months ago, I bought a pair of 3.5 inch black heels that will literally last me forever, and now I’m on the hunt for the perfect chocolate nude pair. That said, you don’t have to buy shoes or handbags full price – there are a lot of resell sites that are especially great for handbags. I got my white Prada shoulder bag from The Real Real for 30% of the cost!
When to Save
Just about everything else fits into the save/find a deal category. A trendy gingham shirt or polka dot dress – those are definitely things to buy on sale, because they might not be in style a year from now. White sneakers? They’re impossible to keep white (despite what people say on the internet), so buy a new pair every year or two. Layering pieces like kimonos, something bright like a pink puffer jacket – you may love them now but may hate the style in three years. I know some people believe in buying expensive sunglasses, but I lose sunglasses too frequently to spend more than $15 on a pair.
When you do buy items cheaper, make sure that you recycle them through Goodwill, Salvation Army, a shelter, or even through a store like H&M’s recycling programs. Even when we don’t shop sustainably, we can help the environment by recycling our clothing because a TON of it ends up in landfills. Like an astonishing amount.
When to Rent
If you’re short on closet space, are passionate about the harmful effects of fast fashion on the environment, or have a special event coming up, then consider renting. I use Rent the Runway as an extension of my wardrobe, so when I have a wedding or blogger event to attend, I’ll check there before buying a new outfit. If there’s something I’m craving to wear but I know I won’t wear again – like an olive green leather skirt, or this spring floral bag I’m wearing in these pictures – I’ll also get it from Rent the Runway. Since I have an Unlimited membership, it’s super easy to swap out clothes and always have something new to wear without the financial or environmental consequences.
I get that some people feel weird about wearing clothes that other people have worn, but they dry clean everything before shipping it back out – and did you ever consider that your clothes may have been tried on by other people at the store? Just saying! If you’ve never rented from RTR before, you get 20% off your first order!
In summary, I believe in investing in shoes (heels, quality flats, not sneakers) and bags that will last a long time. I’m currently allowing myself one new designer bag each year, which will last me longer than $2000 worth of clothes from Zara. I think it’s smart to save money on clothes and accessories like jewelry or sunglasses that may go out of style, no longer fit, or get lost. And finally, I like to rent items that I’ll only wear once or twice to save on closet space!