Happy day, reader dearest!
I pray that you are safe, sound, and sane in these interesting times. If I can make any assumptions about the actions of others by my own during the “adventures,” I would say that there is a LOT of on-line shopping going on. AND there’s financial uncertainty playing into that equation!
I titled and started on this post more than a month ago, before things got serious in Italy, and when lots of people were thinking that Covid was simply China’s problem. (As if disease cares about borders!) My bent was originally about what wardrobe items it is wisest to Save on, which to Spend on, and on what it might be appropriate to Splurge. But right now, splurging seems foolish. Like fiddling while Rome burns.
Splurging aside, there are still items that need to be bought. I know that most of the focus now is concentrated on food, medicines, paper products, and cleaning supplies, but at some point we will start thinking again about needing new underwear, jeans, and shoes. So, in anticipation of the purchases that will be made once (or for when) quarantine ends, let’s talk about wise wardrobe spending. On what items should you save, and on what should you spend?
Let’s lay some basic groundwork: (1) Spend your money where you make it: If you (normally) work in a corporate office that requires you to wear a suit, you should spend on (invest in) those suits and other work pieces. If you are a stay-at-home-mom, spend on (invest in) practical pieces that machine wash well. If you struggle to value your economic contribution as a stay-at-home-mom, please read this article about the financial value of homemaking! (2) Don’t spend what you do not have: Buy what you can afford. Don’t have a wardrobe budget? Please, read here! Credit card sprees are not the way to build a wardrobe. Possible exception: An interview suit for a soon to be graduate. But be FRUGAL! Spree not. (3) Knowing yourself and your life is key: If you never carry a handbag, then that fabulous deal on the trendy summer clutch isn’t going to be money well spent at any price! If you will only wear trousers, then a dress isn’t a wise choice for you, no matter how inexpensive. (4) Inexpensive for one woman is expensive for another: You have to determine your budget (See above!) and your spending comfort scale. I can’t lay down dollar amounts for you!
On items that are one wear wonders. That dress for a special event, or the bikini you’ll only wear at the beach. The same goes for one-season-wonders like the trendy summer tote you just have to have. In hot and humid Georgia, white tees are lucky to last one summer. I cannot bring myself to buy a $100 white tee! A Cost Per Wear of $5.50 is far too high!
On fickle items. About what are you fickle? I love sparkle. (I’m sure you’re surprised!) And I love variety (Read: LOTS of options and change) in that sparkle. That means fine jewelry isn’t a fine choice for me! I’m better off buying good quality fashion pieces that I can consign or pass on when the “love” runs out! If you want the newest jean trend each season, then don’t splash out on your high end… You’re only going to love them for 3-6 months before moving on, so buy on the less expensive side of the scale!
Children’s clothes are another category on which to save. That doesn’t mean to buy your children cheap clothes, but unless you are counting on handing down, they will grow out (or stain) before they wear out, so save the $$$. When our boys were young, jeans were not worth spending on. They wore out knees like race car drivers wear out tires!
What do you wear frequently, and keep for years? That’s the place to spend. It’s the buy-better-buy-less approach. Others say to spend on the classics, or what I call your Building Basics.
I keep boots, bags, and scarves for years. Winter coats, too! For me, spending on those makes sense. I have scarves I’ve owned since university, and boots that are 10+ years old. Dresses are another item worth spending on for me. My favorite is close to 10 years old, and makes an appearance in every capsule wardrobe I pull together. That was worth every penny. (And I struggled with it!)
Back to children: For ours, I spent on winter coats! Compared to jeans? Health, safety, and sanity are non-negotiable. Children must be able to play outside. All. Year. Long. Those coats wore from son number one through son number three and went on to a friend’s two sons, and on after that. That was money well spent!
The one item on which I ALWAYS tell clients to spend? Good quality comfortable shoes! Buying cheap shoes that can’t be repaired or improved is the same as throwing money in the trash. Uncomfortable shoes are the same! Happy feet make for a much happier person. Don’t believe me? Wear a pair of uncomfortable shoes for an entire day. Spend on good shoes. Your feet and spine will thank you for taking care of them, and supportive quality shoes save on medical bills. (Ask a podiatrist about how much money flip-flops make them…)
Now you may need to hear this. If not, good for you! I give you permission to spend. Not in an It’s-my-personal-responsbility-to-prop-up-the-economy way, but in the I-am-worth-investment way. But ALWAYS within budget! (Because I am that geek…) Many women out there spend on everyone else, and skip on self-investment. Don’t be that woman. Your family needs to see that you value them AND that you value yourself.
So how about you? What are the items on which you should spend? And save? Has that played out in your past shopping patterns? Do let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you… Stay safe, sound, healthy, and sane. Please. XO