In a perfect world, clothes that are comfortable, cute, and cheap exist. But we live in reality, where we find ourselves playing tug-of-war with our wallet at the checkout line. Sometimes we should pull back. Other times, it’s okay to let go.
Granted, knowing when to splurge and when to save doesn't come easy for everyone. But this shopping guide will help the dollars you’ve spent make sense.
Spend Your Loot on Lingerie
It’s time we passed on the cheaper bra and panty sets and invested in a better foundation for our figures. A top shelf bra is comfortable, dependable, and won’t deteriorate after a few washes. (Frayed bra straps are no fun. Here’s looking at you, D-cup Dames.) And because quality matters that much, spending a little more on the “girls” can do wonders for your posture and help you look (and feel) confident. This is especially true for those of us with bigger breasts who need significant support.
But before you splurge, get measured. Ask a department store sales clerk for help. Or if you’re a tad shy, follow this video guide by Victoria’s Secret at home.
Spend Some Coin on That Coat
Can your outerwear withstand the weather? That coat is cute, but is it actually cozy? Cheap, trendy jackets won’t make the cut when that crisp winter air hits you. So pay attention to the materials used, always opting for 100% cotton, leather, or wool linings for heavy-duty protection against low temps. Before you checkout, throw in a quality pair of leather gloves, too. (But do grab a cute scarf and earmuffs for less.)
Opt for 100% cotton, leather, or wool linings for heavy-duty protection against low temps.
Good Denim = More Dollars
Did you know the oldest pair of jeans is said to be more than 120 years old? These pants have potential when they’re well cared for, and this completely validates paying a higher price for them. The secret to keeping denim durable and decent for years to come is simply washing them less often and only when soiled. (Not everyone agrees with this notion, but to each their own.)
Drop Gems on Jewelry
Fashion jewelry or fine jewelry? Decisions, decisions. If you’re not sure if you should drop extra dollars, ask yourself two things: One, if you plan to wear this piece every day, and two, whether you’re sensitive to any particular metals. If the answer is yes to both, then it’s best to go for gold (or silver, or platinum). Some less expensive costume jewelry lines contain a metal called nickel which can be an irritant for those with sensitive skin.
If you plan to wear this piece every day, it’s worth the extra dollars.
And while nickel-free earrings, bracelets, and rings exist, that doesn’t mean you’re free from issues like tarnishing, warping, and discoloration (of your jewelry and your skin). So buy the real deal, especially if you're going to day-to-day dazzle without the drama.
Set a Budget for Blouses
Truth be told, we get tired of tops easily. Because we love variety and all the changing trends and cuts and fancy necklines, we’d go broke if we tried to keep up with it all. The trick is to find a favorite designer blouse and search for department store dupes to pull it off. Wear over that fancy bra you found and a pair of vintage jeans, and you’ll look like you spent a million bucks, anyway.
Tights and Leggings? Tighten Your Purse Strings
These are the least noticed item in your wardrobe, especially if you’re going to throw a large tank top over it and hit the gym. We pretty much go through a new pair of tights like we go through toilet paper, so splurging here is not advised. Even if you paid $60 for a pair, they’re just not designed for longevity. This rule applies to most activewear, so file those leggings in the “gym socks and sports bra” folder and replace as needed.
Tights and leggings are just not designed for longevity, so replace as needed.
Stop Splurging on Shoes
This one might be the center of debate because shoes exist on a strange spectrum of quality. Spend too much and you’ll end up with an uncomfortable designer shoe that you can only wear for 10 steps at a time. But too cheap of a shoe can be harmful to your feet and can even lead to injury if it’s poorly made. So my verdict is this: For shoe shopping success, look for a sweet spot in price and don’t overdo it. If adjustments are needed, invest in some insoles and shoe care accessories for maximum comfort. (And if you’ve never tried on the shoes before, please spare yourself the disappointment and do not order online.)
You can also wait until the nicer quality shoes go on sale, or hit up the outlets for a better price on a good shoe. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you have to settle for bad quality.
Fashion forward style can be as affordable as it is appealing. To master the art of selective frugality means to stay keen on sales and spot bargains when you see them. (In case you’ve ever wondered why your mother or aunt bought something she didn’t “need,” this is why.) So consider the guide above as a standard for your shopping trips. Whether you lean on #TeamSplurge or #TeamSave, just remember that quality always matters and that value is a virtue.
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