A tough economy doesn’t temper the desire to buy a drool-worthy pair of pumps, the hottest new bag or a fabulous overcoat. However, when the money is tight, how do you know when to splurge and when to resist the urge?
Below is a guide to creating your optimal fashion portfolio.
Investment Pieces- Buy and Hold: There are certain pieces in your wardrobe that you should not feel badly about paying up for. To evaluate an investment piece, think about how long it will last you. Is the fabric and construction durable? Is the shape and coloring classic or trend-oriented? For example, Louis Vuitton bags can be a great investment piece, but you may be better off with the “Speedy” in the classic Monogram Canvas than the trendier Monogram Mutlicolore Canvas.
Also, think about how often you will wear it, as well as how fickle you are. A gorgeous coat may be a great investment piece for someone who is open to wearing it for several seasons. If you are an outer-wear addict, you may prefer more diversification in your fashion portfolio. For example, this great Jason Wu leather coat with a fur collar or this Burberry Prorsum plum quilted coat could be a great investment if you will wear it as your go-to-coat for many seasons.
Fully-valued can still be a value: Whether it’s a pair of premium denim jeans or leather boots, sometimes a fashion item’s price is over our normal threshold of what we think its value should be. To decide whether to splurge or save (or at least wait for a sale), think about how many times you will wear the item over the course of the next two years. It makes far more sense to pay $300 for a pair of jeans that you will wear once every weekend (over the course of a year that is less than $6 every time you wear it) vs. a pair of $150 wool pants that you wear 5 times a year ($30 per wear). Think of the pricing more in terms of its usefulness to you than what it is you expect to pay for a certain item.
I can see getting a ton of value out of this great Aigner dress (worn alone or paired with a cardigan), these black and white Kate Spade ankle boots or this simple Rachel Zoe overcoat.
Trends- Churn and Burn: Just like the hot penny stock of the day, a super-trendy fashion or accessory can turn your fashion portfolio upside down. If you have to try out the it-look of the season, look for value-brands, sales or even turn to a site like Bag Borrow or Steal to rent out a hot item for a fraction of the cost of purchasing it.
A few other portfolio-building tips: To make even more out of your fashion portfolio, keep a written or electronic catalogue of what you have (perhaps in a pretty notebook or planner) and bring it with you when you shop. The more items you have in your fashion portfolio that work together, the more value you will derive from them. Also, make sure that the item fits you. If you have to wait to lose 5 pounds before you can zip up that dress, pass it up. Finally, never go on “margin”. If you can’t afford to buy something, don’t buy it. Credit card rates can make your great deal an investment loser by the time you finish paying it off.