When to splurge on an expensive item

Lisa Lennkh

To buy or not to buy? That is the question. We decifer when it's really worth getting that luxury piece you've been eyeing, and when you'll regret it

This is a question I'm asked almost daily from friends seeking style advice: "Is this particular item worth splurging on?" There are many trends that aren't worth it because they date quickly. Then, there are trends which live longer than anyone ever expects (see skinny jeans and slogan shirts). So how can you tell the difference between a worthy splurge and a regrettable one? Stick to these six rules and you'll stay in savvy, regret-free buying territory.

 

1. Sleep on it for several days

If you're still obsessing after a cooling off period, maybe it's worth the splurge. I did this a few years ago with a Miu Miu faux-crocodile, 1960s-style car coat. When I saw it, I honestly couldn't imagine my future without it. I gave it a couple of days and looked at cheaper alternatives… but the choice was easy. It was a (birthday) splurge with zero regrets. I'm still thrilled with it years later.

 

2. Buy the cheaper version first, then upgrade to the best version if you get a lot of wear out of it

I did this with a black motorcycle jacket many years ago. I didn't know if I was a motorcycle jacket kind of gal or not, so I bought one from the high street. I wore it with everything from jeans to dresses until it became such a part of my personal style that I eventually splurged on a wear-forever quality one.

 

3. Ensure that it matches your style

There's no point buying expensive pink cashmere in the sales if you're someone who only wears black and neutrals. Don't take up valuable real estate in your closet with regrettable purchases just because they're in the sale. I see and wear a lot of different styles for my job, so this is the rule I'm most likely to break on impulse.

 

4. Shift your budget

If it's somewhat out of budget, can you give up something in order to make up for it? This one's easy for me. If I want something badly enough, I will practically give up eating to afford it. If you're willing to sacrifice something (a few months of your coffee habit, for example) to fund your purchase, then you're likely onto a worthy splurge.

 

5. Only buy it if you have the rest of the outfit to go with it already

For me, this means no navy. All of my staples are black; I won't complicate my life with navy. If I bought a navy dress, I'd need other navy pieces to make it cohesive. I just can't be bothered. I stick to black, grey, cream, and jewel tones, which play nicely together and I never have to buy extra items to wear with a new purchase. I made this mistake once with a pair of designer shoes in an unusual colour (on sale, of course). I loved them, but had nothing to wear with them. They sat in my closet for years before I gave up and put them on eBay.

 

6. Think of cost per wear

Only splurge if you can think of at least eight occasions in the next year when you'd wear it. Here's where everyone is different. I'd personally wear a pair of silver glitter Mary Jane shoes on repeat, but not everyone would. If you love 1970s boho style, then perhaps a suede fringe bag would be a staple for you. Know your style and stick to it on big purchases. Experiment all you like with fashion—that's the fun of it—but not with splurges.