Over the weekend, I got a promotional email from Chanel about the latest Métiers d’Art collection: Paris Cosmopolite. Now available in boutiques and showcased in December, this is the line where Chanel shows off it’s master craftsmanship and the people behind them. It’s also when I start to lust for a “Boy” Chanel flap bag, again.
So, this got me thinking.
You’re probably in the same mindset and starting to lust after those signature designer pieces, again. (Fifth Avenue is great for window shopping this time of year!) But, this would be no ordinary purchase. If it’s an investment, luxury brand like Chanel that you’re after, ask yourself these questions, first:
Will You Use it for More Than A Season – Really?
Whether it’s a $400 pair of jeans or a $5,000 bag, you’re about to dive a serious chunk of your paycheck into one item. You need to make sure it’s worth it. Don’t just daydream, “Oh this is perfect, I can wear it with everything!” Actually think of hard examples regarding where you would wear it, with what outfit/accessories and for how many times a year.
This is what I ask myself every time before I make a fashion purchase. The last one was $180 on a blush, bow-detailed Kate Spade dress and matching shoes (shown above). I have a wedding to go to next month and knew I could wear the dress as well as match both items with a few pieces in my closet. There are also a few other upcoming events on my list where I can re-wear this look, if I like.
But, I don’t just stop there.
Also think, “Do I have the accessories/look I want to wear it with in my closet?”
If your answer is no, that’s an added cost worth considering. Thankfully, mine was a yes and fit into the budget. But for you, this may also mean extra time you don’t have to find a perfect scarf, pair of jeans or what have you, just to make those Miu Miu sunglasses worth buying.
How Much is It Compared to Your Salary?
Here’s the actual struggle bus.
If what you’re thinking of buying is an astronomical percentage of your salary, think 30 or 50 percent, I’m going to say probably don’t buy it. It comes down to your style as well as your budget. There’s always going to be something unexpected that pops up and costs money – a busted heel, new eye glasses, a blown tire or faulty water heater.
Everything costs money and you’ll need some stocked away for when/if something happens.
Can You Maintain It?
I’m not just talking about sticking that new outfit in a garment bag. Is it dry clean only? Do you have a place to safely store it? If it’s vintage jewelry, do you know how to clean/mend it if something goes wrong? The same goes for materials such as leather or suede.
The good stuff usually needs extra care and can come at a cost. Don’t even get me started on fur. (I dislike wearing real fur and that stuff is EXPENSIVE to clean, if you do.) This means another added cost and time, which is worth thinking over.
What’s the Resale Value?
Let’s say you buy this gorgeous pair of striped, frayed jeans for $230. (This one from Mother Denim had a 420+ person waitlist.) You love them, wear them for a season and then they end up in the back of your closet for the next three years.
If the jeans are out of style, it may be hard to get even a portion of your money back on sites like eBay or Poshmark. When dropping some serious cash on a purchase, you also need to think about the bigger picture. You’re making an investment, not a $20 purchase. It needs to be something worth the price tag now as well as in the future. According to The Wall Street Journal, Chanel and Hermés top the list.
When is the Best Time to Buy? And Where?
This is my favorite question of all! Depending on what you choose to get, the time to buy can be a different time of year and even a different store than you might expect. It’s all about thinking ahead and knowing what’s best. Spring is the time for sample sales and cleaning house for department stores. This is great when it comes to finding last/the current season’s looks for less. But, if you’re looking to get a pair of fall boots on sale (whether they’e Stuart Weitzman or Aerosoles), the best time is at the end of the season. When in doubt, add a sale alert on Google and Shopstyle for that item you’ve been eyeing. The price may even go down within the next week and you’ll know first.
Also, remember to check sales sections on the designer website and designer discounters such as Century 21.
Now, it’s time for me to ask you a question. What will be your next designer purchase?