I’ve always loved designer fashion. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the clothing, accessories, and history behind some of the most iconic fashion houses. I’ve wanted a Chanel bag for probably as long as I’ve been alive honestly. But I don’t have the income of someone who can afford an entire closet of designer clothes and bags. So how do I know what pieces I truly want and what’s just a passing fad?
Like all things that are worthwhile, I’ve learned from my mistakes over the years. Who remembers those cotton candy Dooney & Burke bags of our junior high days? Yeah, I had two of those. Do you know how much tennis I had to teach kids to afford those bags? Even though I make substantially more than my tennis instructor days, I’m even more hesitant to spend my hard earned money on just anything. I recently picked up this gorgeous Gucci belt because honestly, I’ve wanted it for a long time. I got a new job/promotion and finally pulled the trigger as a little present to myself. I feel like it’s important to treat yourself for life’s big accomplishments; especially when you’re single and don’t always have someone to say hey good job let’s go celebrate you.
Give It Some Time
I always give at least one season, if not two before investing in something. There are so many trends that come in with a bang and die out super quickly. I think a lot about the Valentino Rockstuds. These shoes were EVERYWHERE two years ago. It felt like everyone had a pair and you couldn’t open social media without seeing them in every shot. Of course I wanted a pair, but they’re super expensive for how trendy they are so I waited it out. Within 2 months there were plenty of dupes available for under $100 and the trend was literally everywhere. And honestly I just didn’t care anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I think they’re beautiful shoes and they’re still really popular. I just know I wouldn’t wear them if I had them now.
By waiting a season or two, I give myself time to know if it’s a fleeting romance or a long-term relationship. I always ask myself if I see myself still wearing the item in 5 years. Would I want to give this to my hypothetical one day daughter or niece? The older I get, the more I want only things I’m really in love with.
Everyone wants the logos and to make a statement when investing in a designer trend. While that’s easy to do with the latest piece, you can get the same effect by buying something less trendy from the same designer. I remember when everyone was wearing Chanel Boy Bags and I just didn’t love the style, but you know I love the Chanel. About 6 years ago when I was working in NYC, my mom and sister came to visit and we started what is now an ongoing tradition where when we visit somewhere special, we get a Chanel pin. I have a few from New York, one from Rome, and my most special one from Paris. It’s a more affordable option (under $500) whereas a bag starts at over $2,000. Sure it’s still a major investment and it’s why I don’t have 100 pins. However, I wear my pins with literally everything which makes them way more versatile than a bag. I wear them on sweaters, blouses, with scarves, and I can pin them on a handbag if I want. I just get so much more from a small accessory than I do from having a Chanel bag sitting on my shelf.
Find what works for you in a small designer item. Maybe it’s a pair of perfect sunglasses, or a pin, or a scarf. Think about the one accessory you see yourself wearing with at least 50% of your wardrobe and start there. This is why I ultimately did buy the Gucci belt. I wear so much black and white and I could see myself wearing it with almost every outfit I own.
Start an ongoing designer fund
Part of why I feel comfortable dropping a few hundred dollars on a belt, is that I’ve set that money aside for this purpose. I love to shop online and I find tons of random items I’d love to have, but definitely don’t need. This year I’ve focused more on using what I’ve got and limiting my wardrobe to a few really great pieces. So every time I see something that I just want, but know I’ll only wear a handful of times, I put the money I’d have spent on that item in my savings account. This is also a great way to just see how much money you’re saving by not making frivolous purchases and has helped me in saving more along the way.
Remember, It’s Just Fashion
Trends are just that, they come and go. You should buy what you love and if that’s 100 designer handbags or 1 perfect belt, you do you.
xo – Tracy
photos by Rachel O’Neal Photography