You’ve spied the most beautiful pair of shoes for a special do. And you must have them, whatever the cost.
So you try them on, hand over your credit card… and leave them in your wardrobe afterwards gathering dust because they simply aren’t suitable for your everyday life.
We’ve all done it. Spent a small fortune on the perfect party dress, which we wear once and never again because ‘everyone has seen it’. Or put together an amazing outfit for a wedding, feel like a million dollars for the day, then regret spending the million dollars it took to buy it.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending money on nice clothes and shoes. But it really is worth considering when to splash the cash and when to be more circumspect.
And when I say splash the cash, I still mean within your budget – it’s all very Carrie from Sex and the City to max out your credit cards, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.
What’s worth investing in?
There are certain items which I’d recommend you spend more on, because you can wear them over and over again.
- Black trousers are a staple for your wardrobe. Dress them up, dress them down, add a pop of colour… they’re so versatile it’s worth having a decent-quality pair (or two) to rely on.
- Jeans are another good investment. Find a pair that fit you just right – not always easy – and snap them up. You’ll wear them all the time – add boots in winter, sandals in summer.
- Suits are a must if you wear them for work. I always think it’s far better to have one or two beautifully cut suits than several cheaper ones which don’t fit as well. You can ring the changes with a variety of plain tops in your seasonal palette – that you don’t need to spend much on – or add costume jewellery or scarves to jazz them up. Top tip: if you buy a quality trouser suit, get two identical pairs of trousers, as these wear out more quickly than the jacket.
- Winter coats are definitely worth spending a little extra on. Think about it, they’re pretty much all people see when you’re out and about in the cold.
- Handbags are something we use every day, so they’re a good investment.
The cost-per-wear calculator
Here’s an idea to figure out whether something is worth the money – try the cost-per-wear calculator:
Cost / number of times you wear something…(get your calculator out)
So, if you spend £100 on a pair of shoes you wear three times a week all year round, they work out at £1.44 per wear.
But if you spend £40 on a pair of party shoes which match a particular dress and wear them just three times, they work out much more expensive than the £100, at £13.33 per wear.
I volunteer at a charity shop and we get lots of hardly worn party shoes donated – try there first to grab a bargain. You can also often find winter coats and leather handbags at reduced prices.
So while we think we’re spending a lot on everyday items, the very fact we wear them every day makes them value for money. While the lovely dresses and shoes can prove much more expensive overall.
That’s not to say don’t treat yourself at party season. Just spend wisely on items you can mix and match and accessorise… and you’ll soon notice the savings.
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