Most of us remember the elementary school lesson about wants versus needs. By definition, luxury fashion is not your everyday kind of purchase. But that doesn’t mean you should never splurge.
It just means you should put a little extra thought in before doing so. Because they’re expensive, only invest in designer items that make you feel special, not because ‘everyone else has one.’ Read on to learn our top ten tips on what to do — and what not to do — when buying luxury fashion accessories.
1. Check the Lay of the Land
Tops on your list is to make a list. Jot down the things you want and then prioritize them. After you’ve done that, figure out how much each item is going to run you. Let’s say you’ve got your eye on a classic strand of pearls. Visit Laguna Pearl to see get an idea of how much they’ll cost. Don’t just check one site. Also check out The Pearl Source and other reputable jewelry retailers to familiarize yourself with prices and style options.
2. Know Yourself
Before buying anything, it’s important to consider how much use this item will actually get. A quilted Chanel handbag may become your constant companion, while a jewel-encrusted clutch may only spend a single, sparkling night out on the town.
Be honest with yourself and realistic about your style. If you can’t think of at least three different occasions for using this item, you probably don’t need top-end, and a lower-priced alternative will do. Make up a list of pros and cons for the article, and maybe run it by a trusted friend or family member before taking the plunge.
3. Don’t Fall for Fads
Know the difference between a true trend and a flash in the pan fad. Trends have a longer fashion cycle and often wind up as classics, meaning something that you can enjoy wearing for years to come. It’s far better to wait and see than splurge and waste your hard earned money on something that’s a has-been just a few months down the road.
4. Buy What You Love
While it may be true that you can never have too many shoes, a single pair that truly suit you is way better than a bunch of stuff that’s the height of fashion but not your style. Shop for one luxury item at a time so you don’t wind up spending too much — or experiencing buyer’s remorse.
5. Save Up
Most of us don’t have unlimited funds to spend on fun. When it comes to laying out beaucoup bucks, you should not go into debt in order to buy nice-but-not-necessary things. This step requires patience and discipline, but your perseverance will pay off when you hold that delightful, long-desired item in your hot little hands.
The best way to save up is to set aside money on a regular basis. A lot of companies offer a savings plan like Christmas Club where you select a certain amount of money to be automatically subtracted from each paycheck. When you hit your goal, bingo. An added benefit of saving up is that you have time to consider whether or not you really want the item.
6. Timing Is Everything
Some brands never go on sale, but a lot do. Post-Christmas and mid-summer are common sale periods, but don’t ignore other times of the year. Certain retailers run serious discounts before Christmas as well as after. Certain brands and businesses like Net-A-Porter offer sale alerts; be sure to sign up for them. Research and pay attention to offers from retailers too, such as giftcard offers, discounts for signing up for the store credit card, and the like. A word of warning, if you cannot pay off the credit card bill relatively quickly, go back to tip #5 and keep saving.
7. Ask for Help
If you’re the type to get swept up in the beauty and glamor of the showroom, ask a friend to help keep you on track. Also, don’t be shy about asking if one of their friends has any insider knowledge. They may not only offer valuable insights into what is worthwhile and what isn’t, you may even be able to score a discount through a well-connected friend-of-a-friend.
8. Take a Test Drive
We’re not talking about a $20 knock-off version of Ferragamo sunglasses picked up from a street vendor. You’re making an investment and it should be for something that you’ll love and use for years to come. So go to the boutique several times. Try the item on and make sure they’re comfortable and truly match your style. Just because the sunglasses look great on a movie star doesn’t mean they’ll look right on you.
Shoes should fit right from the first wear; no ‘breaking in’ period. Does the strap of the handbag slip off your shoulder? What about the clasp? If it’s difficult to deal with, it might be time to reconsider. If you can’t physically inspect the item, check out a forum like thepurseforum.com. When you sign up for an account, you can ask questions to luxury lovers the world over. You also get to share your experiences.
9. Consider Consignment
If you’ve got a big event coming up and you truly can’t wait but you also can’t afford Tiffany’s, try upscale consignment shops. Buying second hand can be a great way to save big on luxury brands. Vintage shops often carry some of the best statement pieces. There are loads of consignment stores online including The RealReal. Be sure to deal with a reputable site, read descriptions carefully, ask questions, and closely inspect all photos.
10. Enjoy It
After all the hard work, research, and saving, you’ve finally pulled the trigger. Congratulations! It feels good to know that when you set a goal, you can attain it. Now, don’t forget the most important part: enjoying your purchase. Use it, appreciate it, and be proud of yourself for following through.
Now that you’re an old pro, you might even want to consider repeating the process.