Until recently, you'd have to pry my AmEx out of my cold, dead hands before I'd consider a purchase that wasn't sold at an outlet or shipped via Amazon Prime. But the fact is, once you buy that perfect, goes-with-everything-use-it-every-day black bag of your dreams, the desire to buy another bag disappears.
"A trench [coat] from Balenciaga or Gabriela Hearst, a pair of loafers from Loewe or Nicholas Kirkwood, a biker jacket from Acne," lists Natalie Kingham, buying director at MatchesFashion.com. "Items such as these are worth the investment. Not only are they eternally cool and chic, but they are timeless and never date."
Including Kingham, we tapped three luxury buyers to give us their expert advice on shopping smart. Unsurprisingly, they unanimously agreed to stick to to quality basics when investing, but the rabbit hole goes deeper than that. Read ahead to see their 7 lesser-known tips on the best way to spend — including the items you should never splurge on.
"My personal rule is to always to buy the best you can afford," Kingham says. "For example, when buying a navy cashmere sweater, the first one you purchase might cost around $100. You love it and wear it all the time. So the next one you purchase is a little more — maybe $500." Over time, you will redefine what is "worth it," and in turn, what isn't. "It is a journey of luxury investment," she says.
"I have one rule that I try to follow: If I'm going to spend the money on something, I want to use it," says Jeffrey Kalinsky, Nordstrom's fashion director and founder of Jeffrey stores. "I don't believe in saving things for special occasions." For those who treat designer goods like stolen treasure locked away in a safe, know that fashion is meant to be functional. Treat it that way.
If you can, Kalinsky says that "shoppers should invest in every single thing they buy." Echoing the idea of
"The only time I would recommend buying an inexpensive version of something is if you know you're only going to use it once," Kalinsky says. "I have an amazing customer who wanted to buy a backpack specifically for her trip to Disney World. There's no way she was ever going to use that backpack after that trip was over, so I advised her to get an inexpensive backpack rather than a luxury version."
If you're not a bag person, there's no need for you to splurge on a Chanel 2.55. "When purchasing an investment piece...I have to know that I'll love living with it for a long period of time," says Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue's fashion director. For Patel personally, "this rule applies to fine jewelry."
"It is important to look at an investment piece as a long-term item, not short term," says Patel. "You are investing in the fabric, design and quality.... The piece must be timeless, which allows for more use."
Athletic sneakers, that is. "Don't invest in sneakers, gym clothes, or phone cases," Kalinsky says. These high-use items wear out over time, and are required to be replaced often.