Today I wanted to give y’all a glimpse into my shopping habits. Specifically, where I save and splurge when it comes to my closet!
Let me start by saying that Happily Howards is a blog committed to affordable fashion and simple style. As a former teacher, I was all about that budget-friendly life (because, let’s face it, teachers aren’t exactly millionaires!). Then, after moving to California, Jay and I tried to be more mindful of our spending habits because the cost of living is higher out here. And now we’re saving for a house! (You can read more about my current frugality in my recent 5 Ways to Save Money post.) Anyways, all of that to say, I’m a big fan of affordable items and not overspending if possible.
But I’ve come to realize that, when it comes to clothes specifically, choosing the cheapest items available isn’t always the best answer. Obviously, the more affordable, the better, but there are just some items where quality has become more important to me. I’ve listed my personal opinions about where I save and splurge currently. My hope is to give you an insight into how my opinions have changed over time and to possibly give you some ideas for where you can save/splurge yourself!
And let me just add a little disclaimer before I get into things: If you always opt for the most affordable option out there, that’s awesome. If you always purchase the more pricey items, that’s awesome too. No judgment here! It all comes down to personal preference, style, and budget. We all prioritize different things (designer handbags over going to the movies every week, a great pair of jeans over eating out often, etc.), and that’s totally okay. To each their own!
Below, I’ve broken up all of the clothing areas into where I save and splurge, as well as where I’m still undecided!
|| WHERE I SAVE ||
To help give context to my definition of saving, I would classify anything under $50 as “saving”.
- Trends || This one’s rather broad, I know, but it’s true. Trends are simply that – trends. They’re popular one season and gone the next. As an example, I’m thinking about the current trends of pom pom everything (dresses, sandals, purses). With fashion blogging as part of what I do, I want to stay current, but I also don’t want to overspend on something that I won’t be able to wear often. I’ve also found that with those super trendy pieces, because they’re such a bold statement, I can’t wear them very often because they’re so memorable and people notice. For a perfect example of what a budget-friendly option of a trend looks like, take a look at my top from this post. Here’s the pricier top that’s $80, and here’s the budget-friendly top that’s only $20!
- Shorts || Unlike jeans, shorts aren’t that big of a deal to me. I’ve grabbed a few pairs of denim shorts from Target and Forever 21 and they get the job done. It’s probably because I mostly wear them to the beach or when I’m just hangin’ around on the weekends, so I don’t feel the need to spend more than $30 or so on a pair.
- Dresses || Two reasons why dresses are on this list: 1) If it’s a special occasion dress that I’m probably only going to wear once, I try not to overspend when it’s never going to be worn. However, it’s not always possible to find wedding guest dresses, etc. under $50 – but I definitely try to keep it in that range. 2) There are so many adorable dresses at Target and Nordstrom (using the price filter for under $50), so I really haven’t found a need to spend above that price range!
- Tops, excluding sweaters || I’m probably starting to get repetitive here, but once again, I’ve been able to find the most adorable tops at Nordstrom for under $50, so spending above that isn’t a “must” for me.
- Workout Tops || In my opinion, the top I’m working out in isn’t as important at the bottoms I’m wearing. I’ve found that investing in great workout pants is more important to me and that I’m perfectly fine wearing a simple tank and sports bra to the gym.
My favorite budget-friendly stores:
|| WHERE I SPLURGE ||
If “saving” for me is under $50, then my “splurge” items are $50 and up.
- Jeans || This has been the biggest change in my fashion preferences over the past year. I used to only purchase my jeans from American Eagle because they were only like $30. And don’t get me wrong, they’re still great and I still own a pair or two, but my life changed when I got my first pair of jeans over $50. When I find an amazing pair of jeans, they’re more comfortable, they fit my shape better, the stretch is great without getting loose, and the color doesn’t fade as quickly. My favorite pairs of denim that I currently own are these Mott & Bow jeans and my DSTLD jeans.
- Classic Jewelry || If it’s a trendy piece of jewelry like tassel earrings, I keep that in my “save” column because it won’t always be in style. However, for those classic jewelry pieces like diamond earrings, gold necklaces, and watches that I’ll be wearing for a long time, I’d rather invest a little bit more to ensure it’s good quality so the pieces don’t lose their sparkle and quality My favorite investment pieces are my Daniel Wellington watch and these Kendra Scott earrings (in multiple colors) because their simplicity won’t go out of style for a long time!
- Classic Pieces || If I’m looking for a good tee, a simple striped top, a chambray top, or a casual black dress (basically, pieces that will never go out of style and that I’ll wear over and over again), then I’d rather spend a little more upfront so that they stay in good condition for a long time. My favorite place for these types of pieces is J. Crew.
- Sweaters || I’ve learned the hard way that purchasing cheap sweaters isn’t a great idea. They pill, snag easily, and I usually end up donating them after only one season. I invested in one nicer sweater this year from J. Crew and everything changed! It still hasn’t fallen apart and it’ll probably end up being my go-to sweater for next fall as well.
- Boots & Booties || Boots are on this list because I’ve had the same pair of brown leather boots for about 4 years now, and booties are listed because they’re absolutely my most worn item during fall/winter. I’ve found that if you’re willing to invest a little more in boots and booties up front, they’re going to last longer and will definitely be worth it in the long haul.
- Yoga Pants || While I save on my workout tops, it has become super important to me to have top-notch pants. When I’ve tried the more affordable yoga pants, they either loose their shape easily, are prone to camel-toes (sorry, TMI!), or become pilly. As much as I hate how expensive a good pair of Lululemon leggings is, I’ve owned a few pairs for several years now and they’re still going strong!
My favorite splurge stores:
|| WHERE I’M UNDECIDED ||
- Heels & Sandals || While it’s important for me to have quality boots and booties, I’m still undecided on heels and sandals. I’ve found such great options at Target and Forever 21, so I haven’t committed to the more expensive brands just yet. Especially when it comes to heels because I really don’t wear them very often. I kind of like only spending $30 for a pair of heels that I’ll only wear twice a year! However, I’m still on the fence because it could be that the more expensive heels and sandals are more comfortable, and I’d totally be down for that!
- Purses || Okay, I know this is most women’s “must” area for splurging, but I’m still undecided! Why? Two reasons: 1) I change out my purse every season or so because I like to keep up with trends and I love starting off each season fresh. And 2) It honestly all comes back to Target and those under $50 purses from Nordstrom! With such great options at a reasonable price, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to splurge on a designer handbag yet. But I have a strong feeling that I could be easily swayed towards designers handbags after experiencing one!
|| SHOP THE POST ||
If you found this “Where I Save and Splurge” post helpful, would you pin the image below to your fashion board on Pinterest?
Thanks for checking out my “Where I Save and Splurge” post! Hopefully one thing you can takeaway from this post is that you can absolutely look fabulous and stylish in budget-friendly and full-price items alike!
Did I miss any fashion areas that you’re still curious about? Where are we the same in our fashion spending/saving and where are we different? I love hearing about other women’s shopping habits! Talk to me in the comments below!