Save. Spend. Splurge.

What are my price points for buying quality clothes?

Reader Sylvia wrote in asking:

“Totally not on the theme of bags, but paying for quality and aesthetics. I’m lusting over the colour and fabric of a classic cashmere Burberry trench—only $2,850 US. Could you see yourself splurging on something like that or do you have price points? Just curious.”

I had to laugh when I read this question because I own 3 Burberry coats, two were purchased at retail (on sale though), and one was consigned.

They look like this:



Similar here / here / here …



Similar here / here / here



Old model, I can never find it again!

Similar styles here / here / here

Would I recommend these Burberry coats to others?

If you can afford it, have been saving for it, and are not going into debt for it, then yes, I ABSOLUTELY recommend it.

I wear these coats TO DEATH (the white one a little less I must admit)..

It is the only time that I can wear sloppy clothes, and pull on my comforting, chic trenches and instantly look polished even if I am not. I just refuse to unbutton & take off my coat (haha).

They will stay in my wardrobe forever, unless I go up a second dress size (my current trench is a little tight around the shoulders post-Baby Bun, but I refuse to let it go, so I just wear it open).

But…great coats can also be had at lower price points

Lesser known brands can make really stunning, beautiful coats, like my Smythe Camel Reefer Coat:


Similar here & here … 

I love it and feel equally as chic in it as I do in my Burberry.

Or why not troll on eBay or other places to look for your coveted coat?

I see plenty of Burberry coats on eBay, and eBay as of late has really renewed my sense of justice when I recently purchased some Manolo Blahnik heels that I thought were authentic and turned out to be absolute fakes.

They refunded my money immediately.

However you should buy what you truly desire

I am a firm believer in not buying cheap substitutes.

Much like Becky Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic and her Denny & George scarf, I live by this rule which has pretty much made me poorer than I should be, but … at least I don’t regret very much.

DO NOT waste $300, $500, $800 on cheap substitutes to fill the void of what you really, REALLY want.

Burberry by the way, has a killer free shipping & returns program.

I ordered & tried on over $10,000 worth of coats, and they all went back without a peep.


You can read all about my shopping experience with Burberry here.






Strategy: “Spend” on substitutes into a savings account

Instead, “spend” that money into a savings account each time you’re tempted to buy a cheap substitute, and keep adding to it until you have enough to buy what you actually want.

The best thing is that you can only win with this strategy.

A) Either you buy what you really want with the money and are thrilled with it at the end

B) You find something better to buy for cheaper

C) You decide it isn’t worth it in the end, and have a nice bundle of cash to put towards something you actually want.

Win, win, WIN.

The hunt is what makes it worthwhile and so satisfying

The chase of said desired object is really the best part of the journey leading up to the actual purchase.

Too often, I meet and see women who wistfully paw at my trench coat (with permission), when they meet me, and flick their eyes back to my trench coat over and over again before summoning the courage to ask what they think is a daring question, after skirting around the question with comments like:

“I love that coat.” …

…”I really REALLY love that coat”.

“Is that a Burberry coat?”

I smile and say..

“Yes it is. They make the best trenches.”

I have been stopped I don’t know how many times, ogled and gently pawed (politely) on the buses because of my coat. If you aren’t into being the center of attention because you have an amazing, high quality coat on, think twice about buying one.

Without a doubt, I can guarantee that it will always look good (the fabric is incredible), and if it feels good as well in a classic colour and shape that is timeless and ageless, then go for it.

It’s exactly why I bought my first Burberry cashmere trench, and then bought the second one a bit on impulse but then ended up never returning it because it was so close to a classic one that I coveted and came with this amazing belt that I use to death in outfits.

I think that belt has made it all worthwhile, many times over.



Now, let’s talk price points

Now that we have “heart’s desires” out of the way, let’s talk price points.

I do actually keep price points in my head of how much I am willing to spend on things.

… and they’re flexible.

Over the years, as my wardrobe was matured, and my income as expanded, I have been slowly raising these price points, but can’t seem to break certain barriers.

I love all that cute stuff out there, but I simply can’t bring myself to spend over $1000 for any given item UNLESS it is a “heart’s desire”.

Here’s what I know about myself for retail & also high-end secondhand prices too (but not thrift store prices), seeing as these prices change depending on the brand:

Winter coats: $1000 max; although heart’s desires items like my Burberry trench have gone up to $2000. I don’t need any more coats, so I’m set.

Spring/Autumn coats: $500 max, preferably lower, although I spent $2000 on a Burberry trench.

Casual & leather jackets, etc: $500 max, if I don’t think I’ll wear it often but I want the style badly.

Jeans: $300 max, taxes in for something like these AG High-Rise Farrahs (OMG).

Tops: $200 max, if it is a silk top or equally luxurious, but $50 to $100 if it is cotton and depending on the design.

Blazers: $250 max, but again.. it has to fit perfectly and only if it’s wool or cashmere and NOT ITCHY AT ALL.

Dresses: $400 max, but I am averaging around $150 – $200 because I have all the dresses I need and it would have to be a replacement or something incredible like this YSL Splatter Print dress:

Skirts: $200 max, but it has to be incredible and something I really, REALLY want. Even then, I am loathe at this price.

Pants: $100 max, I am not into pants unless they make me look like I have a butt and hide muffin tops.

Heels: $150 max, used Manolo Blahnik heels only, and only if trolled secondhand / consignment / eBay; I cannot stomach paying retail yet even though I LOVE THEM. Plus they don’t make my favourite style any more (Tuccio).

Flats: $200 max, but ballet flats go through hell on my feet so I am not apt to spend a lot on them.

Boots: $300 max because I love boots but they have to be good quality so I can have them resoled and repaired constantly.

Bags: $500 max, I am not into designer bags to be honest, unless they’re $500 max and amazing.

You can see that all of these prices are arbitrary and UNDER $1000 per piece.

I really REALLY do not want to spend these prices any more because after my little thrifting experiment, I am going to stick to that 90% of the time for casual, general clothes, and go high-end consignment shopping for bigger ticket things like coats, heels, boots, and bags.



  • Marie

    I like quality items but sometimes I think the price is excessive. If you pay regular prices, you get cheap quality these days. Back when women made all the clothes by hand, high quality materials were more common I think. It’s a shame that we have to add a zero to the price tag to get acceptable/good quality for items that require a bit of know-how and dedication and get bad quality for normal prices.

  • Jewels

    I LOVE consignment. I find that consignment clothing is higher quality than some brand new pieces since they’ve already been through some wear and tear, yet still look good. If I find designer pieces in consignment, even better! I have a Burberry cardi and Prada shoes from second hand stores that STILL look great! In this season of life where I stay home with young kids, I can’t justify spending more than a hundred dollars on any item of clothing. I recently bought some brand new Tory Burch boots at an end of season sale for just under $200. It felt high for my current clothing budget, but I justified it since it was such a good price. In general, I go for quality over quantity when I invest in clothing/shoes, but I like to get the most bang for my buck, so I look out for sales at my favourite high end stores.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I have found items that are pretty much BRAND NEW with tags in consignment shops, from Matthew Williams to incredible brands.

      I definitely won’t be buying at retail for designer pieces unless it is something I have never seen — a classic Burberry trench in a modern cut. I had to pay retail on sale for that.

  • Nancy

    As I try to get away from fast fashion, I’ve been looking at higher-priced items with an eye on quality and longevity. But some of the prices are hard to swallow. I think my ceiling right now is $1,000, although I have never bought a single item that cost that anywhere near that much before. In general when I shop now, tops, dresses, skirts, pants are in the $50-150 range, coats $200-300, purses $200-600, shoes $100-400. But I do shop the sales and comb the internet for deals, so often get things for much lower prices. I have been looking at Burberry trenches but have not been able to get past the $2,000+ price. I also can’t quite come around to paying $300 for jeans. I love it when I do buy a pricier item, it’s exactly what I want and I wear it a lot. But I think I’m nervous that I may think I’m buying the perfect item but it turns out to not really meet my expectations or I end up not wearing it much but spent a lot on it.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      If I could do it again I’d probably hunt for a gently used Burberry trench.. although I did score mine on sale for quite cheap (relatively speaking) and the belt has more than paid for itself in how I have used it in outfits.

      I like buying the exact item.

  • Sense

    How odd is it that I gobble up your wardrobe posts like mad, but in my real life, have no patience for shopping, spending $$ on clothes, or spending more than a minute dressing myself (except for special occasions)??

    During the year, I make a list of all the things I need or want to buy when at home. I do a mad shop once a year when visiting home in the US, then bring it all back to NZ. My main shopping gets done at Target, Express, and places like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, or Rugged Wearhouse. You can find some really great deals there! I have a rough rule that I don’t spend more than $30 for jeans and $20 for shirts…bags are no name from Target or the like, maybe $20 each.

    Coats…now there I go a little crazy. I bought a black REI raincoat trench for $170 a few years ago (less after discounts) and am in love with it:
    It looks great on, is extremely chic, just like your Burberry does for you, I love the shape the belt that comes with it gives my body, the wrist cuffs, and the fact that it is actually waterproof. I hiked for 6 hours in absolutely bucketing, drenching rain and through waterfalls in NZ this past Feb, and I was perfectly dry underneath this breathable coat. How amazing is that?! I definitely don’t usually get form and function together. HIGH Recommend. 🙂

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