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:
BURBERRY BLACK REGIMENTAL CASHMERE & WOOL BLEND TRENCH COAT
BURBERRY HONEY CLASSIC TRENCH COAT
BURBERRY WHITE COTTON 3/4 LENGTH TIE COAT
Old model, I can never find it again!
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:
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.
BURBERRY COATS I TRIED AND REJECTED FOR VARIOUS REASONS
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.
BURBERRY BELT FROM TRENCH COAT
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.