Not everyone dreams of having a little slice of luxury, and not everyone can understand why you’d spend the equivalent of a month’s rent on something to carry around your keys, but investing in designer has been a long term goal of mine. Maybe it started with watching Sex In The City and seeing Miss Bradshaw living her best life while wearing a killer pair of Manolos, or perhaps it was those years spend purring over my favourite fashion magazines and wondering what it would be like to not have to check the prices at the bottom of the page, but (rightly or wrongly) I’ve long associated being my most successful and reaching peak life goals with a collection of amazing accessories.
During my youth I probably put far too much focus on one day handing over my card and walking away with a piece I could treasure for a lifetime, but as an adult I see it more as a long-term investment than a frivolous measure of ambiguous success. Owning a Givenchy handbag or pair of Gucci loafers doesn’t mean you’re a better person, or even better at your job, it just means you’ve chosen to invest in luxury over any number of alternatives that are open to you.
My thing is bags and shoes.
It’s not a new revelation; ever since I was able to pick out my own clothes I made a beeline for the accessories. I remember vividly lusting after a 60’s inspired white patent bag that I found in New Look, and not being older than 14 at the time I had to wait and save and bug my parents until finally she was mine. Every photo of me for about a year I was holding that blooming white bag, even though I had nothing to put in it but TicTacs and my mediocre pocket money, but the love was so strong that I can recall every detail over twenty years later.
Over the years I’ve definitely upgraded my accessories collection, especially as I’m trying to make more of an effort to buy wisely and invest in pieces I know will last me a lifetime. My age and financial position enables me to swap twenty impulse purchases that barely last a season for a designer piece I know I can reach for year after year, becoming even more beautiful with age and holding so many treasured memories. Every item I buy has a story, every piece is a considered purchase and every investment something I want to pass on in the future.
So if you’re considering buying a designer piece yourself, how do you know whether or not to take the plunge? Here are four important questions to ask before investing in designer…
DO I ADORE IT?
This is absolutely the key question. When you’re spending a significant amount on designer you can’t just like it – you have to LOVE it. There’s a huge difference between it being a ‘nice to have’ and moving heaven and earth to be able to get your hands on it, no matter how long it takes or the hoops you have to jump through to turn it into a reality; that’s the kind of love I’m talking about.
Have you spent months returning to the store, annoying the sales assistance for your lack of commitment? Is it so often open in your browser that it becomes one of the staple recommendations on your homepage? As seasons come and go, is it a piece you still think would be cherished and used until it fell apart? Can you not get it out of your head and dream of the outfits you’ll create together? Then go for it.
These Chloe sandals are the perfect example – something I’d had my eye on for over a year, consistently thinking they’d be the perfect addition to my summer closet and knowing they’d never go out of style. Finally I took the plunge and I’m so glad I did; they’re taking some wearing in, but I know they’ll be coming out year after year until they disintegrate.
WILL I WEAR IT?
And I don’t just mean a couple of times a year, or saving it ‘for best’. I mean all the time. There’s little point in spending a small fortune on something that hides in your closet because it doesn’t go with anything other than a singular dress that only comes out for black tie weddings; you want to be able to bring it out almost daily, ensuring your cost per wear is as little as possible.
The pieces I still love and wear to death are the black bags, the nude totes and the statement pieces that go with everything. They’re not the social media fads or the pieces I see celebrities wearing, but those little gems that I know I have an illogical adoration for so will find a way to work it into practically every look.
I’ve made mistakes before, mainly when I’ve become swept up in the atmosphere of Bicester Village, and have bought pieces that aren’t at all practical or aren’t really my style. A big blue McQueen tote felt like a perfect idea at the time, but it’s a colour I don’t get a lot of wear out of and the straps aren’t quite long enough to wear over chunky coats; I’ve also treated myself to a custard cream Anya Hindmarsh bag I’d been dreaming off for about two years, only to discover I couldn’t actually fit my new phone into it – rendering it all but completely useless. Shop wisely and you won’t regret it like I have.
IS IT AN INVESTMENT?
Many designer pieces are incredibly seasonal, falling out of favour within a year and spending the next twenty years waiting to fall into the ‘vintage’ category. An investment piece is more of a classic (in shape, colour, size and style) that you can be sure to look as good in a decade as it did on the day you bought it – so if you can’t imagine yourself still reaching for it in ten years time, give it a miss.
It’s also worth considering whether a piece will retain its value, or even accrue value in the long term. Chanel are known for increasing their prices year on year, with vintage pieces now fetching higher amounts than they commanded brand new, so they’re a wise investment. But smaller brands, seasonal pieces and unusual styles may not sell on as well if you want to downsize.
CAN I AFFORD IT?
Not rocket science, but nobody should be buying designer if it’s not within your budget. Unless you can comfortably buy it without relying on credit cards or dipping into an overdraft, you should step away and commence a saving plan until you can. In all honesty, a lot of the joy is in the anticipation – knowing that one day your dream piece will be yours, and enjoying every nano-moment when finally you walk out knowing you’ve achieved your goal.
It also means so much more when you’ve worked for months, if not years, to be able to save and then splurge on something that you know want to show off at every given opportunity. Every designer piece I own has a story of its own, making it all the more special and worthy of the money spent on it.
If you’ve answered those four questions wisely, then go you, you’re ready to take the plunge!
Just let me know what you’ve got your eye on so I can have a look too…
I’m all for doing some more investing in designer!
READ MORE ABOUT INVESTING IN DESIGNER:
How To Get Your Designer Handbag Dream For Less
How To Shop At Bicester Village: 8 Top Tips For Getting A Designer Bargain
What To Consider When Buying A Designer Bag (To Get The Most From Your Investment Fashion Piece)
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