Some things you can (and should) buy cheap: trendy items that are clearly going to be out of style in a few months, beach sandals, basics, leggings, etc. But some things should be a real investment, and should last you years (if not multiple generations). I have a few of my grandmother’s prized items from the sixties, and they are still just as high-quality (and chic) as they were 50 years ago or more. You should hope, in this world of fast fashion and 10-dollar club dresses, to have at least a few items that will stand the test of time.
Cheap doesn’t always mean less expensive in the long run, and having something that lasts you a decade — instead of having to replace it ten times in that same span of time — often works out to much less money (and headaches) in the long run. Here, the four items that should always be invested in.
1. A beautiful winter coat.
You are going to go through many winter coats in this lifetime, but it’s important to have at least one with staying power. I am currently in functional possession of two — TWO — of my grandmother’s old coats, and they keep me warmer than anything else in my closet.
Ponying up a few hundred dollars for a beautiful, and deeply practical, winter coat can feel awful at first. After all, it’s going to get snowed on. But with even a minimal amount of care and upkeep, you can keep them year after year. (Besides, you want to have at least one coat in your arsenal that you can pull out and look incredibly fancy and put-together, even in -10 degree weather.)
2. Good leather riding boots.
Cheap shoes may be one of my biggest downfalls, and it’s arguably the one item you really shouldn’t be skimping on, as it is directly connected to your overall orthopedic health. Crushing your feet in cheap, uncomfortable (but cute!) shoes is a very rookie move, but actually committing 300+ dollars to a single pair of shoes can feel awful, too. And I do believe that for certain things — sandals, ballet flats, rain boots — you can still go pretty cheap and get away with it. But when it comes to riding boots, you have to bite the bullet and get something nice.
I only recently retired and thrifted my Frye boots — because I hate the way they look, not because they were in any way worn down — but they had served me well for nearly 10 years, through many hazardous wears at campsites and house parties and trekking through the woods. Only having to be resoled once, they were basically as good as new when I got rid of them. Despite initially costing quite a bit, I’m convinced they paid for themselves in all the replacement boots I didn’t have to buy.
3. The perfect little black dress.
You need the go-to dress that will make you feel sexy, professional, confident, date-ready, smart, and confident. You need to have something that feels like a secret weapon when you put it on. And few things can serve as many functions as a little black dress. You might get other, cheaper, variations of it for certain occasions, but you should always have that one standby that looks like five completely different dresses depending on how you style it, and can easily transition from the office to a night out.
4. A nice piece of jewelry you bought for yourself.
I’m sure that, for many of us, there will be jewelry in our future that was purchased for us, and not by us, and despite the largely outdated social norms that surround marriage, that’s fine. We are entitled to receive our ornate pieces of promise jewelry, if that’s what we want. But every woman should have the pleasure (and the honor) of buying herself a nice ring or bracelet just because she feels like it, and she’s earned it.
The things I always treasure most are the things I purchased for myself to celebrate a success. Even though some of the gifts I’ve received are undeniably beautiful, they don’t have that special je ne sais quoi of being hard-won with my own blood, sweat, and tears. And frankly, going into that boutique and saying “I’ll take that, please” is a pleasure that is truly difficult to match.
Like The Financial Diet on Facebook here.