For most, your income is limited during your teenage years. With the majority of funding coming from your parents, relatives or a part-time retail job you’re not left with a lot of money to stock your dream closet. I know for some, that’s not the case, but regardless of your situation you’re probably not making enough money to go out on massive shopping sprees. You have to be a little more careful with your money, and purchase strategically!
For myself, I strived for quantity. I would have prefered to get three nice, reasonably priced staples than one larger purchase. At the time, I was also developing my own personal style and growing my wardrobe. Which was way more important to me than purchasing higher quality investment pieces.
When I graduated from student-hood and started earning grown-up money, the floodgates opened! Finally! I had a disposable income to spend as I pleased. Of course, rent, bills, and other costs factored in to this, but the fact that I was bringing home a decent sized paycheque every two weeks meant that I could ramp up my wardrobe and really start shaping my personal style. I was no longer tied to basics that would go with everything. I could play with shapes, colours and trendier items. But, because I wanted to show more range, I too strayed away from the super high-quality brand names and designers in place of more affordable pieces. This way I could strike a balance between more trendy items, as well as essential basics.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-late 20’s that I changed my mentality towards my wardrobe and started thinking about investment pieces. What triggered this shift was the consignment contributions I was making. I would bring in buckets full of items I no longer wanted or needed. After awhile it felt like the equivalent of carrying a briefcase of money and saying, I’ve had fun playing with my money for now, so why don’t you take it.
I could see how wasteful some of my purchases were. But, in the moment when I was buying them, they seemed well-thought-out and rational. However, after one or two wears it became very clear that they weren’t as valuable as I originally estimated. This cycle went on for years, and eventually my outlook shifted. I decided that I would quit buying impulse pieces that didn’t fit me or my current wardrobe, and opt for better quality items that offered greater return.
Perhaps the best decision i made was saving for purchases. Instead of spending a portion of every paycheque on something fun and impulsive, I put money aside for a bigger, more special purchase. So by allocating the funds I would have spent on something disposable to something that would hold its value, I was ultimately saving money and breaking the cycle I had developed during my early adult years.
One word of caution when making this switch, your instincts are going to tell you to continue to buy in quantity. Which, is very difficult given the increased price tag attached to higher quality pieces. It may seem obvious, but the habit to buy doesn’t disappear overnight. For example, I made the mistake of buying a Chloe bag, a Saint Laurent crossbody and a pair of Chloe boots in about a month’s time. What was i thinking right? I obviously ended up returning two out of the three, because I’m not a millionaire and don’t have that sort of budget. But, it was a very quick lesson in investing. In the long term, higher quality pieces are worth the wait and discipline. It’s good to save up for something. It gives you a sense of control over your finances which is one thing everyone can benefit from.
Originally published at medium.com on April 17, 2016.