Ask Belle: Big Purchases, Are They Worth It?
Nov 8, 2016
Like you, I love, love, love Burberry. I’ve wanted one of their trench coats for years but I don’t know if it’s worth it. $2,000 for a coat is SOOOO much money. Do you think it’s worth it? How did you justify it?
Love the blog. Kaylee
Having the resources to make a large fashion purchase–like a Burberry trench–is the ultimate luxury. I searched for several years in outlets, on discount sites, eBay, etc. for a discounted trench, but never found one. When I graduated from law school, I decided to buy myself a graduation gift, and what better choice than a Burberry trench?
I went into the store at City Center DC, and ended up trying on every coat in the store. I tried on dozens of colors, styles, and sizes. Finally, a coat from the sale rack this Leather Cotton Gabardine Trench in navy (not the basic stone Kensington trench I thought I wanted) spoke to me.
Over the past 12 years, I’ve spent over $1,000 on trench coats from J.Crew, Banana Republic, and London Fog. They’re not as well-made as the Burberry trenches, and so the elbows, liners, and hems wore out. And unlike those coats, I loved the Burberry trench. I felt great, almost empowered, wearing it.
Now, I’m not a particularly indulgent shopper. But as I was standing in front of the mirror, I thought back to sitting on the Metro as a 22-year-old intern watching this incredibly stylish woman in her Burberry coat, typing away on her Blackberry, and thinking #lifegoals. I saved up for my trench coat for months, and I knew I would regret not taking advantage of the $600 savings on a piece that I could still be wearing when I’m 50. So how did I decide to make this purchase?
If you’re contemplating a big purchase–whether you like bags, shoes, jewelry, or coats–for me, the test is five questions.
1) Can I afford it? Not can I put it on my credit card, but can I buy it today and not steal money from my future self or from other obligations?
2) Do I love it? Not like it, love it. When I wear it, do I feel amazing? Does it have that X-factor? Will it make my day a little brighter to be wearing it? (I still get a little tingle in my spine every time I put on my trench.)
3) Would I still love it if it weren’t Burberry/Jimmy Choo/Chanel? Am I buying the logo, or am I buying the item itself?
4) Does this piece fit into my lifestyle, and will I wear it today, tomorrow, and for years to come? Even the savviest shopper buys things that collect dust in their closet. If you wear sneakers every day, I wouldn’t splurge on those 4″ Louboutins. So ask yourself if this is a smart choice for you.
5) One more time, ask yourself if you can afford it?. Don’t impulse buy a splurge purchase. Put it on hold overnight. Go get an ice cream and think about it for a minute. Make sure you’re sure before commit.
Have you ever splurged on a purchase? Did you regret it, or are you glad you did it? Leave your thoughts in the comments.