Honestly, as a student, making my budget stretch further is one of my biggest woes. Especially when it comes to ‘looking a million bucks’ on a meagre part-time income.
I frequently get asks on my other blog about how I can afford to dress the way I do, ranging from the polite “teach me how” to my least favourite “you must have rich parents”. Nope, fun fact - I’ve been working and earning my own income since I was 16-17 and I don’t get financial support from my parents. I’ve always held onto the ‘quality over quantity’ principle and I firmly believe in choosing the right investment pieces. I discussed this briefly with Alice in her article about capsule dressing for News.Com.Au but I’m gonna just expand a little on my ‘high-low dressing’ rules here.
1. Know your ‘classics’
Know what pieces are ‘staples’ for you. Look at what you wear at least 5 times a week, think jeans, tees, tailored jacket, a good shirt etc. For me, that list also includes ankle boots and a leather jacket. Invest in those pieces and look after your investment. That means, regular cleaning, whether it be hand wash, gentle machine wash or dry.
2. Cost per wear
When it comes to choosing what to invest think about this formula (I think it’s Rachel Zoe who originally said this?): Cost per wear = Cost of the Item ÷ Number of times you wear it
My Acne leather jacket might be $3000 but I wear it at least 3 times a week, after a year that’s only $19 per wear.
3. Spend less on ‘trend’ pieces
I am no saint when it comes to resisting trends (culottes!! sneakers!!! athleisure!!) and my style is regularly influenced to what music I’m into (right now it’s Halsey but I shift in and out of my Haim phases too). But I spend considerably less on the pieces that help me complete my look. I don’t even look for those pieces in designer stores or department stores, it’s just not worth it. Stores like H&M, Zara, Cotton On and Forever 21 are my go-tos for those trend driven pieces and best of all, the prices won’t give you anxiety. For things like special occasion dresses/resort wear/anything I only foresee a few wears I tend to go low. ie. The below dress I wore to my friend’s birthday party, it’s from Forever21, from the SALE rack, for about $35. But I elevated the outfit with my new Saint Laurent baby and these suede laser cutout pumps which were pretty much a one off.
4. Know your accessories
Hands down, I have a very weak spot for a good ankle boot, sunglasses and small designer bags. These pieces always ‘elevate’ any ‘boring’ outfit for me and for me, they’re considered a worthwhile investment. For me brands like Acne Studios, Saint Laurent and Chloe are always on point ‘it’ accessories of the season. I also tend to stick to neutral colours, almost all my designer accessories are black with gold hardware, purely because those shades fit seamlessly into the rest of my wardrobe. Other brands worth looking into are Mansur Gavriel, Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and Chloe for those ‘key’ items that really help bring an ensemble up a level.
What are your investment pieces? What are your rules on high-low mixing?