When to Splurge on Fashion vs. When to Find a Deal (PHOTOS)


With stores like Forever 21 and H&M cropping up everywhere, fast fashion has become very hard to resist. At the drop of a hat (or click of a button), we can find cute clothes, shoes, and accessories for the equivalent of a couple of movie tickets. But once in a while, it's totally worth it to shell out the extra cash for a quality item.

General rule of thumb: If you're going to wear it every day and/or for a few years to come, it's smart to invest in something you really love and that's really well-made. For things that will likely get shoved in your bag though (hats) or worn for two weeks of one season, save your pennies. Here, six items to splurge on, and six items for which you're better off finding a deal. 


Image via jcrew.com

  • Splurge: Jeans



    Jeans are the kind of thing you wear day after day (after day), so it only makes sense to spend a little extra cash on this staple. Sure, you can find a cute boyfriend jean at H&M or a flattering skinny at Zara, but odds are they won't last you nearly as long as the real deal and you'll wind up spending more money in the long run. 

    Check out: 501 CT Jeans (shown; $129.90; levi.com); rag & bone JEAN jeans ($220; bloomingdales.com)

  • Find the Deal: Flip-Flops



    Despite the fact that, like jeans, flip-flops are made to be worn every day (weather permitting), they're also made to be slipped on and kicked off. During the spring and summer months your flip-flops will, no doubt, take a beating, so no need to put your wallet through a beating, as well. 

    Check out: Capri Sandals (shown; $12; oldnavy.com); Keds Tealight Metallic Flip-Flop ($12.99; jet.com)

  • Splurge: Sunglasses



    Again, sunglasses are something you wear every day -- for years and years and years -- and (hopefully) they're not the kind of thing that takes a daily beating. Once you find a pair that works for your face, spend the extra money. Promise, they'll last longer than the ones you bought at a kiosk on the boardwalk. 

    Check out: Ray-Ban Original Aviator (shown; $165; sunglasshut.com); Chloe Carlina Sunglasses ($346; barneys.com)

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  • Find the Deal: Summer Dresses



    Sure, there are some timeless staples when it comes to dresses, but typically every year there are new styles that are all the rage. And, as with most things in fashion, one day it's in, the next it's out. No one wants to fork over $200 for something they'll be trying to sell on eBay in a few months. 

    Check out: Gauze Maxi Dress (shown; $29.99; target.com); Striped Bodycon Dress ($14.90; forever21.com)

  • Splurge: Your Bag



    A good, well-worn-in bag that you use every day is invaluable, so it only makes sense to splurge on one. However, it's best to avoid anything too trendy or that has designer names emblazoned on it, as it will no doubt go out of style. Something that will always be in? A great (faux or real) leather tote.

    Check out: The Transport Tote (shown; $168; madewell.com); Vanchetta Leahter Cosmoplitan Tote ($158; toms.com)

  • Find the Deal: Chunky Cardigan



    Every woman needs a chunky cardigan to keep her cozy -- but they don't have to cost her an arm and a leg. Stores like Urban Outfitters, Old Navy, and even Target are usually well stocked with a variety of knitted cardigans. And, yep, they look just as good as their more expensive counterparts.

    Check out: Chunky Knit Cardigan (shown; $17.99; hm.com); Mixed Texture Open-Front Cardigan ($18; oldnavy.com)

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  • Splurge: A Good, White Tee



    Fact: White T-shirts will never go out of style, so why not splurge on something you'll have for years to come?

    Check out: T by Alexander Wang (shown; $85; barneys.com); Acne Studios Vista C Cotton Tee ($115; fwrd.com)

  • Find the Deal: Hats



    From fedoras to panamas, hats are everywhere lately. And you won't be hard-pressed to find one that looks good on you on the cheap. Also, let's get real: There's a good chance it'll wind up stuffed in your beach bag at some point. 

    Check out: Aerie Panama Hat (shown; $19.95; ae.com); BP Straw Fedora ($18; nordstrom.com)

  • Splurge: A Good Coat



    Finding a coat -- a really good coat -- that you can wear for two seasons every year for years to come is like finding the Holy Grail. Don't let it pass you by. 

    Check out: Icon Trench Coat (shown; $298; jcrew.com); Crosstown Trench ($129, llbean.com)

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  • Find the Deal: Slip-on Sneakers



    Like flip-flops, slip-on sneakers wind up taking a beating each year -- and they're typically only worn during the spring and summer. There are loads of cute, go-with-everything slip-on sneaks to choose from that don't break the budget. 

    Check out: Macy Sneakers (shown; $24.99; target.com); Leopard Pony Hair Slip-Ons ($16.99; forever21.com)

  • Splurge: A Little Black Dress



    It may sound like a cliché, but it's true: There will always been a need for a little black dress. Buy it once. Buy it right. 

    Check out: Black Halo "Jackie O" Belted Sheath Dress (shown; $345; bloomingdales.com); Michael Kors Stud-Trim, Side-Slit Dress ($130, macys.com); 

  • Find the Deal: Workout Clothes



    Unless you're a professional athlete or die-hard Soul Cycler, do you really want to spend a bunch of money on something you're going to sweat right through? Probably not. 

    Check out: Tek Gear Workout Tee (shown; $14; kohls.com); Nike Signal Muscle Tank ($9.99; finishline.com)

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