Guys, what was the first nice thing you treated yourself to for your wardrobe?
And I mean, really nice.
The first really nice thing I bought for myself was a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans.
…The brand is totally cool again, I should mention.
Investing in your wardrobe is scary, and I was living in New York at 18, living paycheck to paycheck managing the front desk at a hair salon.
I had somehow managed to save up some money (“scraping by” does not describe how cheaply I lived in that gap year, so this is really saying something).
On a day off, I hurled myself in the direction of Bloomingdales, determined to get myself a really amazing pair of jeans.
I spent the better part of the afternoon wading through the denim section and left hours later, the proud new owner of a pair of designer bootcut denim.
Now, I know that brand doesn’t set off any “ooh you fancy” bells nowadays, but back then? That brand was schmancy with a capital “SCH.” Sure, there was a puffer vest I had in high school from American Eagle that I thought was pretty hot stuff. But these jeans. They were over a hundred bucks!
The first time I’d broken the three-digit mark on a price tag.
This purchase set me off on really well-made denim, and I’ve never looked back. They feel good. They don’t stretch. You almost never have to wash them. Your butt always looks amazing in them. What’s not to love?
It’s funny, then, that I continue to forget this mantra – even while reminding you guys of it at least once a week!
And hey, I get it. It’s so much easier to spend 1/4 the price on the same – well, “same” – item from a big box store, or get the one on the clearance rack – discounted because of an older style, or a color that’s trendy, not timeless.
When you have something nicer than you’re used to, it feels different. You feel different. More confident. More attractive.
Think about how you feel in a new relationship. This wondrous creature who cares about you – you! – makes you feel like Superman.
If she’s with you, then you must really be something.
That’s why investing in your wardrobe can be worth the sticker shock.
Barring a new love, the right clothes and accessories can replicate this Popeye-post-spinach effect.
If you’re wearing that great suit in your closet that fits you just so, those amazing shoes, you feel the effect creep across your whole body. Your whole being.
My newest “nice thing?” The Coach bag above.
The black pebble leather makes me feel like such a boss, I can’t even tell you. The short handles give it a briefcase-y (yes that’s a word..) vibe and help me exude confidence and professionalism, even when I’m just using it to drag my ass to a coffee shop to break the WFH monotony.
I’m not even kidding you; the vision I had of myself the first time I picked it up was me as Mr. Monopoly. If that’s not how you want to see yourself in the business world, I don’t know what is.
My clothing budget doesn’t allow for unlimited spending (yet?!), so I’m not advocating you go out and run up a credit card bill longer than your arm on the nicest everything.
But I am saying that you may want to consider saving that budget up, skipping the sales rack and the cheaper-but-not-really-that-great items til you can afford the bigger ticket item you really want.
And, of course, “big ticket” means different things to different people.
My Coach tote is another woman’s Louis Vuitton bag.
One man’s J.Crew Ludlow suit is another man’s Prada tux.
So long as you feel great in it, the number of zero’s on the price tag doesn’t matter so much.
Head to Twitter and tell us: What’s the last thing you invested in for your wardrobe? How do you feel when you wear it (or carry it!)?