What Women Splurge On

To splurge or not to splurge? That is the question. For Lori Dawn of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the answer is easy. She buys at least a hundred dollars worth of Victoria's Secret bras and panties every week. But unfortunately, we all can't afford to say yes to every expensive boot that beckons us or every pricey coat that coaxes us. That's where the savvy splurge comes in. A savvy splurge is something that could be considered a good investment '- something that's a bit of an indulgence but ends up paying you back with longevity. But what separates a smart splurge from a waste of money? Here's how to splurge wisely.


Why do we splurge?

What causes us to lose common sense and spend more than we can afford on things? Splurging is good for us on occasion. It's a reward system. Why shouldn't we buy new shoes when we get a promotion or run a marathon? Ruth Shaver from Frankfort, Illinois, splurges on herself because she is worth it, and it makes her feel good to buy nice things for herself. Can't argue with that. Sometimes it's all about the label, sometimes it's all about the trend. The important thing is that it's fun and it feels good. Here are some other reasons why women splurge:

  • I tend to be cautious about how much I will spend on clothes, but when it comes to shoes and handbags, no expense is spared! The way I see it, shoes and bags make or break an outfit, so why not splurge on these things?
    --Monica B., Indianapolis
  • I am addicted to Lancome products and expensive perfume. I won't spend more than $30 on a shirt, but I will spend more than that on my moisturizer or foundation. I guess when it comes to my skin I am more willing to splurge.
    --Louise, New York City
  • I only splurge when I see something that I really like that I know I'm going to use a lot.
    --Genevieve, Highland Park, Texas


Get miles out of your styles

It's tempting, we know. There you are, alone in a room with a pair of the most gorgeous plum-colored, crocodile, round-toe pumps you have ever seen. They are so chic, so of the moment, so... unbelievably expensive. Is this a smart investment? Probably not. While the shoes may make you feel (and cost) a million bucks for one season, you will be kicking yourself next season when green is the new color and pointy toes are back with a vengeance. Here are some simple rules regarding style and color:

  • Choose a trendy style or a trendy color. Never both. It's okay to buy a cropped leather jacket if it's in style. But buy it in black so you can wear it again. Avoid trend overload by sticking to one trend at a time.
  • Watch your colors. Investment pieces don't have to be limited to black, but make sure you buy a color that suits your skin tone. You don't want to find out after the fact that your pricey, yellow, cashmere sweater makes you look sallow.
  • Make sure you buy styles that flatter your figure. While a belted long coat is classic yet chic, the belt will hit you in the wrong area if you are long-waisted. Double-breasted coats are timeless as well, but should not be worn by full-busted women.
  • Find a great tailor. If a style fits you but the sleeves are a tad too long, a tailor can be a great asset. Clothing with minimal issues can be altered to fit you perfectly.


What's it made of?

On many occasions, expensive clothing costs more because of the high quality fabric, yarn or skin used to make the garment. Other times, you are paying for a label and nothing else. Before getting suckered into a steep yet cheap item, brush up on what you should be looking for:

  • Cashmere should feel soft and cushy, not coarse or fuzzy. It should have a luster to it. Two-ply cashmere is sturdier than one ply but is still lightweight. Three ply makes up a chunkier knit.
  • Low-grade cashmere is itchy and will cause irritation to the skin. Be suspicious if it's too cheap. Sometimes good bargains really are too good to be true.
  • Beware of blends '- check the label to make sure the garment is 100 percent cashmere or wool.
  • When buying wool, look for merino, which has a finer fiber; alpaca, which is strong but soft; lambswool, which is fine and soft; or mohair, which is lush but long wearing.


How's it made?

The way a garment is constructed is another key factor to consider when spending beaucoup bucks on an investment piece. Puckering and pulling are both red flags that may indicate you have a lemon on your hands. Read on for more helpful hints:

  • Linings: Well made garments have full linings. They should be made of smooth fabrics like rayon, acetate or silk. Also, make sure the lining doesn't fall below the hemline.
  • Buttons and buttonholes: Buttons should be sewn tightly, and on heavier fabrics, reinforced with disks. They should meet the buttonholes perfectly. For shirts, the more buttons they have, the higher quality they are.
  • Seams and hems: All seams should lie flat and straight without puckering. A good hem is double stitched and undetectable from the outside.
  • Interiors of accessories: These should be finished perfectly. High stress areas should be reinforced with extra stitching, rivets or screws.
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