7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Making A Big Or Small Fashion Purchase

Every purchase is an investment, which makes luxury fashion purchases all the more important to consider. Whether you’re a tenured fashion buyer, or you have been pinching pennies for months to buy that one designer handbag you have been dreaming about for years, there are a few questions everyone should ask themselves before making any kind of decision. Because in fast-paced industries like fashion and retail, it’s easy to get carried away and make a choice on a whim. And everyone knows that’s bad news when it comes to, you know, your wallet.

There are lots of factors that play into a big fashion purchase — so that when you’re walking through a department store, shopping for a special item to join your wardrobe, you won’t be dazzled by bright colors and sequins; but rather thinking rationally and financially about your upcoming investment. Sure, getting distracted from reality by designer clothes and accessories within arm’s reach can feel unavoidable; but it’s so important to stop drooling and really consider your current lifestyle and how your coveted item — be it a handbag, pair of heels, or little black dress — might affect it.

Whether your potential future investment is big or small, designer or not, here are seven questions to ask yourself before you swipe any cards or hand over any money. Because like I said before, every investment should be carefully considered, especially when it comes to something as ever-changing as fashion.

1. Can You See Yourself Using It?

One of the unfortunate downfalls of making a major fashion purchase is practicality. While many of us would love to be spending thousands of dollars on all our favorite styles and items of the season, revamping our wardrobe every year, that’s not how most of us live. So, when we make an investment it should be worth it. And what’s more worth it than a quality, beautiful item that also lends itself to your lifestyle and your needs? Think about what you need in an item, and make sure to consider those characteristics when you’re shopping. You want to ensure your purchase will be well-used and well-loved.

2. Have You Read The Fine Print?

Oftentimes, doing research on a specific store, brand, or item can help you understand what your investment will be — especially in fashion. From material facts, to how to take care of your item, to where your item was made — these can all be indicators of its quality or authenticity, especially if you’re buying second hand. And don’t be afraid to ask an employee about the brand's return policy, tailoring, and options when it comes to repairs. These are all factors that might contribute to your big decision, so you can make the best investment possible.

3. Does It Go With What You Already Have?

Occasionally, I will buy a piece of clothing or an accessory I absolutely adore in the store, but then hate once I bring it home. I try it on with everything in my wardrobe, and it just refuses to work. Make sure this doesn’t happen with your big fashion purchase. When you make an investment in a fashion piece, you want it to blend seamlessly with what you already own. Changing your whole wardrobe for one dress or coat would be ridiculous, so try imagining yourself wearing that piece with what you already have beforehand. You should be able to create at least three outfits with the item, if not more, to make it worth your time and money.

4. Can You (Actually) Afford It?

It’s easy to get carried away when we get our paycheck deposited into our bank accounts and all we see are a whole lot of numbers. Money and financial management are not simple things, and all those beautiful clothes and accessories don’t make them any better. It’s easier said than done, but try to consider your financial limits when making a big fashion investment. Before you step foot into any store, or visit any online retailer, look at your finances and set a budget. Knowing your financial limits will not only refine your choices, but will also ensure you don’t break the bank. That Hermes bag might be darn pretty, but is it worth credit card debt? Probably not.

5. Can You Get It For A Better Price?

And that brings me to sales, clearances, and special shopping events that might lower the price of a fashion item you’re seriously coveting. Lots of shops, department stores, and even online retailers have sales — either annually or semi-annually — where tons of designer items go on sale for a limited time. You might have to be fierce and hunt for your item, but if it means saving even the slightest amount of money, it might be worth it.

Waiting for an item to go on the clearance rack often saves money, as can visiting a brand's outlet store if it has one, or even saving on shipping online by signing up on an email list. Every dollar counts, so be smart with your money. Not all designer items go on sale, but doing some research about the retailer beforehand might save you a buck or two.

6. Do You Really Want It?

Sometimes we think we want something, when in reality it’s just a product of a trend, a fleeting interest, or the "everyone else has it" phenomenon. Sure, your favorite celebrities like Gigi Hadid wear culottes and look amazing. But if you’re not completely sold on the way they look, and more importantly, they way they make you feel, your money might not be worth it. This is especially true with trendy items. So, if you’re iffy about a certain piece, it might help to sleep on it. If you’re dreaming about that specific piece the next day, revisit it. If not, you must not have been that crazy about it in the first place.

7. Should You Treat Yo Self?

When we make big purchases, it’s usually to celebrate something. Whether it’s graduating from school, getting a promotion, or even just getting your paycheck at the end of the week, there is no such thing as a small accomplishment and I personally believe every goal met deserves a celebration. But ultimately, should you treat yo self? Yes, yes you should. Just like Donna and Tom from Parks & Recreation, everyone should treat themselves on a regular basis. If you decide you want to treat yourself, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. As long as you’re sure of all the aforementioned questions, you deserve to buy yourself that handbag or those shoes.

And I won’t even blame you if you buy them both.

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