Around the middle of December, my husband asked me for the umpteenth time what I wanted for Christmas. And for the umpteenth time, I told him I had no idea. But I knew that wasn’t fair. He needed help.
I gave it some thought and told him I’d be delighted with a Nordstrom gift card. He couldn’t miss with that!
Christmas day, we opened our gifts and what did I get but a bunch of Nordstrom gift cards. I tucked them away in my wallet and thought about what I would buy for several days.
After the holidays, I got on Nordstrom’s site to shop. I filled my basket with a nightie, a robe, a slip, a couple of tubes of mascara, underwear, socks, tights and some eyeshadow.
Nope. Not even a little.
I began the check out process, my cart filled to the brim with practicality, and suddenly, I felt I was making a mistake.
While my practical side was saying, “buy the socks and the nighty!” my daring side was urging me in another direction. It said, “Go BIG! Buy something you’ve always wanted. You can buy tights any old day, silly! Buy something luxurious, pretty, and high quality. An item that makes a statement that you’ll wear for many years. Do it!”
So, I did it. I spent my entire wad on this:
A gorgeous wool and cashmere Burberry ‘Rushworth’ coat.
And strangely, I don’t regret it for a millisecond. It was the right purchase for me and my wardrobe.
I started thinking about why this purchase, though very expensive for me, was a “feel good” buy, whereas other expensive purchases – or even not that expensive – give me a “feel bad” reaction.
What I realize it that there are certain things that are worth the splurge because they allow me to always look and feel well-dressed.
And there are other things that are worth the splurge to me, too. I compiled a list of my top 10.
1. A fantastic coat:
A classic, modern coat will stay in your wardrobe for many, many years if the cut, color and quality are superb. Consider your climate when selecting a coat. You may want a wool coat or maybe just a light trench for warmer climates.
2. A fancy watch:
Buy the best watch you can afford as it’s a piece of jewelry you wear everyday. Whether that means a $51,000 Cartier Tank Anglaise, a $180 Michael Kors or something in between, purchase something that will last, will look great with any outfit, and that you won’t get sick of looking at.
I have had this Rolex for over nine years, a gift from my husband, and I never get tired of putting it on.
3. A beautiful handbag:
Find one luxurious handbag you love in a classic style and a versatile color. My current favorite luxury bag is this Mulberry Bayswater bag in cognac. Cognac goes with everything and this satchel style is timeless.
4. High-quality foundation:
You can get away with less expensive brands of mascara, lipstick, and eye makeup but a cheap foundation usually shows and may cause skin problems. I like Glo Minerals for a light, dry mineral makeup, Giorgio Armani for a traditional foundation, and Jane Iredale BB Cream for heavier coverage.
5. A professional haircut and color:
I get a lot of questions and comments about my hair, always positive, thankfully. While I do take good care of my hair, it’s really my hairdresser who deserves credit. She takes my tresses seriously.
My hairdresser listens to me intently, I can trust that she won’t give me anything but superior service, and she educates me about how to style and care for my hair.
I never once bemoaned paying my bill at her salon. Her services are worth every cent. For me, my hair is an important part of my appearance that I am willing to splurge on.
6. A great pair of sunglasses:
I’m loyal to Ray-Ban. They never get it wrong and the $150 average price tag is worth it to me. Not only are they comfortable on my face, but their styles are classic and they always make me – and Daisy – feel glamorous.
7. European Bras
Spend the big bucks on your bras. They are the underpinning, the foundation, for all your clothing. I only need two at a time, one in nude and one in black, and I hand-wash and line-dry them to make sure they last.
If you haven’t done so already, get sized. And if your weight changes, get sized again. I advise not trying to figure it out yourself. There are many experts out there who will fit you for free.
I prefer bras made by designers in France or the UK because bras from elsewhere don’t fit me properly. I seek out boutiques specializing in undergarments because that’s where I’ve always found the most knowledgeable and helpful bra-fitters and the best European bra selection.
This bra is my favorite. It’s very comfortable, supportive and well-made.
8. One luxurious scarf, either silk or cashmere.
A high-quality scarf can add color, texture and interest to many outfits. Silk scarves can be tied in numerous ways, and luxurious cashmere scarves are not only wonderful against your neck but they can elevate an otherwise lackluster look.
If you don’t want to spend $500+ for a new Hermes scarf, you can find them secondhand, in excellent shape, for half that price or less. And Hermes is not the only maker of gorgeous silk scarves. There are many beautiful silk scarves made by other designers for a fraction of the price.
9. A fine frangrance.
I’m not a big perfume-wearer. But when I do want to wear a scent, I reach for Hermes Eau de Merveilles. Having a multitude of fragrances is a bit of waste for someone like me. I don’t wear them enough to warrant more than two or three perfumes. Eau de Merveilles is the one I splurge on. I like the citrus, woodsy scent and I often get compliments on it.
10. One piece of real jewelry.
Whether it’s a pair of pearl earrings, diamond studs, an emerald pendant, or a gold bangle, have one piece of real jewelry that will make you feel special. My husband gave me a pair of diamond studs for my 40th birthday and, if I had to guess, I would say I wear them 5 days a week.
While I still practice and support Secondhand First, I also believe in having a balance of high-end and low-cost items in my closet.
With these 10 elements in place, I will always have the ability to look and feel well-dressed and finished, even if I scrimp on the rest of my wardrobe.
If I’m wearing a pair of Gap jeans and a t-shirt, my exercise clothes, or a $5.00 thrifted dress, donning a luxurious coat, fancy watch, great sunglasses and diamond studs will allow me to look stylish and put together in any situation.