"I Spent $2,580 On A Purse": 30 Women On Their Biggest Fashion Buy

It's almost the one-year anniversary of our voyeuristic look into the wallets of millennial women via Money Diaries, and it's safe to say that most people spend a good chunk of their paychecks on food. But when it comes to one's closet, the numbers vary wildly, with purchases ranging from a $20 Old Navy cardigan to a $198 Anthropologie dress to even bigger-ticket purchases.

The closets of millennial women really span the gamut in terms of monetary value. How much is too much for a working woman these days? And how do we juggle our wardrobe needs, desire to be creative and expressive via our clothing choices, and the necessity of sticking to a budget?

So we decided to see just how women these days manage their clothing purchases. Ahead, 30 millennial women spill on the most expensive item in their wardrobes — in the context of what they would normally spend on everyday basics. As a note: These women come from all over the U.S. (and some are abroad), work in a variety of industries (some are in fashion, as noted), and have a variety of salaries. Ahead, a fascinating look at the "splurges" that modern working women believe are worth their hard-earned money.

Jane, 29

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Probably jeans from Cheap Monday for around $65. They're skinny and black; I love them!"

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"$30 or less on shirts (lots of sports T-shirts/jerseys). $50 or less for shoes, and $40 on pants (except for the Cheap Monday ones!). I don't like to spend a lot of money on clothes unless I absolutely need to."
Jessica, 24

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A Calvin Klein wool-cashmere double-breasted peacoat for $130. Shoutout to 17-year-old me! I still wear it!"

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts: $20 to $30. But I've kept my eye on something long enough that I've spent more like $50. Shoes: $40 to $80. My mom always says that you spend too much time on your feet and sleeping to go cheap on good shoes or a good mattress. Pants: $40 to $60. It's worth a little extra when you don't have to hem or pay to fix that weird gap in the back. My limit is probably $150-ish on coats. I gravitate towards classic pieces for outerwear and better quality, so I know I'll be wearing them for a few years. If I moved somewhere colder, I could justify spending more! "
Laura, 20

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"The most expensive piece of clothing I've bought for myself that I can recall was probably a long sleeved T-shirt from Kanye's Saint Pablo tour, $65."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I'm a college student and don't have much money. I have expensive taste, but I'm having to budget right now. I get shirts that cost $30 or under, pants for $60 or under, and shoes — depending on the brand — maybe $150 or under. I would spend maybe $100 on a dress if I had an event to go to."

Lynn, 29

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"My most recent most expensive purchase were a pair of Theory, Navalane Jetty' Stretch Ponte Skinny Pants that I needed for work. I justified it because I get so much wear out of them, and they're comfortable and easy to bike in. Originally $235, but I got them for $141 at a Thanksgiving sale."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I like to pay $150 at most for pants, or dresses, but I hover around $120 to 140. For sweaters and work tops, I don't really go north of $80. I've totally bought into the minimalist capsule wardrobe thing, so try to spend more on quality items. I dream of getting a Burberry trench, which is about $1,200-ish. It's a classic piece that goes with everything, and I would likely wear well into my 50s."


Tiffany, 23

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Birkenstocks for $60."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"$5 to $15 for shirts, $30 to $50 for shoes, $20 to $40 for pants. I would spend no more than $3,000 on a Chanel bag. It's a classic."


Kelly, 22

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A Calvin Klein A-line scuba dress for $130."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"$5 to $20 for tops, $20 to $50 for shoes, $10 to $75 for jeans/pants, $20 to $100 for dresses. I would buy a good pair of heels for $750. I feel like styles come and go, but shoes are forever and buying the right pair is essential for any outfit."
Karina, 24

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Some Aldo leather boots for $144."

What do you normally spend on fashion?

"I usually spend around $20 to $50 a month, a little more on my birthday month and around the holidays. I would buy a really nice, warm, and elegant winter coat that fits perfectly for no more than $200. I live in Boston, and I really enjoy a coat that is the whole package: warm, comfortable, classy and flattering. It's something that I think is hard to find."
Abby, 27

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Rag and Bone blazer from Nordstrom Rack, for $150; labeled as originally $550."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts, no more than $40; pants, no more than $80; shoes, under $100. I do have my eye on a $200 pair of loafers that are the perfect work shoe: comfy but cute."
Kelsey, 23

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Vintage, high-waist AG jeans for $169."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I typically don't spend more than $50 on a shirt. For shoes, it's usually less than $100. Pants vary: high-quality jeans that fit well, I would spend around $130 on. But my favorite places to shop are consignment stores — here you can get all types of fashion, usually for less than $100! I would spend up to $200 on a jacket, shoes, or jeans, because each of these things are durable, and get the most wear."

Allison, 22

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Steven Madden fringe loafer heels for $200."

What do you normally spend on fashion?

"I typically will shell out for shirts and dresses from Anthropologie. I am comfortable spending $100 on shoes or boots, and I buy basics like leggings and pants for no more than $20 each. I get jeans at Gap. I'd spend on a reputable brand for an item that would last or be in style for a couple of years, like a jacket or purse, but no more than $300."
Olivia,23

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A Rag & Bone winter coat, purchased from The Outnet for $380. As far as clothing goes, I would spend the most on a winter coat, but probably no more than $400."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts: $50 to $150; pants: $50 to $150; shoes: $150 to $300. I would be willing to spend more on a bag or shoes. It's something that I think should be high quality and something that I would wear the majority of the year in my location. Ideally, it would be something that would last a long time, as well."
Astrid, 27

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A pair of Manolo Blahnik mules."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I do not have a limit for how much I would spend on a piece of clothing, but I only spend from a dedicated clothing fund that I put $100 into each month. If I want to spend a large amount of money on an item of clothing, I am willing to do so, as long as the purchase is thoughtfully considered. I buy clothes only three to four times per year, and my purchases at that time average about $300 to $400."
Hannah Stoudemire, 31,@hanitamarie

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?

"I paid $370 for a pair of Saint Laurent heels, but they were originally $960. That is my biggest purchase to date, and they were from Saks Fifth Avenue on a deep discount. I NEVER — and I mean NEVER — pay full price for designer clothes! I always wait until it goes on sale or find a way to get it at a discount price. I am a serious thrifter, and I search out the best of the best designer at Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange, Salvation Army, eBay, or I'll barter pieces with friends."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I spend $60 on jackets/coats, $20 on shirts/skirts/pants, and $60 on shoes. I shop only at thrift stores, resale shops, sample sales or vintage stores. I will not go past $200 on anything."
Sehar, 34

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A suit — boring but practical. It was a J. Crew suit for $200, and it was on sale."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts, $15 to $25; pants, $20 to $40; shoes, $40 to $60. I would spend no more than $250 on another suit or a bag, since a suit or bag is an investment piece. Even then I don't expect items to last more than five or six years, especially because I am brutal on my stuff."
Meghan, 24

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Tory Burch nude flats — I wear them to work almost every day. They last forever and go with EVERYTHING. It was also my first-ever real-world job paycheck. I paid $215, and used a $10 rebate from eBates and coupon codes."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Work tops and sweaters, $40 to $50; jeans, $20 to $80; shoes, $5 to $100. I love Primark, but I also love Toms and Nordstrom. Going out clothes, $50 to $70, usually from Topshop and Urban Outfitters. I would spend a lot on a coat — probably up to $300. I own a $500 coat but it was a gift. It is the most practical purchase — it gets so cold in the Northeast, a good winter coat is essential. Plus, it will last forever, and I commute via public transportation so I spent a lot of time on freezing train platforms."
Laura, 36

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A dress for about $250. I forget the brand now, but it was from Bloomingdale's. It was for a wedding, but I have worn it about four other times and feel that it remains relatively timeless."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I don't tend to spend too much money on one article of clothing. Shirts are usually $20 or less, shoes $100 or less, pants $30 or less. I never plan to spend more than $100 on any clothing item. And I would only spend over $100 on something I knew I would get a lot of use out of, like well-made shoes, a coat, or a bag. I don't have a lot of extra money in order to spend a lot on clothes."
Lauren, 31

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Isabel Marant Étoile Roxann suede ankle boots. I actually bought them lightly-worn from eBay and paid $334 for them. Original price was $720."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"$40 to $70 on shirts, $29 Old Navy jeans, or $200, max, for Adriano Goldschmied jeans. The most I'll spend for shoes is $150 (other than nice boots). I would spend $2,200 on a Chloe bag because I think the right bag can be timeless and it's worthwhile to invest in good bags and shoes because they can really elevate any outfit and will get more use than a single article of clothing. Also, I'm way more of a shoe than a bag person, and rarely switch bags, so when I buy one, I'm committed to it and can justify spending a lot since I will carry it forever."
Melissa, 34

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A classic black leather biker jacket, Massimo Dutti, for 240 euros (approximately $248)."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"€200 a year, normally only during the bi-annual sales, in low to mid-range stores. I would spend €500 on a classic black smoking jacket and tuxedo pants, because I could wear it forever, in many different circumstances."
Amber, 27

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"My wedding gown was the most expensive piece of clothing that I've bought for myself ($4,000), but otherwise my most expensive piece is a Tory Burch foldover crossbody bag for $400."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Special occasion clothing can go from $200 to $400 (for dresses, usually), but otherwise I tend to spend $30 to $75 on tops, $50 to $150 on dresses, and $50 to $150 on pants/denim; shoes can vary. I tend to look for deals, but I have spent in the range of $30 to $250, depending on the type of shoe. I've had my eye on a Saint Laurent purse for a while.; the going rate is more than $1,250. If I work hard enough and have the capacity to save enough for it, I would reward myself. It would never be a splurge purchase for me."
Hannah, 38

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Rachel Comey Mars boots for $430. I would buy another pair of [her] boots if I could afford them. I wore those Rachel Comeys almost everyday for six years, and they have finally been worn beyond repair."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts, $50. pants, $80; shoes, $300."

Leandra, 24

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?

"A North Face down parka for $500."

What do you normally spend on fashion?

"I typically spend $600 a year for clothes, not including outerwear and shoes. I spend maybe another $800 a year on running shoes, winter boots, and outerwear. I try to buy second-hand as often as possible, especially for outdoor gear, but I would spend up to about $700 for a warm jacket. I commute by bike every day, so warm gear is crucial!"
Ellery Lee, @elleisalwayshere

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"The most expensive piece of clothing I've bought for myself was a pair of tan suede Saint Laurent lace-up ankle booties for $895."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Normally I spend around $500 for fashion altogether, without splurging a lot on a particular piece. For tops, it would range from $30 to $100. For shoes, it ranges from $50 to $250. For bottoms, it ranges from $40 to $120. The most expensive piece of clothing I would buy would be a nice leather jacket, for $1,000 or less. Leather jackets are such a staple, and if it's a warm, form-fitting, style, it's a definite plus! Splurging and investing on a piece that I can wear in all seasons is worth it."
Jane, 34

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Alexander Wang Rockie bag for $900. This was three years ago. Designer handbags are not really a priority for me anymore."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts, $20 to $80; shoes, $100 to $350; jeans, $100 to $200. I'm really big on cost per wear. I've wasted enough money in my life on clothes I didn't wear."
Alexandra, 31

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Other than my wedding dress? A Mackage coat, for $900."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I try to buy pieces that aren't for one season, so for sweaters and pants, I will spend up to $150 on something nice, but certainly not in the designer realm. I don't care enough about brands to pay the premium!"
Alicia, 31

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM for $1,500."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"Shirts and sweaters, $50 to $150; shoes and boots, $100 to $250; jeans and leggings, $80 to $250. If I can find a pair of jeans that fit like a glove, I'll buy several pairs! I wear them every day."
Tina, 26

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"YSL Cabas Chyc for $1,100, pre-loved, through Tradesy. Original retail: over $2,695"

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"On a monthly basis, $60 on blouses, $50 on shoes, $40 on pants, $30 on accessories. I would spend $3,400 to $5,100 on the Chanel Boy bag. The Chanel Boy bag has been slowly replacing the Chanel 2.55 and seems to be sturdier. Its resale value is great right now (80% of original cost) so, the second the tides start turning against [the style], I'd sell it."
Callie, 30

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Proenza Schouler PS13 bag, for $2,500."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I have a monthly average of $1,000 to $2,000 on clothing. For shirts, $100 to $150. Dresses, $150 to $300. Pants, $100 to $250. Shoes: $300 to $1000. Jackets and coats, $250 to $800. If it's the perfect item that fills a hole in my closet, is a bucket list item, or just makes me really happy, I will not hesitate to buy it."
Leah, 28

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"Prada Galleria handbag, $2580 plus tax. I use it often, and a quality bag lasts much longer than a cheap one."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"I spend a lot on individual items but I expect to own them for years, so while I have a very expensive wardrobe, I don't have a lot in it. Most of my items are easily mixed and matched with each other to create different looks, which I love. Shirts range from $80 for a T-shirt to $300-plus for a good silk blouse. Shoes range between $500 to $1,200 because I buy nice pairs and then resole them — I'm not too hard on my shoes currently, because my going-out days are behind me. Jeans are about $200, because I love Frame denim. Work pants are more along the lines of $120, because they are all from J.Crew. And I have a beautiful pair of leather leggings that I got on sale for $800 from Vince and I wear them all the time; they were totally worth it."
Rachel, 28

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A rustic gold mini Chanel flap bag for around $4,000."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
"My range is huge, because I don't think it's the price that matters; it's how you feel in the piece. The most expensive thing I would buy is a good leather jacket, for $800 to $3,000. I think leather jackets make everything look chic, and it's worth it to invest in a good one!"
Lin, 30

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've bought for yourself?
"A Celine box bag in python leather. At the time of purchase, it was $4,000. Clothing-wise, I bought a coat for $1,000, and that is the most I've spent on a single piece of clothing. But coats last for years."

What do you normally spend on fashion?
Shirts, $150 to $250. Shoes, $500 to $800. Pants, $150 to $300.