Fashion Buys You Shouldn't Splurge On

We're the first to tell you that when something on the rack is actually worth it, it's worth it. You see, we're not built to subsist on a consistent diet of plain shirts and plain pants and plain shoes and be content. We need that fashion stuff. A good pair of trousers, a game-changing set of heels, and a beautiful new dress nourish us in ways that are nearly unhealthy. And, if we know that spending more means we'll be able to get a better item with a higher level of design, we'll move some funds around and make it work.
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But, there comes a time when no degree of quality or brand appeal will justify that dreaded low-balance alert from your bank. Because, yes, sometimes an affordable option is just as good as, if not better than, its premium counterpart. So, we're giving you the information you need to make those purchases more responsibly. Read on to see the nine items you should never splurge on, and check out our suggestions for their cheaper alternatives. No one's going broke on our watch.
1 of 9
Weekender Bags — One of the hardest working bags you own is probably your carry-on. You stuff it within an inch of its life, you set it on the floor, and you toss it around. So, there's no use feeling like you have to be precious with it. These should be sturdy, but they don't have to be bulletproof, so you never have to spend a ton of money on it.

DO spend your money on: Luggage
2 of 9
Trophy Heels — Sure, they felt great when you tried 'em on in the store, and they make all of your outfits look 1,000% more fashion-forward. But, if the only time you put them on is for two minutes in the morning (right before you take them off because you've already developed a blister), don't bother. These look great on your shelf and on your feet, but if you're not going to get any wear out of them, it's best to spend your money on everyday heels and look for cheaper alternatives for your trendy, car-to-couch heels.

DO spend your money on: Work heels
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Pre-Distressing — No amount of money can buy the frays, rips, and whiskers that come naturally with years of wear and tear.

DO spend your money on: Tailoring
4 of 9
Vintage Clothes — For the most part, if you're clever and patient, you'll be able to find most designer-name vintage clothes at affordable prices. (And, speaking as a team of folks who've found Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Dior for under $50, stories like these aren't urban legends.)

DO spend your money on: Vintage designer handbags
5 of 9
Fashion Sneakers — We get that this may be a controversial point, especially since we've covered fashion sneakers aggressively on this site before. But, for some of us, sneakers are the total antithesis of a designer shoe — they're meant to be worn to death and really take a beating. So, if you're feeling like you need to avoid a frolic in the park because you're worried about getting grass stains on your slip-ons, well, that's just ridiculous.

DO spend your money on: Boots
6 of 9
Reach Trends — Trying out new looks, styles, and silhouettes is what makes fashion so fun. But, if you're unsure about how well a new piece will integrate into your life, don't spend a lot of money on it (just in case it doesn't end up working as well as you imagined). Utilize the Zaras, H&Ms, and Gaps of the world first, and then splurge if you really, truly like it.

DO spend your money on: Classics
7 of 9
Knockoffs — If something is directly "stolen from" rather than "inspired by," we say that it's always a bad idea to support an industry as insidious as the counterfeit market. Plus, to any trained eye, knockoffs look way cheaper, so it's not really worth any of the money you wind up saving.

DO spend your money on: The real deal
8 of 9
Graphic T-Shirts — This one's up for debate, but we think that truly splashy tees look better with a couple of holes, a few rips, and a fraying neckline. Expensive designer T-shirts are not only tied to a certain season (Givenchy's Rottweiler shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim's New York tee, etc.), so they can feel dated very quickly, but they also don't have that "Where did you get that amazing shirt?" quality that affordable buys attract.

DO spend your money on: Graphic sweaters
9 of 9
Shoddy Construction — We're talking synthetic fibers, low stitch-to-inch counts, bad hardware, and sloppy buttonholes. Some brands will try to dupe you with trendy cuts and slick design elements, but no matter how cool something looks, it's not worth it if it falls apart on you after one wash.

DO spend your money on: Natural fibers
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