The Best Splurges

The Best Splurges || CorporetteWhat items are “worth the splurge” if you have a healthy amount of discretionary income? Reader S wonders…

Here’s my idea for a post – what are the central items that are “worth the splurge” for those of us with a healthy amount of (but not unlimited) discretionary income? I’m thinking there are certain purchases – the classic Burberry trench, a Chanel clutch – that would be well worth the amount spent, since you’ll potentially be using the item for a decade or more, but what are some non-obvious items that would fit into this category?

FUN question, reader S!  There are definitely things I bought in my 20s — when I was single and making six figures at a law firm — that I wouldn’t necessarily buy now, with a husband and kiddo in the mix (at least not without thinking about it looong and hard).  Since I’ve always known that my weight tends to fluctuate, most of my splurges have been in the accessory category. Here’s my $.02, but I can’t wait to hear what the readers say…

My top splurges:

  • Laser hair removal.  Maybe this is TMI, but I think it is AWESOME that I haven’t had to shave my legs more than a few times the past year; same with my underarms.  I may have been a particularly great candidate, though — I even missed two free touch ups that were part of my package with Beam Laser Spa because I was pregnant or nursing, and things are still fine.
  • Dangly diamond earrings.  This was how the purchase went back in 2005 or whenever I bought these:  “Oooh, pretty.  Ooh, they’re on sale.  (It was Macy’s or somewhere where things are always on sale.) Ooh, they’re only $1400.  OK, sold.” I don’t actually remember the price or the markdown, but it was something like that — a five second decision for a four-figure purchase.  Ahh, splurges.  But I loved those earrings when I bought them, and I still love them now.  I just wore them to my cousin’s wedding; I wear them out frequently on date nights, and I’m always kind of excited to put them on.  I’d put my right hand diamond ring in this category as well — it’s much easier to personally enjoy the “bling” from diamonds when they’re worn on a ring or bracelet because it’s easier to see your hand.  (You can see my diamond earrings at the end of this video as well.)
  • Cartier watch I only wear it for business events now (after an unfortunate incident where a certain someone spat breastmilk on it and then it cost $500 to get it working again) but I still love it.  It’s classic, it’s quality, it’s tasteful.  Love.  As I’ve written before, this was a huge purchase by me for my 30th birthday.
  • Mikimoto pearls My parents bought these for me for my 30th birthday, and I still love them.  They were expensive, but I know that they’ll always be tasteful and beautiful.  Plus, you can wear pearls anywhere — they worked at my wedding, they work at most every legal conference I’ve ever been to (it seems to be what everyone else is wearing as well), and I wore them frequently in my suits-and-sheath-dresses days.

Things I’m glad I didn’t splurge on:

  • Shoes.  I had to give away most of my shoes after having my son — my feet grew a full half-size (and I picked up some fun foot problems along the way).  I’d always MEANT to buy a pair of Louboutins and Choos, but never quite got around to it — and now I’m glad I didn’t.

Things that are ALWAYS worth the splurge:

  • Good bras.  I stalk Bare Necessities for sales, but I buy a few new bras (from $50-$70 each) every six months or so.  This is maybe in a different category than the other splurges we’re talking about, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Those are my main categories of things that were definitely good splurges and bad splurges… readers, what are yours? 


  1. diamond stud earrings

    quality REAL GOLD jewelry–there is so much cr*p jewelry that I’ve paid WAY too much money for (umm $95 for a GOLD PLATED necklace that turns silver after some wear– no thanks). I started saving the money I otherwise would have spend on cheap stuff and ended up with some nice, real gold jewelry that I will wear for the rest of my life. I wish my mother had taught me to do so ages ago

    good leather bags & boots — I was just so sick of spending money on sub-par leather that got gross after a season or two

    • Hi, are you me? Because I was just coming on here to say GOLD GOLD GOLD.

      • I’m with you guys. GOLD. It’s worth saving up for the good stuff.

        Also, good quality pearls.

        And I’m totally with Kat on the good bras.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I’m a mix. I like some pretty trendy stuff, but I buy that at Target, etsy, or the flea market, and never pay more than $20 for a piece. But if it’s a piece I think I’ll want to wear for more than two years, I skip the “boutique” costume jewelry and go straight for the gold and silver.

    • Diamond Studs :

      I am not a jewelry person and about the only splurge I ever made is a pair of 1-ct studs back when I was a single lawyer. If I hadn’t spent the $ then, I certainly couldn’t have done it now (my daycare costs more than I paid for college). But I will some day pass them down and they will last forever.

      • WestCoast Lawyer :

        “my daycare costs more than I paid for college”

        Owch – you just made me do the math and I’m in the same camp! It makes me want to go home and crawl under the covers and hide, but of course I can’t do that – got to keep making the $$$.

        Now I’m wishing I’d bought some nicer jewelry when I had the extra cash :)

    • Classic jewelry. My taste runs to the classic stuff to begin with but in my 30s its nice to have a few good quality real pieces to choose from – Tahitian pearl studs, white pearl studs and a choker, multicolored and grey pearl necklaces, the gold tiffany knot earrings that everyone seems to wear, simple drop earrings in your preferred gemstone, and a diamond right hand ring are my picks.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        I’d love to hear more about what people consider are “classic” jewelry pieces worth investing in.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      Real jewelry in general. Gold and gemstone. I’m not saying i have to wear expensive stuff, but if I do spend oodles on it, it better be real.

  2. If I suddenly found myself with a lot of extra income, I wouldn’t use that as a justification for expensive items I don’t need (and whether or not you would like these items, no one NEEDS a Burberry trench or a pair of earrings). Why not use the money for a special travel experience, to help out a family member, pursue a new hobby, or something like that?

    Sorry for the rant, but this blog is consumerist to the point of absurdity sometimes. I think women owe it to themselves to take a hard look at what society tells them they should spend their money on.

    • Not trying to start something…but this is a fashion blog. And hey, it is cool that those are your top picks but it is also cool if they aren’t someone else’s.

    • Dude, this is a fashion/shopping blog, and this question is more about individual taste and preference than being “right” or “wrong.” I think the “best” splurge comes down to what a person wants and how much gratification she gets from the purchase.

      You do you–but not everybody wants a “special travel experience” or whatever else you’d put the hypothetical money toward–and that’s okay. We don’t have to criticize other people’s choices or tastes because they don’t align perfectly with our own.

      • People can absolutely decide what they want to spend their own money on, but how many of you out there truly and personally desire to spend money on pearls and diamonds? If that’s you, more power to you, but whoever wrote the question to Kat didn’t seem to have an idea of something she’d been wanting to splurge on. She wanted Kat to tell her what to buy and for what purpose? For the sake of spending money?

        There is a lot to be gained from this site and the comments of all the smart women on here and everyone visits for their own reasons. It doesn’t mean there isn’t room to evaluate some of the advice.

        • Um, the emailer was just suggesting an idea for a post.

          One thing I’ve learned is that we never know a person’s full financial life. Sure, someone may be “consumerist” and spend money on a strand of pearls or diamond earrings. But maybe that person has saved for years to afford jewelry that’s classic enough to be handed down to her children. Or, like commenters here, maybe they sacrifice and spend the bulk of their discretionary income on taking care of relatives and want to take the opportunity to treat yo’self.

          • That’s the thing – it was an idea for a post about ideas for what to splurge on. Why should people need ideas for what to splurge on? If you know you want handcrafted leather goods, a new kitchen remodel, a new coat, a new necklace, whatever – absolutely treat yourself to it if that’s what you really want.

            Of course everyone on here works hard and treats others well. I’m not contesting that people should treat themselves to something they really want with their extra income. I just take issue with the idea that because you have extra income, you should consider buying extremely expensive items you never previously had a desire to own and may not need. This is assuming, of course, that at least some women on here with discretionary income never desired a Cartier watch or Mikimoto pearls until Kat said they were good splurges for her.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            For what it’s worth, there are some items that I may not know are actually worth splurging on so sometimes I like to hear what others think. To take your example, if I know I want handcrafted leather goods, I may not be sure which brand would be worth splurging for. Or if I really want to splurge on pearls then Kat’s comment about her Mikimoto pearls could be useful to me.

            I sort of get your point though that seeing a post like this and deciding I really want to splurge on pearls that I’ve never cared about before is worth pausing to look at where this motivation is coming from.

          • This is so silly. I read that post and I thought “oh, here’s a post on things that Kat thinks are worth the splurge for her (watch) vs. things that are not (shoes).” Yes, there are people out there that will buy a designer trench coat because society makes them feel like they should, but if they’re insecure, let them be insecure. You can’t make someone who bases their self worth on stupid things change with a blog post. Why read everything in the worst possible light?

          • Anonymous at 12:52, if you think it’s so silly, then why contribute at all? We must have different ways of viewing things in the “worst possible light.” Others may disagree, but I started the discussion because I think it is genuinely interesting to consider why we spend money on items we can consider non-essential and that aren’t universally desired. Even women who are deeply insecure can gain something from a discussion on a blog.

          • I didn’t buy my Burberry trench because society made me or to compensate for insecurity; I bought it because it is well-made down to every detail, it fits perfectly, and it makes me feel amazingly put together.

    • I use plenty of my money to help out my parents. It’s nice to make big purchases for myself once in a while! Especially if they will last.

      • BTW, my last splurge that I don’t regret: Stuart Weitzman 5050s. Leather is amazing. I found them on ebay a year ago.

    • I realize you intend your comment about what society tells women they need to be feminist and, I”m guessing, empowering, but I actually find that mindset to be patronizing and controlling. I absolutely love my engagement ring, my pearl earrings, and my collection of beautiful, high quality jackets/blazers. I prefer having these things to going on a trip somewhere because I get genuine pleasure every time I wear or look at them (I admire my engagement ring at least twice every day even though I’ve now worn it daily for four years). I don’t love these things because society tells me I need to. I believe that I am a fully functional adult human being who knows her own mind and can therefore tell which things I love and want because I love and want them. Just because I like them (and you don’t) doesn’t mean I’m a victim of opression, but thanks for the concern.

    • Hm, I’m curious as to the logic that makes spending money on a special trip or a hobby somehow superior to purchasing a physical good.

      • I think the OP’s point isn’t that all physical goods are inferior, but that ones you’re buying just for the sake of spending money are. I personally am not a huge travel or hobby person and would rather spend my money on books and workout gear, but I do try to minimize my consumption in other areas. If I had extra money, I doubt I would spend it on jewelry because I just don’t have the urge to do that.

        • Well, she’s clearly contrasting the purchase of goods with expenditure on experiences. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time around people who winter in Gstaad, but I think there are plenty of folks whose “special travel experiences” are very carefully selected to convey status and wealth.

      • Stephanie :

        Agree with this. There is this mindset that travel is inherently better, as though it’s not somewhat self-indulgent and consumerist, as well. I like to travel and spend money on it, but I’m not deluding myself that it makes me some non-materialistic salt of the earth type.

        • Wildkitten :

          + 1

        • Mwahahah RFLMAO, so funny and well said!

        • In response to the comment on the value of a trip to Cabo over a trek through the Himalayas.

          As someone who travels a lot for work, I am of the opinion that ALL travel changes people and gives them a different perspective on life – even trips to places close to where you live. The very act of getting yourself somewhere else shows you how little control you really have over your life, as things rarely go as planned or expected. Travel requires dependence and faith in others while at the same time promoting independence and self reliance. It often forces you to interact with those you wouldn’t otherwise, and if you are the solo traveler you likely have a lot of time with yourself.

          Immersing yourself in other cultures is a huge benefit of travel, but it’s not the only benefit. Travel shows you that life is bigger than you, and you are not the center of everything.

    • Baby DC Attorney :

      I personally would rather travel than spend money on an expensive bag, but I’ve come to realize that everyone has different priorities about how they’d like to spend their money. Some people love to go to Vegas and gamble. Others like to do lavish vacations. Others like to buy LV bags. And that is totally and completely their decision, whether I would do that myself or not.

      • +1000

      • Anonymous :

        Everyone can make their own decisions, but are they all the same at heart? Would it be better for humanity if everyone used the blessing of extra money to visit other cultures, help family and friends, and better their own lives, or would it be better if everyone collected handbags, high heels, and earrings for their own use? Why do we have to pretend that all uses of money are equal?

        This isn’t meant as a judgment on the women here. Hell, if I had extra money, I’d probably be buying new clothes for work and shoes and splurging on fun cooking items. I just can’t say I’d feel it was the BEST use of my money.

        • Your question posed in the first paragraph is actually really, really complicated, and not something simple to answer at all. Nor was this post about the best way to spend your money, it was about, if you want to buy something expensive and fun, what can you buy that you’ll get the most use (including both tangible and emotional definitions) over the longest period of time.

        • I don’t presume to know what actions would or would not be better for humanity. That’s an enormous concept and I’m just one person.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t think it’s hard to see which of those actions is better, but I agree with what Lynnet said – the conversation wasn’t supposed to be about the best use of money, it was supposed to be about the best use of money when you’re planning to splurge on something for yourself. I see what the OP is saying and even agree to some extent, but it doesn’t really fit with the fun nature of the post.

            (p.s. sorry if this double-posts! Technical problems/not sure if it’s in moderation or not.)

        • Wildkitten :

          I don’t think “visiting other cultures” is any better for society than “collecting handbags.”

          • I’d have to disagree on that one. I think the U.S. would be a lot better off if more people had passports and traveled to other countries. There is so much to learn out there, whether it’s on that Cabo trip or the Himalayan trekking trip or a humanitarian trip or what have you, and while I don’t think anyone can determine which trip is “best,” I do think our society would be less extreme, less insular, and more open to the ideas and people of other countries if people traveled more and spent less on material possessions.

            I saw a comment on Corporette earlier this year that said “collect experiences, not things,” and while I found the saying itself trite, the idea really resonated with me. That’s not for everyone, of course, but I think it’s a good fit for me.

          • Wildkitten :

            Do you think the people splurging on bags do not have passports? Or is it just really fun to think you are on the same financial boat but morally superior to the people you want to judge?

          • Wow, wildkitten. You have by far the most defensive posts on here. I think C. made some good points and even specified that the ideas were good for her and not necessarily everyone. Enjoy your handbags.

          • Wildkitten :

            I have strong feelings on the issue. I think Stephanie at 2:44 phrased it best.

          • Wildkitten, I agree with Stephanie’s comment as well in the sense that I don’t think it automatically makes someone non-materialistic, but even in the little bit of travel I’ve been able to do (plus study abroad), I’ve seen a huge difference in the way I see the world, my political beliefs changed significantly, and I’ve met so many fascinating people. I also know countless others who report the same experiences. About 4-5 students from my study abroad program (a few of whom had never done much travel at all) ended up returning to that country for graduate school – I just find that so fascinating. My only goal is to encourage people to try travel for themselves. It can be life-changing and eye-opening in a way that I don’t think new possessions can quite match.

          • Wildkitten :

            I hear you, Anon. I think buying a handbag and traveling abroad both mean you have discretionary income. I keep my passport in my handbag, so I have enough discretionary income to do both. I resent the moral superiority placed on travel because I think for many people, in practice, it means that rich folks are morally superior by having international travel. Jumping on someone who wants to ask what to splurge on to say they should travel is a different expression of that same travel = moral superiority concept, to me.

        • So what kind of travel is best for humanity? Is my trek through the Himalayas morally superior to your spring break at Cabo San Lucas? Why?

          • Wildkitten :

            Because in mine I am experiencing cultures from a resort and in yours you are just at a resort. So mine allows more moral superiority. #TRAVEL!

          • Yeah, I was with C. at 4:18pm until she said you can learn from a trip to Cabo… I’m pretty sure one can’t and I’m definitely sure one won’t. Now a trip to Juarez (or even Mexico City) – that might be a different story… ;)

        • Anonymous :

          I actually totally agree with you. It’s anti-American (anti-consumerist, anti-shopping-is-a-hobby), really, in a way.

          It’s also extremely unlikely most readers (or, most Americans?) will ever acknowledge it. It’s just our deeply, deeply permeating culture. It’s truly funny to me that these types of ideas will so often get the stock “I choose my choice!” response – definitely not on point.

          It reminds me of an undergraduate philosophy class where we were discussing the question: “is it inherently morally better to spend one’s free time reading/writing poetry than watching television?” It’s not a popular opinion, but I will always say “yes.”

          • I agree too. I’m kind of surprised, actually, at how defensive a lot of people seem to be about this. I love to treat myself to a beautiful bag or expensive shoes sometimes. But I would never try to say that is the “best” use of my money, especially when I live in a city with visible poverty, or know about a friend facing challenging medical payments. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to treat myself and enjoy what I earn, but I also know that giving to charity will also feel really good.

          • +1000.

          • anonymama :

            There is some baaaad poetry out there, and some really good television. I’d say watching that documentary on feminism (maybe it was PBS?) was better for me than reading a book of Shel Silverstein poetry, much as I love Shel Silverstein.

        • SoCalAtty :

          I think we all work as hard as we do so that we can do both!

          Worth the splurge for me? A nice horse. Talk about the splurge that keeps on “splurging”…

          • OP here. SoCalAtty, I consider your splurge pretty different. If you bought a horse, you must love horses and must have considered the pros and cons of ownership, how it would fit into your lifestyle, how much you wanted one, etc. A horse is a big commitment (and a splurge that keeps on splurging for sure – just ask my father how it’s gone since he bought one for my equestrian mom!), but for you, you must have decided it was worth the cost to help fulfill your hobby. In that sense, a horse helps you fulfill what you love to DO, rather than fulfilling a desire to just have “something.”

            I don’t think it’s impossible for someone to really really want a beautiful strand of pearls, but if you do, you likely won’t be coming to Corporette looking for advice on what to spend your hard-earned money on. Of course you might ask someone where to buy said pearls or for any tips about caring for them, but only after you’ve already identified for yourself that pearls are what you really want. That’s all I was trying to get at it in my original post – why covet a luxury item you never wanted before just for the sake of spending the money instead of holding out for whatever it is you’re passionate about?

        • anonymama :

          All that travel is actually terribly for the environment. Do you know how much pollution jet planes put into the air? Why not support the artisanal craftsperson instead, and buy one handbag that will last for a lifetime rather than getting a cheap one from Target that will need to be replaced every year?*

          *tongue-in-cheek, as I sit here in my Target shoes and CostPlus earrings. My point is that you can’t judge someone else’s decision in a single matter, when they must make those decisions in the context of their entire lives, and you don’t know what other factors they are considering.

          • Ha, if Kat had recommended several of her favorite artisanal craftspeople, that might be one thing, but last time I checked, Burberry, Mikimoto, and Cartier don’t quite fit into that category. The whole post was about using extra money for splurge items that aren’t really unique (i.e. won’t be from any ‘rette’s favorite craftsperson), and while I’m sure it would be hard to compare it accurately with the environmental impacts of a jet plane, it’s not as though the process of making these goods is environmentally friendly.

            I see what you’re saying, though, about not judging a single decision. It definitely makes sense to be mindful of that.

  3. Great post. My definition of splurge is at a lower price point than Kat. I try to think of building a wardrobe over time…very classic, pieces I love, etc. Also, I had a very close family friend die recently, and a side effect of this was that I really did a lot of soul-searching regarding “taking it with me,” and it was interesting to see what had lasted for many years when we were cleaning out her closet. So, that said….

    1) Fabulous coats – I have a beautiful Whistles trench coat and several lovely wool coats (some from Whistles, some JCrew Lady Day). They are some of the longest-surviving items in my wardrobe, and they were pricy but are still lovely, and I always get compliments. Burberry doesn’t make trenches (even custom ones) with arms long enough for monkey-me.

    2) Versatile, splurge heels – I buy one pair of classic Stuart Weitzmans (like Platswoons) every few years….some of these shoes have lasted a decade or more. I usually buy on sale mid-winter. I have hard-to-fit feet, and having one pair of amazing-fitting shoes for special work wear is so very worth it.

    3) Pearls–I agree. But again, mine are not Mikimoto.

    4) Really lovely, classic structured purses (but mine are not in the Chanel bag price category).

  4. Pretzel_Logic :

    I’m in a MUCH lower income bracket so my biggest splurges (a purse and a pair of leather boots) were both under $200. After a couple pairs of crappy boots made of synthetics, I sprang for a pair of Born boots made of actual leather that have held up really well and fit great and just generally are awesome. When these eventually wear out I’m definitely going to save for another pair.

  5. Jewelry is my main one. I really love it and I think it is not as sensitive to trends and wear and tear concerns. Plus, you can get it insured.

    Splurging on a purse for me means the $300 range. You can find so many great bags at the price range that will hold up for a long time. I just can’t see spending four figures on a bag. Same with shoes. I buy really nice shoes that last a long time (in the $200-$400 range). But not in the 1K range.

  6. I would like to hear a defense of Chanel bags, if people think they belong in this category. I get that they are well made and classic shapes that have held up over time. But are they really worth those eye popping numbers? Aren’t they just loved because Chanel does a good job protecting the brand? Are they inherently worth that much money? I really think you are paying for the brand and the exclusivity, but maybe I am wrong.

    • I love Chanel bags, and je ne regrette rien, Q.E.D.

    • I put Chanel bags (any of the flap ones) in the category that I put St. John in: I’m not old enough for this stuff yet. Yes, it is exclusive. But to me these read old (and not in a good Helen-Mirren-Sophia-Loren way).

      Chanel non-flap bags don’t seem to be worth it.

      I see a lot of both types and I’m sure 99% of the non-flap Chanel bags I see are fake (I am in a city that doesn’t have a store). I’ve seen a few flap bags that are real, but I think it’s a bag with more baggage than something like an LV bag on an intern, especially if you are young (in which case, people assume you carry a fake bag — not good).

    • @NYC, I think that your comment applies to many luxury brands IMO. Yes, they are made of high quality leather and the workmanship is impeccable but the price you pay is not just for quality it’s also about exclusivity. It’s set high enough so that only a certain percentage of consumers can afford it.

      • This is very true. I read an article recently about LV and maybe Dior strategically raising prices to be more exclusive. As in, higher pricer = better perception, not like their costs went up or demand is so high. It was actually to spur demand. I always knew that the the fact that it was expensive was always part of the appeal for some people but it kind of blew my mind. And then I remembered how much less expensive “luxury” things used to be even 5-8 years ago and it all made sense….

    • Flying Squirrel :

      Along these lines but slightly lower price point, I bought a Fendi baguette last year. And I love it!! I had similar styled bags that I got a lot of wear out of, so I knew that it’s probably a style I would wear. But the Fendi one is just so much nicer (color, hardware, leather, etc). It just feels nice to carry somehow. And I use it a ton (this may change when my baby arrives in a couple months). So to me, it’s totally worth it.

  7. Famouscait :

    I am floored that Kat replaces her bras “every 6 months or so”. I replace mine every few years or so! What do others do? I also thought that splurging for a bra north of $50 would mean that I wouldn’t have to replace it so frequently. Is this not the case?

    • I think it depends on how often you wear it. I only get two or three bars at a time, since my weight tends to fluctuate. After six months, I’ve got to replace them. If you got six or more, it would probably last you longer.

    • I agree with Kat. The bra’s that I buy have to be washed carefully or the laundry will literaly wear them out. So I told the cleaneing lady to be VERY CARFUL when doeing the laundry so as NOT to wash the @#@# out of my delicate’s. So what does she do? She take’s them, put’s them in HOT WATER, and ADD’s BLEECH! I was MORTIFIED when I put my bra on and it was to small. I thought that mabye I was getting bigger, but it was the bra getting SMALLER! FOOEY! So I told my cleaneing lady that she could have those bra’s b/c I needed to buy NEW ONE’s. Now, b/c of the relative’s, I also have to buy new pantie’s, which I did, and they cost over $100. So the cleaneing lady better be carful with these and I will NOT let either OLEG or IGOR into my apartement unless I have 1 person to watch BOTH OF THEM, and they are NOT allowed into my room, or into the HAMPER either. DOUBEL FOOEY for takeing my pantie’s! FOOEY! Even tho they are relative’s! FOOEY!

    • I want to think that my bras will last me years but they don’t. It really depends on the material of the bra (no matter the price) and how much you wear them. And how you wash them. I wind up buying a new bra or 2 every six months and then pretending that I have a large bra wardrobe with stretched out bras that I should really throw out. Are you really supposed to just throw them in the garbage?

      • This. Ugh. I have 2 bras that work for me right now, but I have half a drawer full of ones that I *NEVER* wear. I know I should throw them out, but it feels wrong to me somehow. And they’re so [email protected] expensive, I hate that I spend ~$100 on bras every 6 months.

        • For gently used bras, consider donating them to Free the Girls, a group that works to help freed women who’d been sold in sex trafficking.

    • Yeah, I go a year or two before replacing bras. I probably should replace them sooner, but I just don’t get around to it. Luckily, I’ve found the brands that work best for me, so I usually just order them online from Nordstrom. I wash mine in a lingerie bag on the delicate cycle and then air dry.

    • DD knockers :

      I buy two a year, in the $70 range. I think size plays in a lot here – my slimmer friends probably get away with less.

      • I think size makes a difference, too. I was just reading this and realizing that I guess I have a bit of “flat-chest privilege” – I buy cheap ones (probably never more than $30), and I think I’ve maybe had 2-3 wear out in my whole life. Guess I ought to get something out of the deal. :)

        • DD knockers :

          The grass is always greener, I guess. I’d love to be able to look sleek in a sheath dress or wear opera length necklaces. :)

          • Or wear a backless dress! That is my dream, but I’d either have to wear an incredibly uncomfortable piece of lingerie or let my girls be down around my waist…

      • hoola hoopa :

        Ditto this exactly. DD, replace 2 per year in $70 range. I usually have a third cute bra that gets used more as lingerie than daily and therefore lasts me 2-3 years.

        It had never occurred to me that the wear and tear would vary by size (although, naturally it would and now it seems obvious) and always thought it was bizarre and rather gross when women who turn over their wardrobe frequently would replace bras so rarely… but now that I think about it, they are all A/B.

    • I also wonder if the shelf life of a bra depends on its size. I am at the top of the alphabet and my bras last a good couple of years – probably because they just don’t have to work very hard to get the job done! I’d imagine that those who are further along in the alphabet need to replace them more often because their bras actually have a job to do other than disguise headlights and provide a nice line under clothing.

      But this is pure speculation on my part.

      • Diamond Studs :

        I agree — 30D and each year I re-buy my Calvin Klein favorite from the NAS and ratchet the prior year’s one up a hook. But even that far along in the alphabet, it’s like an A’s worth of work on the bra.

      • I think that must be it. I’m a small B and I buy the $12 Calvin Klein bras at Marshalls. I buy 4 or so at a time and replace them every 4-5 years.

      • MissDisplaced :

        Yes, larger cup sizes with *ugh* underwires do tend to wear out much sooner.
        My (very old) washing machine does a number on twisting them up too.
        Because of this, I try to shop for them at cheaper places such as Marshalls, etc., that gets the better quality ones at deep discounts.

    • I think it depends. For those of us who are, well, bustier, there’s a lot more weight on the bra; it wears out more quickly.

    • I have about 7 of the VS Angels Demi bra and a few of them are 2+ years old and still fine. But I wear them 3-4 times between washes (is that gross? I don’t really sweat on my chest area) and either hand wash or put them in a lingerie bag, and never put them in the dryer. I’m a 32D-DD. I do find that the straps stretch out over time and I have to adjust them to the tightest setting- even then, straps tend to be too long on me- does anyone else have this problem? Do I have weird shoulders?

      • Diamond Studs :

        I go to a bra shop that does alterations. The owner says that they do tons of strap shortening (which I have done, along with taking in 30″ bands to tighten them up (and give them room to stretch over their lifetime). I am not a tiny person by any means.

        • SoCalAtty :

          Interesting! I am short in the bra strap area and I often have to have bathing suits shortened, and always have to have formal dresses shortened in that area. I always try to find bras that have really adjustable straps.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Oh, it’s definitely a size and frequency thing. 36 DDD/E/F here, depending on the brand, and I’m ecstatic to find a [email protected] in my size under $70. As it is, I currently have two that fit me, so I’m probably going to have to replace them in another three months or so. After a month of wearing, I had to move from the loosest hooks to the middle hooks, because wearing a thing three days a week wears it out, no matter how well it’s made.

      Also PSA I just discovered an adorable line called Fraulein Annie that makes vintage style [email protected] and undergarments in larger sizes! It’s from Germany, but she offers free shipping, size suggestions based on the brands and sizes you currently wear, and allows for returns. I can report back when I get mine, and if anyone wants her catalogue or email, let me know!

      • Anonymous :

        I WISH that I could just replace the straps on my bras. When my bras wear out, it’s not the cups, it’s the straps get stretched and adjusting doesn’t help. Fresh straps make a world of difference.

      • Lyra Silvertongue :

        I’ve got to know- how do you ladies get by with just 2 bras? I’m a 32 FF and I have 10-15. I buy almost all of them on sale online. Between various styles and colors, plus bras that just make me happy…I honestly can’t fathom having only 2.

        • I’m sort of terrible about this – I have more than two (off the top of my head, 3 nudes, one smooth black, one lacey black, 3-4 colored/lacy/fancy ones?). I probably wear the nude ones 6 days a week on average – I know that I should branch out, but I just wind up not being sure what shirt I’m going to wear and grabbing the one that I know will work with anything. And the others just get pushed back further in the drawer and get less and less use. I should really put more effort into these things.

          • Famouscait :

            Thrilled to see I started such a lively discussion! Good points made all around regarding size, frequency of wear, and wash.

            Lyssa: I reorganized my top drawer so that the bras are laid out as they would be worn (i.e. cups forward, strap folded behind – like they do at Victoria’s Secret or such) and that really helped me see and therefore wear the ones that usually got pushed to the back. They also look pretty this way, so I’m motivated to keep up with the system when I need to put away the clean bras I just washed.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I was just properly measured for the first time three months ago and couldn’t afford to get more than two at the time. Now I know which size I am in two particular styles of two brands, but I tried on three different Chantelle’s and was two different sizes in the store, so I’m still not comfortable buying bras anywhere I can’t try them on or return them, so they are still upwards of $90 each for me. I’m shopping for more right now, but the last time I bought bras on sale online, none of them fit, and I couldn’t return them, so I’m leery.

        • ExcelNinja :

          I’m a 32FF too! I have three normal bras and one sports bra (I know – but I don’t do anything high impact so it usually lasts a few wears). I’d love to have a collection (and I actually need to replace all of them) but I suppose I just choose to spend my money elsewhere. I wear one and give it a rest while I wear the others. Usually wash them every couple of weeks by hand.

          • Lady Harriet :

            Me three as a 32FF! I have three bras, although I’d love to get more, especially since I don’t even own a nude bra. However, since bras are expensive and I haven’t significantly changed size, I can’t justify buying more until I’m making more money. I’ve had my current crop about 8-10 months and while they’re not pristine, they definitely still have life in them.

            Even on a very small income ($15,000 last year, this year the same or less), bras and shoes are absolutely worth splurging on for me. ($50-65 for a bra, $80-125 for shoes.) With a big chest and problem feet, lack of support in either can lead to health problems and will cause me physical discomfort every day. I can get most everything else used (underwear & tights/socks new but cheap) without feeling deprived, but I refuse to let my wardrobe put me in pain!

          • Lyra Silvertongue :

            Happy to see fellow 32FFs! I hope I didn’t come off as elitist or anything with my question- I actually own MORE bras after getting sized properly (5 years ago now) than I did before and I’m certainly keeping some that may be a bit past their prime. But I loooove them and I love how nice and demurely supported my b**bs look now. I have one strapless, one sports (for high-impact, I have other non-wire things for low-impact), 2 nudes, 3 blacks, and the rest are just ones that I liked, very colorful usually and mostly by Freya. But they’re all supportive- none of them are just for show, so they’re all in regular rotation. I typically spend around $45-50 for them.

      • ExcelNinja :

        this thread is reminding me that I need to replace my bras…I’ve been putting it off for a year now…goodbye, November clothing budget!

  8. vicarious shopping q related to this post… if you had around $1K to spend on one piece of jewelry, what would you spend it on? Preferably (real) gold, with or without gemstones, not too basic. either a necklace or earrings would be best, “modern”/”organic” styles preferred rather than something like a tiffany charm. I’m pretty reluctant to take the etsy route to spend that much without seeing something and because a lot of etsy jewelry reads a bit twee to me.

    • Famouscait :

      Not an item per se, but I can recommend this store for more organic yet classy looking jewelery:

      They are an independent shop in my hometown and have great customer service. I’m not affiliated in any way, just like their style.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Oh wow, new favorite jewelry store!

        • Famouscait :

          Happy to share! They do occasionally run sales on in-stock items, so it’s worth signing up for their emails.

      • Stephanie :

        Ha! One of their designers is a woman I went to college with. I LOVE that she is doing so well. Never would have guessed she was so creative!

    • I would go to Jackson Heights and buy a 22k necklace and a 22k ring. And it would be awesome because the price of gold is low right now. Depending on what’s out there, I might get white/yellow/rose gold mix but I really like all yellow with different finishes on the same piece.

      • Where exactly would you go? What should someone who has never really bought gold, or, ummmm, been to Queens, expect?

        • Very specifically, I would take the train (because parking is a nightmare) to 74th Street-Roosevelt. 95% of the gold stores are on 74th btwn Roosevelt and 37th Ave. I don’t usually have a specific style or type of jewelry in mind but I wander in to every store, looking at what they have. These South Asian jewelry stores have a lot of Western-inspired jewelry that are more “simple” in addition to the over-the-top wedding jewelry styles they display in the store windows. Everyone speaks English. Go armed with the price of gold for that day (per gram) and expect to pay a bit more for the artisan’s work. And bargain. Depending on the item (say gold chains), many stores will have the same styles but earrings could be totally different.

          The thing about fine jewelry is that you can’t walk in to a store expecting to purchase something, like groceries. It takes time to understand what you like, how you’d wear it, what looks and feels good to you.

          And if you need a pal to initiate you to the wonders of Queens, look no further! Feel free to email me at hijabeng at gmail. I could always use more gold gold gold friends.

          • How about gold gold gold *fiends*? Are you ok with adding some of them to your jewelry-loving group? I think I’m going to take you up on this offer the next time I get some splurge money. :-)

          • We should have a quarterly gold tour in various neighborhoods of NYC. Plus food (and pepto).

          • Quarterly gold tour?

            SIGN ME UP!!!

    • It really depends on what you wear more. I would buy 18k gold earrings, gemstone earrings in a color I love, or a fancy gold chain that I can leave on all the time (with or without diamonds, depending on price range). Or a watch. Definitely have to be able to try on first. I don’t like buying jewelry online unless it is bluenile and I can return.

    • I’d have to go with something by Todd Reed (, Eily O’Connell (eilyoconnell dot com), or Ramon (ramon dot es).

    • These earrings –

    • Yellow gold bangle(s), 18K +.

    • Not a necklace or earrings, but I have two 24K gold bangles that I wear all the time. I don’t wear them to work because I don’t like bracelets jangling around while I’m typing, but I throw them on with almost every single dressy outfit and almost every single casual weekend outfit. As a bonus, they go with so much other jewelry, that I can either wear them by themselves or with other things. They are gorgeous.

    • I would go to Catbird and buy an awesome ring or necklace at Catbird. Their stuff is amazing, really interesting designers.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      I think you could find some nice Effy pieces for about that price.

    • lucy stone :

      There is a jewelry store in Juneau, AK that has amazing unpolished aquamarine pieces. The store is called The Jewel Box and they call the line of jewelry glacier blue. I’d buy an awesome chunky blue necklace from them.

    • Marco Bicego has beautiful pieces–all 18k gold and lots of organic designs. Some of it is in your price range.

    • SoCalAtty :

      I have an estate / vintage jewelry shop that I love. The shop is called Dianne’s Estate Jewelry. (It pops right up on any search engine). They’re on the west coast, but my wedding/engagement ring came from there, and I have a 1carat alexandrite and a few necklaces that I purchased at their annual trunk show.

      They really are fantastic!!

  9. I agree with the items listed here and would also like to add skincare. I’m not at an age where I need to diminish wrinkles or anything, but looking at my mother who has always worn a $20 top but spent $200+ on skincare items, my mom was definitely doing the right kind of splurging. I hope to look like her when I am her age!

    • Frugal doc.. :

      Fortunately for you, you probably will! As long as you stay out of the sun and don’t smoke, you will probably have just as good skin/aging as your mother.

      So I am very jealous of you…. the power of genetics….

  10. Furniture or home decor. That’s where almost all of my splurges are these days. A great new chair, artwork, a new set of sheets, a new rug, etc. It’s certainly stuff I don’t need, because I can get by on crappy sheets or Ikea furniture, but it’s so nice to get pretty, durable things.

    • My two splurges this year were both mid-4-figures, and both worth it. I got eye surgery (my vision was too bad for LASIK, so I had to get something else) and I got a patio out in at my house (to replace a jungle of bushes I couldn’t walk through much less enjoy. Both are making me happy.

    • Stephanie :

      All house stuff last year– new kitchen and a new exterior (re-stucco plus remove and replace ugly 70s balconies). The new kitchen makes me happy every single time I walk by it. Ridiculously expensive, but it was very necessary– the old kitchen and exterior were cheap, worn, and very dated. Plus I figure it increased the value of the house so it’s an investment. Next up– new couches, armchair, and rug.

      • I’m currently really wanting the Victor Chair from West Elm – maybe a set that can sit in front of the fireplace. Or, a pair of leather armchairs that I can put in my designated “whiskey nook.” But leather armchairs start out at around $1500 . . . How do people afford this stuff?

        • Is there an outlet version of a home furniture store near you? Are you near the NC furniture outlets? Honestly, Macy’s has some really good quality leather furniture for the price point and they do sales on occasion.

          • Not near NC, and I don’t currently know of any furniture outlets near me, but I’ll look into it now! Thanks for the tip.

  11. I have a piece of jewelry bought a few years ago after successfully closing a very large project. Putting it on now makes me feel like a little like a tribal huntress adorning herself with the spoils of the hunt :) It is very distinctive, so I hesitate to describe specifics, but it is a traditional stone in my culture but in a non-traditional shape which never fails to make me smile.

    But jewelry isn’t a huge return in pleasure for me. Some other more special splurges

    : A trip to Milan in 2011 to watch the dance super-star Sylvie Guillem return to ballet and reprise one of her great roles ‘Manon’ at 46 years old. I expected it to pretty good but it was much much more than that – incredible artistry, expressiveness and risk-taking from a performer at the very tippy-top of her game. It was a super-indulgent exercise on my part – return trip from Asia, one night in Milan, la Scala tickets acquired from a scalper – but I feel enormously lucky to have been there on such a special night.

    : A big bathroom at home with lots of natural light and a (discreetly screened) view of the garden – we gave up a spare bedroom for this but it does makes the time we spend in there a small daily luxury

  12. Sydney Bristow :

    I’m currently trying really hard to pay off my loans, but I’ve added a few things to my future splurge list.

    I’ve lusted after Burberry’s coats for years. When looking at coats online, the ones that leap off the screen at my are almost always Burberry and I’m always sad to realize it after falling in love with the coat. I’ve decided that once I pay off my loans and my weight has stabilized at a point I’m happy with that I will buy one. The good thing about this is that it’s so many years off that if I no longer want one then its probably a good thing that I didn’t splurge now.

    I’d love to find that perfect purse for me. I’m super picky about purses, but I will splurge someday on a bag I love.

    Other than those two things, I would also love to splurge on really incredible quality towels, a Vitamix blender, and Le Cruset cookware.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I agree with the Burberry and the perfect purse. And I would add beautiful leather boots – I’m never willing to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on a pair and within a year or two, they’re always worn out.

      I’m in love with the Aquatalia boots that Kate Middleton wears (and have been for 2 seasons so far) so if I still love them next season, I may take the plunge.

    • You can get Le Creuset on a steep discount at places like TJ Maxx and Homegoods, and also at the LC outlet (though this last one varies). I always keep and eye out and everything I have gotten has been $100 and under (still a splurge but soooooooo worth it).

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve heard that. Definitely still a splurge for me, but its like the towels. As much as I’d love the luxurious ones I can’t seem to justify it to myself yet while paying so much freaking money to my loans.

      • Have you found Le Creuset to be noticeably better than Lodge’s enameled cast iron? We have an enameled dutch oven from Lodge and it’s fantastic (and cost about 1/4 of what Le Creuset costs).

        • I haven’t tried Lodge but I can say that food comes out much better in LC than in my non cast-iron pots and pans. I think that cast iron — whatever the brand — will always be an improvement for stews, soups, braises, etc. I think the difference may be more of longevity. I know my mom has her LC pots for years and years and they’re still good as new. I’m not sure how much Lodge costs but the way I viewed it is every LC item I’ve gotten has been roughly what other cheaper cast iron sells for normally or not very much more (so e.g., a lot of people like the Martha Stewart cast iron & my LC has cost roughly the same when I buy it and I can’t imagine it’s going to be worse).

          My basic approach to these things (and this applies to shoes, bags, sheets, you name it) is I don’t mind paying more for nicer things but I can almost never bring myself to pay full price so buying something “cheaper” at full price makes less sense for me than buying something more expensive that has been marked down. I feel like nowadays there is very little that doesn’t go on sale at some point so I just wait to buy things when there is a good deal. I know other people (my dad was like this) just want to go in and buy something and be done so they don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt, but for me it’s part of the fun. Come to think of it, most of the things that I own that were “full price,” just walk-in-and-buy were all presents.

          • Same. You can almost always find a discount/sale/coupon almost anywhere these days, so I’d rather get the better quality/higher priced item at a discount than pay full price for a lesser quality/priced item. Including LC stuff, but its a general statement.

        • I can’t speak from personal experience, but I did a lot of research before purchasing, and there are a lot of LC >>> Lodge reviews. Lodge seems to make some of their cast iron in China. There’s also something about them using reusable molds to do the enameling which make the enameling “stick” less well than the one-time-use sand ones that LC uses (or something like that…I am not a blacksmith :P) Thus, LC seems to hold up better than Lodge.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I have a Martha Stewart braising pot, and it is significantly poorer quality than my mother’s Le Creuset. In five years, it’s suffered a number of chips around the bottom edge and amazingly enough, warping on the bottom. Comparing the two, hers is a bit heavier, with a clearly thicker bottom.

        • Anonymous :

          I have a Lodge and a Le Creuset and cant tell the difference between the two. The Lodge was about 1/5th of what I would have paid for a comparable Le Creuset as well

        • hoola hoopa :

          I am a huge fan of Lodge cast iron, but for enameled I buy only Le Creuset.
          (1) Lodge cast iron is made in the USA, but their enamel is made in China. I prefer the French made LC because I always worry about lead etc in the enamel.
          (2) Based our heavily used LC and cheaper knock offs (Martha Stewart, Lodge, etc) seen in other kitchens, there is a definite quality difference as well. The enamel simply does not hold up as well as an LC. LC is hand down to the next generation quality; the knock offs are replace every 3-5 year quality.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes to LC pots. I only own one cast iron french oven, but I use it at least twice a week for hte last 3 years. It cost me $90 at TJ Ma xx, so I definitely think it was worth it. Funny, I don’t have an urge to buy more LC – the one piece was enough for me.

        • I agree. We have a LC dutch oven that we received as a gift. We love it and use it probably 3-4 times a week. But I don’t feel like we need more. In general, though, we have one or two of several types of pots and pans (nonstick, cast iron, stainless steel), and use each for different types of cooking.

    • I read an article in Vogue when I was a teenager about someone having a custom made Burberry coat with a pink cashmere liner. If I win Euromillions, this is my first port of call.

      I love Le Cruset and have picked up a few pieces at discount stores and a friend bought me a gorgeous teapot for my birthday last year. I really want the Aga and the converted farmhouse to go with them.

      • On my goodness, you really want an Aga? I only just learned about these recently. They sound like a nightmare! (Granted, the Aga in question was in a smallish inner DC suburban house and not a grand country house in England, so maybe that makes the difference.)

        • Diamond Studs :

          Agas seem to be a bit crazy — don’t they have to be on all the time?

          But they are beautiful! I would love to have one (if one fell out of the sky into my kitchen). But I would NOT love to pay for one.

          • I think so! I was dogsitting for my supervisor and was totally perplexed but fascinated by it. It just feels so cozy in the winter.

          • I think they do, which is why it’s totally crazy-pants to have one in the mid-Atlantic where it would be on IN SUMMER when the temperatures are in the 90s. Plus my understanding is that you can’t actually adjust any of the burners or the oven. There are hot burners, medium burners, and a hot oven and less hot oven. I feel like it would take years to fully understand how to cook on one successfully.

          • Diamond Studs :

            This is why I need one of real colonial houses where there is a detatched kitchen. Keep the pretty Aga in there and it won’t be a problem in the summer. And I could hole up there in the winter. I’m usually freezing anyway, so maybe the Aga is, um, practical?

    • Burberry Coat :

      Just a PSA on the Burberry coats- I spent all of last fall trying to decide which one to splurge on with the $900 price tag, finally decided which one I wanted and went into Bloomie’s to try on for size… and it was there on sale (but NOT on sale online) for $250. I had to guess at my size and have it shipped to me, but I love it. I wore it pretty much every day in Feb and March of last year and am excited to get to put it back on again this year. I never ever would have known to look for it on sale if I hadn’t stumbled into the store and my SA told me that they rarely put the brand on sale online because Burberry has certain restrictions on what they can do with prices online that are “searchable.”

  13. Kat’s Cartier watch story is scary. Aren’t those things supposed to be water-resistant? No way I would spend that much money on something so easily ruined, no matter how much extra cash I had lying around.

    My so-worth-it splurge was a Tag Heuer Aquaracer that was a gift from my husband. I agree with Kat about watches being a way to project your personality, and I like the statement my Tag makes–classy but not flashy, tough and sporty yet refined, not at all high-maintenance. It also seems to be kid-proof.

    While we are on the subject of watches, I have to say that it really irks me that many of my colleagues, including people as much as 25 years my senior, refuse to wear watches, especially when they are running big long meetings that have to stay on schedule. You are an adult! Wear a watch and keep track of the time!

    • Clarification–Kat’s statement re. watches making a statement about personality is in the post “Surprise Basics for Women’s Workwear,” not this one.

    • My siblings give me a lot of grief on my ~$500 Movado watch (they think it’s ugly and way too expensive) but it literally never comes off my wrist and it makes me so happy. It was my I’m A Grown Woman gift to myself.

  14. Senior Attorney :

    I was going to go anon for this, but I figure what the hell?

    In the spirit of Kat’s mention of laser hair removal, the best personal-appearance-related money I’ve ever spent, bar none, was for weight loss surgery and a post-weight-loss nip/tuck or two. Judge all you want but to me it was totally worth it.

    I also have recently been converted to expensive ($100-$150) bras from the fancy bra store, and I’m never going back.

    Beyond that, I like my four-and-five-figure splurges travel- and real estate-related! ;) I’ve never seen a piece of jewelry or a handbag I’d prefer to a new kitchen counter or a trip to Paris or Manhattan or Angkor Wat or even San Francisco.

    • When I saw this post I immediately though of liposuction. In my adult life my weight has fluctuated about 25 pounds, but no matter what I weight, I hate my stomach and am fine with the rest of my body.

  15. Abby Lockhart :

    I never really splurge on a single piece of apparel or jewelry. A couple of years ago, I bought a pair of Stuart Weitzman black court shoes that probably cost in the $250-300 range. They are perfect. And as long as they remain in the box, unworn, they will always be perfect. So that doesn’t seem to be a good idea for me.
    The one thing I have stretched to buy is good cookware and kitchen appliances (Vitamix), and I have always been happy with that decision. I’ve had the same set of expensive pots and pans for 16 years and only this year replaced one of the pans because I burnt something onto it by leaving it on the gas for a couple of hours. I expect it will last at least another 5 years if not longer. I cook regularly, and my cooking is improved by the equipment, so I consider this the very best investment I’ve made on a consumer good.

    • Anonymous :

      Do you mind sharing what set of pans you’ve been happy with? I’m in the market and a bit overwhelmed…

      • Anonymous :

        That set is Calphalon hard anodized. It has been a workhorse, but it’s not perfect for everyone. It is not nonstick, and I have since acquired two nonstick pieces — a griddle and an omelet pan. I also recommend considering a stockpot in a different material. It takes a long time to boil a lot of water in that one, but that is something I rarely do (don’t make much pasta) and I think a cheap pot is fine for most instances of boiling. If you don’t like the hard anodized, my other favorite is All-Clad triply. Really good.

      • All-Clad!

  16. Anne Shirley :

    2 beautiful arm chairs from Crate and Barrel. I love them, and 30 years from now when I’m giving them to my kids I’ll still be happy I bought them. And they go great with my Mother’s 30 year old couch she gave to me.

  17. Cosmetic surgery. I plan to get Fraxel laser resurfacing done at some point around my 40th birthday, assuming I have the money set aside. I hope it saves me money on concealer and foundation!

    • Diamond Studs :

      Is there a recovery time with this? I have some old acne spots / pits but fear something out of an Ab Fab episode if I ever pull the trigger.

  18. MissDisplaced :

    Agreed on the expensive watch and the pearls.
    I bought both when I had the money and don’t regret it because if you have nothing else these will always be classy and tasteful for any function and they will always fit.

    Shoes and clothes can be too trendy, even classic work suits and yes our sizes do change!

  19. I think whether something is worth the splurge is a very individualized decision. But if everyone splurged on the same things, it would be sort of boring anyway, right? Like, I’m not a huge fan of the classic pearls or diamond studs precisely because I feel like it is one of those things that everyone gets as a “splurge” or special occasion present (30th bday, graduation, whatever). I vividly remember going to some law school alumni thing and 3 of the 4 women at the table were wearing diamond studs and cartier watches.

    So for me, part of the splurge if I am buying something is that the item is a little unique. I also like to “splurge” on little other things that make my life just easier. I remember when I graduated law school, I basically decided that I would never take a greyhound bus again (I was going to visit some friends in CT) and even though Amtrak was roughly twice as much ($100 vs $48), it was sooooo worth it to me. Same with cabs to and from the airport even though I know I could get there by AirTrain or other cheaper means. One thing I wish I splurged on that I cheaped out with is getting my apartment painted when I moved in. I thought I would move and it wouldn’t be worth it but now it’s been almost four years and I still hate my white walls.

    • + a million on your point about painting your apartment!!!! In the future, that will be the *first* thing I change about any apartment I move into. We only have ~6 months left in our current place, but DH painted the bathroom and it’s incredible what a difference it makes!

    • Ha. Several years ago, while living in NYC, I asked my husband where he wanted to go for his birthday. Right away he picked a restaurant that was less expensive than we usually did for birthdays and added, “But I want to take a cab there and back.” :)

  20. For me, my single best splurges are ones that my mom gifts to me but lets me pick out to mark special occasions. It might sound weird, but I love the memento + experience of picking it out with my mom. It’s something I know she’ll do with grandchildren and I hope it’s something I’m able to continue with my kids/someday grandkids.

    My all-time favorite splurge- when I was getting married, my mom wanted to take me to get my first piece of Cartier jewelry (which is where her wedding rings were from- I think she liked the idea of me getting something for my wedding from the same place her most special piece of jewelry came from). We had the best day getting lunch together, picking out a bracelet, and having some great conversation about how important this milestone was, etc. and the day is pretty much forever connected to the bracelet for me. I got the juste un clou (nail) bracelet and I love that it has history with the brand, but isn’t as noticeably branded as the love bracelets. A few years later, I still literally have not taken it off.

    I’d be much more hesitant to splurge on items if they weren’t connected to the same kind of milestone/emotional event because I love having the memory attached.

  21. Wondering :

    1) Nose job – best $8K ever spent, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

    2) Electrolysis on face – $5K, never have to pluck or wax again. Win.

    3) Skin care – had moles removed on face ($1K) and plan to spend more this year in an effort to keep my healthy skin.

    Now if they came up with a product that helped with hair loss, I would spend almost any amount of money….

    I’m not the type to spend more than $300 on clothing or shoes.

    • Haha, I kind of love you for posting this. I love it when women just admit that they got some work done, and are happier for it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Team Cyberwomen for the win!!

      • Love this. For all that I am (irrationally?) queasy about the idea of any elective surgery, I think it’s awesome that you all took control of your body/appearance and on your own terms.

        “Cyberwomen” makes me think of Jaime Sommers (The Bionic Woman) and Maj. Motoko Kusanagi. Both great characters.

        • Wondering :

          I’ll add that I had this work done in my 20s (I’m in my mid-30s now). I don’t see myself having additional plastic surgery in the future but I am so, so, so grateful that I got all of this done when I did. Did wonders for my confidence and self-esteem.

        • Not irrational :

          Elective cosmetic surgery is actually surgery. People forget that. I had a breast reduction ten years ago, and it made a huge difference in my self-confidence, my body image, and my physical comfort, but as the doctor explained to me, there were risks, and I am actually still dealing with pretty heavy scarring and permanent numbness at the scar sites.

          A family friend had a mini facelift, where they just pull up the internal muscles from the temples, and she unfortunately contracted an infection from the surgery that eventually left her with a slightly drooping right eye. Not what she was going for, and she was almost permanently blinded by the infection. Surgery is getting cut open -it’s dangerous no matter what, and while modern medicine is great, I think in general we’re too willing to go under the knife. I don’t regret my reduction at all, but I wonder, now that I’m older and more informed, whether I would make the same decision.

  22. Diana Barry :

    I don’t really care about jewelry, at all. Nor do I care about watches or $1K bags. I think that when I stop nursing I will splurge on Botox or some other fancy skin care thing instead.

  23. Seventh Sister :

    Old Splurge – When I was a college senior, I pooled all my birthday money and worked some overtime in order buy a Coach bag that was in the neighborhood of $400. It was/is beautiful (black, classic, made in the USA), just about the perfect size, and has accompanied me on many adventures.

    More Recent Splurge – Black and white Manolo Blahnik kitten heels. They are wearing out a little after five years of 1-2X/week wear, but they are so, so pretty.

    New Splurge – I bought a double rope of largish white pearls after an unexpected financial windfall. They make me feel like an old lady and a bad*ss, all at the same time.

  24. Legally Brunette :

    Hmm…..reading all of these posts about gold jewelry is making me think I need to take my goodies out of my safe and actually wear them! I have so much gold jewelry from India but always feel a little shy wearing it for fear of being too bling. But I do have less blingy stuff like bangles and drop earrings that I could easily wear to work. Thanks for the reminder, ladies.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Oh, and my splurge (have yet to buy) – a rotimatic. Fresh, hot rotis in minutes, or so it promises. Interesting that the website has no mention of a price tag, however.

      • Haha, one of my friends posted that on fb, rotimaker looks awesome. I want that and a cute guy who enthusiastically cleans up after dinner – the ultimate splurge :)

        I find most Indian gold jewellery are so dangling, feminine with intricate designs. I just can’t see them in a professional western environment with a power suit similar to high end pearls or diamond studs. My mom has so much beautiful gold jewellery that she wants me to wear if I like (she has been collecting them for my hypothetical wedding for over a decade) but I can hardly find occasions where they would be appropriate.

        • Legally Brunette :

          My favorite part of the commercial is of the woman wearing a form fitting sheath dress and PAINTING, no less, while hubby makes dinner. Yes, this is just like my typical evening at home!!!

        • I used to feel that way, too, especially with yellow gold being SO BRIGHT AND DIFFERENT. And now there are so many Asian and African inspired jewelry and accessories that are “in” and my future wedding jewelry (eyeroll) is so much better-looking. So that’s what I’m gonna wear. I’m not going to wear a tikka or jingling jewelry but there’s definitely work appropriate desi jewelry that is work appropriate. We just have to adjust our eyes.

        • There are also some pieces of Indian jewelry that are very powerful-looking, like some of the bib-type necklaces, which J.Crew and Anthropologie DID NOT INVENT, of course, but which were around for centuries (perhaps millenia…)

          There’s nothing dainty about those. And I’d love to rock some of those pieces with a very well-tailored, classic black skirt suit. Or a slim grey sheath dress.

        • Actually, I love my gold and gemstone jewelry from India with professional wear. I have some new gold pieces in a chunkier style and also some antique ones with gemstones, enamel and dangly bits, and they do wonders to warm up and personalize a formal suit, or dress up knitwear or a simple dress.

          I can see many ladies here including Kat try for ‘classic’ ‘tasteful’ pieces but when I see these worn in real life, the primary impression is ‘timid’ and ‘conformist’ even when the stones, pearls or whatever are clearly big and high-quality. Why not wear something with meaning for you, rather than for Cartier or Mikimoto ?

    • While I think there’s no such thing as too bling, why don’t you wear them out with friends? Work that gold gold gold!

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Oh man, I know how you feel. I am now getting a lot of gold jewelry from various relatives, and I never know what to do with them — and as a result, they just sit at my parents’ house.

  25. One of my past splurges was cello lessons and a moderately priced beginner’s cello.

    I loved the lessons, but was ultimately quite crummy as I started too late in life (26yrs old) to really get the hang of something as difficult as cello. (The instrument I first started music lessons on as a tiny kid is significantly different.)

    I ultimately ended up donating the cello to a then-local to me high school that was having a call for musical instrument donations. However, I don’t regret doing those lessons (or buying that cello) – not for a minute!

  26. boob job! $7500. totally worth it. although thinking about having to replace them at some point down the line does give me anxiety… if something happened to them right now i wouldn’t be able to afford to replace them, and insurance won’t cover it.

  27. Diamond Stud buying advice :

    Do you ladies have any advice on buying diamond stud earings? Something that will be classic and can be worn for a long time (i.e decade or more). What size (per earing in carat) is appropriate in a professional environemnt (such as law/finance/hedge funds) on someone who is 30 something. I am fairly high up to be mistaken for an intern and not married either. I already have a high quality watch and a pearl necklace that was graduation gift, but still thinking about a good pair of diamond studs, are they worth the splurge (as diamonds have terrible resale value)? This money is indeed splurge as I don’t have loans, already max out my 401(k) and other savings. TIA

    • Orangerie :

      My studs (.75 carats each) were my high school graduation gift and I’ve worn them almost every day of my life since then (7+ years). Diamonds were cheaper then so the cost per wear is very low at this point.

      I think they are worth the splurge if you intend them to be your day to day earrings, and to pass them off to the next generation. I wouldn’t look at it as an investment/in terms of resale value. With respect to size, you could probably do up to a carat in each ear.

  28. locomotive :

    My first big splurges were a Burberry trench (classic, perfect), and leather, camel APC boots from Paris (the exchange rate made this purchase absolutely brutal). Coincidentally, they’re things that I wear all fall and feel like superwoman in. Absolutely worth the money.

    I’m really a bad candidate for splurging on jewelry because I just lose earrings and rings way too easily. I’ve lost a few diamond studs and have just given up getting the nice stuff – I’d rather get cubic zirconia in a plated setting and not feel like an absolute idiot when I inevitably lose them.

  29. My favorite splurge was a good mattress, box spring, and bed frame. Given the number of medical procedures that have laid either me or my SO up in that bed for prolonged periods…absolutely a great purchase.

    My attempts at “splurge” purchases of baubles and clothing often end in buyer’s remorse (custom-made suits that aren’t quite custom enough, a pair of super fancy shoes that have never left the house, a right-hand ring that doesn’t feel as luxe as my engagement ring, etc). I think I’m too picky/careful about expensive *things*, so I save my money for memorable experiences (travel, lessons, schooling) and home improvements.

  30. I bought myself a diamond filigree ring when I started work and a ruby ring surrounded by diamonds, when I made partner. I occasionally wear them together to remind myself of how far I’ve come (esp when I’m feeling a bit down).

  31. For me a splurge is buying a higher priced brand item or throwing down serious cash. My DH and I have done a number of splurge trips pre kids but some of the items that came to mind:

    Surprising DH with a weekend trip to London to see Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall for his 50th/my 40th.

    My red Michael Kors bag that I bought off eBay for half price

    Decent bras annually from Victorias Secret

    Professional hair coloring and switching from cheap shampoo to Sebastian

    Sevens and Joe jeans (but used, not new)

    Dr. Haushka skin care and non drugstore cosmetics

    Buying the adjacent property next to our house, tearing the decrepit structure down, and joining the two lots. Crazy pricey but we’ll worth it. While we’re at it, everything related to buying and renovating our 230 year old colonial.

    The iPad I got for my birthday.

    The chainsaw I want for Christmas. Not kidding.

    The wonderful Sicilian housekeeper who cooks, cleans, and takes care of my kids after school while I work.

    I still love a bargain and don’t rgret some of my best deals, like the vintage Chanel jacket I bought for $50, or the Stuart Weitzmans I got for $40. I drive a five year old used car, only because our 12 year old Subaru just died. Vacations are rare, we reuse old lumber and do most of our own renovations, we love consignment and eBay, and Target is a lifesaver. The key is to really love what you splurge or invest in (like my 20 year old black wool trench with liner) and for the rest, go cheap and/or used.

  32. When I started to make real money I bought pearls and gold knot earrings. Since then I have bought diamond studs, (with a bonus I got at work), a rolex watch, which I wore every day for thirty years until I bought a Cartier tank watch. I love jewelry and think its a good thing to splurge on!

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