Sometimes I sit down to write a story (say, a roundup of weekend jersey dresses), and I bump up against preconceived notions in my head of how much things should cost. For example, weekend jersey dresses — particularly if they just look like a loose t-shirt, but longer — should not, in my opinion, cost more than $100. But maybe they’re fantastically thick, and will last you for years and years! Maybe they are ecofriendly and awesome in ways that the online description just . . . uh . . . doesn’t state!
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So instead of rounding up weekend jersey dresses, let’s discuss what inspires you to make splurge purchases on basic items. As far as basics like t-shirts, underwear, sneakers, and lotions go — what has inspired your splurge purchases, and was it worth it? What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a “basic” clothing item — and how did that work out for you? Are you still wearing it years later? Are you a convert to fancy t-shirt dresses now? Some general categories to discuss:
Casual weekend dresses:
Lotion (hand, face, or body):
I’m sure you can think of other basic items that might inspire splurges or, say, most of the ones in your closet were bought for under $15 but when you saw one for $600 you just couldn’t resist. Some general thoughts from me on these categories of basic splurges:
Casual weekend dresses: If I’m going somewhere where I want to look cute, I’m probably pulling out Spanx, spending 30 minutes doing my makeup, and wearing more than a basic T-shirt dress — so this is more about the wash and go dress that is the alternative to shorts and a t-shirt for the day. I feel like I’ve gotten nice ones for under $25! I think the most I’ve spent is an Eileen Fisher dress I got on sale for around $125 for an “elevated Mom dress.” This $70 Boden dress is mightily tempting, though. (If it had pockets, it would be mine.)
T-shirts: I went through a phase where I really preferred James Perse and other t-shirts that were $50+ — but most of the ones I wear now are Everlane’s $18 t-shirts; I’ve also got a few from Amazon brand Daily Ritual that I wear to death. (The brand is regularly really affordable but Daily Ritual is on sale today — worth a look if you haven’t tried.)
Denim: See, we all have our areas where we’ll splurge — one of my first projects as a college journalist interning in New York was to work on an encyclopedia of denim, so I kind of understand the price differences in Old Navy denim versus, say, Barney’s denim bar with the latest Japanese denim brands. I think the most I’ve paid for a pair of jeans is around the $200 mark, but I can easily understand (especially from a cost per wear perspective) how someone would want to spend more for a particular denim cut, wash, fit, or trend.
Underwear: This is probably TMI, but since I prefer cotton underwear my regular underwear is pretty affordable. Occasionally I’ll splurge on Hanky Panky or WinterSilks underwear (or I just bought a few Thinx in the Nordstrom sale a few weeks ago), but for the most part underwear is not where I splurge. (Bras are a slightly different story — the most I’ve ever paid for a bra was $130, I think, but I’m a weird size.)
Sneakers: You can get a pair of basic Chucks for under $60 — or you can spend $500+ on Golden Goose sneakers. I tend to be on the lower end of that scale; even my running shoes were only $150.
Lipstick: I actually just got a sample of a fancy lipstick and thought, “I hope I don’t like it — I need a $50 lipstick like I need a hole in the head.” I think the most I’ve ever spent on lipstick was $42 for a lipstick — but anything over $25 is a big splurge for me, especially since the lipstick I keep going back to is the $18 Clinique Chubby Stick.
Shampoo: I’m a big fan of drugstore shampoos, but I will happily spend $40+ on Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner — my hair never looks as shiny and healthy as it does after I wash with that shampoo. (Oooh, the Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Shampoo is also, to me, worth the splurge.)
Lotion (hand, face, or body): I have yet to get into the La Mer trend (my wallet thanks me!), and most of my preferred lotions are drugstore (CeraVe, Curél). For my dry skin, though, I do love the Bioelements moisturizer Really Rich Moisture for daily use in winter and occasional use in summer; a big tub is about $35. I also bought a big container of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion in the last Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.
How about you guys — what other basics (that COULD be really affordable) do you splurge on, or have you splurged on? What has inspired your splurge purchases, and was it worth it?