March 04, 2016

Luxury Fashion Items: Splurge Or Resist The Urge?


Introduction to Luxury Fashion Items

Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry London, Versace, Alexander Wang, Céline, and Rodarte are just a few of the brands that make up the global luxury clothing and accessories market, they are the top shelf, the best of the best, but are they really worth the splurge? In this article I'm going to define luxury fashion items, which brands have the best quality for their cost and which particular luxury items are important to have in your closet and which are not.

Defining Luxury Fashion Items

So here is the definition I was able to find for Luxury Goods; In economics, a luxury good is a good for which demand increases more than proportionally as income rises, and is a contrast to a "necessity good", for which demand increases proportionally less than income. Luxury goods are often synonymous with superior and veblen goods {https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxury_goods#Luxury_brands}
For Luxury Brands I found a different definition; A luxury brand or prestige brand is a brand for which a majority of its products are luxury goods. It may also include certain brands whose names are associated with luxury, high price, or high quality, though few, if any, of their goods are currently considered luxury goods. {https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxury_goods#Luxury_brands}
I was not able to find a specific definition for Luxury Fashion Items but I would  personally define this as items of clothing and accessories produced by luxury fashion brands that are sold at a higher price point and are thus more exclusively available to those living in a higher earning socioeconomic group. (Pretty good huh? I promise I made it up myself.)

Which Luxury Fashion Items To Buy

Ok now that we have the what out of the way, now it's time to look at the why: why should you spend your hard earned money to buy luxury fashion items like Victoria Beckham instead of Victoria's Secret? If there's one thing that I've learned in all my years of shopping, it's that quality matters more than quantity. If I had saved my pay cheques every week instead of blowing them on cheap clothing and accessories, I may have been able to buy smaller amounts of high end clothing. The benefit to spending more initially on items like denim, jackets and handbags is that they retain their value way better than their cheaper counterparts, which means that as long as you keep the items in good condition, you should be able to sell it (should you become tired of it) and make back a portion of your money. You can then put that money towards new fashion purchases.

They're all thought to be investments, but which brands actually hold their resale value? The brands that hold their value the best and longest are Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Cartier, David Yurman, Alaia, Van Cleef & Arpel, Goyard. Whereas, these are the brands that lose their value the quickest; Valextra, Tod's, Versace and Etro. The brands which have high resale value; Givenchy, Victoria Beckham, Charlotte Olympia and Alexander McQueen. However, the brands which have the lowest resale value are Marni, Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Marc Jacobs (sniff sniff). {http://fortune.com/2014/07/07/which-luxury-brands-have-highest-resale-value/}

Unfortunately, there's no magic equation for exactly which items will work for each person but I would say that all denim should be top shelf (no one looks good with saggy butt), handbags are a must on my list (you only need a few; a clutch, a crossbody and a bucket or hobo), a high quality wool and cashmere blend pea coat or down filled parka (if you live in a colder climate I would say that both of these are pretty important investments). Another area of you closet where I would recommend going high quality would be eyewear (I always buy designer prescription sunglasses and eye glasses), bras (those girls will need to be lifted for years to come) and shoes and boots (I have trouble admitting this because I am not a shoe girl and footwear gets damaged eventually but having your feet in quality shoes is important.


I should mention that when I say "high end" or "quality" clothing items, this does not just apply to the most expensive designers but also middle level brands such as J Crew, Banana Republic, Wilfred, Mackage, Madewell and websites such as Cuyana and Everlane. These brands are a bit more "affordable" luxury for those who want to buy a great pair of jeans but would rather spend $200 than $400. This leads to the main question; are these brands worth the money? I can only answer this question based on my own personal opinion; I think that the quality is definitely worth the purchase of these "high end" brands, many of these items have hand stitching (less room for manufacturing defects) higher quality materials used (softer more durable), and more attention to detail (in terms of the function of the garment. These companies are also more likely to stand behind their products (some have lifetime warranties) so in the end you really get your monies worth. That being said, I do feel like despite the high quality, some of the prices area bit inflated and mostly just because people will pay it, so they can feel special and exclusive but I think that's part of the luxury clothing experience.

I hope this article was helpful! Please tell me in the comments which designer items are a must-have for you for spring/summer 2016 and leave your blog url so I can visit your site too! It looks like the weather may be getting warmer next week in Ottawa so maybe shorts weather is closer than we think. Please stay tuned for my "No Spend" update for the month of February!

Sincerely


Erin
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