This question was raised on the forum last week. Where do you allocate your budget for wardrobe items and style enhancers? Here are my priorities. First, the items that have to be top notch. Here I make no compromises:

  • Specs: I wear specs all day. They are my number one accessory. The world would not look the same, and I would not look the same if my specs weren’t the best that I could afford.
  • Bras: Wearing a great bra is where great style starts. I have been wearing Chantelle bras for 20 years because they look, fit and feel superb. They’ll last if you launder them with care.
  • Premium jeans: Expensive jeans are worth the price (also see this thread on the forum).
  • White shirts: I have learned that better-end white shirts and blouses last longer and look more pristine.
  • Moisturizer: We only have one skin and looking after it should not be questioned.
  • Sun block: Protecting fair skin from the sun is extremely important. I use Clarins UV Plus (SPF 40) which costs $40. It’s expensive but a little goes a long way.
  • Fragrance: I love to wear a scent and it’s a big part of my signature style. I’ve been wearing the same fragrance for 10 years and still receive compliments daily. Angie would not be Angie if she didn’t wear Kenzo Flower.
  • Haircut: A haircut can make or break your look.

Second, the items that are important to me, but for which I would consider a range of price and quality points. I believe that a fabulous avant-garde piece of exceptional quality has loads of mileage. You’ll find that the-cost-per-wear whittles down to nothing if you wear the item season after season. But low cost opportunities also have a place on this part of my list.

  • Shoes and boots: My fussy feet are desperate for beautiful and comfortable peds, so paying a higher price is sometimes the only way I can satisfy this need. I have everything from designer Kate Spades to Me Too Swan flats. If the shoe fits my criteria, I’ll consider the price. But I’m just as happy wearing $39 Converse sneakers.
  • Handbags: I can have more fun with bags than shoes, and I LOVE handbags. But a $20 yellow tote that I bought at the side of the road in Hong Kong makes me just as happy as a designer purchase.
  • Jackets: A great jacket is always a statement, but I derive as much style joy from my H&M and Zara treasures as I do from my Rag & Bone and Nanette Lepore pieces.
  • Trench coats and coats: I live in Seattle and frequently travel to Western Europe. Enough said.
  • Swimsuits: I want to look and feel particularly good when I’m wearing a cozzie and this often means buying an expensive brand (especially when you’re a little older).

I will not spend money on knitted items and knitwear. I have done so in the past with great disappointment. Expensive knitwear still pills, and knits are generally unstable unless they are 100% polyester. These items tend to have a short life, which means I cannot justify the expense.

I expect our priorities to differ according to general preferences, lifestyles, geographical locations, body types and special needs. How do you allocate your style budget?