Smittie, I took another look at the outfit now I am on my computer rather than my phone. It is so lovely and your bag and shoes are stunning!!

Re online shopping, I think it suits some people brilliantly and I have had great handbag success there. Shoes have been pretty good too actually!!

I have gone wrong in two areas:
- Sizing - I am honestly someone who is always between sizes. Often my smaller size fits best in the waist and bust, but is too tight in the shoulders and too short. The larger size has a better length and shoulder fit (and sometimes calf too) but is a little too generous in the waist. Knit tops are usually okay sizing wise and dresses not too bad (but sometimes too short)
- Fabric quality. I have had a few pieces where the fabric was very poor quality.

But buying in a more luxe way would reduce your risk - and often the photos from these more specialised sites are better than the stock photos from mainstream retailers.

I have rarely been disappointed in my "luxe" pieces - wool coats, cocktail dresses, footwear and silk are areas where I have been really delighted that I spent more - it has been worth while!

Big, big smile from me. I have been buying "luxury" second hand for a long time, including from the RealReal (I have also sold there profitably).
When I became re-egaged with fashion in my early 40s as I came out the whiplash caused from going from 1-3 babies in my late thirties, I came to realize my tastes were more expensive than my budget. Thrifting, then on-line second hand shopping including ebay, the RealReal, and consignment stores allow me to have luxury brands for fast fashion prices.
No a "fancy" label does not guarantee quality or, more importantly, that it will look good on you, but when it is good, it is very, very good.
Love your outfit!

Thank you Style Fan, Sally and Shevia.
Style Fan, I love your sailor pants too. I have noticed that you get a lot of enjoyment out of a small wardrobe (well...maybe not by your hisband's standards). I don't think I enjoy mine quite as much as you do yours, but I'm getting there.

Sally, I am between sizes in pants. In jeans, sizing is a free-for-all on me. I don't think I've been the same size twice. Like you, tops and shoes seem to be generally ok as long as I read up on whether the shoe fits big or small. Fabric quality is so hit or miss too, I agree.

Shevia: I'm so glad I have a second-hand twin sister on this board.
When I see some brand names in the stores (new) I am often not impressed with the quality. It is not that the quality is bad, but that the quality of similar lower end pieces is the same. I think mostly of knit wear and jeans.

Maybe the trick is to figure out what the luxury brand is known for, say trench coats, and then buy that thing only from the luxury brand.

Who is known for knitwear is the question?

Wow - NICE STUFF! Loving the Prada bag and the Lanvin shoes . I am not an on-line shopper at all - not confident enough , mostly. The pieces absolutely reflect the direction you've set out for yourself too . It must have been so exciting to receive the pieces and find that they all worked.

I've bought my fair share of "luxury" (to me ) pieces over the years, and have rarely, if ever , regretted it. I have made my biggest mistakes with purses though - getting carried away by the brand and not paying enough attention to functionality.

Off to check out RealReal

Smittie, You made some fabulous purchases! I really enjoy online second-hand options like eBay and The Real Real. I agree the photos representing the products are great and usually there are detailed measurements. I think second hand also helps mitigate the risk of shelling out for "quality" and finding the item doesn't wear well. What I mean is one can get a better sense of how a piece will stand up when buying used vs new. And while I suspect my second hand purchases were at a slightly lower price point I've been very happy with them over the years. I'm wouldn't say that this type of online shopping helps me focus because I am easily distracted by statements. look Ah-maz-ing!!!! I definitely see 'soft natural'.

To me, you always looked very pretty. You have a natural beauty that in my eyes is WAY superior to a made-up-gorgeous look. Anything you wear looks effortless.....but your recent style direction also makes you look chic & sophisticated.....very Parisian

Love the bag!

Oh Maneera, thank you. Your words were a real boost.
Meredith: It is a real experiment to see if these things will hold up. I agree with you that logically, it seems like there's a higher chance of quality on used items.
Lisap: Thanks! I do get sucked in by brand names, so that's something to watch out for.

Your purchases are beautiful and soft natural looks refined and chic on you.
I believe investing in good quality is always a good option. I don't have especially pricey items but there are things in my closet that have been worth the price I paid for them.

Smittie - I swung back by to say you have me so intrigued with buying really good quality second hand. Oh, and I very much get sucked in by designer names. I probably always will.

You look so chic and totally relaxed in this outfit, Smittie. Those pieces are super duper fantastic finds! I'm quite envious. I have been thinking of selling some items online, and I've seen the RealReal mentioned, but I don't have things in that realm.

My "luxe" items are the ones I love the most. Sometimes, luxe just means a nice handmade piece off of Etsy that wasn't on sale, sometimes it's a contemporary brand I caught on sale, sometimes it's a neat piece off yoox that I couldn't afford if it weren't for yoox. Those pieces are worth it to me, because I wear them so MUCH, even out here in the country.

I find that online shopping keeps me more focused. I don't impulse buy nearly as much online. The online pieces generally are the more luxe pieces; the bricks and mortar stores are where I run into trouble with shopping mistakes of mediocre quality.

Love your finds and that outfit is great! So elegant yet casual

Chiming in to say that you look Killer Chic in that outfit.

Wow Smittie, you look super chic! What a score! (Brunello Cucinelli is the spelling).

I never buy online so I cannot answer your question. But I can tell you that in the past I sometimes bought something luxe and never regretted it.

I don't know how I missed this earlier, but all of these pieces are amazing! You have figured out what you want and how to find it - BRAVO!
It all works together so brilliantly!

Just bought a pair of ZCDMontreal sneakers (made in Italy). Totally in love, totally worth it!!

You look fantastic and very French. I really like TheRealReal-- it's helped me pare down my wardrobe and I've bought a few things as well, I just make sure I can return.

Interesting reading this again after your recent post about Soft Natural versus Classic. I thought/think you looked amazing in these. I have never bought anything from a luxury brand. I came to learning about them later in life, late 40s probably. I have noticed though that having more income in past 8 years or so as kids got older and I could work more, that stepping up to better brands has given mostly a better quality. Not always, and that can be disappointing. So still look for discounts or sales to reduce that risk.