Should You Buy It? When to Save vs. Invest on Your Wardrobe

Keeping up with trends is both exhausting and expensive so, for those of us living in the “real” world, we have to compromise on when to invest and when to save on our wardrobes. I have just one simple test that I use to ensure I’m neither throwing away my hard-earned dollars, nor passing up a great investment piece.

You Need Only Ask This One Question…

The number one rule for me on investing vs. saving is to invest in classics and save on trendsIf you’re unsure of whether an item is a trend or a staple, consider asking yourself this question: could I have purchased this same item 5 years ago, 10 years ago? Odds are, if you were able to purchase the item 5 or 10 years ago, it’s more than just a trend.

Clothing: Trends vs. Classics

Examples – Classics: Items like a white button-up shirt, a silk wrap blouse, a black and white striped t-shirt, a pair of straight-leg pants, a trench coat, and a pair of well fitting jeans are all examples of classics that are worth the investment. These items will never go out of style and can be worn and layered in so many different ways–you are sure to get your money’s worth from them.

Examples – Trends: Trends, on the other hand, are those pieces that have popped up within the last year or few years. Think of items like ruffle and bell-sleeved anything, off-the-shoulder/cold-shoulder dresses and tops, jumpsuits and rompers, overalls, flare leg jeans.

Shoes: Trends vs. Classics

Examples – Classics: A great pair of pointed-toe pumps, a pair of leather or suede tall boots, plain white flat sneakers, leather loafers or boat shoes, oxfords (sans platform), simple closed-toe wedge espadrilles, animal print flats, and rubber rain boots.

Examples – Trends: anything with poms or fringe, platforms, excessive lacing or embellishments (think gladiator sandals), and clear plastic.

Accessories: Trends vs. Classics

Examples – Classics: black leather tote or satchel, simple foldover clutch in black, blush, nude, red, or animal print, plain leather belt with minimal buckle, gold or diamond stud or hoop earrings, a round diamond pendant, a plain black leather backpack

Examples – Trends: brand logo belts, picnic basket handbags, layered rings (i.e. midi rings), drawstring bucket bags, circle handle bags, and anything with poms or fur.

Bottom line:

For trends, purchase a handful of your favorites at affordable retailers like Target, Zara, H&M or ASOS, with the understanding that these pieces don’t need to last you more than  season or two.
On the other hand, go ahead and invest guilt-free on high-quality classic pieces, with the peace of mind that your money is will spent.


I'm Lauren, a wife, mom, and corporate manager turned entrepreneur. I'm obsessed with organization, love a great vintage mid-century find, and only cook no-fuss meals that take under 30 minutes. In a world of excess, I'm doing what I can to have less and enjoy the simple parts of life. If you're a modern woman who wants a simplified, yet beautiful, life, you have come to the right place. This blog is meant to inspire you, the modern woman, to have a "fewer, better" mentality, and to live with style in all areas of your life.

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Wellesley & King works with several affiliate programs. By clicking through and purchasing items on sites I link to, I may receive a commission. Wellesley & King also occasionally partners with brands on sponsored posts or gifted items.  Sponsored posts are indicated by language similar to “thank you to ‘brand name’ for sponsoring this post.” Gifted items are indicated by “c/o” meaning “courtesy of.”


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  1. 3.28.18
    Terra said:

    Fantastic round up. You know I love a really good splurge piece that I can wear over and over again. But playing with trends can be so fun. This is a great way to approach both.

    • 3.28.18

      You are the queen of smart investments! There’s something about owning a really special investment piece that makes it so fulfilling—even more so if you reserve that right for select purchases.

  2. 1.8.19
    Amanda Yakicic said:

    Love this post! I have fell in love with target and even old navy for those trendy pieces! What are some stores you save for investment Pieces? I also think it’s inportant to think about “ how much will this cost to be tailored!?”

    • 1.11.19

      Oh man, could not agree more on Target and Old Navy for trendy pieces. Also loving Zara and Mango for affordable, minimalistic options. For investment pieces, you know I love J.Crew and Madewell but Cuyana, Shopbop, Nordstrom, and Revolve are right up there, too!

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