5 Mar 2018

Where To Spend: Where To Save

Where To Save: Where To Spend on vickiarcher.com

Getting dressed every day is a spend.
Let’s face it nothing comes cheap anymore and even the best bargains are not what they once were. Whether we are going to the gym, an office or an informal lunch, it all costs.

My wardrobe philosophy is one that I like to think spends and saves. There are pieces I spend on and those I save on. At VA we thought it would be a good idea to talk through where we should spend our budget and where we should make savings.

I think we all agree that head-to-toe designer is not the signature style we are looking for. We want to be original, unique and true to ourselves. How we dress does not come down to finances alone; how we dress is about working with what we know. Seeing “influencers” dressed top-to-toe in the latest from one fashion house or another is not my interpretation of personal style and nor do I find it inspiring or clever. Wonderful style requires thought and precision, a deep understanding of fashion and the ability to mix and match in an interesting way. The women I admire have all kinds of different looks – some dress quirky, some dress conservatively and some have one item that says, “them”.  It might be glasses or shoes or it may be a style of clothing but whatever their style, it’s theirs alone. It’s easy to buy matching everything; working it out for us takes time and trouble.

My girls are the masters of where to save and where to spend.

They look unique in their styles and dress very differently, yet I appreciate and like both of their fashion eyes. One works in a conservative financial office and the other runs a start-up so without even trying they are going to be wearing very different items from the fashion spectrum. They know when to spend on investment pieces and when to go light on trends. They interpret personal fashion, much like we do, because they want to own it and not the other way around.

Spending comes down to investment dressing and for this, I apply my cost-per-wear philosophy. It works. There are some items that require greater budgets and allow us to make savings on the rest. Handbags and shoes are the wardrobe essentials we tend to invest in, perhaps sunglasses are another. With the trend towards casual shoes it is possible to save on footwear but if more traditional footwear is your go, then investing wisely is clever. Anyone who bought a Gucci loafer way back when Tom Ford hit the big time, would be hands down a winner in my cost-per-wear scenario. Handbags are another one to be cautious with. A handbag is a financial commitment so I prefer to spend on a classic shape and save with cheaper styles that may last one season only. There is always a clever way to, “get the look”.

One place I love to save is on “black”.

There are so many black tees, black dresses and black pants that talk the talk and walk the walk. A blazer is another matter – a well-cut blazer worn over a pair of inexpensive black pants and an easy tee is a very workable way to save. The same can be said for winter coats. An investment in a good winter coat can be thrown over many less pricey pieces and elevate them to a different level.

Where to spend? Where to save? We will have it covered for you in the coming months. xv


images, margaret howell s/s2018 gierdre dukauskaite by alasdair mclellan

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Hello Vicki! Smart shopping is part of a wise and fashionable woman’s repertoire and I’m learning as I go. I’m happy with my latest choices!


Vicki, this is so true, there are times when a big spend is not only cost effective but obviously amazingly delicious. There are thing one can spend less on, way less, and make it look great. A beautiful blazer, a stunning classic bag, these are two to spend on, as they will be your favorites for seasons to come, and will always look beautiful and just right. One of my all time favorite spends is my Cartier watch, I wear it every day, and every day I love it. Classics like that are worth the spend, I agree!

Linda Boardman Kerr

Definitely spend on good shoes and boots, handbags….Good blazer, check. Cheat on basic all-cotton T-shirts. Agree with getting away with saving on less-expensive black pieces. When they fade, especially if cotton or linen, you can always refresh them in a dye bath.
Spend on a good looking watch, but status brands not necessary. I’ve been loving my Swiss Army for years….Cheat on costume jewelry. Spend on good bra; cheat on panties. Spend on great compact and lipstick. (I always feel good when I take out a lovely compact and elegant looking lipstick). I have successfully put less-expensive lipsticks into Chanel and YSL cases. Silly, but it makes me feel special.
Glasses frames, which are worn practically all the time….spend, if necessary!

Chris Young

Thank you Vicki for this posting! I wrote to you last year commenting on how expensive so many of the fashions were that were being featured on your site. Just was not in my budget and I shared with you how I do think there is a “place in-between” that is possible. I love my eclectic, funky, yet stylish style. It works for me and I have so much fun with it. An added bonus for myself is that now that my own hair is a natural, beautiful silver and longer, it suits my sense of style even more!

Mimi Gregor

Everyone can save, if they know where to look. I do 90% of my shopping in consignment shops. High end clothing can be had for a fraction of retail. I must admit, though, I think that part of the reason I am so lucky with this is that I am a small size, and as women clean out their closets, they probably jettison the things that no longer fit them. Whether it be basics or more individual looking things, I manage to find them — cheaply. That being said, there are some things I am willing to spend on. As a result of buying several pairs of Ferragamo shoes at resale shops– and finding them the most durable, comfortable, and stylish shoes I own — I am thinking of purchasing some Ferragamo booties retail.. Yeah…. I KNOW! Radical! But I see a gap in my shoe wardrobe. I’d like a pair of stylish shoes that are comfortable to walk in. And I think I’ve already established that I detest sneakers. I’m thinking along the lines of the movie Amelie. She wore these black boots with everything she owned… and looked amazing. Me want.


I am not a sample size, very few are, so regardless of cost, I take my clothing to a tailor and have it properly fitted. Whatever is saved always gets spent at the tailor!


I find some of my very best items in charity shops, any charity shop but hospice shops are particularly good and very favoured by donors. And often times stuff comes in that has simply never been worn. I have dozens of high end designer pieces in my cupboard for which I have paid cents. Shoes and bags are in short supply in these places, so my thrift shop saves leaves me plenty to spend on those.

Carol Sybrowsky

My big place to save is on handbags. I have found some absolutely fabulous handbags at Salvation Army, at upsale thrift shops and at charity shops. If the finish isn’t perfect or if the color isn’t what I want, Meltonin spray (found at your local cobblers) does the trick. I haven’t spent over $50 on a handbag in years. I am narrow hipped but busty so prefer to spend on properly fitting jackets and blouses.


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