Like most women with disposable income, I, too, have a weakness for luxury items.
I do not see them as wasteful objects, however. I own quite a few bags, watches, and pieces of jewelry that have stood the test of time, and if I were to put them on the market today, they would still recoup much of their original paid price.
But an assortment of the right kind of luxury items doesn’t just happen. The luxury market is big and versatile, from bags to sunglasses to jewelry, everything displayed beautifully and designed to lure you in with a promise of a resplendent tomorrow. It’s easy to give into impulse buys (especially if you are fond of duty-free shopping at international airports).
While it’s all good and dandy to have a taste for fine things, it’s prudent to seek the best returns for your hard-earned dollars, and not be dazzled by glamor alone.
A lifetime of trial and error in this regard has smartened me up. Here are the most important criteria I consider (and I recommend you do, too) before pouring my money into a high-end accessory.
Does the brand have resale value?
You don’t have to be a brand sheep to have a few favorites that never let you down. Indeed, it’s a matter of great relief to finally discover a brand that just gets you. But when you are buying a bag worth thousands of dollars, it’s important to look beyond your immediate personal likes or dislikes.
Popular luxury items are often referred to as “investments,” because that’s exactly what they are.
Or rather, what they ought to be. We don’t throw around the word investment casually. An investment must provide a certain kind of return. That requires you to study the market and understand which brands have strong resale value even years from purchase.
It’s not just a bag, it’s a Chanel Classic Flap bag from 2013 in sheep leather, and it will fetch you upward of $4,000 even today. The Hermes Birkin bag is, in fact, expected to double in value over the next few years, and is considered a safer investment than stock markets. A Rolex or Omega watch isn’t just a watch – it’s a tradition. It’s passed on from generation to generation.
Now, these items may well be beyond our means, but hopefully, you get the point.
These are timeless classics that never lose their charm and are always in demand. Even if you decide to sell them off at some point, they will fetch you a pretty penny. This effect percolates down the pecking order of luxury brands, so be sure to check the potential resale value of that pretty purse you have your heart set on before you reach out for your credit card.
Does it match my style?
By the time we are well-functioning adults, most of us have developed a certain sense of personal style.
But every so often, we fall victim to fashion trends and pick up something that may not necessarily be our style but seems to be the flavor of the season.
Walk away from that Balenciaga tote if it’s not your style! To hell with embroidered leather jackets! Don’t let anyone make you feel that everyone must worship at the altar of the revered fashion houses.
It may be the greatest accessory ever crafted, but if it does not resonate with you, have the self-assurance to simply walk away.
Is the accessory versatile?
While it’s good to have a style, do your best not to pigeonhole yourself. To purchase a bag or pair of shoes that make such a strong statement on their own that they clash with almost everything else you love to throw on yourself, is not a good idea.
Opt for muted colors when it comes to exorbitant accessories. (Choose something more high-street for a pop of color, something which you can easily substitute.) Not only do subtle colors and designs look classy and rich, they are also far more versatile than vibrant hues and patterns. They go with most outfits and looks, which means you will be able to extract a lot more wear out of them, thus enhancing the style quotient of most outfits.
When it comes to jewelry, gold is versatile (though the design might seem antiquated at times). Pearls are another timeless accessory. A luxury pearl necklace never goes out of fashion (thanks to Chanel and all the American First Ladies). You can wear pearls in many ways. You can, as a matter of fact, learn how to layer different kinds of jewelry and extract even greater use from all those ageless pieces in your closet.
How will the item wear with time?
Diamonds are forever because they are the hardest (naturally occurring) hydrocarbon known to man. They don’t lose their sheen, period. They have always enchanted us. They stay in families for generations. And they always sell for a decent amount, such is been the craze for these shiny stones.
We need to know all the jewelry as well as we know diamonds. It’s not always about the brand, one must cultivate an eye for the real deal. Many high-end brands may let you down in the name of fashion. They may charge you a high amount for jewelry that is simply gold-plated, not even gold, or for pearls that are fake.
But when one knows what material is worth paying for, one is in a much better position to take a call whether an item is worth their money and time. In short, if it is investment-grade. Real jewelry such as pearl earrings, diamond solitaires, and gold bracelets will always stand the test of time. Fake jewelry is almost always a waste of money.
What is the mental checklist you go through before picking up a luxury item? What are some of your top tips to make the smartest purchases in this regard? Alternatively, what do you struggle with the most? From one fashion-lovin’ sistah to another, I’d love to hear from you in the comments about your hits or misses regarding luxury buys, so make sure you drop a line!
Karen Lopez is a content writer associated with The Pearl Source. She has a utopian vision and mission to empower overall women wellbeing. As a ritual, you’d usually find her practicing Pilates and teaching vegan recipes to her #GirlTribe. On weekends, Karen adores watching Westworld and Riverdale.