“Start with the basics,” they like to say. But they never quite explain what the basics are nor how much damage it’ll actually do to your wallet. Your wardrobe speaks volumes about you. Some people care about the labels on the inside of their clothing, while some don’t (and to each his own and for their individual reasons). But, if you’ve been caught up in the label-whore whirl-wind, my guess is your end goal is to have labels spilling out of your closets.  Yes, plural. 
      The real goal is to invest in pieces that will last you as long as possible. I have no intentions of downsizing my closet, just aim to upgrade everything in there. While labels, to some, are a fashion statement, they are also a testimony of quality. There reason “high-end” wear has extravagant prices if because whatever they are made out of is better quality. The fabric should last longer. Look better. Feel better. It should be made better. The craftsmanship should be impeccable. For all of this, you pay a price. At the same time, you are also paying for the right to expect it to last. All material things experience wear and tear, but please believe, as the red has begun to scrape very distastefully form the bottom of my Louboutins, your right to return shit and complain is justified.

Key in the world of fashion: 
Spend more, expect more. 

But where do you start?  What should you buy? and how much can you expect to spend? 
Keep reading, I’ll show you how to do this, hun 😉 

What should I buy?

If you’re going to spend big money, spend it on what is seen the most first: Purse, Jeans, Shoes –in whatever order you can afford it. 

 If you’ve got  small change to get rid of, I’d move in for accessories. 

Jeans: Once you’ve got you primary pairs, you’re good to go. Really, you need to get yourself a good black pair, dark jean and light jean. From there… everything else is extra. People don’t like to say it out loud, but I wear my jeans plenty times and don’t give a fuck. Levi’s (the first jeans) were invented for Gold Miners during the rush. It is actually a working pant and made to last and hold up to dirty situations. How often do you think miners did laundry in 1853? Sevens & Citizens fit me best. I’m not big on True Religions right now… perhaps haven’t found the right style, but.. they ask for too much attention. If you really  need people to know you have a label on, Trues might be for you.  You can easily get these at a thrift store or resale shop if you shop slow and stay patient. My favorite in NYC is Buffalo Exchange. And you can sell you’re old stuff back super-easy with them. They either give you store credit or cash money 🙂 
Purse: You’ve got to decide which purse you want first. I recommend you browse ahead of time. Whatever bag you use the most now, that’s probably your  preferred shape. Find a bag that mimics that from your favorite designer. I’ve decided primary colors for bags are black, brown and red. If you have those three colors, you can get away with anything. I’d start with the black. I recommend leather as it’s really the only thing that holds up – to time and dirt. If you’re not ready to purchase your bag (I’m not because Hermés wants my children) opt for a cheap leather in the meantime. No matter the label, leather’s the way to go. A Lonchamp is my favorite alternative (will run you about $150), but a lot of people are heading over to Marc by Marc Jacobs (but I’d go Marc Jacobs if you have a little extra change). 
Shoes: Frankly, not only does ever woman want a pair of Louboutins, but she probably needs a pair. To disagree is to be in denial, I think. If you’ve ever bought a label because it’s a label, this shoe is the epitome of fashion just because. They hurt like a bitch. It’s really one of the most uncomfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, but it’s always worth it. Shoes separate you from the pack –and also attract plenty haters. As people of color, we put a heavy emphasis on shoe game & even DSW agrees with their new campaign slogan “NYC: Tolerant of your beliefs, judgmental of your shoes.”  I love shoes. If you don’t feel like buying anything else, all you’ve got to do is switch up your shoes. If people haven’t seen them for a while, they assume the entire outfit is new! You’ve got to learn to play off people’s lack of knowledge. *shrugs*
Accessories:Accessories, though are the easiest to get. They can set a whole outfit off super easy especially if you’re into monograms.  If you just want to spend to get anything & treat yourself (which is totally ok), go with a scarf, belt, bangle, necklace, hat… something for your top top layer. 
Panty Drawer: If you’d like to start super small and aren’t ready for labels, I recommend upgrading your panty drawer. If you’re in a relationship, I’m sure your boo would go for this move 100%. So even if you’re not into labels,  you can get something that looks pretty on you for someone else. If you’re single, you should still upgrade that drawer. There’s something magnificent about undressing yourself and loving what you look like. Dress up for yourself –give yourself a little secret 😉 & new panties just feel nice, don’t they?

How much should I spend? 

      It’s really up to you. If you’re feeling like you have to spend extra just to get the label, you’re probably stretching yourself too far. Just be calm and wait until things go on sale, or if there is something you really want to add to my closet. 
     I’d been dying for a Burberry swimsuit. I got an all black bikini from Victoria’s secret last summer. Black because it goes with every and can’t possibly go out of season. & Burberry because… well… Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” where Jay says, “She only wear Burberry to swim.” We all know the lyric & this is how I know I’m a label whore. I mean… it’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé people. I want the suit because I want it. Because of the lifestyle it represents. Because of what it reminds me of and means to me. Plus, the Burberry check straps give an exciting kick to the plain black suit & will look adorable hanging out from unto my tank or shorts. I  initially wanted the check trim triangle bikini for two reasons: It was cheaper ($180) and I felt like I could switch it out with other pieces better. When I went into Burberry though.  Ended up getting the double strap triangle bikini ($225) for $125 due to the sale! I could have probably gone into Victoria’s Secret and bought a bathing suit for the same price. smh. Sometimes, it’s not about how much you spend, but about where you’re shopping. We spend the same amount of money in BS places when we could be buying quality. 
        Spend only what you can, give yourself a budget. Don’t be pressed, Gucci will still be there when you get your paper up. I had a $300(ish) budget this weekend. I had estimated the bathing suit was going to be about $150. I’d have loved to stay at $150 for shoes, but when I came across the wedge, I had to get it. For shoes, you can estimate spending (at cheapest)  $500 for a full price shoe ($695 is your cheapest, decent Louboutin). There are a pair similar to what I got for $495 on Gucci’s site, but mine are so plain, I have no problem being last season for a $276 discount. You’ve got to shop sales man…. & Gucci does it well. 

          Spend what you deserve. Treat yourself well. I felt I deserved to be treated well & the biggest mistake one can make is to wait for someone else to do that for you. The best part about knowing exactly how much you can spend on yourself is that when clowns try to play you with that “shopping spree” bullshit, you understand exactly what that would cost. If my chump change is $300… you estimate a shopping spree. Understand what you can do for yourself makes you understand what others can’t  or should do for you. The way I see it, if I treat myself like X, you should treat me like X. But then again, after X come Y and Z. Which do you want? & for him who can’t do that for you, someone else will. So, while I went over my budget a little bit, that was okay. Because I deserved it 🙂 (and whoever you’re involved with should feel the same way about you.)

When Should I Shop?

      Wait until you’re IN season to purchase. High-End brands release their clothes a season in advance (so in summer, they’re actually selling Fall clothing). I got that bathing suit on Saturday, June 23rd! I haven’t even been the the beach yet! You’ve also got to get instore. Know your prices before you shop, then you can go inshore and search for that item on sale. Get your pre-shop on, b*tches 😉
But you should always keep your eyes open. Even if you aren’t currently in the position to purchase, take note of the deals in that store. Compare that location so that, when you are ready to shop, you know exactly where to go. Shop when you feel comfortable. I like to pretend I own a place so I don’t walk into those store without the intent to purchase. Personally, I’d prefer to window shop than go inside a place and touch sh*t that doesn’t belong to me.

So there you go. That’s how I do it. Get your shop on, divas.

Ella ❤