Yesterday, I saw an article on Twitter posted by Harper’s Bazaar. It was called “11 Things Every Fashionable Woman Should Have by 30.” Obviously I clicked on it, because I’m a sucker for any headline that promises to give me some insight about where I stand in the grand scheme of life.
For the most part, I agreed with the list, which included things like “the perfect little black dress,” and “a classic shoe.” What I did not agree with, though, was the price point for their “must-haves.” I’m not sure what their hypothetical women are doing for work, but I know that as a lady approaching 30, there’s no way I’ll have room in my budget for an Hermes watch AND a Stella McCartney suit AND a good pair of Manolos.
So, I decided to come up with alternatives to their lofty list, that don’t compromise on quality, but will also allow for things like paying rent, saving for a down payment on a house, attending nine weddings per year, and chipping away at those student loans ASAP. #20sproblems
1. The Classic Shoe
They said: Manolo Blahnik BB, $595
Instead: L.K. Bennett Florete pump, $325. L.K. Bennett makes classic, high quality shoes that run about half the price of Manolos. And hey, if the brand is good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge, it’s good enough for me.
2. A Great Suit
They said: Stella McCartney Jacket, $1295 and Pants $595
Instead: Ditch the matching suit and buy a really awesome blazer, like this one from Theory, for $355 . You can mix-and-match it with everything from jeans to your best pair of work pants. I’ve had a Theory blazer for about four years now (it’s even better if you can find one on sale, like I did), and I probably wear it once a week. See also: Vince, J. Crew, Club Monaco.
3. A Signature Flower
They said: Choose one flower that people associate with you.
Instead: Love what’s in season. It’s cheaper and more sustainable. In season in June? Peonies (yessss!).
4. A Beautiful Timepiece
They said: Hermes H Heure, $2350
Instead: How ’bout this Kate Spade beauty for $225?
5. A Go-To Lip Color
They said: M.A.C. Ruby Woo, $16
Instead:: While $16 really isn’t a bad price for lipstick, if you go through it quickly, you could save a lot over the course of a few years by going with a less-expensive shade. I love Sonia Kashuk’s line at Target. This lip crayon is less than $8.
Savings: $8 x a lot of lipstick = $$
6. A Personal Scent
They said: No particular scent, but I’m going to disagree with this one on principal here.
Instead:: Scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers, so change your signature scent every five years or so, and keep a little left in the bottle before you switch. That way, every time you smell you perfumes of years’ past, you’ll instantly be transported back to that time in your life. (Chanel Chance will always remind me of my college years … for better or worse).
Savings: Aren’t memories priceless?
7. Jewelry You Never Take Off
They said: Repossi Ring, $16,870
Instead: It’s my opinion that every woman needs a good pair of diamond stud earrings (or some sort of quality, stud-style bling), because you can sleep in them, shower in them, wear them to work, wear them to a black-tie event…you literally could never take them off. This pair is less than $300 at Zales.
8. Original Art You Love
They said: Untie Your Wings by Yolanda Sanchez, $5800
Instead:: DIY that ish. Take a photo of your city or a place you love, and have it printed out, large scale, on Shutterstock for about $30. Or, buy an art book, tear out some of the pages, and frame them. Or, go on Etsy. The original painting below will run you $300.
9. A Forever Bag
They said: Victoria Beckham bag, $2395
Instead: A classic, monogrammed leather tote like this one from Cuyana for $150. You’ll use it for work, on the weekend, and it will only get better looking as the years go on.
10. A Killer Winter Coat
They said: Again, no specifics. But they showed a pic of their editor Joanna Hilman in a very killer jacket, which looks like it probably cost at least a grand.
Instead: Go for the leftovers. Which means buy an expensive coat NOW. You can get a fab designer coat, like the wool-and-cashmere one from Halston Heritage, below, for $347, because it’s July.
Savings: 50% or more of what you’d pay in the fall.
11. The Perfect Little Black Dress
They said: The dress in the picture sure does look like Chanel.
Instead: Go for a solid, sheath-style, like this Theory dress, that can be worn with a blazer to work, as easily as it can be piled with lots of jewelry for a wedding, for around $300.
Savings: I’m guessing… a lot.