To splurge or to save? That is the question. Jokes aside, it is important to prioritize when you’re on a budget. Unless you’re a millionaire, it’s probable that you can’t invest in quality pieces every time you go shopping, and that’s okay. Here are the items that I think are worth the money and others which are best bought on the cheap.
When it comes to working out, comfort is key. I own both brand name and more budget-friendly options and while both get the job done, there is a clear difference in quality. The Adidas workout leggings that I got for around 30€ are the most comfortable thing ever. I can move around freely and without giving what I’m wearing a second thought. On the other hand, the pair that I bought for 12€ always slide down, meaning I have to be pulling them up constantly. When I bend my legs, I feel that the fabric resists a bit. So, in my experience, higher quality workout gear is worth it.
Although dirt cheap shoes are tempting, it’s important to think about what you are choosing to wear on your feet all day. The wrong shoe can bring about different issues on your feet like blisters and callouses as well as affecting your posture, leading to back pain. Most cheap shoes provide no arch support and have a thin, flat sole which does not isolate the foot properly and can prove painful after a few hours of use. Sure, good footwear does get pricey, but once you try it, you won’t want to wear anything else.
My Clarks black oxfords (100€) are so comfortable, I don’t take them off when I get home like I do with the rest of my shoes. From day one they became my favorite pair of shoes and I noticed my back hurt less when returning home from work. I did have to browse a bit to find a style that I actually like, as most stores with comfy shoes tend to have a more “middle-aged tourist” aesthetic. Some other brand which I browsed included Geox, Aerosoles, Camper and Pikolinos.
Sneakers are always a good option, especially now that the athleisure look is so trendy.
Although you can find decent jeans at any fast fashion shop, investing in a pricier pair might be a good idea. My Levi’s 311 Shaping Skinny Jeans have easily become my go-to pair and I’m looking to buy another pair in a darker hue. Again, comfort is the main selling point. Usually, the first time I wear my 20€ Inditex skinny jeans, I honestly feel a bit squished in and immobile, with any leg bending becoming a bit of a challenge. With time, they stretch and feel fine but that first week or so is not the best. They also wear quite easily and get noticeably thinner in the crotch area. Let me just reiterate that they are decent for their price, but wearing Levi’s is a whole other experience. They felt so good when I tried them on at the store (an outlet, making them more affordable) and this pair with slimming features is very flattering. I don’t really know what they do, but my tummy looks a bit flatter and I don’t mind tucking in my shirts with them on! As I said before, I did get them at an outlet for 66€ (versus the 90-100€ retail price), so it’s a good idea to look out for those kind of discounts and get your hands on quality jeans, even if just one pair.
With t-shirts, button-downs, blouses and sweaters it’s best to go for the more affordable options. Trends come and go and investing in a pricey pattern shirt which you won’t want to wear two years from now seems excessive. As long as you assess the quality of the material by checking how thin it is and the materials it’s made out of to get the most out of your money, I think buying more for less is appropriate with this item of clothing.
The same goes for accessories. They are very susceptible to changing trends and can be quite expensive for what they actually are. To me, paying 10€ for a statement necklace is way too expensive, so I wait for sales to get them for less.
The majority of dresses in my extensive collection were 20€ and under and are all holding up very well. I’ve been using them for summers on end and they look as good as the first day. (And trust me, I wear them a lot in the summer; it gets really hot here.)