There are some things in the typical wardrobe where it’s absolutely fine to buy cheap, but there are others where you definitely get what you pay for. The big problem this creates is knowing when to splash out and when to be frugal. Here’s a handy guide to some of the key wardrobe staples, and which side of the spend-or-save divide they fall on.

Where to Save

• The Basics: A lot of basic items are not really worth spending too much on. Things like T-shirts will do the job fine whether you spend a little or a lot. Tights are another good example. While spending more on tights will get you better-quality, the bottom line is they are still quite delicate items no matter how expensive they are. You are probably better off loading up on cheap pairs.

• Daywear: Everyday clothing and work wear is probably also something to save money on, unless you happen to work in a field where durable clothing pays off. It’s fine and fun to have a few items you have been a little more spend-happy with, but which you truly love and will wear for a long time, but for the most part it’s probably better to go cheap-and-cheerful and save your money for more special items.

• Exercise Clothing: Sportswear is a packed market, big and small brands are developing quality items to bring to the market at low prices. It is now easy to get well-made and good-looking athletic wear on the cheap, making it essentially pointless to spend more.

• Eveningwear: You might be surprised to think of eveningwear as somewhere to save money, since it is essentially your best. However, it’s also something that most people won’t wear terribly often. This means it is advisable not to go all-out on spending at least, and if you want to have some fantastic designer evening gowns maybe wait for a sale.

Where to Splash Out

• Tailoring: With suiting, blazers, and tailoring in general, you get what you pay for on many levels. Quality of material, durability, look, and fit will all be better with quality items than with cheap ones, so it is worth spending a bit more.

• Shoes: Shoes are something to splurge on for a few reasons. You wear them every day, and you will want numerous reliable pairs for different situations, and you need them to look good. Most importantly, they have to be comfortable and help keep your feet healthy. Pinched pennies could mean pinched feet.

• Bags: Like shoes, you will want multiple bags for different occasions. You will also need to make sure any bag, particularly work bags, has all the pockets and compartments you need, will be easy to carry, and will be a reliable workhorse while still looking great.

• Coats: Coats, or at least the heavier coats you bring out in the depths of winter, really need to be good-quality. Otherwise, they will fail to keep you warm and comfortable, which really means they are not fulfilling their purpose at all. Cheaper coats are also more likely to start falling apart at the seams after relatively little wear.

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