I’d say I was a considered shopper. If I’m buying anything new, my miniscule budget means I put new buys through a ‘stress test’. The general rule is that it needs to work in a minimum of three outfits so that I know I’ll get lots of wear out of it. In that same vein, between space and creating less waste, I can’t have doubles which means I shouldn’t already own anything like the new thing. I rarely shop spontaneously, so anything I do buy has been thought about and passed all of the tests above.
It’s quite rare then that I’ll get to the six month point after buying something and realise I’ve either not managed to wear it yet or decided that I don’t like it after all.
So when I end up regretting something I’ve bought entirely, it hits me hard. A step further, is if said purchase happened to cost a bomb in the first place. Then it really stings.
I own a handful of designer pieces and really treasure them. My bags are stuffed with tissue and stored in dust bags and boxes until their next wear, and shoes are stuffed, regularly shined and all go back in their boxes. There’s no point spending a chunk of your salary on nice stuff and then not looking after them, after all.
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I’m a fashion editor, so I pride myself on knowing what truly is worth parting with the cash for, so as a disclaimer, none of these items have failed me quality-wise. They might be a great buy for some (which actually only serves to disappoint me more in my case sadly), but for me, they may not have been the best investments to make. Here’s why:
1. Gucci’s Soho Disco leather crossbody bag, bought for £550 in 2017
This was my first big designer purchase. I saved for months in my first proper fashion job and had had my eye on this bag for a full year before that. I was after a style I knew I’d turn to everyday, and as I wore a crossbody for work every day, and for ease while out and about on the weekend, I could be sure I’d get lots of wear out of it. I saw it as an upgrade to all the bags I already wore and loved, which is always a great starting point for a pricey purchase.
It was a great little bag: it fitted everything I needed each day – including a mini umbrella – and I loved that it added an expensive feel to my high street looks. So, I bet you’re wondering where it all went wrong, right?
Well dear reader, approximately one year after I bought it (and around 300 wears later), I spotted it everywhere. It became something of an It bag with the hype lasting several years – so much so that pre-owned versions of it now cost double what I paid for it brand new.
But I quickly grew bored. The bright red shade soon felt dull (quite literally – the back of it rubbed against dark coats and blue jeans and quickly darkened) and it didn’t help that thanks to its popularity, I’d spot the bag every day regardless of whether I was wearing it.
Cost-wise, I certainly came up trumps. I wore it hundreds of times bringing the cost-per-wear down to at least £1, and I can sell it eight years on and make a profit since the Gucci brand has only grown in popularity. But the initial plan was to invest in a bag I’d love forever, so for that reason, I regret the purchase.
2. Staud’s suede knee-high boots, bought for £395 in 2021
Unlike arm candy, shoes are always going to show signs of wear no matter how delicately you try to walk without bending your feet, so the jury’s out on whether expensive versions are ever truly worth it.
But that couldn’t help me when I spotted these boots on Net-a-Porter. I fell in love, instantly picturing myself sashaying down the street in them paired with a chunky cream knit and a silky black midi skirt, or a knitted maxi dress with a forest green wool coat and chic black bag.
And so they became a congratulatory new job purchase, when after mulling them over for months, I bought them as soon as the ‘one pair left’ sign popped up in my inbox.
But it turns out, the window in which to wear cream suede boots is rather narrow. The long style means they’re best in the colder months, but thanks to the material and colour, even a sniff of rain or snow and they’re dirty, so they only work on chilly, dry days where you want to look polished.
The small window means I haven’t worn these boots at all. Not once. Every time I go to wear them, there’s a more practical pair (flat, leather or in a dark colourway) that seem like a better option. Now I’ve ended up thinking that I shouldn’t wear them at all since I could resell them as brand new and use the money to buy an everyday pair.
Suffice to say, they’re a regret.
3. Jil Sander’s logo T-shirt, bought for £320 in 2022
Ok let’s start with the basics. This is a very cool T-shirt. Jil Sander is one of my favourite designers, and this T-shirt is a great entry point into her minimalist luxury pieces, so I had to have it.
The logo style is very of-the-moment, and it’s in a stiff cotton that hangs nicely and tucks in well. But it is just a cotton T-shirt. And it cost approximately 18 times what any other T-shirt in my wardrobe cost. If I give it too much thought, it fills me with dread, so it has to go on the regret list.
4. Gucci Princeton leather mules, bought for £550 in 2019
Another disclaimer, if I may. When weather permits, these are my ultimate go-to. They’re smart, chic, polished and understated. Black and gold goes with everything, and they add an androgynous edge to dresses, and elevate jeans and blazer combos.
But again, that weather window has proven tricky. Backless shoes aren’t ideal in cold or wet weather, and covered-toe leather shoes are too sweaty for summer. It means that come April and September, I wear these flats every single day to make the most of them.
The plus side is that these are a classic style, and as my personal style hasn’t changed much over the years, these loafers are just as revelant to my wardrobe now as they were then.
Thanks to the super thin sole (which looks rather sleek but wears out faster than you can walk in them), these need to be re-soled a lot. The price of which has added up over the years. So as well as splashing out a lot on a pair of shoes that only work for 40 of 365 days a year, they also regularly need new soles. It’s for that reason they’re on the list.