7 Tips For Making Smart Designer Purchases

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Hello, lovelies! Today, we’re going to be talking about designer / luxury items! Isn’t it [almost] every girls dream to have a little bit of Chanel or Gucci in their wardrobe? Growing up, my Mom had a Gucci purse and she kept a small, classic green & red striped cosmetic bag in it. A true girly girl from the start, I loved rummaging through the cosmetic case and playing with the lipsticks my mom would keep in it. It was the only designer thing she owned and it was very obvious she loved it and got her money’s worth out of it. When she passed away a few years ago, I found that cosmetic case again, and chose it to be one of the only items that I kept from her closet … which was overflowing with clothes … because it was one of the only items that held true sentimental value to me, that sparked a memory, still had her scent on it, etc. I held it in my hands the day I found it, crying as I realized just how happy I was to be able to keep it with me for the rest of my life and maybe even pass it along to my daughter one day. It really doesn’t matter that it cost a lot of money but it made me realize how sweet a designer item within a woman’s wardrobe can be. My mom didn’t have a lot of money in the years before she had me. Both of her parents died when she was 17, just a few short months apart, and it was her eldest sister, my Aunt Jan, who was 19 years her senior, that made sure she was the first of the four girls to get a college education. Even in the years following after earning a History degree from Florida State, she worked paycheck to paycheck. I wish I could ask her now how much time it took for her to save for that Gucci purse and cosmetic case, and tell her I’m proud of her because, the truth is, when you are diligent about saving for these types of items, they end up meaning so much more to you, your wardrobe and the little ones you bring in to this world.

With all of that said, I realize designer items are not in everyone’s budget nor are they a relevant purchase item to consider at this point in your life. Some of y’all just started families. Some of you just went back to school. Some of you just made the huge investment of buying a house. I find all of those to be commendable things and, if I’m honest, there have been many moments during the last year where I wished I was making that same investment myself. So, I just want to be clear … if you can’t or have no interest in buying a designer shoe, handbag or piece of jewelry … that is absolutely fine and there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, so many of you ask me questions about the luxury items I own which is why I thought I’d share these few smart tips for you to consider if making a designer purchase is of interest to you:

Be honest with yourself. With so many luxury items out there, it can be so hard to tick all of the boxes within this tip. Be really honest with yourself about the type of luxury item you want to invest in. If you know you will wear a designer handbag more than a pair of designer boots, be honest with yourself about it and make that what you base your decision on.

Do your research, read reviews and know your personal preferences. From there, be sure to do your research on which one of that particular item you have chosen that you want. If you are unsure of exactly what you want, I would encourage you to scour the designer section of Nordstrom’s website to help narrow down your options. It is extensive and I’m always looking at their new arrivals to see what the newest additions are! If you already have a strong idea of what item you want, make sure to read the reviews to help you make a firm decision or go a different route. For example, I tend to like handbags that have structure to them but I sometimes gravitate toward a slouchy style handbag. If I read the reviews and find that they are flimsy, even if the leather is amazing quality, I know that that isn’t a handbag I want to invest in because it will, personally, drive me crazy. So, do your research and know your personal preferences.

• Consider a practical, classic piece over a trendy piece. Every designer has staples bags that they will always have in their collection: Louis Vuitton Speedy, Chanel Classic Flap Bag, Prada Saffiano Tote, etc. In my opinion, these are the ones that will hold their value, and potentially increase in value, over time and will always be in style. The trendier the piece is, the faster you will ‘get over it’ and be looking for your next purchase. [This does not apply to everyone, I’m sure, but I think it applies to most people] But, for me, I think that if you’re going to spend that much money on something, you should love it for the rest of your life.

When I buy luxury items, I think about whether or not it’s something that I could potentially hand down to my daughter, God willing, someday. In these photos, I’m wearing the Albion Ring by David Yurman. I bought it back in April because I loved that the stone is my birth stone, amethyst, with hematite underneath it so it looks almost navy blue, which I think goes with more things than actual amethyst does. I loved that I’d be able to wear it with a lot of outfits, get quite a bit of use out of it myself, but then be able to hand it down to my daughter as a “I’ll always be with you” type of token.

I also consider how much I will wear it. These Stuart Weitzman Highland boots, seen in today’s post, were a purchase I made in early 2015. Not only are these extremely flattering on, but they’re very, very comfortable and I wear them quite a bit throughout the Fall and Winter season. They have held up extremely well in the almost two years since I have bought them and I look forward to many more seasons of styling them. I don’t mind making large purchases on things like this when I know they will last for years. I can’t help but mention the Celine sunglasses I’m wearing, as well. Y’all know I wear them ALL the time. I think I’ve had them for about two years now. Those are the kind of purchases y’all really need to be making if you’re going to buy designer. Don’t just buy a designer piece and let it sit on the shelf! Buy it because you like it and it’s going to be worn!

• Determine a reasonable percentage to put aside to save with every paycheck and be diligent about following your budget. So, these items are obviously not cheap and it’s rare that someone can just frivolously walk into a designer store and make these large purchases without thought or any kind of preparation. I follow the tips I’ve provided above and once I’ve made my decision, I sit down with my budget and look at what a reasonable percentage would be that I could put away to save for that item. From there, I look at my spending and I determine where my weak areas have been and I make a goal to adjust those, as needed. So, if I’ve been eating out too much, then I make a goal to eat out X number of times less each week and, if I abide by it, I will determine the difference in spending and put it into my designer purchase fund as a gift to myself. It’ll likely take weeks to save enough money for the item, but when I finally am able to put it in my Nordstrom shopping cart to purchase it, I feel a huge sense of pride in the fact that I was able to diligently save for something. It makes me treasure the items so much more.

Save for the entire purchase before buying. Even if you put your designer purchase on a credit card, you should have the total amount of money in your checking or savings account, ready to pay off that credit card balance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against you using a credit card. I usually make large designer purchases on my American Express card because I get points that can be used to pay for airline tickets, so I understand why people use credit cards but, if I can encourage you to do anything, it would be to NOT use your credit card just to buy it sooner. I refuse to have anyone misunderstand this post or my personal opinion on making smart financial decisions. I have shared before – I believe in my 5 must have handbag post – that I have been financially irresponsible in years past and it was a huge thorn in my side to not only get myself out of debt but to also correct my credit score. Owning these items is an amazing thing but not if it puts you into debt. It’s just not worth it. These items will not make you happier or make your life brighter. They are just THINGS, so please be patient and responsible and just save your money.

Take care of these items more than you would any other item in your closet. These items are expensive for a reason. They’re made with delicate materials that can be easily damaged causing the value of the item to significantly decrease. Spray suede items with suede protecting spray. Never misplace an authenticity card. Keep your original receipt for each item. Store items in their respective boxes or dust bags. Clean inside of shoes with alcohol free baby wipes immediately after wearing them. Keep items stuffed with original stuffing when not in use to help maintain shape.

Buy from Nordstrom. While Nordstrom doesn’t have every designer under the sun available online, they do have a considerable amount! I love venturing over to their Designer Collection’s New Arrivals tab just to see the latest and greatest from designers like Chloe, Valentino, Gucci, David Yurman, etc. The best part about buying your luxury items from them, too, is that they have free shipping and free returns. If the item isn’t what you expected it to be or you just haven’t worn it as much as you thought you would … take it back for a full refund, no questions asked! I know for a fact that is not the case everywhere, so I make sure that, when I can, I make my purchases with them. They always always always take care of their customers!

And, there ya go! I hope these tips are helpful! Do you have any to add? I’d love to hear them!

Alright, enough about expensive things … don’t miss out on this gorgeous check cape! It’s less than $60 and super cozy! Also, there are tons of sales still going on from the weekend. They all end tonight, I believe, so check out yesterday’s post for my round-up of all of the ones I think are worth shopping!

Thanks for stopping by today, y’all! Appreciate it so much! xo.




  1. Natali wrote:

    Looking breathtaking in this casual, neutral and perfect for Fall outfit! You’re rocking these boots!


    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
  2. Diana wrote:

    Love this look!
    || D I A N A ||

    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
  3. Liza wrote:

    I love this post! Another tip is to consider buying secondhand, especially handbags. I found the Chloe Marcie in Nut secondhand at a significant discount (less than half!) when that color was sold out, and I haven’t regretted it even once. The Celine Luggage tote is next on my list, but I will definitely not pay full retail!

    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      That’s another great tip!! There are so many great second hand sites out there! Thanks, Liza! 🙂

      Published 9.26.16 ·
  4. tessfelber wrote:

    I love this post and it was so great hearing a little bit about your family, thanks for sharing! All of my designer bags have been from Poshmark and I feel a lot more satisfied paying almost half the price but when it comes to the classic black Chanel of my dreams, I’ve been saving for a while now to buy brand new 🙂 Awesome tips!!
    xx Tess | Sequins are the New Black

    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Totally! There’s nothing wrong with buying designer from a reseller but there really is just something special about buying it brand new 🙂 It’ll surely be worth the wait! xo.

      Published 9.26.16 ·
  5. Lucinda wrote:

    Great advice, I’m currently saving for an LV Speedy Bandoulière 25 and this post has really helped me out. Thank you for sharing that lovely story about your mother’s Gucci purse, I totally agree that working hard and saving for something you really want makes it so much more special. x


    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
  6. Aubrey wrote:

    Good advice! I love it.

    xx. The Coastal Confidence

    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
  7. Rachel wrote:

    These are all great tips! I’m getting ready to invest in a designer bag but I’ve put it off because I can’t decide which bag I want the most! So many gorgeous options.

    Rachel http://www.seashellsandsparkles.com

    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
  8. Amy Michelle wrote:

    Such great tips! There are so many great designer items!



    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
  9. Maren Jensen wrote:

    These are wonderful suggestions! Another way I work to buy designer items is by selling things that I am no longer loving. I use what I make from those sales to invest in my next big designer purchase. But regardless of how you save for it, actually saving/working for it over time makes it so much more gratifying and keeps you from making impulse buys. Great post, Haley! xo


    Published 9.26.16 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      That’s another GREAT tip! Love it! I do that a lot, as well! xo.

      Published 9.27.16 ·
  10. Tanya wrote:

    Wonderful post! Some of your designer bags are linked to Fashionphile.com, what are your thoughts on purchasing previously owned handbags? Thank you!

    Published 9.27.16 · Reply
  11. Davida wrote:

    Can I just say that I am absolutely obsessed with everything in this look! The color pallet, your background, that ridiculously gorgeous Chloe bag, those boots, that poncho, those sunnies! I just can’t you are too fab! I 1000% agree with you about the investment pieces and love this post.


    Published 9.29.16 · Reply
  12. Beauty Follower wrote:

    Great look!

    Happy October 🙂


    Published 10.2.16 · Reply
  13. Jessica wrote:

    Really good advice, everyone needs a reality check before committing to an investment pieces


    Published 10.6.16 · Reply