OK, right away, my husband is cracking up. He would tell you my shopping philosophy is "why pay less?" And yet even I, a self-confessed extravagant wretch, realize that there are areas where I tend to spend, and areas where I tend to save. And they're not the ones you hear about in every magazine, so I thought I'd share.
Here I put my money into the stuff I wear the most. Or stuff I'm obsessed with. Whatever qualifies as a basic deserves a large percentage of your clothes money. (Even if your idea of "basic" is Lilly Pulitzer skirts.) I spend on: coats, shoes, wool separates, cashmere, sweaters, gloves, scarves, bras, and hose (remember when pantyhose were out, out, out? Thank heavens they're coming back. I was really tired of seeing pasty white legs with road map veins all over them. Even if they did get me where I wanted to go.)
I save on: cotton t-shirts, anything made out of polyester, bags, anything ridiculously trendy, (remember satin cargo pants? Was there ever a question that buying them at Neiman Marcus might not be such a good idea, when they were also being sold at Target?) costume jewelry, evening bags, evening dresses, underpants, and socks.
Spend on anything that gives you a glamorous thrill and anything that uses innovative packaging or application techniques (like YSL Touche Eclat, Guerlain's Les Meteorites, or Nars Multiples.)
Save on: lipstick (Revlon and Rimmel are my favorites) lip and eye pencils (I like Prestige) eye shadow (Jane shadows are dirt cheap and great) nail polish (I like Sally Hansen) and mascara--all of which you can get at the drugstore. Except stay away from Maybelline Great Lash. Sure, I have a picture of it here, but that's to see if you're paying attention. It's the only drugstore mascara I've ever truly hated. Totally smudged and gave me Tammy Faye spider lashes. Run away! But other L'Oreal/Maybelline/Max Factor mascaras have been fine.
If you have normal, virgin, healthy, problem-free hair, you can probably get away with Suave shampoo and conditioner. (But if that's you, what are you doing reading this blog? Shouldn't you be letting down your hair so what's-his-name can climb that golden stair? And by the way? I hate you.)
But if you're normal, just spend money on your hair. Especially the machinery. I guarantee that if you plunk down the extra money for the Babyliss ionic hair dryer or the Mason Pearson brush, you will fall in love. Once Badger had turned me on to ionic dryers, I never looked back. My dryer and a cheap--but absolutely perfect--styling brush are two tools I can't live without.
Still, barring unusual problems, you can save on: de-frizzing serum, styling gel, hairspray, combs, and blow-dry brushes--the drugstore or a beauty supply store will have lots of cheap brushes, and it might take you three or four tries to find the brush that works perfectly, so go low-end here.
Spend on: incredible serums, the exfoliator that polishes your skin to perfection without irritating it, eye cream that moisturizes without producing milia, sunscreen that doesn't break you out. Basically any Holy Grail product is worth the money.
As for anti-aging products, I've used high-end (Creme de la Mer and Cle de Peau) and low-end (Oil of Olay, Dove, Ponds) and guess what? No matter what I buy, I find that as the years pass, I continue to look older.