These Women Spent More Than $1,000 On Fashion In The Last Year—Here’s What They Loved & Regretted

Mind Your Money Series:
What Do We Spend On Fashion?

Have you ever wondered how much your chic acquaintance spends on fashion each year? Or dwelled on how much you “should” or “should not” be spending? We asked our readers how much they spent on fashion in the past 12 months, and it was exciting to hear more about what they had to say. We also asked about their planned wardrobe investments, impulse buys, and their favorite and least favorite purchases. What we uncovered was a wide range of values and emotions surrounding fashion.

We celebrate alongside women and non-binary people whose purchases have helped them feel more confident at work—and more comfortable in their bodies. We hold space for budgets big and small, knowing that each one of us has a different experience and relationship with fashion. And, of course, we feel the frustration (and share the laughs) that some of these regrettable purchases bring.

This piece pulls some insightful responses from women and non-binary people who spent over $1,000 on fashion in the last year. See the other pieces in this series below!


Retired Teacher
Logan, Utah

A pale yellow vintage undergarment for $90 [was an impulse buy], because it was special and beautiful.

Age | 70
Income
| $85,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $1,200

A Purchase You Planned | A pair of wingtip ankle boots for $95. They work with my existing wardrobe and style, and are also something I haven’t worn before.

An Impulse Buy | A pale yellow vintage undergarment for $90, because it was special and beautiful.

Your Favorite Purchase | A vintage tan leather jacket.

A Purchase You Regret | The same yellow underwear because it’s coming apart.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | No.


Marketing Manager
Knoxville, Tennessee

For $67, I made an investment in a piece I’ll wear at least monthly, in every season, for years. That investment went to a women-owned and run small business making handmade, sustainable clothing.

Age | 26
Income
| $48,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $1,500

A Purchase You Planned | A goldenrod linen skirt from Simply Grey for about $67. I have wanted a button-front pocket linen skirt for years, and had a preconceived notion that any quality option would be too expensive. For $67, I made an investment in a piece I'll wear at least monthly, in every season, for years. That investment went to a women-owned and run small business making handmade, sustainable clothing. It doesn't get much better than that!

An Impulse Buy | A thrifted knit American Eagle cardigan from Goodwill for $4. I'm in the middle of remodeling my first home (fixer upper, woohoo!) and it was a chillier day. All of my clothes were at my temporary residence an hour from my project house. So, I ran to the thrift store and grabbed a cardigan. I love it so much I can barely part with it to wash it!

Your Favorite Purchase | It’s a tie between my lace-up Blundstone boots and my oiled Nubuck high-heeled clogs from Lotta from Stockholm.

A Purchase You Regret | I put a lot of hope into a linen wrap dress that is just really difficult to keep closed/modest. I regret buying it without measuring myself first!

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | Yes: dress boots in taupe by Blundstone. I may still make the splurge!


Pre-Med Student
Los Angeles, California

[My favorite purchase is] probably my organic cotton Hanna Andersson pajamas with lemon print, honestly. They are so cozy!

Age | 21
Income | $5,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $2,000

A Purchase You Planned | An O My Bag Amsterdam-based brand leather shoulder bag (not sure if it’s sold in the US) for $250. I bought it because I wanted an ethical vegan leather shoulder bag for a long time and was unsure if I could get one in the US from this brand, so bought it in Copenhagen.

An Impulse Buy | Veja sneakers because I had a previous pair that wore out and I already knew my size and that I loved my first pair. Bought for about $150 I think.

Your Favorite Purchase | Probably my organic cotton Hanna Andersson pajamas with lemon print, honestly. They are so cozy!

A Purchase You Regret | Buying my boyfriend concert tickets and then breaking up with him the next day, haha. Or, if this is about clothing only, then probably something I got on Poshmark for cheap that just wasn’t what I had in mind or didn’t fit.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | Yes! An expensive sweater from Aiyai, I think the brand is.


Marketing Specialist
Land O’ Lakes, Florida

I bought these [pants] while studying abroad because I thought they were the greatest things ever. Once I got home, I realized they were very impractical and it was right before I decided to start shopping sustainably.

Age | 20
Income
| $28,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $2,000

A Purchase You Planned | Everlane Easy Chinos for $55. It's a sustainable brand, they have really good reviews, and I needed more pants for work.

An Impulse Buy | Home goods at the thrift store, for about $3 per item. This is a common thing—I always get swept up in all the cute mugs and vases.

Your Favorite Purchase | Doc Marten Jadon 8 Eye Boots—I've been wanting Doc Martens for a while and got to apply a student discount once I finally decided which ones I wanted.

A Purchase You Regret | Polka dot pants from Zara. I bought these while studying abroad because I thought they were the greatest things ever. Once I got home, I realized they were very impractical and it was right before I decided to start shopping sustainably.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | Not that I can think of.


Farmers’ Market Manager
Nova Scotia, Canada

[My vintage wood clogs] made me feel like the person I wanted to be, grounded in sustainable fashion and fun.

Age | 23
Gender Identity | Non-binary
Income
| $30,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $2,000

A Purchase You Planned | Beaton Linen Utility Pants for $400. They are sustainably made in Canada by a woman who I believe is doing good in the world. (Almost) every other piece of clothing I own was purchased secondhand and under $10. Buying it was something extra special for me, just for me.

An Impulse Buy | Vintage wood clogs for $35. They made me feel like the person I wanted to be, grounded in sustainable fashion and fun.

Your Favorite Purchase | A pair of rainbow pants, secondhand.

A Purchase You Regret | A number of vintage items.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | A pair of vintage (I'm saying that a lot) brown leather high-top Frye boots (so expensive, so beautiful).


Director of Customer Experience
Williamsburg, New York City

I felt good supporting Marine Layer, as they’re doing cool things with recycled t-shirt fabrics.

Age | 26
Income
| $80,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $2,000

A Purchase You Planned | A Reformation dress—I got a $200 gift card for Christmas from my mom to pick out a dress (I was eyeing a couple for an upcoming trip to Mexico City and to wear to a friend's wedding). I paid $30–$40 on top of the gift card. I picked the dress because I thought it'd be a great, versatile piece to wear to weddings, events, or for dress up days and nights. Sadly, it shrunk when I hand washed it (who knew hand washing could shrink things!?) so my 'investment piece' is looking for a new home.

An Impulse Buy | I received a Marine Layer catalog and was flipping through it (I like the pictures) and saw a black cotton wrap dress for $120 that looked like the perfect summer go-to with sneakers or Birkenstocks, and the price felt really accessible. The catalog had a 10% off discount code on the back, so I hopped online to order it. I felt good supporting Marine Layer, as they're doing cool things with recycled t-shirt fabrics.

Your Favorite Purchase | I bought a shirt dress in Mexico City from Fabrica Social (around $100–$150) that is super cool and breezy, plus feels special and reminds me of that trip. I also bought a straw purse someone was making on the sidewalk (about $5 USD) that day and love it.

A Purchase You Regret | The Reformation dress mentioned above... it shrunk three sizes that day of the wash.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | Nothing comes to mind so... probably not?


Civil Engineer
Madison, Wisconsin

I try to avoid impulse buys, but I did buy a gold anklet with a recycled diamond from Catbird in NYC that I wear nonstop now.

Age | 25
Income
| $72,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $2,500

A Purchase You Planned | A secondhand pair of Elizabeth Suzann Clyde work pants that cost around $200, even secondhand. Her pieces are all made in Nashville and I had heard that they are very quality pieces that will last forever if you take care of them. It was an investment for sure.

An Impulse Buy | I try to avoid impulse buys, but I did buy a gold anklet with a recycled diamond from Catbird in NYC that I wear nonstop now. It's so dainty and light that it makes me feel a little sultry. After watching You on Netflix, the main character inspired me to buy myself an anklet that I wear forever, instead of one bought by a man like the one she wore.

Your Favorite Purchase | My Babaá sweaters. They are made from Spanish wool and kept me warm all winter long. They are so cozy. They are very expensive, so it was another investment piece that will hopefully last a long time.

A Purchase You Regret | Secondhand Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Work Shorts that don't even fit me! The sizing on her pieces can really vary, so it taught me to always check the measurements before buying something secondhand online.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | Not really.


Social Worker
Texas

After growing increasingly frustrated with my wardrobe, early last fall, I made a mental shift towards defining my personal style in a sustainable and ethical way.

Age | 29
Income
| $45,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $3,000

A Purchase You Planned | Nisolo Almond Huaraches that were $130 with tax. I was in need of a warm weather sandal and knew immediately I wanted their huarache. I took a few months before I purchased to think about how they would fit into my current wardrobe and to save up money. I decided to purchase the shoes in store last week and I am in love! They class up even the simplest outfit and I feel incredible in them!

An Impulse Buy | A secondhand Escada winter coat for $180. I have been on a lowkey hunt for a black winter coat since last winter, not seriously thinking or researching, but looking at them in passing when I visit a store. I found this coat online that looked perfect and purchased it immediately. It’s being shipped to me now and I’m still feeling guilty about shelling out so much money on something I didn’t plan on buying! But it’s so beautiful! I’m so torn.

Your Favorite Purchase | Secondhand high-waisted patterned pants that were about $5, made out of breathable material. I kept noticing the wide leg pant trend and I wanted to try it out myself. I found these pants and knew, immediately upon trying them on, that they were coming home with me. I’ve worn these pants so many times that they’ve become a staple piece in my wardrobe. They’re my go-to pants when I travel, want to dress up, or when I’m just trying to look presentable. I adore them!

A Purchase You Regret | The clothes I purchased in a summer haul last year as part of a store sale. Out of maybe 10 pieces I purchased, only one still resides in my wardrobe. I was shopping mindlessly without any sense of personal style. What I ended up with was a packed closet of clothes with nothing to wear together. After growing increasingly frustrated with my wardrobe, early last fall, I made a mental shift towards defining my personal style in a sustainable and ethical way. I did the first of many purges of my closet, and began to take steps to build a functional and pragmatic wardrobe, something that was true to me. I’m still happily on that journey and have embraced my love of thrift shopping but now I do it with a purpose.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | No, there will always be something else to take its place.


Head of Operations
Melbourne, Australia

In the past few months, I’ve been looking much more into sustainability and I would spend more time researching that now.

Age | 29
Income
| 85,000 AUD
How Much You Spent On Fashion | 3,000 AUD

A Purchase You Planned | White sneakers. I looked everywhere to find the perfect pair. I finally found a pair from Samsøe & Samsøe that ticked all my boxes, and spent about 300 AUD on them. I loved the style, the material, and the quality. In the past few months, I've been looking much more into sustainability and I would spend more time researching that now.

An Impulse Buy | Ancient Greek Sandals. I spent 300 AUD purely based on the fact that I loved the style, the fact that they are handmade, and because of the quality of the material. It's important to me that they last!

Your Favorite Purchase | My leather jacket I found on sale (originally 750 AUD—I spent 290 AUD) and it's the softest, most beautiful leather.

A Purchase You Regret | Fast fashion, mostly—dresses that break after wearing them only a few times. Also some thrifted items where I bought the pieces because it was so cheap but they are actually not 100% my style.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | No.


Human Resources Business Partner
New York, New York

I needed a piece to add to my wardrobe for a wedding but one I know I can wear again.

Age | 47
Income
| $205,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $4,000

A Purchase You Planned | A dress for a wedding for $100. I needed a piece to add to my wardrobe for the wedding but one I know I can wear again.

An Impulse Buy | A summer dress for $19.99 that I brought because I needed something for a weekend getaway and didn't like what I already have. I knew this was a one-time wear dress.

Your Favorite Purchase | A black pleated skirt.

A Purchase You Regret | N/A

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | A shirt dress because it looked good online—I should have returned it. I wore it and felt like a candy striper hospital worker. I will probably donate it to Dress for Success or Goodwill.


Consultant
Chicago, Illinois

I bought a Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) crossbody bag that I’ve wanted for a few years. I was in Paris for my first vacation in over two years and decided to buy it at the French flagship store.

Age | 29
Income
| $145,000
How Much You Spent On Fashion | $5,000

A Purchase You Planned | I bought a Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) crossbody bag that I’ve wanted for a few years. I was in Paris for my first vacation in over two years and decided to buy it at the French flagship store. I backed out because I felt guilty spending that much money on a purse, and the amount of student debt I have from my masters degree really freaked me out. A few days later, I was really kicking myself and decided I had wanted it for years, had saved up for it, and went for it. I don’t regret it at all. 

An Impulse Buy | I bought a pair of expensive sunglasses after a few months of a really terrible project at work. I spent about $350 on them at Nordstrom. I talked to my mom the whole time on the phone while buying them. She is usually my sanity checker but she said go for it, so I did! I was originally just looking for a cheap pair of sunglasses for summer, but loved the shape of the expensive ones and decided to splurge.

Your Favorite Purchase | My YSL crossbody bag.

A Purchase You Regret | AmazonBasics yoga pants.

A Purchase You Regret Not Making | No.


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Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio. Say hi on Instagram!