If you want something and you can afford it, buy it — that's my stance on spending money. To some, forking over $40 dollars for a T-shirt better mean it's top-of-the-line. For others, forty bucks means something flimsy — (cough) cheap. Both camps could justify their purchase in perpetuity, too. You'd never convince either they were being cheap, or overpaid. Impossible! Never!
There is, however, an elite group of expensive items out there that I can totally justify buying — no matter whether you're historically known as a penny pincher or the friend with poor credit. These products represent the upper echelon of quality in their respective categories, because they're made in limited quantities or purely by hand by one person, with only the finest materials or, as they should if they're that expensive, to last forever.
These are the products I'd be unashamed to explain spending... well, a pretty high percentage of my paycheck on: sunglasses from superstar designers, boots made from durable horsehide, pants covered in vintage patches and the ilk. Explore the full list below.
Jerome Jacques Marie Mage's eponymous label, Jacques Marie Mage, manufactures super-fine sunglasses from premium materials in Japan. These are the top-of-the-line; the design the ubiquitous brands you usually shop from try to emulate. Investing in an upper-echelon pair of sunglasses is an endorsement of the designer and his brand's commitment to detail-oriented manufacturing.
Made by the brand's most trusted craftsman (and signed before they're shipped to you), the Signature Craftsman Boot from R.M. Williams' represents the pinnacle of luxury Chelsea boots. These are Goodyear welted so they're infinitely resoleable, made in Australia from a single piece of leather and, to save you those few extra pennies, are available with free shipping. Score.
Ghaia's cashmere sweaters are generational warmth. Screw generational wealth! They're super durable, wear like a sweatshirt (because of the raglan sleeve) and are, of course, incredibly soft.
Sure, $33 dollars isn't going to break the bank for most shoppers. But, $33 dollars for a single pair of basic underwear? That's where I might lose a few people. Hear me out: CDLP's Boxer Briefs are made from Lyocell, a material that's not only naturally soft but anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking, too. Think: silk that won't stink.
What's the cost of stay warming in the winter? Well, $795 dollars, if you ask Goldwin. Its Gore-Tex Down Jacket might be equal to a down payment on a car lease, but it's well worth it considering A.) the quality of the jacket, B.) the sheer warmth its insulating down traps and C.) the durability of its materials.
Sometimes, spending more means investing in a new technology or material. You're early to a budding innovation that could eventually go commercial. That's the case with PANGAIA's PLNTFIBER Track Pants. Again, affordability is subjective, but I'm thinking $160 bucks for sweatpants sounds ludicrous no matter your monthly spending habits. But these are made from bamboo and eucalyptus, organic seaweed and wild Himalayan nettle, and finished with a peppermint coating that repels odors and odor-causing bacteria.
$1,100 dollars for Derbies? Damn. I know. But these Derby Shoes by Viberg are valuable because of the Cordovan Leather they're made from. Cordovan comes from horses and is named after the Spanish region of Cordoba from which the specific leather tradition originates. Nowadays, it's beloved for its luster, durability and classic look.
Slow fashion. It's the opposite of fast fashion, of course, but it encompasses an entire cohort of companies taking an artful approach to apparel. One such company is Story Mfg, a brand dedicated to India-born beading and embroidery techniques and classic dyeing processes. All of these commitments manifest in the Nice Trip Short on Time Jacket, a black organic cotton coat covered in various motifs and messages.
Bode works in a similar fashion. Founded by Emily Adams Bode, a designer with a distinct interest in quilts and collectible textiles, the brand repurposes vintage materials into new garments. See: these Patchwork Cotton Pants, wide-wale, yellow-corn-colored pants covered in patches that date back to 1920. There are truly no two that look the same; that's what makes them special.
Iron Heart's 14 oz, Indigo-colored Cargo Pants take cues from classic workwear designs while balancing modern tailoring. They're heavy, constructed from a proprietary loom-made denim, dip-dyed twice in two different colors, equipped with heavy canvas pocket bags and finished with military-grade engraved copper rivets.
This T-shirt weighs as much as the cargo pants above. Insane, right? Merz B. Schwanen manufactures these in a very traditional way, relying on a loopwheel to make this 13.4 oz, relaxed-fit tee. It's a natural color, super soft and casual yet devilishly classic.
Constructed from recycled cotton milled in LA, Groundcover's # GI - 6001 - 20 - 285 hoodie is dyed with discarded chestnuts in rural Pennsylvania. Pretty niche, right? It's a botanical dye so it'll fade ever so slightly over time but that adds to its uniqueness.
Sometimes it isn't about what you're buying, necessarily, but about who you're supporting with your spending power. Studebaker Metals is a small metal smithing workshop located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that employs emerging tradespeople and makes some pretty killer jewelry to boot. This Signet Ring isn't technically all that expensive, but for people who may be hesitant to wear jewelry or skeptical of how they'll look with a ring on, $148 dollars is quite a lot — and even more so considering its sized to your unique measurements. But know that for just short of $150 you're getting a unique, handmade ring hammered from sterling silver.