CLASSIC > HYPE. Look for items that you’ll want to wear when you’re the same age as Iris Apfel. “An Acne Studios shearling coat is always going to be an amazing piece,” says Nic Jones of the Toronto clothing boutique Jonathan+Olivia. “Sometimes you’re paying a bit more for hype, but the majority of what we sell in-store you’ll be able to wear for years.”

CALCULATE THE COST PER WEAR. Take the price of that A.P.C. dress and divide it by how often you’ll wear it. (We’ll wait while you grab your iPhone calculator.) Voila! Cost per wear. So, if you bought that designer wool coat and sported it 24-7 this winter, that’s a far better deal than that $60 puffer jacket you wore twice and forgot about in the closet.

DO NOT SUCCUMB TO PURCHASE FOMO. If you’re still not sure about a piece, ask to have it put on hold. “I’d rather people walk away or come back in and try it on again five more times,” says Jones. “We understand that some things cost a lot of money, and we don’t take it lightly.”

SHOP THE SALES. Shop in August for a bargain on spring/summer threads and in February for deep discounts on fall/winter goods that you don’t need to wait until next season to wear. But do not buy something just because it’s on sale. Ask yourself to come up with at least five outfits with this new piece. If it takes more than 60 seconds, you should have your answer.

OWN IT. Put on that Helmut Lang blazer, and if anyone asks you where it’s from, smile cryptically and let their queries roll off your designer-clad shoulders. You’ve earned it.


This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.