My Experience Shopping High End Luxury

I usually shop Macy’s or Century 21. My mom taught me the satisfaction of getting a good deal from the clearance racks. Actually, Century 21 is as luxurious as I ever get. The only time I’ve walked through Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus was to get from the parking lot to the inside part of the mall.  Luxury shopping was only a fantasy.

Why would anyone pay $500+ for a pair of shoes or $1000+ for a purse?

Then I met K’s family and every Christmas his parents would buy something extravagant for eachother like a Burberry bomber leather jacket or new shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo.

I would exchange gifts in awe, kinda wanting to reach that level of success where I could buy my own luxury item or be able to gift it to someone I loved.

This fall we’re going to a family wedding and as members of the bride’s immediate family it’s kind of expected we’ll go all out.

K and his Dad (FIL-father in law) decided to get matching suits from Hugo Boss. I would describe shopping with them to be fun. They go in there like it’s any other store. Meanwhile I’m an old pair legging and some beat up chucks.

Still that wasn’t stopping them from getting the freshest suits they could find at Hugo Boss. Of course, FIL knew the salespeople at Hugo Boss, so they greeted him warmly. His Dad let the salesmen know that they were going to get identical suits for the wedding. I would describe the salesmen as charming, cleancut and well dressed in the brand’s suits.

The younger salesperson, I never got his name so let’s call him Cesar (he looked like a Cesar!), already knew FIL’s size and was quick to measure my husband to get the right fit. They put on this dark royal blue suit and I knew right away it was the winner. K always looks good in blue. Cesar looks to me asks me what I thought. I told him that’s the right one. As his Dad makes plans to pay for the two suits, the store manager greets us an offers us some water or juice. We thank him but Cesar has already made sure we had water and juice for our daughter S.

The suits are given to us on a hanger and garment bag with Hugo Boss etched on the front. They tell K to come in again a month before the wedding so they can custom tailor it.

Overall, I would consider that to be an exceptional customer service experience from the moment we stepped into the store to the moment we left.

Carrying our Hugo Boss garment bags, we sauntered into Salvatore Ferragamo. Those salespeople pounced on us. They saw us as the branded bags we had and knew “cha-ching!” they were making quota today. Maria, FILs salesperson from Ferragamo was there and he made sure to go to her. I guess that’s what you do, once you find a good salesperson you keep going to them so they get their commission and keep taking care of you.

Compared to the cool and collected nature of the Hugo Boss salesmen, the Ferragamo were nearly desperate. I couldn’t help but notice that the store was nearly empty, with most of the traffic strolling in and then strolling out.

Leather purses and designer shoes line the walls and we settle in the back on these plush couches, exhausted from all the shopping we did. At this point, I’m all shopped out. Maria and their sales manager are bringing out shoe after shoe for my husband and his Dad to try. They finally settle on one of their classic leather shoes. They aren’t done yet, they still need to meet their sales quota and set their eyes on my mother in law (MIL).

“Oh what about that blue bag you were looking at the last time you were here?” Maria cooes.

“You know its discounted new now for our regulars…” she continues.

Before Maria is done with her sentence the manager comes by with the bag. MIL is thinking it over and looks inside and out to make sure it’s not damaged.

“Just get the bag if you like it,” FIL says to her anticipating her reservations over price.

Cha-ching! They’ve made goal!

Next they set their eyes on me and see if they can entice me into a sale. The manager brings these beautiful evening shoes.

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I am not prepared to try them on, I haven’t had a pedicure in months and NO ONE is going to see my feet. Also it would have been a pretty impractical buy, what other event would I wear them for?

I say I’d rather not and they finally give up on their final sale.

Overall, the level of thirst I experienced at Ferragamo kind of left me from wanting to buy from them again, although K’s family is all about the quality of their shoes.

But I still needed some nice shoes for the wedding and was mulling it over on what to wear. After listening to “Bodak Yellow” on repeat for a week, I decide I should get something ostentatiously obvious and expensive. I should get Louboutins. I’m thinking it over and considering stopping by the Macy’s where Louboutin has a corner boutique.

One day K and I are finishing up running around and doing errands. We decide to make a mall trip out of the end of the day and shop around. K suggest that I get my shoes now, we’re not going to have time later to buy them, our weekends have been packed lately.

So we stroll into Neiman Marcus’s shoe department and I go right to the Louboutin section. Mind you, I look like crap on a stick with the same converse and leggings I was wearing when I went to Hugo Boss and I still didn’t get that pedicure I desperately needed.

I lift a shoe over and see the price. $875. This one is a platform nude with the red bottom signature sole.

The nearest saleswoman sees me and starts to make her way over.

“Do you need help?”

I hesitated for a moment. I could either reply that I was just browsing or I could engage the sale.

“Actually, can I try this on.”

“Sure, what’s you’re size?”

I look at her like I don’t even know. I tell her 8 1/2 or 9. She runs to the back room and grabs both sizes.

I’m so embarrassed to take off my shoes because my feet feel so gross.

But I try on the first pair of luxury Louboutins and they feel FABULOUS! But a little tight in the front. You know how there’s always that one foot that bigger than the other. I was concerned about that and whether these deathly tall heels would be decently comfortable.

I ask her if the patent leather will have any give later on and become looser?

Monica, my salesperson, was honest and said there wouldn’t be much give and that the toebox is usually tight. So I asked her for another shoe one size up. I guess European girls have small feet, not me.

She brings back the pair I wanted and I try them on and they fit perfectly! I stroll around and see the shoes in the mirror and they are solid! This is the biggest purchase I’ve made on shoes so I want to make sure they make sense for me and were comfortable. Now that the shoe is bigger for one foot, what about the other? It’s sliding a little bit and I point it out to Monica.

“You can also put an insole in one shoe if you feel like one is slipping.” She goes and grabs me an insole. I look at her like she’s a miracle worker, both shoes fit perfectly. There’s really no reason for me to not buy these shoes…except the price. I decide to swallow the purchase and get them anyway.

At the register she rings me up and tells me about their credit card program. Of course I’m a sucker for any deals on these outrageous shoes! So I sign up for the credit card to get some points and so I can also break up the payment of these shoes in three parts.

Overall I would consider Monica as a pretty good salesperson. She overcame all my objections, solved the problems, gave me good customer service and was really knowledgeable on the shoes, the fits, and materials.

Compared to the usual frenzied shopping experience I have at the Macy’s shoe dept, I can see how people would shell out for a high end product like this. There was only one other couple shopping for shoes so It was pretty much a one on one experience on a Saturday.

At Hugo Boss, Ferragamo and Neiman Marcus I felt a lot more catered to. I was offered water and beverages and the salespeople had business cards! Like, business card really do make it more official than having to poke your head around the department asking for “the lady who was nice last time.” It was also a lot less crowded and a cleaner presentation.

So here are the shoes and me wearing them. Definitely a good purchase that I will be able to use for the next 10+ years.

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I’m also wearing a Guess Skirt and Vince Camuto Blouse.

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Developing Personal Style: The Manly Edition

I’ve always loved the idea of a stylish man. GQ men and James Bond always come to mind for me. There’s something very attractive about a man that can dress well and as some might say, a “Je ne sais quois,” that makes a man irresistible. I pondered these questions for myself and wondered why I found certain qualities attractive.

My husband, K, did not have personal style in terms of clothes or possessions when I met him but he had a bit of swag and charisma. I wrote post on charisma not too long ago and it definitely helps you put your personal style to life but personal style is different.  It’s how you present yourself to the world, what’s on the outside as opposed to what’s on the inside.

Like I mentioned, K really didn’t have much in terms of personal style. He always wore the same shirts until they got pilly fuzz on them and started to curl at the bottom from being over dried too many times. He also always wore the same shoes until they started to wear through and look retro. And honestly, he didn’t really have a good reason to look put together; we were in our late teens when we met and barely getting by as young adults. Nevertheless, he would come dressed to impress whenever we had to go out to dinner or an event to go to.   In return, it made me want to dress up and look good for him because why should he be the only one that looks good? ?? Over time he has developed his own style that fits his personality but also says success and confidence.

Here are some tips to help you look as good on the outside as you do on the inside:

A Quality Timepiece

I always notice if a man is wearing a watch and if you’re close enough to him, you can see the actual brand he’s wearing. Surprise, surprise women will look at your watch, notice, and make inferences about it. I’m not saying you should get the most expensive watch possible, but picking a watch that says a statement about who you are and will add to your personal style.

The Timex Weekender Watch is a classic.  It’s a nice casual timepiece you can wear when you’re out in a polo and shorts or more casual with t-shirts.  Its good for outdoors and is easy to replace if lost or broken.  Timex is the perfect brand if you want to stay under $50 for a watch.  The Weekender Watch here is under $30.

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I also recommend Guess watches if you want a flashier look for less.  Most of Guess’s watches fall between $75-200.  I find the Guess watches to be a more affordable option over the pricier brand Movado.

Just look at the two nearly identical options for gold toned watches.  The Guess watch is $100 while the Movado option is $1000.  There isn’t much of a difference and Guess watches are just as sophisticated as the higher end brands.

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For a luxury brand, I would recommend Bulova, they are exceptionally good quality timepieces that are reasonably priced between $250-$600.  I have one of their women’s watches and I get constant compliments on mine.

I really love the Marine Star collection, This stainless Steel Chronograph watch is perfect for every day use since its waterproof.  I also love how the watch faces are on the larger side with plenty of chrome detail.

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A Nice Haircut:

K has beautiful thick hair. He also hates going to the barber. I don’t understand whyyy?? I love when his hair is freshly cut. Two months later his hair still looks good in an unkempt rugged sort of way? The point of this segment is to say your hair can say a lot about you. It says a lot about your grooming habits, whether you put time into your appearance or if you just let your mom cut your hair every 3 months.  Hair is the first thing people are going to notice about you so finding the right cut is important.

I’m not going to post any pictures of what I think good looking hair looks like, but to be honest, there are many different hair styles, cuts, and textures that are attractive.  Sexy beards are a thing too and some men have impressive beards that women turn their heads over.  So having a well maintained beard is also something to think about.  K, doesn’t really grow a great beard, though he tries.  His barber helps him maintain a nice goatee.  So talk to your barber, they know hair!

Suits

I think every man needs at least one nice suit. One that he can wear at a funeral, wedding or for a job interview. You always want to have one handy for an unexpected event, especially for an interview. Because you never know when you’ll have a great opportunity that requires you to dress your best. And between getting a fresh haircut and preparing for the opportunity, the last thing you want to spend your time on is a new suit with the right fitting. I love tailored slim fit suits. Dark blue is my favorite color, black tends to be too somber. The nice thing is suits can come in many different colors, textures and materials; so with plenty of options you can find one that fits and looks right for you. Suits tend to be expensive so you’ll probably need to start with just one and just maintain it with dry cleaning after every 2-3 wears depending on how soiled you feel like it gets. You don’t want to over wash or clean the fabric, because even with dry cleaning it can cause damage. In most department stores, you can get a good quality suit for $200-$300, especially during sales.

Surprisingly Amazon has a new program for clothes called PRIME WARDROBE,  I’m not really one for in person shopping and neither is my husband.  We usually just buy online and return by mail if we don’t like the fit.  It’s pretty easy.

Anyway, K had bought this Blue Tommy Hilfiger suit and look amazing in it for a wedding shower brunch we went to.  One of our friends had commented that he was always dressed so sharp for events.  Sometimes I feel like he goes over the top, even for simple or small outings.  But as he would put it, “You can be underdressed, but you can never be overdressed.”

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Getting Higher Quality Clothes:

I’m going to start this segment with a caveat, having expensive clothes will not help in making a man more attractive when he is out of shape or unkempt. I would say good grooming and good health are first attractors for women and for people in general. As for clothes, I’m not talking about brands and trends and all that. I’m talking about getting good quality timeless pieces that you can mix and match with other parts of your wardrobe to create a polished look. K used to shop at Express and Zumies and although their clothes were really trendy; they always felt out of style within a year. Getting good quality shoes, jeans, dress pants, dress shirts and jackets can really add to your style. I’m not saying to buy everything overnight but start with one piece then add another piece, then another as you’re able to afford it. As you buy more pieces, you can filter the lesser quality clothes out or just have a greater variety to wear.  My husband has recently gotten into Robert Graham dress shirts and Lucky Brand Jeans.  These pieces are a bit pricey ($150-$200 a piece) so we get them here and there, especially if we see any sales at the mall.

Tips for Maintaining Clothes

1. High Quality Jeans: Jeans overall don’t need to be washed a lot. Actually they should be washed on a need to basis in order to avoid fading and shrinkage. You can hand wash them in cold water and detergent for darks. Don’t wring them out to dry but rather ROLL as much water out of them. Hang them up to dry or tumble dry them with cold air.

2. Shoes: wearing the same shoes every day wears them much faster. You need to let them breath and to keep quality shoes for longer, so you’ll also need to expand your collection from one to at least 3-4 pairs of shoes for daily wear that you can rotate. You’ll also need one pair of dress shoes and a pair of seasonal shoes like sandals or boots. And this is to start, eventually you’ll expand further depending on your preferences.

3. Jackets and suits: require dry cleaning. You can spot wash areas heavily soiled areas like underarms and neck collars by soaking with water and a light detergent and scrubbing with a toothbrush, but anything other than that I wouldn’t recommend.

You don’t need to have the best wardrobe to get attention or get the best job, but your overall style will say so much about you!  They say first impressions are made within 30 seconds.  It’s important your style choices match who you are and what you’re trying to portray.  Most of all, personal style is a reflection of you.  It doesn’t come overnight but you want it to match the best version of you possible 🙂

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Check out my other posts:

Be Charismatic By Mastering Small Talk

What Does Your Body Language Say About You?