3 Essential accessories that you only need to buy once

Did you know that there are things in your wardrobe that you only need to buy ONCE? If you choose the right item in the first place, you can get that cost-per-wear down to pennies! Here's 3 accessories to get you started:

Even though I’m not a keen shopper, I do agree that there are some clothing items that you need to replace regularly. You could be shopping as a result to a change in your size, a washing mishap, or simply because you’ve been wearing your favourite item until it falls apart. That said, there are other wardrobe essentials that you’re probably replacing way sooner than you need to. In fact, if you buy the right item the first time, you might NEVER need to buy another one!

Yesterday I went shopping. It’s a rare event for me, and I only usually go to the high street if I have something on my list that I need. That way I can search for the one item I’m looking for and then head straight home, without succumbing to the temptation of buying everything I see. But yesterday, I went for a bit of a browse.

Having stayed away from the shops since waaaay before Christmas, I had quite a long list of things I needed. There were the usual toiletries, a bit of makeup and some work-related items, as well as a couple of accessories that I needed to replace after breaking them – my purse included. So today, I thought I’d share a list of 3 accessories that, if you buy well, you only need to buy once, which can help you get that cost-per-wear down to pennies!


This is an important one – but once you’ve got the right handbag, in the right size, and the right finish, you might never need to buy a new one again. A simple design in classic black or tan leather could well be the only bag you’ll need to buy in the next 10 years if you look after it well. Even if a strap breaks, you could get it repaired and you can use leather treatments to keep it in great condition.

I’ve got a dodgy neck and shoulder so don’t carry a normal handbag, instead I prefer to use a backpack for comfort. I’ve got through quite a few fabric backpacks (and handbags, for that matter) in my time but leather ones always last well. I can’t even imagine a time in the future that I’ll need to buy another one, so the cost-per-wear will be so minimal that it doesn’t really matter how much the initial outlay is.

Choosing a timeless design in a hard-wearing material can help you to save money in the long run if you use it day after day. Sure, you might need a bigger shoulder bag for work and a smaller satchel or backpack for weekend wear, but once you have these two bags, you won’t need to go shopping for another one again. You can either buy new, or browse secondhand shops because leather lasts well.


Similarly, a purse is something that you only need to buy once, and should only replace when it breaks. It can be tempting to change your purse regularly, thanks to the colourful and cool designs in the accessories section of your favourite high street shop. But who really sees your purse anyway? It doesn’t matter if it’s metallic, had tassels or a cute unicorn design. What matters is that it keeps your cash safe. And you’ll have more money to store in that purse if you don’t keep buying new ones!

Again, a leather purse is likely to last longer and this is one of the things that I’ve actually bought this year. I’ve just switched over from a large zipped purse to a slimline cardholder. I realised that I was carrying around too many loyalty cards, receipts and all sorts of gumfph that I didn’t need, so a smaller purse seemed to be a sensible option. Radley make all different sizes of purse and cross-body bags in hard-wearing leather – just stick to the classic designs rather than the trend-led styles – and you’ll have a purse to last you for the foreseeable future.


I know it can be tempting to buy new shoes and boots when the new season comes around but really, if you’ve already bought well once, you probably won’t have worn out the previous pair. I’ve had the same black knee-high boots, ankle boots and Mary-Jane shoes for literally years. To be honest, no-one has noticed that I’ve been wearing the exact same footwear for the better part of a decade and it’s saved me SO much money in the long run.

The key here is to look after your leather – I wrote a blog post 3 years ago with some suggestions to help you make your footwear last. Note that my already-5-year-old-dancing-shoes are in those photos, having been reheeled and repaired once. And yes, they’re still going strong!

Let me know if you have any other ideas for accessories that you only need to invest in once and please share your longest-serving wardrobe item in the comments below – I’d love to hear what’s been your favourite accessory over the years 🙂


2 Responses

  1. Haha thanks Ann! Oooh yes, winter essentials can easily last year after year if they’re well cared for – excellent suggestion! And now I’ve got an excuse to go shopping for a cosy hat and scarf! 😉

  2. Love this Cassie, and from now on I’m adding ‘gumfph’ to my everyday vocabulary We all need that word in our lives . One item that I’d consider an investment, and that I’ve had for years is a grey cashmere beanie hat. As long as it’s kept away from the moths, it will always look and feel fabulous and every winter I look forward to digging it out again. Similarly a decent scarf and a classic winter pea coat. Like you say, find the right one and it’ll only get better with age.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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