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To Splurge or Not To Splurge: Chanel Flats

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Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column tackling your hard-hitting fashion issues and addressing a different fashion glitch each week. Submit a query here.

Maybe don't buy this many, via the Purse Blog Forum.

Dear Frank,

I've been mulling over an absurd purchase for some time now. I really want Chanel ballet flats. I just can't bring myself to buy them, though, as they are almost $700. On the one hand, I tell myself I can indulge every once in a while, and I will never buy another pair of flats (for a while, at least), but on the other hand, I know that there are people in the world that don't have shoes, and I can just as easily buy up to 10 pairs of shoes with the money spent those ballet flats. Should I splurge?

Cheapie After Chanel

Dear Cheapie,

I'm read you loud and clear. I'm deeply rational when it comes to money and what I can afford almost all the time. But I also really love Marni. Like really really.

It's a constant battle. The wise, realistic, and empathetic-to-those-without-Italian-made-woven-shirts-printed-in-sunbursts me is all 'you have a million shirts!' The other me, Marni-me, is all 'ugh, but I don't have that one.'

I try to compromise—with myself. I hone in on few special pieces each season bearing in mind that my closet is packed with pretty awesome things so any purchase (especially the spendy ones) really need to be truly unique or fill a hole in my wardrobe. If I keep thinking about said pieces for weeks and weeks; if I'm finding that I have countless outfit combinations that will just sing with said item; if I can imagine the most-perfect version of myself that could finally emerge upon wearing said piece, then I start feverishly tracking it. At this point—after all the hemming and hawing—it's usually mere weeks until everything goes on markdown anyway. I find out who has it in what colors and what sizes; and I keep checking.

If I can get it in my size once that markdown hits I will often go for it. That said, if it's still widely available once that first reduction happens I can probably handle waiting a bit longer for the second markdown. It's already practically past-season at that point, what's ten more days?

That's how I end up with a fabulous piece or two, twice a year. Yes, still a little expensive and not absolutely necessary; but certainly not astronomical and oh-so-worth-it—we all have our little (Prada) crutches in life. We all need a little pretty.

Of course, I realize that Chanel flats aren't exactly the type of item that goes on clearance. But the above still applies. You've clearly been pining for Chanel flats for many, many moons. I say bite the bullet.

Get a neutral color, of course (unless the wacky seasonal color does get marked down at one of the big department stores—something to think about). Don't wear them every day. Savor them, treat them like a fine wine and not the $8 bottles you open on Tuesday nights when you're in the middle of trolling the Barneys website in total darkness checking to see how many Kenzo cardigans they have in stock in your size (this is a purely hypothetical situation and I resent the implication).

And, remember, these are fine shoes: They should last you years and they're certainly worth resoling. Unlike those Steve Maddens from DSW.

Of course, if the price is still too bitter a pill to swallow, consider a better consignment shop. Secondhand Chanel is big business and the best shops—which frequently offer e-commerce or an Etsy or eBay presence (if you can't get to New York or Los Angeles (or Dallas, Chicago, Miami)—go out of their way to keep the brand in stock. Especially those classic Chanel items: The suit, the sunglasses, the quilted handbag, and, of course, your flats. They'll still be a little pricey, obviously, but you might track something down in the $400 to $600 range if you're persistent and a bit flexible on regarding color.

They get it, via Not So Popular Opinion.

If you're still not convinced, I suggest you look to the wisdom of Absolutely Fabulous when rationalizing this purchase. As Patsy says: "You can never have too many hats, gloves, and shoes." And, even better, once you have them you can quote Edina: "Don't touch them! They're Chanel!"

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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