While this experimental phase usually had me browsing the sale racks for some unique pieces so I didn't look like everyone I passed in the hallway [I had a lot of patience for this then and wish I still had it at times], the one thing I found myself allowing myself to spend money on were quality shoes. Again, the shoes I wore then were 100% questionable + added at least 10 lbs below my ankles, but they always held up.
Since then I have learned the hard way, and been reinforced by some fashionable friends [both male and female] that you get what you pay for. You know those snakeskin sandals I wear in pretty much every post? I got them for about $200 on sale at Barney's Co-op about 2 years ago and I wear them to death. And you know why? Besides the fact that they are gorgeous, they are the most comfortable shoes I own because they were made really, really well. I can walk to the subway, work all day, and go out at night in reasonable comfort.
What's my point, you ask? My new job has now placed me about 500 feet away from Saks Fifth Avenue [DANGER] which I went to a few weeks ago, finding myself in their Designer Sale looking back at a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps that I was lusting over months back [there is actually a Nicholas Kirkwood pair, too, but I digress]. While the original $700 price tag was too much for me in February, I could reasonably justify spending 1/4 of that. I usually consider pieces that are snakeskin and leopard my 'neutrals', so the silver and black details didn't deter me to add these as a similar staple. Oh, how great these will look with some cuffed boyfriend jeans and this same top...
H&M boyfriend shirt
Zara lace skirt [old, similar style]
H&M makeup bag as clutch
Rayban Full Color Aviators