Aspiration is little solace in the face of a red-nudging bank balance. Though what exactly goes into a luxury object’s eye-watering price tag is unclear, trust that it’s not just parts and labour. But before you look up kidney prices on eBay, know that you can buy into your favourite brand on a budget. From the entry-level garments that mark the brand at its best, to affordable accessories, or the diffusion line with a distinct identity beyond ‘cut-price’, these are the pieces that get you behind the velvet rope. Without shaking out your pockets first.
Acne Studios – College Sweatshirt
Sweatshirts are probably the thing that Acne Studios do better than anything else. Not only do they encapsulate the brand’s ethos of easy wearability but they also express that peculiarly Scandinavian, less is more approach to dressing. The college sweatshirt is the key buy here; it comes in a range of colours but only one classic fit. Best of all you can wear it with pretty much anything. Available at Mr Porter, priced £130.
Saint Laurent – Cross Bracelet
Saint Laurent has rock ‘n’ roll running through its veins, but key pieces from Hedi Slimane’s collections (leather trousers and Cuban heeled boots) are hard for most people to pull off, both aesthetically and financially. This delicate leather bracelet is subtle enough to work with most outfits but distinctive enough to obviously be part of Hedi’s rock ‘n’ roll legacy. Available at MATCHESFASHION.COM, priced £85.
AMI – Breton Top
Classic French fashion staples exist somewhere beyond the realm of trends and therefore remain perpetually stylish. While Alexendre Matiussi might be most famous for his AMI logo interpretation of the tricolour, this simple Breton top is even more French than red, white and blue stripes and scores you a versatile wardrobe staple. All for under £100. Pair it with jeans and trainers for the ultimate in off-duty chic. Available at Mr Porter, priced £95.
Gucci – Belt
Maison Kitsuné – Parisien T-Shirt
The record label-cum-fashion house has turned reworking preppy classics into an art form. If you’re not French then Maison Kitsuné are here to help you pretend that you are, with a handy slogan declaring yourself a ‘Parisien’. If you paid attention in French class you might just be able to pull this one off. It’s Americana, but with a dash of Gallic humour. Available at MATCHESFASHION.COM, priced £47.
Comme Des Garçons – PLAY Converse
In the last few years the designer collab trainer has become an industry unto itself. With some team-ups pushing prices into the nosebleed hundreds, the element of affordability has seemingly been abandoned. Thankfully, the ubiquitous Converse is collaborating with avant-garde Japanese label Comme Des Garçons. The PLAY label’s ‘heart with eyes’ logo has become iconic in its own right, but it’s never looked better than it does on the side of a Chuck Taylor. Available at Selfridges, priced £84.99.
Bottega Veneta – Card Holder
Few brands revel in unabashed luxury like Bottega Veneta. The Italian brand has become synonymous with intrecciato leather, an ancient technique of weaving thin strips of leather together to form a new textured material. This lengthy and time-consuming process means that the end product is always expensive, but to get some Bottega Veneta into your wardrobe the best bet is with a wallet or card holder. Which will at least leave you something to store inside it. Available at Mr Porter, priced £170.