Home Building Your Wardrobe My Best, Most “Worth It” Purchases of 2021

My Best, Most “Worth It” Purchases of 2021

by krismkoch

Every year, I love reading when other bloggers round up their best purchases of the year (see mine from last year). While I appreciate what their followers bought the most, I also like to see what other people felt was really worth the money. I also like to try the exercise myself — I find it’s a great way to evaluate my shopping habits and to help me focus the next year’s spending on the things that are really worth the money. It’s easy to get caught up in the Instagram recs and Amazon deals and trends and fast fashion that we’re bombarded with and to lose sight of the things we really wear and use the most, so I love evaluating at the end of the year what I really was glad I spent my money on. I should also round up the worst buys of the year, but I don’t like to dwell on my mistakes, ya know? I consider it all a learning experience, so I’m sharing my best purchases of 2021. These are the items I wore and used the most this year aka my best purchases of 2021. These are the items that past the cost per wear/use math that I like to use when evaluating a purchase — the cost of the item divided by how much I think I’ll wear or use it. These items range from sale finds and great deals to investment pieces that I’m glad I invested the money in.

If you’ve followed me for awhile now, you know that my motto could probably be “never pay full price”. I love designer clothes and accessories — I work in women’s magazines after all — but I do not like to pay full price for anything ever. I get a thrill from finding affordable dupes that are so much like the real ones no one knows or from just finding the item I’ve been lusting after on sale or second hand. As you’ll see from my list of my best purchases of 2021, almost all are a mix of just that and most I didn’t pay full price for. In fact, I didn’t pay full price for one of the items on this list, because if you wait long enough and search hard enough, you’ll find, everything goes on sale. I promise, whether it’s the actual item or a retailer having a special promotion. Here are my best purchases of 2021 — the items that were worth my money and that have stood the test of time.

J.Crew Shearling Coat

I am so glad I invested in this coat. I haven’t been a huge fan of J.Crew for my clothes in recent years, but this was one of those finds that makes me always come back to the brand. I bought it on super sale, so it was honestly a steal, especially when I calculate cost per wear. I get so many compliments when I wear it and no one can believe it’s J.Crew. It instantly dresses up anything like leggings and sweats and can work over a dress for work or a night out. I’m a firm believer in investing in coats — they’re what people see the most during the winter and this is proof it’s well worth it and you can even get an amazing luxe coat for a great price.

Ring Light

Truly a must for working from home. It will change your Zoom game and make you feel so much better about how you look on camera. I use it for TV and live tapings and it’s great.

Veja Sneakers

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest in cute sneakers but since they seemed to be a staple in pandemic life, I got these sneakers I had been lusting over for awhile and I’m so glad I did. I wear them with everything from jeans to dresses and they just make me feel so much better about wearing sneakers all the time. Cute sneakers are essential in this new world imo and every mom needs a cute pair.

Kids’ Patagonia Puffer Jackets

These are worth every penny. They keep the kids warm, survive endless washings, and last forever. I usually get two seasons out of one jacket because the fit is just great and they survive being passed down. I also love the company and all they stand for, so I feel good about supporting Patagonia. They also have great trade in and recycle programs, making their jackets a worthy investment for the kiddos and for you — I still own and wear most of my Patagonia clothes from high school and college on.

Keurig Coffee Machine

We had to replace our coffee machine this year and got a Keurig after much debate and I love it. We actually have a few coffee makers now and this one is my fave for everyday morning coffee. It’s so easy and ready in minutes, which is key for our chaotic mornings. You have to be on board with the pods, but it makes my mornings so much easier. I also love that it’s thin and doesn’t take up much counter space.

Citizens of Humanity Emerson Jeans

Hands down the comfiest jeans you will ever wear and the best mom jeans out there. I can’t say enough good things about these. They’re not too tight or loose. They’re polished enough for the office or date night, but work well for casual weekends. I even wore them through over half my pregnancy and they’re amazing postpartum but still look great when you’re not pregs/postpartum/bloated.

casual fall outfit

Celine Belt Bag

I sat on purchasing this for a long time, but I finally felt like I deserved a reward for returning to the office and needed something to psych me up. Plus, I hadn’t bought anything for myself in awhile and I had just sold some items on the Real, Real so of course I deserved a present, right? I love how this bag goes with everything, is the perfect size (big enough for all my stuff but not too big), and well, I just love it and it makes me happy every time I wear it, which is practically every day. Plus, I got a great deal on it from Fashionphile so it’s already paid off in cost per wear. If there’s a designer item you’re lusting over, I highly recommend continuing to check sites like Fashionphile and The Real, Real to see if you can get it secondhand for a better price you can feel good about. This might be my top pick of my best buys of 2021.

Target Boots

I had wanted the No. 6 boots forever but didn’t want to invest in weekend/mom boots when I was returning to the office and had fancier footwear to procure. I am so glad I discovered this $40 dupe and you guys loved them just as much too. The best is they’re so comfy and warm but give you a bit of a heel. I am usually a proponent of investing in footwear, but these prove that sometimes you can find a truly great pair and Target has some great designer dupes.

Amazon Pillows

These pillows were recommended by so many bloggers and I’m so glad I finally bit the bullet and ordered them during one of Amazon’s lighting deals. They are so cheap, so comfy and really will change your sleep. Everyone deserves a good pillow and these are truly amazing.

Amazon Mary Jane Flats

These were another bargain find that you guys loved as much as I do and I’ve worn anywhere. They remind me of the Doen and Mansur Gavriel versions but for a fraction of the cost. I mean at $16, how can you not?

Lake Pajamas

Softest pajamas ever. Stock up when they have sales — they make the perfect gifts and are a luxury you deserve to gift yourself. I never saw the point of nice pajamas until I tried these and they truly are the best to sleep in and if you want to take a pic or see someone when you wake up, you won’t be embarrassed because they’re so darn cute.

Hill House Nap Dresses

I bought a few of these this year and don’t regret these purchases at all. I’ve worn and washed them so many times. They’re pretty, flattering, work with and without a bump, and are just that dress that everyone wants to be wearing. People always ask if they’re that amazing, and I don’t usually buy into the hype of Insta trends, but this is one that’s worth it. Also the price points are great for such a cute and versatile dress.

Kiawah Island activities

Minnow Swimsuit

Another one of my favorite purchases of 2021. This suit was worth every penny but I bought at one of their sales, so I feel even better about the cost per wear. The suit is so pretty and flattering, covers my bum when running after the kids, and always elicits tons of compliments.

Amazon Fire Tablet for Kids

It took me awhile to get the hype around the Fire tablet as a longtime iPad user, but we tried one after our iPad screen cracked and once I figured out how to use it, I ordered another so each kid would have one. The price point is great, they’re practically shatter proof, they have parent controls and make it easy to download content that is appropriate for your kids and to monitor what they’re watching, reading and playing. Thank you to all the moms that recommended these. I get it now! Do yourself a favor and get it during one of Amazon’s lighting deals.

Addison Bay Leggings

These are butter soft, super flattering and so cute you won’t just want to wear them at the gym. I’m not a huge fan of pricier leggings when you can get great Lululemon dupes on Amazon, but I highly recommend these if you want a pair you can wear all day and look super cute.

Le Specs Sunglasses

I find that sunglasses always pay for themselves in cost per wear. I read that french women wear sunglasses even when it’s cloudy to prevent wrinkles, and I’ve adopted the habit ever since. I love that I can wear no makeup and look exhausted and no one will know. I also have really sensitive eyes, so I rely on sunglasses anytime it’s the slightest bit sunny. Honestly, these days I feel naked without them. I don’t invest in tons of pairs though — I usually stick to a few classic styles I wear on repeat and sprinkle in some fun ones I get sent. But I had been lusting after these Le Specs sunglasses for a long time and finally bit the bullet and bought them this summer, and I’m so glad I did. They’re different than my usual black or tortoise and I just really love them. They’ve definitely more than paid for themselves in cost per wear, and they’re a great under $100 price point to begin with. Plus, they’re sturdy so they have lasted through kids trying them on and throwing them in my bag without a case.

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