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10 Items: Worth the Spend or Should You Save?

July 3, 2019


Erin Schrader

I’m all for a low price when I can find one. Insert my adoration for all things Amazon and Target. However, I’ve also learned in my 30+ years of shopping [yes, I came out of the womb with a credit card in my hands ;)] that sometimes when you spend just a little more [or in some cases, a lot more] the end result is much, much worth it. It’s the constant spend vs save debate and sometimes, it’s hard to know when it’s worth throwing down a few more dollars or if you’re money ahead [literally and figuratively] opting for a near identical version for a third of the price.

Today we’ve rounded up 10 of the most popular items that the LIY Tribe loves and buys and put the spend vs save versions to the test! Below are the results. Insert the dramatic drumroll please….

We’ll start with the BIGGEST spend in the group — the Chloe ‘Medium Marcie’ Leather Satchel [coming in at a whopping $2,000 price tag] vs the Sole Society Destin Satchel [under $70].

Spend: Chloe ‘Medium Marcie’ Leather Satchel  // Save: Sole Society Destin Satchel

I bought the Chloe a couple of years ago as a gift to myself for accomplishing several goals I had set. It was a forever long debate in my head and then I wound up in a Chloe store in New York and my temptation flew out the window and out she walked. I’ve used that baby a TON and it still looks brand new and has held up perfectly. However, we all know that’s a lot to pay for handbag, regardless of how many years it’s going to hold up so this Sole Society lookalike is an awesome option. It does have a stiffer feel [real leather vs vegan leather] but like all of my Sole Society bags, I think they hold up well with time and have a great classic look to them! In this case, I’m deeming BOTH a win!

Next up, my DIFF Cruz 49mm Aviator Sunglasses [$85] vs these Amazon Pro Acme Classic Polarized Aviator Sunglasses [under $10] that look nearly identical.

Spend: DIFF Cruz 49mm Aviator Sunglasses  // Save: Pro Acme Classic Polarized Aviator Sunglasses

I can’t recommend the spend [DIFF] more. I have had these sunglasses for years, have dropped them more times than I should admit, and they are still in nearly perfect shape. I was shocked at just how cheap the Amazon version was. They were light as a feather [I guess that’s what plastic will do] and the moment I dropped them they broke. I would not spend $10 on these, but would highly encourage spending the extra on the DIFF brand, no questions asked.

Let’s get our feet into a pair of sandals for our next spend vs save comparison. We have these Dolce Vita Cait Slide Sandals [$100] vs these Gap Leather Slide Sandals [under $40].

Spend [true to size]: Dolce Vita Cait Slide Sandals // Save [true to size]: Gap Leather Slide Sandals

You can BARELY tell a difference visually between the two pairs and quite honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference in comfort either. I do believe the Dolce Vita have a little more cushion on the soles, however, I had no problem in the GAP pair. I would save the money and go with the GAP version if I were to choose between the two. Side note: Speaking of leopard slides, I have found THIS pair from Steve Madden to be the MOST comfortable I’ve tried – just size up .5!

Moving on to the clothing department, let’s talk about my beloved Halogen® Long Linen Blend Cardigan [$70] compared to the Target version, Long Sleeve Open Cardigan Sweater [$25].

Spend [size down if in between]: Halogen® Long Linen Blend Cardigan // Save [true to size]: Long Sleeve Open Cardigan Sweater

If you have followed along for any length of time, you have probably seen me wear this Halogen sweater over and over again. I love how lightweight and transitional it is between seasons. It does wash well and comes in a ton of fun colors. When I spotted an identical version at Target for a lot less, I knew it was worth trying and honestly, I really love it. While it is a little heavier than the Halogen version, it looks really nice and achieves the same look with an outfit. If you don’t want to cough up the $70, I’d totally go the Target route!

Next up, we’re going back to the feet with these Sam Edelman Gigi Thong Sandal  [$70] vs these Women’s Hartley T Strap Thong Sandals – Universal ThreadTM  from Target [$15].

Spend [size up .5]: Gigi Thong Sandal  // Save: Women’s Hartley T Strap Thong Sandals [true to size]

I have owned these Sam Edelman sandals for a couple of years now and as you can see, they look brand new. I am a huge believer in the Sam Edelman brand when it comes to comfort and longevity so I was skeptical when I tried this lookalike pair from Target. I will say, the Target pair is comfortable, however, I don’t think they will hold up nearly as well as the Sam Edelman. If you can splurge, I would go with the Sam Edelman pair in this situation to ensure you’ll get years of wear out of this classic style. If they were a more trendy and seasonal style, I would say save your dollars.

Moving on to shorts. It’s time to put these Caslon® Rolled Denim Boyfriend Shorts  [$58] up against these Old Navy Mid-Rise Cuffed Denim Shorts [under $20 on sale] pair.

Spend [size down one]: Caslon® Rolled Denim Boyfriend Shorts // Save [true to size]: Old Navy Mid-Rise Cuffed Denim Shorts

Again, I have owned these Caslon shorts for two years now and they still look and feel brand new. They are incredibly comfortable and fit like a gem [after sizing down one]. These have been my tried and true recommend shorts [I’ve had no problems with the cuff coming unstitched when washing]. After becoming obsessed with a pair of Old Navy shorts [see this denim shorts comparison post to know which pair I’m talking about] I knew it was worth giving this lookalike pair a try. While they look very similar, I don’t know if they will hold up like the Caslon pair. I could go either way on this one!

Wedges bound, here we come. We put these oh so popular Sannibel Platform Wedge Sandals [on sale for under $50 now] to the test against these Time and Tru Covered Wedge [$20].

Spend: Sannibel Platform Wedge Sandal [size up .5] // Save: Time and Tru Covered Wedge [true to size]

This was a hard sale for me to even want to try the save version, because I have been so obsessed with the Treasure and Bond pair for years. They are incredibly comfortable and I haven’t had one problem with them despite the hundreds of times I’ve worn them. I will say, this pair from Walmart looks nearly identical and while they are stiffer, they are still pretty comfortable. Knowing that the Treasure and Bond pair is on sale, I would say spend the $50 and get yourself some wedges that I know will last for a long time. If you can’t bring yourself to do it and want the look and just a $20 out the door, I think you will be satisfied with the Walmart pair!

Next up, the good ole classic denim jacket. We are comparing the Liverpool CLASSIC JEAN JACKET [$69] against the Old Navy Denim Jacket for Women [under $30 on sale].

Spend [size down if in between]: Liverpool CLASSIC JEAN JACKET// Save [true to size]: Old Navy Denim Jacket for Women

I think we all know just how classic of a piece the denim jacket is. I’ve been wearing this Liverpool one for a few months now and I can’t get over just how comfortable and stretchy it. It holds up perfectly wash after wash. I was anxious to compare it to one from Old Navy to see the difference. I LOVE the look of the Old Navy one and it was comfortable on as well [just not nearly as stretchy]. I would only vote spend here because it’s a piece you’ll wear for years, however, if you like to switch up the look of your denim jacket with the seasons, I would totally go with the Old Navy version! Either way, you can’t lose here!

It’s time for a popular debate – the Tory Burch Miller Flip Flop [$198] vs the Circus by Sam Edelman Canyon Medallion Flat Sandals [under $30 on sale].

Spend [size up .5]: Tory Burch Miller Flip Flop // Save [true to size]: Circus by Sam Edelman Canyon Medallion Flat Sandals Women Shoes

I didn’t get the hype [like at all] around the Tory Burch Miller’s for years. I couldn’t fathom spending $200 on a simple pair of sandals and didn’t understand why others even considered doing the same. I decided to bite the bullet to see if they lived up to their price tag and I have to admit, at first, I wasn’t sold. In fact, I was going to return them. Here’s the deal – they aren’t all that comfortable. However, the quality is there. I have now found myself wearing them literally every day and with everything. The sand patent color matches EVERYTHING and I love that I can get them wet with no problem. I did wear them all day in Charleston and by the end of the day, my feet didn’t like me. I know I will continue to wear them like crazy though because they look brand new and should stay looking that way for years. I do know however that spending $200 on a pair of sandals is not in everybody’s budget and this pair of Sam Edelman Circus sandals is a close lookalike. It took a few wears to break in the thong between the toes, but now that they are broken in, they are so comfortable [more than the Tory Burch pair]! If you don’t want to spend the money, I highly recommend the save version here!

Last but certainly not least, the utility jacket. We put this Madewell Surplus Cotton Jacket [$118] up against it’s lookalike, this Target Utility Field Jacket [$40].

Spend [true to size]: Madewell Surplus Cotton Jacket // Save [size down]: Women’s Utility Field Jacket – Universal ThreadTM Olive

I personally think the picture says it all. I was not a fan of how the Target utility jacket looked and fit nearly as much as compared to the more expensive Madewell version. I like a more structured utility jacket and the Target version was too loose and oversized for me. I know that I personally wear a utility jacket constantly and because it’s a classic style, I would recommend the splurge on this piece!

And that concludes today’s spend vs save items, round one! Let us know if you’d like to see more of these posts in the future and we’ll start brainstorming our next round of competitors! Shop all items easily below — 

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