So you wanna be bougie but are unsure where to begin? Well, you have come to the right place. I have deemed myself to be “low maintenance bougie” for the last few years. The word “bougie” is an African American Vernacular English (AAVE) term that describes a person that is either middle class or new money (ie. Cardi B, Megan thee Stallion) who likes finer things in life. Bougie derives from the term bourgeois meaning of or characteristic of the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes. It is often confused with bourgeoisie which refers to the group of people. In the 90s and early 2000’s bougie, also spelled as boujie or boujee, was previously used as an insult for Black women who lived above their means. However, with the 2017 smash hit Bad and Boujee by Migos, the term has since been repurposed.
Now that we have had a brief history lesson, let’s get into the good stuff. As I have discussed previously, I believe that luxury should be accessible to everyone. Luxury by definition is the state of great comfort and extravagant living. Which means that luxury itself is up for interpretation. As an example, the coveted Telfar bag brand sells leather bags for 150-300 dollars. Quality does not mean it has to be outrageously expensive. Having something that makes you feel extravagant is a boost to self-esteem. People like things, it is human nature. It does not always have to be a symbol of vanity or wastefulness. Having things that make you happy is not always materialistic either. Life is about balance. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Below, I have listed a few things that would be beneficial to anyone looking to spend a little extra coin on something fancy.
Smell is one of the most important senses. There is always an emotion tied to a scent. Be it good or bad. For example, the smell of freshly baked cookies will bring a sense of happiness to most people. A dump truck, not so much. I say that to say investing in fragrance will always be worthwhile. This can be in the form of home fragrance, like candles, or linen spray. It can also be a personal scent, like perfume or body spray. One thing that everyone seems to rave about after meeting Rihanna is how amazing she smells. Her alleged signature fragrance is Love, don’t be shy from Kilian. Clocking in at $240 for a 50 ML bottle, it’s far from cheap. However, it’s also a very unique fragrance. Most people were not even aware of its existence until Jackie Aina spilled the tea (and thank goodness she did!).
Having a signature scent is upper echelon. It allows you to stand out in a crowd without even uttering a word. It’s a conversation starter for all of my shy folks. Perfume is an easy starting point because there are many price points. Furthermore, you can sample scents before purchasing a full size. Scentbird was created for consumers to mix and match before committing to one perfume. As a rule of thumb, the type of fragrance and price usually depends on how concentrated it is. For example, Perfume (or parfum) has the most aromatic compounds and is the most concentrated. Meaning it has the longest wear time before reapplication and will be the most expensive. The remainder, in order, will be eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and finally eau fraîche. These terms are a quick way to gauge how much your fragrance will cost and last.
For the most part, shoe sizes usually stay pretty consistent. I have heard horror stories about women not being able to fit shoes after being pregnant. However, I am going to pretend that tragedy does not exist. I will always recommend investing in a quality pair of shoes. Weight fluctuates, spending a lot of money on designer clothes may not be the best option in the long run. My tip for shoes is to try before you buy, especially heels. Try them out on different flooring, if possible. A beautiful shoe that is uncomfortable to wear is useless. Who cares about your Louboutins if you have kicked them off after getting to the event? Shoes are a statement. That allows the wearer to show off their footwear, even if the outfit was inexpensive. Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw was notorious for matching her Manolo Blahnik’s with cheap clothing items.
The best tips I can give for shoes is to break them in before you plan to wear them outside. Beyoncè wears socks with her heels when rehearsing. The fabric pads her feet so the shoes hurt less when she has to perform in them. Follow the same plan. While you’re doing chores, you’re also breaking in your shoes. My second tip is not to moisturize your feet right before wearing heels. You do not want to be that person with their toes sliding over the front of the shoe, trust me. I shower about two hours before I have to leave, moisturize my entire body and let the lotion absorb. Right before I leave, after I’m dressed, I add one more layer of moisturizer to my legs and the tops of my feet only. This helps avoid crusty feet (not cute) and allows for maximum comfort when wearing heels!
There is a wives tale that designer bags became popular because women were not allowed ownership. They would convince their husbands to purchase expensive bags, similar in style to weekender bags, as gifts. This way, if she ever had to escape her marriage she had a bag to put possessions in. Once she reached her destination, she then could sell her bag for money to start over because of its value. All of my research on this tale has been for naught. However, it is still a fun fashion story to tell. People love to make purses out to be the enemy. They are called frivolous or overrated. However, I disagree. A designer bag can last forever if taken care of properly. My very first “luxury” purchase was a hot pink cheetah print Betsey Johnson oversized tote bag. I used it every day for years until it literally fell apart.
The best advice for designer bag shopping is to get something that does not depreciate. Louis Vuitton and Hermes never go on sale. As a result, people who have bought Speedys or Birkins in the ’80s have been able to sell those bags today for a pretty penny. Louis Vuitton actually repairs the leather and lining on their bags! A leather bag needs upkeep. Leather stores often sell maintenance kits that are fairly inexpensive. Always test the leather moisturizer on an area of the bag that is not visible before doing the whole bag. That way, if the dye gets compromised, it will not ruin the entire bag. I started with a statement bag. I did not want to wear it out before being able to purchase an everyday bag I could toggle between. It allowed me to only bring it out on special occasions without feeling guilty.
Jewelry is another thing that does not depreciate. Gold, silver, and diamonds will always be expensive. While the value of them may fluctuate, there will always be a good selling price. This is why jewelry is always passed through generations. Start with something that can be worn regularly. If you love earrings, invest in a quality pair. Always buy jewelry from a credible source to avoid being ripped off. Especially if you are planning to spend a lot of money on the piece. NFL star Drew Brees recently sued his jeweler for 9 million dollars for giving him fake and undervalued diamonds. If jewelers are ripping off millionaires, they are definitely doing the same to us common folk. Do your own testing and appraisals if possible. We have all seen the video of wives realizing their diamond ring is fake. It’s never a good look.
The most important tip I can give is to insure your jewelry. Here’s a quick story on why. I took one of my girlfriends out for her bachelorette party. After more than a few drinks she ended up falling on her way out of the club. We help her up and think nothing of it. However, when we’re in the drive-thru getting food, she notices the stone on her engagement ring is missing! Panic ensues and she’s devastated. After what seems like an eternity, she calls her fiancè who assures her the ring is insured so the stone will be replaced free of charge. In a hilarious twist of fate, she ended up finding the stone in her cleavage. Insuring the jewelry covers theft, damage, and stone replacement. If you have spent a chunk of change on the piece already, don’t run the risks that come with not insuring it.
Finally, leather goods like belts and wallets are also a great investment. These are things that last a long time. My husband had a leather wallet that used to belong to his father and it stayed in good condition until he chose to get another one. Leather is a very durable material. It is also one of the few materials that actually looks better with a little distress to it. Similar to what I said about the bags, leather maintenance kits also come in handy for wallets and belts. Fur is another thing that can be a good starting point for luxury. Maybe not a fur coat right away but fur accessories are the perfect way to add some opulence to a winter wardrobe. Stored properly, fur can last forever. Fur is also an item that can stay in a family for generations. The possibilities are endless.
The most important takeaway is to have fun with luxury. The great thing about earning your own money is the ability to spend it however you deem fit. Luxury is flexible if anything. Do not allow people to dictate what luxury should be. Maybe your thing is crab legs and bubble baths. Maybe your idea of luxury is a first-class plane ticket. Another honorable mention when upgrading your lifestyle is alcohol. My rule of thumb is if it comes in plastic, or can be found at Walmart, skip it. You deserve better than cheap booze. There really is no wrong answer. The only error would be getting something you won’t enjoy simply because someone else told you to. Once you begin the foray into a bougie lifestyle, nothing will ever be the same. Finding pieces that are already similar to items you enjoy will make the transition effortless also.