Balenciaga Items That Are And Aren't Worth The Money

Among the top fashion houses in the industry, Balenciaga is paving the way for bold, new styles. The brand's Fall 2023 Vogue Runway show was ranked as one of the 10 most-viewed shows in the world, and Christian Dior himself once said that Balenciaga leads the way for haute couture everywhere.

At just 23 years old, Cristóbal Balenciaga opened his first fashion house in San Sebastian. In 1937, he made his debut in the fashion capital of the world: Paris. Since then, the Balenciaga brand has consistently been setting trends, not following them. Designs hailing from Balenciaga are known for being avant-garde and cutting-edge — but expensive.

While it's thrilling to splurge on a luxury item, not everything from Balenciaga is worth its hefty price tag. We make those big purchases with the hope that a new piece will become a staple in our closet — mixing and matching with other outfits until we're ready to retire it and trade it in for something new. But that just isn't always the case. We've all felt that pit in the bottom of our stomachs, known as buyer's remorse, when we realize our new item doesn't look as glamorous as it did in the picture or that it just wasn't worth the hype and the money. While many Balenciaga products are worthwhile investments, others don't live up to expectations. Here's a look at what you should skip and what you should consider splurging on.

Worth it: Hourglass Coat

Buyers polled by Vogue predicted that the Balenciaga Women's Hourglass Coat would be a bestseller — and it is. The wool gabardine knee-length coat with its tapered waist makes it perfect for workwear, an evening out, or just getting from one place to another without freezing during a chilly evening. Its versatility makes it a good option for nearly any occasion. As a neutral, it will complement nearly every color palette, which means it won't be hanging in the back of your closet for months on end, leaving you to wonder if you'll ever have anywhere in which to wear it.

One of the highlights of this item is the material. Among its warm-weather counterparts like linen, this fabric was first used during the Renaissance. The cold-resistant fabric is meant to keep you warm and cozy during those frigid temperatures. On top of that, it's also suitable for those in-between seasons (think sweater weather in the morning and t-shirt weather in the afternoon). The material offers great ventilation and is highly durable, so it will last you a long time.

To keep this garment looking great for years, stick to Balenciaga's care instructions. Dry cleaning will extend the life of this sleek-looking coat, especially since it is by no means an everyday purchase for most people. It retails at a steep $3,750. That's a lot of money to shell out for an overcoat, yes, but this is an investment that will last you a long time.

Not worth it: Trash Bag Pouch

You may have heard about Balenciaga's viral Trash Bag Pouch on social media when the bag debuted as part of the fashion house's Fall 2022 collection.

If you haven't seen it before, well, it looks exactly like you'd picture. The nylon-lined calfskin pouch is designed just like a drawstring garbage sack. The bag is available in either black or white, and the white option is even made complete with two red handles reminiscent of a classic trash bag. Wondering why this bag exists? Balenciaga's creative director, Demna Gvasalia, informed Women's Wear Daily, "I couldn't miss an opportunity to make the most expensive trash bag in the world." In that sense, it was a success. The pouch retails for $1,790.

While the Balenciaga bag is shinier and, of course, much sturdier than your everyday plastic garbage bag, it's still not worth the luxury price tag. There are far more attractive — and far less expensive — totes on the market.

Worth It: HardCrocs Mule

Like them or not, Crocs aren't going anywhere soon. The perforated clogs hit the market in 2002, and they've been fluctuating throughout the trend charts ever since. Celebrities like Dylan Sprouse, Brie Larson, and Justin Bieber have all been spotted in Crocs, proving that the fashion-controversial shoe is here to stay.

In fall 2018, Balenciaga released its first partnership with Crocs. Since then, the fashion house has been releasing its own luxury take on the rubber shoe, converting them into boots, heels, and "HardCrocs." Constructed with rubber and featuring a 10-millimeter arch, as well as a 110-millimeter silver-studded platform, the HardCroc pays homage to its predecessors yet shines as something all its own. The Balenciaga logo is debossed on both the strap and silver studs, and in a sleek black color raised on platforms, the HardCrocs are the most stylish of their Crocs counterparts.

The unusual shoe was an immediate hit, reportedly selling out in minutes and before its official launch. Yes, they retail for $1,050, but they're worth it if you're a fan of comfy shoes and that coveted designer label.

Not worth it: Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker

Made of lambskin and cowskin, the Stan Smith Sneaker is part of a collaboration with Adidas, one of Balenciaga's primary brand partners. This footwear line features two versions of the shoe: the standard Stan Smith Sneaker, which retails for $800, and the Stan Smith Worn Out Sneaker, which retails for $850 in off white and $950 in black.

The line's distressed shoe is less versatile and yet more expensive. The scuffs, scratches, and overall dismal appearance prevent it from being worn in a professional setting. While you'll get more wear out of the standard sneakers, the basic white sneaker just falls flat — it doesn't have that extra oomph that says "luxury." And for $800, it should. If you're looking for shoes with a lived-in look, you'd be better off buying a pair of affordably priced sneakers — even similar-looking Adidas — and breaking them in on your own. 

Worth it: Envelope Mini Wallet

The Balenciaga Women's Envelope Mini Wallet is understated but so sophisticated. Its minimalist design is the perfect blend of functionality and elegance, making it a worthy addition to any collection. Despite its small appearance, it offers plenty of storage space, with multiple card slots and a bill compartment. The envelope-style flap closure adds a nice finishing touch to the wallet and offers the desired security for your personal items. 

True to Balenciaga's legacy, the stitching is precise and will withstand regular use for a long time. The mini wallet is made from premium calfskin leather and features the timeless Balenciaga logo. It's an instant classic. Compared to other Balenciaga items, the price tag is hefty but not nearly as mind-boggling as the others (think: overpriced trash bag).

For $420, you'll get a luxury wallet doubling as an iconic statement piece. To care for it, Balenciaga recommends only using a soft cloth to wipe the leather.

Not worth it: Steroid Boot

There are plenty of good reasons to buy luxury shoes, but not all of them justify the hole they burn in your pocket — like the Balenciaga Steroid Boot, which retails for $1,400. These utilitarian boots made their debut at Balenciaga's New York Stock Exchange runway show in Spring 2023, featuring a solid black exterior that boldly combines a heavy-duty aesthetic with high fashion. 

The problem with these boots isn't actually the boots themselves. Made out of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), the Steroid Boot is water-resistant, insulating, and shock-absorbing, making them great for safety and long-term wear. These classic black lace-ups won't go with everything, but they can be styled as a statement piece with a casual look or matched with an industrial-style fit.

However, the exaggerated ridged outsole is reminiscent of Balenciaga's other designs featured in the collection — and plenty of other shoes, too. Despite the boots' many merits, they aren't especially unique. Many EVA boots are far more affordable, including Crocs Allcast Waterproof Rain Boot, which retail for just $50.

Worth it: Shrunk Puffer

Puffer coats graced the fashion scene beginning in the mid-1930s, when Eddie Bauer created them as a response to his nearly-fatal encounter with a harsh winter. Since then, puffer jackets and coats have been cycling through the fashion trends constantly, with the greatest hits being in the '70s and the early 2000s. After fashion-forward influencer and Louis Vuitton ambassador Emma Chamberlain donned the style in winter 2022, it's safe to say they're making yet another comeback.

The Balenciaga Shrunk Puffer, in particular, is both timeless and youthful. The coat cuts at the waistline and can be adjusted with a drawstring. Although it costs nearly $3,000, the jacket will remain an essential piece of your winter wardrobe for years to come, as it's made of high-quality micro faille to keep you warm and cozy. It does run small, so we suggest sizing up for an optimal fit.

Not worth it: Maxi skirt

If the Winter 2023 runway collections made an influence on any fabric's resurfacing into the sartorial trends, it was certainly velvet. From crushed to colorful velvet, it was everywhere. While the very best velvet evokes grandeur, the worst velvet can err on the side of tacky, making it a tricky material to style. The fabric also requires more intensive cleaning (due to the fact that it easily absorbs dust), which can make caring for it more difficult than other materials. If worn or used often, velvet can also wear down quickly. 

One of the velvet items to hit the runway in 2023 was the Balenciaga Maxi Skirt made of velvet jersey and available in lilac and black. In addition to being difficult to style, the skirt's length makes it a dust collector. Plus, this item isn't exactly easy on the wallet. We'd suggest skipping the $1,390 skirt and opting for a less expensive and shorter version from another brand, like the Velvet Knit High Waisted Twist Detail Front Slit Midi Skirt by Karl Lagerfeld Paris.

Worth it: Bold Earrings

Accessorizing can be one of the most fun parts of putting an outfit together, and sometimes it only takes one item to elevate the look. The $895 Balenciaga Bold Earrings come in shiny brass, which means they will not rust. With the right kind of care, these earrings could last for many summers of seasonal styling. 

The best thing about these earrings is the elegance and simplicity — no extra frills yet you can't miss the luxury quietly oozing from them. Found in the fashion house's Summer 2023 collection, this accessory boasts an industrial style in a warm gold color, aptly securing its place as a bold summer staple.

Brass is susceptible to tarnishing, so cleaning these earrings is important. Balenciaga recommends a delicate cleaning regimen of wiping the earrings with a soft cloth. To add to that, we suggest using a clean microfiber cloth and mild dish soap as needed.

Not worth it: Bold necklace

Another member of the Summer 2023 collection is the Balenciaga Bold Necklace in the color gold. This accessory pairs with the Bold Earrings, but it falls short in ways that really matter. Both are made of brass and have a warm appearance; however, this necklace is bold in more ways than one. At $2,850, the simple clasp necklace is more than triple the price of the coordinating $895 earrings. Yes, we double-checked — the enormous price tag is indeed correct.

If the necklace were less expensive, we would consider adding it to the nice list, right along with its matching partner in the earrings section. But at nearly $3,000 for a fairly plain chain, it doesn't set a stomach at ease — especially considering brass requires gentle care and cleaning to keep it looking nice. Skip the spendy necklace this time because it's just not worth it.

Worth it: Turtleneck Overall

Trends may come and go but black has stood the test of time. As a timeless neutral color, black shows up on the runway every year. Local New Yorkers in the fashion or art scenes are famous for wearing the color like a badge, and its versatility is unmatched.

The Balenciaga Turtleneck Overall is a great combination of business and playfulness. It retails for $2,250, but its invisible back zip and bodycon fit are just two of the things that make it worth the eye-popping price. The jumper is made with jet black ribbed jersey from the high neck all the way down to the palazzo fit legs. The turtleneck, long sleeves, and adjoining wide-leg trousers make the jumper a head-to-toe sleek outfit, suitable for streetwear, a professional event, or a date night. To keep this fit looking great for a long time, Balenciaga recommends dry cleaning only.

Not worth it: Allover Logo Macro Scarf

When you're preparing for the cold, a scarf is often the answer for achieving both sensibility and style. Buying a luxury scarf can be a big decision, especially since there are so many options among an array of labels. One of those options is the Balenciaga Allover Logo Macro Scarf, which is made of brushed wool and features the Balenciaga logo repeatedly printed across the garment. It's offered in four colors: indigo, pink, bright green, and brown. Unfortunately, none of these color choices say, "Buy me!"

While the brushed wool will keep you warm enough to face the winter, this scarf doesn't offer the cozy-by-the-fireplace softness of cashmere. And while $625 isn't the heftiest price tag for a high-end scarf, don't drop hundreds of dollars on this logo-studded scarf that looks more generic than designer. We recommend the cozy Hermes Stole, with its jacquard weave and ultra-soft cashmere, or the warm Burberry Check Cashmere Scarf, instead.