Fashion editors are spoilt, and I'm allowed to say that because I am one. Not spoilt because we have heaps of cash to splash on a whim when we just happen to be breezing through Valentino, no. (In fact, fashion salaries are notoriously crap.) But we do get to see these pieces all the time, up close and personal. Once you've felt a really expensive cashmere jumper, handled a full Prada collection, tried on Chanel jewellery and slipped your feet into the most divinely comfortable shoes from The Row, nothing is the same again.
We want luxury, and we want it now (only we need it at a fraction of the price most of the time). Which is why after 12 years of working in the industry, I can post an expensive-looking affordable purchase from a mile off. Your radar has to be so finely tuned that you know how the cut of a sleeve can make something look cheap, or just how much Spandex is too much in a pair of jeans (btw, once you go about 2%, you're basically in jegging territory).
It's my job to know what looks good on a budget—it's for my own wardrobe too. After all, I need to sit side by side with the women who do have oodles to spend on the latest Dior this or Fendi that. I'll save up for special designer investment pieces or cooler finds from contemporary brands at a mid-tier price point, but in general, the holes in my wardrobe need to be filled with wallet-friendly additions that aren't just a one-wear wonder.