The coming-of-age purchases that made us feel like we were #adulting right

The coming-of-age purchases that made us feel like we were #adulting right

Are we there yet?

Text: Cheryl Chan

Growing up can be scary. Most of us can can attest to that. Paying bills, navigating the world of taxes, finding the right outfit for a job interview, learning how to balance your work and personal life...where's the e-handbook for this and can we get a yearly subscription stat?!

But at the same time, one of the fun things about growing up is also figuring out how to do it. Those tiny moments we go through; the small feats of #adulting where we get to pick and choose the sort of things we want to align our identities with that can make us take a step back and go, "Hey, maybe I am doing this right after all".

From the designer bags that we splurged our savings on, to the lightbulb moment we had when we first discoved lipstick, here are some of the coming-of-age purchases that made us feel like we were adulting right.

Elizabeth Lee, editor-in-chief

"While at my very first magazine job, it was the golden age of the 'It' bag and I wanted nothing more than the YSL Easy Y Tote in black. Spotted in the arms of Kate Moss, Ashley Olsen, and Lindsay Lohan, it looked like the perfect bag for both work and play. But when I finally saved up enough money to buy it, I agonised about my first luxury purchase for weeks before my then boss gave me the final push (and stamp of approval). After that, it never left my side and was my trusty companion 24/7, even when I was on holiday. Money well spent, I say."


Crystal Lee, deputy editor

"My Celine Cabas tote still is one of my favourite and most treasured possessions especially now that Phoebe Philo is no longer with the house. The bag was my first-ever designer purchase with my first paycheck, and it's been with me throughout my entire career. I made sure to get it in all-black leather (I know, how typical), so that it'll go with everything and anything in my increasingly colourless wardrobe. I love its simplicity and the fact that I could get men to carry it without shame for when it's too heavy (although real men know how to rock a Hello Kitty purse)."


Cheryl Chan, fashion editor

"As someone who grew up loving fashion from a young age, the thought of having a designer wardrobe always felt so far off. So when I attended the Club 21 Bazaar for the very first time at the age of 19, I felt like I had died and gone to designer discount heaven. As a fresh grad who was freelancing, I wasn't flush with money, but I was determined to walk away with one precious piece. After hours of scouring, I found the one. A black silk wrap skirt from Dries Van Noten one of my favourite designers at the time. I had to borrow money from my then boyfriend and pay him back in $50 installments every month but man, did that skirt make me feel special whenever I put it on (look ma, I'm a real fashion girl now!). I don't wear the skirt as often anymore but I still can't bear to sell or donate it as it symbolises so much to me!"


Janice Sim, associate lifestyle editor

"Definitely my first lipstick. I can't remember exactly how old I was when I purchased it, but it must have been a product from a drugstore. Possibly Revlon if I'm not mistaken. This was my foray into makeup and I remember it made me feel like a grown-up. After my first application, I felt uncertain as it made me conscious about how I appeared to people, but for the most part, I felt more confident and remembered thinking: "I'm going to have so much fun with my face from now on".


Guan Tan, associate beauty editor

"That was five years ago, in spring 2015. I was still in fashion school in London and we had to track and crash fashion shows (very fun). In September 2014, I watched the Dries Van Noten spring/summer 15 show a spin off Sir John Everett Millais' beautiful display of death and grief in 'Ophelia' and it was the show that made me love fashion (everyone has one of those shows). So, a season later when the collection dropped in stores, I'd swing by Selfridges and Liberty every week to touch them. Back then, I had a part-time job at Yumchaa in Soho brewing tea and making coffee. I earned £700 a month and spent over £600 on a pair of pants from the collection at the end-of-season sale. I had to survive on £1 Tesco bread for the rest of the month, so, jokes on me!"


Emily Heng, beauty writer

"My most significant coming-of-age buy is my Nintendo Switch. I've never been able to afford a gaming console on my own before yes, not even a Tamagotchi at the height of its popularity in the '90s so it felt especially good to pay for one out of my own pocket. Naturally, it helps that I got it way before the circuit breaker measures kicked in considering how sellers are now jacking the price up."