One of the things that I've started to do with my budget is put aside bits of what's "extra" into a "shopping fund." Whenever I receive an infusion of funds (whether my last student loan disbursement this past spring or actual income), I first allocate it into my living expenses for the relevant time period and then into some of my other savings goals. There's usually just a bit left after that ($50-ish, maybe), and after I look over my work one more time to make sure I haven't forgotten anything, I put what remains into my shopping fund. It is small as of yet, only around $250 because so many other things take precedence, but it's likely to grow at a steadier rate once I start work.
It is completely premature to actually think about how I intend to use my shopping fund. I have quite a few other things to address in the next few years: taking a significant pay cut for a year while I hit pause on my corporate career to do an academic fellowship-thing, expenses associated with friends' weddings, the need to accumulate a more substantial emergency fund, and aggressive student loan repayment throughout. If I'm running a little short in one of the other categories, the shopping fund will certainly be the first thing I raid.
Still, a girl can dream, and when it comes to spending on my wardrobe, handbags remain one of my relative priorities. I think it's generally reasonable for a young professional to put aside money and eventually splurge a bit on a nice handbag if they're so inclined. I won't personally be comfortable with making the splurge I'm vaguely thinking of for a good four years or so, barring some unexpected windfalls. The upside is that I have ample time to reflect on what I want. Presently, my hypothetical tastes lean towards the practical and versatile. This is seen in my relative inability to break out of my medium-large work-appropriate black or navy purse rut (the Pinterest link is my entire actual bag collection except for one brown Lockheart hobo that I can't find a picture of online). Maybe my tastes will change, but for now, the top candidates for my eventual big splurge are the Mulberry Bayswater, a Givenchy Antigona, or a Givenchy Lucrezia.
Do you set aside a shopping fund for yourself? What big splurge do you eventually hope to make?