Perhaps it is a sign of my age, a response to the global pandemic and change of lifestyle, an awareness of the alarming rate of our fashion consumption or, most likely, a mix of all three but my shopping habits have changed. I find myself making far more considered purchases, ones which I consider to be an investment – not necessarily an investment like that of an antique painting which one might hope would increase in value and be passed down through the generations, more of an investment in my wardrobe. Carefully choosing those pieces which will last the test of time, be worn again and again, year after year.
Deciphering what is in fact worth the investment, and indeed the level of that investment, is always going to be unique to you but there are some elements which I always take into account before hitting that all important ‘Buy now’ button…
COTTON, LINEN, WOOL, CASHMERE & LEATHER
I always, ALWAYS check the fabric ‘composition’ before purchasing. I prefer natural fabrics because they breathe. Cotton and linen are cool in the summer whilst wool and cashmere are cosy in the winter without ever being sweaty. I have my eye on this cardigan moving into autumn because the price, for the quality, is good and I love that Boden cashmere is machine washable meaning it will last years if cared for properly. I am picturing it tucked into high waist jeans, open at the neck, sleeves pulled up, French style.
Leather is my ultimate winter indulgence – in fact I have one pair of leggings brand new on their hanger, sourced from ebay, just waiting in the wings for the day my current, identical, pair give up the ghost. It is showerproof, warm and great for layering. Even high street and second hand leather is not cheap but, in my opinion, it will go the miles with you. This jacket, with its beautiful gold hardware, is on my winter wishlist. And truth be told I have been going back and forth on this aviator since last year – the pale sheepskin right next to my face, and my makeup, is holding me back (see ‘practicality’ below)…
SHAPES, STYLES & PRACTICALITY
KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
By now, I know my own style. I know what works for me and what I feel comfortable in. And I love a wide leg. However, whilst I recognise my penchant for a floor skimming trouser, I am equally aware that this is not necessarily a great investment piece – I mean, let’s be honest, I do not live in a climate where those hems are going to be preserved for years to come… that is unless I do not wear them outdoors (ok, not entirely out of the realm of possibility this year).
I also really like a puff sleeve. Those I am willing to invest in. I bought this Ganni knit on sale years ago and it remains on of my all time favourites.
It is definitely worth keeping in mind what suits your body shape, not just when investing for that matter, when shopping in general. It might be your favourite designer label but if it is a silk slip dress and you have had two kids then you, like me, are NOT going to wear it. Not least because it is a style that only suits a Kate Moss circa 1990 body but also because silk, although a beautiful natural fabric, stains easily and those marks do not come out – you could not, for example, ever in good conscience wear silk to a summer barbecue.
BAGS, NOT SHOES
Maybe this is just me… but I personally think bags are a great investment. I have this beauty from Aspinal and I ADORE her. I will have her forever. I keep her in her dustbag when she is a lady in waiting and she is pristine. Shoes, on the other hand, are literally something you press into the ground hundreds of times each and every outing. Insert the palms upturned emoji. No brainer.
WHERE TO SHOP
DESIGNER SALES & HIGH QUALITY HIGH STREET
In my opinion good quality is always worth spending a little bit more on. Yes, you can buy something for £20 that will last a few months but it might be that if you spend £80 you will have it forever. That is not complicated maths.
I shop the sales for my investments. Alas, I am not quite at the stage of snapping up Zimmermann straight off the runway (breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it) but when I found this linen playsuit with her intricate trim, puff sleeve, cinched waist and wide leg on sale I knew she was destined to be mine. I accepted that my opportunities for wear this summer would be limited but I also know that she will be coming on every holiday for as long as she fits.
The Outnet is my all time favourite destination for designer and investment shopping but it is worth keeping an eye on the end of season sales on Net-A-Porter and Matches too. Filter by size, favourite designers and price to find your own gems. Even better, if you have time, add your favourites to a wishlist then just sit back and wait patiently for the glee inducing ping of a sale notification.
If you are on board with preloved, which I highly recommend for investment shopping because the pieces should be built to last, then eBay, Vestiaire and Depop are all great starting points for second hand. I also have another wardrobe sale in the pipeline so please sign up here to make sure you don’t miss it.
Some of my high street, high quality favourites are Jigsaw, Reiss, Baukjen, Mint Velvet and Boden. I do not yet have any Sézane in my wardrobe but I have this knit on my wishlist and I can attest to the quality because I bought a pair of trousers once (I wound up returning them because I found out I was pregnant shortly after).
THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR
One last thing – if you are going to invest, you need to love it.
Apologies if you thought you were coming here for a shopping list but, honestly, I think deciphering what is worth investing in is such a unique formula. I hope my checklist can give you the tools to help figure out what you should be investing in. Good luck for finding your forever pieces.
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