As I’ve mentioned in past lessons, besides for a few pieces here and there I always recommend trying to opt for the best quality clothing you can afford. This does NOT mean you should break the bank or live above your means, I rather mean trying to select a couple nice pieces vs stocking up on less expensive yet many “throw away” pieces.
But which items are definitely worth the investment? Which items should you not feel guilty splurging on a little?
Here are 5 pieces of clothing I find are always worth the investment (plus one bonus piece!)
Note* This lesson will solely focus on clothing as we’ve covered accessories in a previous lesson.
A well-cut blazer is a classic. It can polish even the most casual of outfits and easily take you from day to night.
You’ll want one that fits well and goes with a wide variety of your clothing. I highly suggest a neutral shade. As you’ll notice in the rest of the list neutrals are always recommended as they tend to go with everything. I’m not suggesting you have to build up a conservative completely neutral wardrobe, only that if you’re going to spend big bucks on particular items you want to get the most use out of them and neutrals tend to provide this.
Solid black or navy is always classic, but you can also have a little fun and go for a mixed tweed or plaid. The most important thing is fit and fabric quality.
You may also want to consider whether you prefer single or double breasted (one column of buttons or two) Single breasted is typically easier to wear and reduces the need to keep it buttoned up.
2. Fall Coat
A fall coat is one of the most versatile wardrobe pieces in your closet. First of all, for many climates it’s a necessity, something you have to wear day in and day out. But it’s also something that will be seen no matter what outfit you chose to wear underneath.
There’s no end of styles and options when it comes to a medium weight coat. However, when looking for the ideal investment piece it’s best to look for one that pairs nicely with the majority of your wardrobe. To achieve that it’s safest to look for neutrals or a mix of colors that complement the rest of your closet.
It’s very important that it’s well-made as this is a piece you may use almost daily and to get the most out of it try to select a fabric that isn’t too sensitive and doesn’t pill or easily stain.
If you happen to live somewhere very warm, look for a lighter jacket.
3. Classic Jeans
Jeans may be viewed as a casual item, but when you consider how often you’ll probably wear them it’s very worth getting at least one pair that fit like a glove and are high quality.
You may wonder which style to choose if you’re only going to invest in one solid pair. I suggest looking for a classic shape, nothing too trendy. And one that suits your body type and personal style. Think along the lines of a pair of skinny jeans or classic bootcut. Avoid extreme flares, crops or overly distressed and embellished styles.
You’ll want a wash that goes with most of your clothing, typically the darker the wash the more you can dress them up, but if you’re one who’s always wearing light pastels or a more bohemian summer style then you’ll get more out of a lighter wash.
4. White Blouse
A white blouse can mean so many things to so many people. It can be a classic collared cotton button down or a silk flowy number. You may even prefer a touch of lace detail or light embellishment. The main criteria is to look for a top that’s well-constructed, well-fitted, quality fabric and versatile.
You want something that stands the test of time (and trends!) Ideally something you can dress down with denim or dress up with black slacks and heals.
5. Cocktail Dress
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the LBD (little black dress). This is famous for a reason. A classic cocktail dress is a must have, something that can rarely go wrong.
To make sure it’s worth the investment (this may be the priciest item on the list) look for a dress that of course flatters, but one that’s in a neutral color. It doesn’t have to be traditional black, you could opt for a nice navy or burgundy. However a darker color will get you through many more occasions so is typically a wiser choice than a lighter or pastel color. It will be less memorable, which in this case is a good thing as it will shift the focus onto beautiful you as well as make it easier to wear on repeat time and again. A darker color is also suitable for a wider range of occasions… dinner parties, funerals, business meetings etc.
It’s also smart to look for a dress with clean lines and minimal embellishment. Remember the more it can adapt to any situation the better. As for length, look for knee length, or midi if that’s your style. Too short or too long isn’t as versatile and can be inappropriate for some occasions.
If you’re not into dresses don’t waste the money. Instead opt for a nice pair of black or neutral dress pants. You can dress this up with a nice blouse and perhaps a blazer depending on the trip or occasion (see number 1 and 4!)
*Bonus: A Personal Favorite
This can be any piece of clothing that you personally tend to wear a lot. It can be a skirt, a more colorful or show-stopping blouse or something uniquely fabulous that simply catches your eye. Really think about what you wear everyday and what you realistically would get the most use out of. This can be determined by wear you live or your lifestyle. For instance, if you live in Miami and spend your days or weekends on the beach look for the perfect well-fitting swimsuit. If you only hit the beach twice a year a high priced swimsuit may not be worth it. Alternatively, if you live in arctic temperatures look for a cozy luxurious sweater that you can turn to everyday.
HOMEWORK: Take a look through your closet. Do you already own any of these investment pieces? If so ensure you continue to take good care of them. Mend when needed and clean with care. If you don’t already have these in your wardrobe… here’s your excuse! Plan a shopping trip and start the hunt. You don’t have to go and buy them all at once, but can collect them slowly. You’ll never go wrong with each option in your closet.