By Renée Kuo
US investor and billionaire Warren Buffet once wrote to his shareholders, ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. Whether talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.’ (Note: $1,000 invested with Buffett in 1964 when he took over Berkshire Hathaway would be worth around $13 million today).
He may be better known for his investment nous than his fashion sense, but we’re with Warren. Who doesn’t love getting a good deal, especially when the item is of exceptional quality? But even if you can’t snag a bargain Birkin or marked-down Miu Miu, there are some items worth buying because they will become your wardrobe icons. These are your investment pieces.
By ‘investment’ we don’t mean defaulting on your monthly rent to purchase the latest ‘it’ bag. Nor does a wardrobe icon have to be a well-known label. You can take the approach made famous by Marie Kondo, the Japanese decluttering guru: does it ‘spark joy’ each time you wear it? Will it stand the test of time with regard to style and quality? As Coco Chanel famously stated, ‘Fashion changes, but style endures.’
Investment dressing means carving out your own style, rather than conforming to a style determined by someone else. This means finding shapes, colours and cuts that suit you and returning to them time after time. It also involves investment of your time, thought and discipline: opting for finer fabrics rather than fashion, timeless silhouettes rather than trends, and clothes that fit you now rather than when you attain the mythical ‘beach body’.
No more impulse purchases hiding in the back of your wardrobe with the tags still on.
In turn, this means that clothes are more likely to last thanks to higher quality fabric and manufacturing. It also means no more impulse purchases hiding in the back of your wardrobe with the tags still on.
Why is it important to have investment pieces? Whether a classic cashmere jumper or a traffic-stopping statement necklace, whether it meant you ate beans on toast for a month or you got the bargain of the century, an investment piece makes you feel a million dollars (or pounds, euros or riyals for that matter). And we all know when you look good, you feel good.
Furthermore, dressing well is a form of good manners. That’s a direct quote from the ever-fashionable Tom Ford. Making an effort with your outfit shows respect to others – colleagues or clients if you’re at work, hosts and friends in a social situation. John Christie, the founder of Glyndebourne, introduced formal eveningwear at the opera festival as a way in which the audience could show their appreciation for the performers.
Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.
Lastly, ‘dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.’ Yes, that’s Coco Chanel again. Investing in your clothes is an investment in yourself: whether you’re dressing for the job you have or the job you want, what you wear can boost your confidence. Struggling to determine which investment piece to buy? We’ll revert back to Mr Buffett: ‘If you are not willing to own a stock for 10 years, do not even think about owning it for 10 minutes.’ Insert your coveted item for ‘stock’ and see if passes the investment test.
Renée’s current favourite investment piece is a beautiful hand-embroidered leather dress from Alexander McQueen, purchased at Bicester Village: “It’s elegant yet eye-catching and truly a piece of art.”
For more ways to investment dress for less, Bicester Village is home to more than 130 designer boutiques and less than an hour away from London by train.
A few of our style icons:
Barack & Michelle Obama
Investment items that will stand the test of time:
- A cashmere jumper
- A well-cut suit
- A trench coat
- A little black dress
- A handbag
- A statement accessory: tie, piece of jewellery, scarf