As a team, we’re often fielding fashion-centric quandaries via Twitter, texts and Instagram DMs, so we figured, why not make it dot-com official? Welcome to Might I Suggest, our new column wherein we attempt to solve your most elusive market searches and enduring style challenges. Edith kicked things off with a round-up of perfect everyday shoes that aren’t sneakers, and this week, Harling answers an evergreen query about investment pieces from MR community member, Emily:
This is an eternally relevant question, and one I feel uniquely excited about answering as it’s one I often think about myself. The longer I work in the fashion industry, the pickier I become about what fashion-related acquisitions I choose to spend money on. My perspective on what is “worth” buying and what is not is shaped by two key factors: 1) a robust awareness of the best of what’s available for purchase or in the pipeline thanks to hours a day spent combing retailers and runways during market research for shoots and stories and 2) an intimate familiarity with the whims of the trend cycle, both as a writer who covers trends and as a person who is very much interested in engaging with them.
To that point, I’ve started paying more attention to the identifying features of pieces that truly stand the test of time — pieces that I either never get tired of wearing and reimagining, or that consistently reemerge into the zeitgeist again and again. This is the category of fashion I’m inclined to invest my own money in, and I would counsel you to do the same. I’ve delineated a range of items that fall into it below, broken down by cost since the price tag that constitutes an “investment” purchase will vary from person to person, from college students to those in other stages of life, as well as an explanation for why I think it merits consideration.
If you have $100, invest in a black bra from Lonely Lingerie.
I never considered myself the type of person who cared about having “pretty” bras until I owned a black lace one from Lonely Lingerie, a brand based out of New Zealand. It’s so beautiful that I think of it less as a utilitarian boob-holder and more as an aesthetic component of my various outfits. I especially love how it looks under a white blouse.
If you have $200, invest in a pair of comfortable leather loafers from M. Gemi.
I got a pair of M. Gemi’s “Felize” moccasins at the end of last summer and wore them almost daily throughout the fall. They’re the best loafers I’ve ever owned for multiple reasons, including the fact that their silhouette is conducive to all my pant hems (a shockingly elusive shoe trait) and that I didn’t have to break them in at all. They were supremely comfortable from the get-go, and for anyone else who has experienced the tell-tale deluge of blisters after wearing sandals all summer and sticking an unprepared foot into a leather shoe sans-sock, that counts for a lot.
If you have $350, invest in a pair of non-stretch jeans with finished hems from Moussy.
I go back and forth on choosing a favorite non-stretch denim brand because I love my jeans from both Trave and Moussy, but when it comes to investment purchases I think a finished hem is the most classic route, and Moussy has more options where that is concerned. I wear my pair constantly and can attest to their excellent quality. They’re also quite soft, which is not always the case for non-stretch jeans.
If you have $525, invest in gently used leather pants from The Row.
New, full-price leather pants from The Row are too costly for me to mentally justify — even as an investment purchase, but The RealReal has a ton of consigned ones in great condition. I don’t own a pair myself so I can’t personally vouch for how amazing they are, but I have a friend who bought some earlier this winter and every time I see her wear them (which is often, because she wears them constantly), I think about how good they look. I’ve had my eye on this blue pair for awhile, but the black version will never cease to beckon to me as well. When I eventually cave and make a purchase, I picture myself wearing them with white button-downs, a trench coat and a big scarf. Just like an Olsen twin.
If you have $750, invest in strappy black sandals that don’t look like every other pair of strappy black sandals.
Strappy black sandals go with everything from denim shorts to black-tie dresses, so it’s easy to make a case for why they are timeless. A standard pair of strappy black sandals is so plain, though, that when eyeballing them from afar you’d be hard-pressed to identify whether or not they’re from Zara or Old Céline, which is why if you’re going to spend a chunk of cash on strappy black sandals, I would advice investing in some that offer up a little extra somethin’ somethin’. In the case of these from Jacquemus, the multicolor sculpted heel does exactly that.
If you have $930, invest in a knock-your-socks-off white blouse from Cecilie Bahnsen.
I’ve consistently lusted after Cecilie Bahnsen’s angelic designs, and I’ve consistently balked at their prices. That’s how I know they would probably make ideal investment purchase material. The solid-colored pieces are neutral enough to withstand the whims of the trend cycle but so uniquely crafted that they never feel boring. They’re also impeccably made, a fact I observed up-close when I sat front-row at Bahnsen’s show last August. I’m especially obsessed with this textured crepe wrap blouse, which could pass as a museum-worthy object even though it is extremely wearable at the same time. It’s also incredibly versatile, an obvious companion for low-key jeans and high-key ball skirts alike.
If you have $1,100, invest in a sold gold pinky ring from Retrouvai.
I wear my gold rings like a permanent tattoo, by which I mean I never take them off. I wear them in the shower, at the gym, while I sleep — anytime I buy a new one, I know I’ll get maximum bang for my buck according to the cost-per-wear spectrum. This signet ring from Retrouvai has been on my dream investment purchase list for awhile now. I love how it is both classic (because of its shape and color) and whimsical (because: flying pig) at the same time. Highly recommended from my fantasies to yours.
If you have $1,500, invest in a warm, neutral coat from Acne Studios.
As much as I want to buy into the lore of investing in a standard cotton trench coat, I’ve found that they are not the most satisfying investment purchase because there’s such a short window of time weather-wise that you can actually wear them. I’d rather invest in a coat that I would gravitate towards all winter long, which is why this camel-colored, double-faced wool/cashmere robe coat from Acne Studios is the perfect fodder. It has the air of something that would automatically bestow a wash of incontestable sophistication upon any outfit you might put it over, leggings and sweatshirts included.
If you have $2,000, invest in a leather tote from Loewe.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what bag to recommend as an investment purchase. I envisioned something simple and elegant, something that didn’t connote a fad or an “it” moment. But not so simple that it seemed cookie-cutter or basic. I wanted it to have a quiet kind of flare. Loewe’s Small Flamenco Knot Tote immediately resonated as such when I saw it amidst my rampant scrolling. I love the mocca/black combo best, but midnight blue/black clocks in at a close second place. I can say with confidence that looks like an accessory suited to any age range — and therefore, to a lifetime of outfits, outings and evolutions in taste.
Did I miss any major investment purchase contenders? Do you have any questions you’d like to submit for Might I Suggest consideration? Drop either or both in the comments below.
Image by Edith Young; Painting by Frans Hals, Merrymakers at Shrovetide, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.