building a wardrobe, clothing, Colours, demin, dress, Dresses, Fashion, fashion must haves, flats, handbag, Investment in fashion, investment pieces, jacket, jeans, little black dress, shoes, skirts, special occasions shoes, style, trousers, underware, wardrobe basics, wedges, What to Wear
Another style challenge this time from the lovely Alyce:
My request is a post on investment pieces. I hear this term a lot but wondered what you girls thought were the most important “investment pieces”. A good pair of jeans? A good pair of knickers? A little black dress? I’m sure they’re all valid but what would you begin building a wardrobe on?
I have made a list of 7 items that I think would suit any one’s style and would be the perfect foundation for you to build up a versatile and trend resistant wardrobe. I have done my best to stay under $200 per garment/ items below because I think that is a practical amount to spend.
Dress - Buy something you can take from day to night, dress up and dress down. No matter what your personal style there will always be the odd event where you are expected to wear a dress.
Handbag - Stick to the middle ground. Find something that is going to see you through 90% of your days (Mid sized handbag with good shoulder straps would be my suggestion). Buy specialised and cheaper bags for the other 10% of your life (eg. over night bag or clutch for special occasions).
Shoes – I’d say every woman should have four pairs of shoes; a pair of flats or casual shoes, a pair of shoes for walking/ exercising, a pair of heels and a pair of boots. If I HAD to choose one to invest in I would own a pair of wedges or flats. Buy a pair that is going to work with lots of different things in your wardrobe and that you can be comfortable in.
Trousers – A great pair of trousers is a rare thing but more than anything else on this list (except maybe your hand bag) it is an item that can be worn every day. I would suggest that the minimum required would be three pairs and I would have a black, grey and navy pair. If I had to buy just one I would buy them in black. The key here is to find what would work best with most of your tops. Good pants make other parts of your outfit work so make sure these are really working for you.
Jacket – Get a good Jacket. If you choose wisely you’ll only need to update this item every 5/10 years or maybe less depending how much wear it gets. I would suggest that you aim to get something that goes below the knee and has a belt, it helps keep your options open.
Underwear – I go more into this below but get properly fitted for a bra (especially after childbirth) buy two or three great ones for everyday wear and then you can get cheaper ones for specific needs (eg. under a strap less dress). As for bottoms I would recommend getting at least one good pair of tummy/ thigh shaping underwear for wearing under outfits that are closely tailored to your body.
Jeans – Buy one pair of drop dead gorgeous jeans. Jeans are a great casual alternative and the right pair will make your butt look amazing. I would say most people could get away with one good pair or two at the most. (That is not to say you wouldn’t want more, just that they are very versatile so if your budget is limited one pair should see you through most occasions)
Some general points:
Investment items are, by their nature, the pieces you spend that little bit extra on in the hope that you get years of wear out of them and that they continue to work for your body shape long into the future. That being said the best time to shop for these types of items in during a sales period where you can sometimes save 50% or more on the normal retail cost. Another option is to look into layby and spread the cost over a number of weeks, large department stores usually have a long layby option (eg. David Jones has a 2 month period). The great thing about most of these items is that they are almost always available so you can go shopping for them whenever you have the money.
Always make sure the fit of these items is perfect. If they are not (eg trousers that are too long) and yet they are perfect in every other way, invest in having them altered to suit you, it is worth the $30-$50 it will probably cost to make sure they are just right. If you are handy with a sewing machine you can do it yourself or even get a friend who has some skills to do it for you.
The best style for each of these items is going to come down to your body shape. So make sure whatever shape you are you get something that makes the most of it, the pictures below are just examples that appeal to me.
Quality is so important, even for regular items in your wardrobe don’t be afraid to check it out throughly before you buy it. Check all of the seems, run it through your fingers to check for catches or imperfections and especially for knit items scan the fabric for pulls/ threads. Polyester blends are almost unavoidable but natural fibres tend to last longer and wear better. If an item looks like it might fall apart after one wash don’t buy it. Cotton, denim, linen and wool can be stiff, itchy or creased the second you put them on so do not be afraid to wear the item for a while in the change room before you walk out the door with it. Sit down in it, stretch up, bend over, do all the buttons up and make sure it is comfortable regardless of the way you twist and turn, remember you are going to be stuck with it for a long time. I like jersey as a good all season choice for a dress, it is warm enough to wear in the cooler months with a jacket and scarf but will still be ok in an office environment in the hotter months. I think it makes sense to pick items you can wear for a good part of each year.
Finally, on the point of colour I would encourage you to be slightly more conservative with your colour palette when it comes to investment pieces than the rest of your wardrobe. As I mentioned before the idea is to be able to keep wearing them into the future and mix and match them with other items, so I would normally stick to neutrals and basic colours. I would personally avoid patterns when it comes to trousers and jeans but would probably encourage you to be a little more bold with your choice of jacket or even the dress.
I can’t emphasize enough how important underwear is (it gets its own paragraph), I prefer black underwear as a rule but when it comes to my go to or “foundation” underwear that I spend a fortune on I usually go for nude tones so that I can wear it under any colour. Black and white are going to be slightly less versatile.
All fashion comes down to personal preference ultimately and I suggest that if you are spending a decent chunk of change, get something that makes you feel like a million dollars, something that when you put it on makes you feel like you were always meant to wear it. You will never be sorry about buying an item like that and it will give you joy for years.
I would also guess that most women already own some of the items on the list so if you were thinking of revamping your wardrobe you could keep the classic pieces and build on it rather than having to start from scratch.
Invest in these:
Sheer cocktail dress, $121
Oasis sleeveless cotton dress, $115
Belted coat, $100
Oasis double breasted coat, $105
DAY Birger et Mikkelsen cropped pants, $200
Hudson Jeans zipper jeans, $198
Steve Madden spike heels, $90
Banana Republic bootie boots, $111
FOSSIL satchel bag, $198
Melie Bianco slouchy handbag, $110
Nine West drawstring handbag, $119
Yummie Tummie Lavonne Body Slip – Nude, £80
Let us know what you think the most important investment pieces are in the comments below.