July 13th, 2012
Celebrity Style, Fashion Bomb 101, Shopping
Fashion Bomb 101: 10 Wardrobe Items Worth the Investment
By Claire

Andrea writes, “What are some investment pieces to have in your closet? For example, as much as I like Christian Louboutin shoes, is it smart to spend $600+ on shoes? I want to have a fashionable closet, but I don’t want to invest too much money on trendy items.
Though I have my thoughts on the matter, I thought it would be best to tap celebrity stylists June Ambrose, Phillip Bloch, and Becca Alexis to see if they could offer some insight. You ready?

1. A chic suit.

Though bright pink or patterns aren’t for everyone, you can’t go wrong with a two piece suit in a classic color like black, white, or beige. June says, ““Most women don’t have that classic chic suit in their wardrobe. But I think you can use it as separates, mix and match, and really have a good time with it. [One of my best investments is a] Gucci suit. It has a cocky lapel. I’ve recut the trousers several times.”

Phillip adds “A classic suit is a great piece. Different cuts come in and out of style, but just hold onto it. The style you have will be trendy again in five years.”

2. A Diane von Furstenberg Wrap Dress

Becca says, “I’m a single woman living a very cosmopolitan life in New York City and Los Angeles! I make time for personal interests so I’m always going out on a date. [Since] my life is super hectic I can’t take hours to get ready to meet a man. Its has to be quick! The DVF wrap dress should be every women’s go to piece when in a rush before a date. I have a simple black 100% rayon long sleeve version of the iconic dress. I wear it with a statement necklace, watch, and eye catching shoes.”

” Ladies I get so many compliments everytime I wear this look. The best is when I’m on a date and a lady will come and compliment me. What makes this simple look such an investment is that I will always look good in it. Whether I lose or gain 15 pounds the dress still works. For $300, clearly, the DVF dress is one of my best investments yet!”
(Sidenote: I’m a fan!)

3. A classic handbag

June says, “I would rather make an investment in a non trendy Balenciaga bag or save for that Hermès bag [instead of] getting that Céline. I’ve been there before when the bag [of the moment] is sitting there collecting dust. A smart shopper will buy the python bag, the lizard, the exotic skin. Those never go out of style.”

If you need more tips on great bags to buy, visit our guide to investment handbags.

4. A pair of cigarette pants.

Becca says, “4 years ago I noticed I was wearing the same cigarette pant silhouette and felt it was time to look for a more classic straight leg pant. I splurged several hundred dollars on a pair of Alessandro Dell’Acqua pants. I’m your typical curvy girl with small waist at 28 inches and wide hips at 46 inches. These are the first and only pair of pants to this day that I never had to alter on the waist! The thick cotton jersey fabric has maximum cellulite coverage so I don’t have to worry about wearing spanx!”

5. A nude pump

June maintains, “Everyone should have a nude pump. Nude doesn’t have to be that beigy flesh toned pinky shoe. [Make sure it matches your skin] so there’s not a hard contrast. Brian Atwood has a great price point. He’s cheaper than a YSL, cheaper than a Louboutin. He’s really finding his niche, but his shoes are still classic–a punctuation piece with chic appeal.”

6. Leather Biker Jacket

June says, “A good leather biker jacket will set you free!” Though Rick Owens is a celebrity favorite, you can find great pieces by All Saints, Helmut Lang, Marc New York, and more.

7. Cashmere Sweaters

Phillip stands firmly behind cashmere sweaters, saying, “Get one in a great pop of color if you like, or a red or cream. Invest in a designer piece so it has some resell value if you ever choose to part with it.”

8. Jewelry Pieces that Speak to your Personality

June says, “I’ve had my Hermès cuffs for many years. My oldest cuff is 10 years old.” Other worthwhile splurges would include diamond studs or gold hoop earrings.

9. A great coat.

Alexis writes, “I have a plethora of coats in coral, red, green, black, blue and other colors and patterns, but my biggest splurge and vital investment was a Loro Piana camel coat! It’s a good, durable, and practical investment. It’s very basic but I can style it up depending on my mood. I wear a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off to make it more downtown. I wear my Gucci scarf with it to make it look classic. I wear it over a tight American Apparel dress and roll the sleeves up with slouchy boots for a brooklyn eclectic vibe. Cashmere travels well and doesn’t wrinkle. It offers great insulation, is long lasting, and actually becomes softer over time. It will last a lifetime and I will pass it on to my daughter.”

10. A Black Blazer

Black blazers cinch everything in, can dress up a t-shirt and jeans, and automatically offer a bit of polish. Phillip says, “ I’d buy a classic navy or black blazer that has special buttons and great details.”

Start building your investment wardrobe with these key pieces:

And now that you know what to spend on, do you want to know where you can save? June says, “Save on super trendy pieces like neons.”

“…[Also don't spend your money on] white shirts, t-shirts, button downs. They lose their color, you’re gonna get rid of them. It’s ok if you buy a button down for like $29, or a t-shirt for $20.”

And Andrea, if you’re wondering about splurging on black pumps, Becca writes, “While my shoe closet is stacked with Giuseppe, Marni, Louboutins and every other designer shoe you can think of, the shoe that has the most mileage in my closet are a black pair of three inch platform Zara shoes. This round toe classic shoe has a gold side zipper and simple gold metal where the sole and heel meets. I’ve had these $79 shoes for 3 winters. I’m 4’11 so I wear heels daily. I’m jetting in and out of a cab, on and off the train, up and down the stairs so after a long day in heels my knees and shoes take a beating. These Zara shoes have held up nicely. Quality leather, metal accents and classic shape is what makes this shoe an investment, not the color of the sole!”

And there you have it! Insight from three of the industry’s top stylists.
What do you think of their picks? And is there anything you would add to the list?
*To see more of their musings, follow June on Twitter at @JuneAmbrose, Phillip at @PhillipBloch, and Becca at @BeccAlexis. Also, be sure to step into June’s Juniverse at www.thejuniverse.com and check out a few of Phillips projects, including his latest book, “The Shopping Diet” at www.phillipbloch.com.

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34 Responses to “Fashion Bomb 101: 10 Wardrobe Items Worth the Investment”

  1. Anna says:

    Funny, Amber is selling this same necklace on ebay right now.
    Good tips averall!

  2. reesha says:

    yessss, and so glad you didn’t neglect to add a great COAT. sometimes the wrong kind of coat can totally take away from your overall look. On the other hand a great coat can give even jeans and a tee a polished look (I love JCrew, coats)

  3. Savage says:

    Some great khakis and a trench also…As one gets older you def need to invest in those key pieces bc they will take you so far. If you pay $300-500 (or less if u get it on sale) on an item and it lasts you 10-20 years then you more than got your dollar’s worth. My mom still has all these amazing itmes that she bought before she even thought about having a daughter (I’m 26 btw) for exampl a dope ass Norma Kamali trench.

  4. lolodoll11 says:

    I agree with just about everything except the cigarette pants and nude shoes. Cigarette pants are not for every body type and nude shoes do not look great on all skin tones. I live by DVF dresses. 90+ percent of my work wardrobe consist of DVF dresses. They are SUPER great for someone who travels a lot. Easy to pack. Typically doesn’t require any ironing. I’m still working on the classic handbag. Definitely not wasting my money (10k +) on one so likely will only come via a gift.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love this! Thanks so much!

  6. now this is is a great post and I am most certainly going to do something similar! I agree with pretty much everything listed. I own a pair of YSL Tribtoo pumps in black and they are treasured by me. Im currently saving for a balenciaga bag because I have ALWAYS wanted one. I did a post entitled bags and shoes that outline some of the classic bags that I personally think everyone shoudl have (well at least 1 of them)

    Wrap dresses are a MUST. Im a curvy girl and mine makes me feel instantly sexy!

    Great post


  7. Jay says:

    THANK YOU! Most appreciated!

  8. Taylormay says:

    As a junior in college I can’t afford a beloved DVF wrap dress but I love the silhouette :(

    Are there any affordable wrap dresses for a girl who’s tired of making teeny bopper dresses and skirts work for work/church?!

  9. Pari says:

    Great article! I have yet to find a nude shoe that comes close to matching my skin tone though. I’m about June’s color. I wonder what is her go to pump.

  10. addikted2fashion says:

    @taylormay i would suggest you go to a good consignment shop near you or pay attention to the big sales at dept stores and you can easily get a DVF dress for less than $150. I got one from Bloomingdales last Spring for $90!

    Good tips! Have a few pieces listed that I need to add to my wardrobe! Im working on it!

  11. Indigo says:

    @ Taylormay DVF wrap dresses are always on sale. You can catch an event on Hautelook or Gilt.

  12. Taylormay says:

    @Indigo Thanks I’ll look into it!

  13. lolodoll11 says:

    Also Taylormay, BCBG also has some cute wrap dresses…very DVFish!

  14. Siyam says:

    Yay for the Brian Atwood shoutout!!! I do understand the consistent Loubi love but I’m glad another designer got some love as well. I’m a huge fan of his work. Thanks for all the tips. This will help when I do decide to splurge and I’ll know I’m making a great decision.

  15. TheFav1 says:

    I got a wrap dress from Bloomingdales by aqua but Dvf is the best dress for a lot of body types! I would love a “nude” shoe but I’m a caramel brown girl so I guess brown shoes :/. I have little designer bags but I’ve always wanted a higher end bag. I must invest now :) great article

  16. savetheday says:

    awesome post!

  17. dvf dresses are not flattering for everybody type. i think they key is to find a jersey dress that is easy to throw on.

    …i also consider Bal bags trendy. idk they’re not my cup of tea. but the bag suggestion is real. i have a ‘ shopping mentor’ of sorts who tells me to only buy Chanel and LV bags and to save money on everything else.

    the B by Brian Atwood line is made in China. it should be less than Louboutin and other luxury brands that are not.

  18. wanted to add that I have been on the hunt for the perfect pair of cigarette pants for eons.

    i am surprised a great pair of boots was’t mentioned or the perfect pair of flats

    anyway i have all the items mentioned which means i should stop shopping–not gonna happen though! :)

  19. Bay2thaA says:

    Phenomenal rundown!

  20. t-fal says:

    great post!!!

  21. Very timely and helpful post! I am in the process of updating my wardrobe and was wondering which items I should splurge vs save on. Thank FBD! :)

  22. T says:

    This was a phenomenal post. I’ve read so many of these so called “lists” time after time but this one takes the cake. I can’t wait to go shopping!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I love this post so much I’m printing it out and posting on my inspiration board. I’m 28, at that age where I am really coming into my own as a women and I think all these pieces are absolutely essential. Thanks so much for this post!

  24. binks says:

    Timely and great post

  25. Bie says:

    what about leather pants for the fall/ winter?!?!

  26. royalpriestess says:

    Great suggestions… I agree that an easy jersey dress is essential, and not necessarily DVF… I would also add a white shirt (with some unique detail i.e. studded collar, unusual buttons, etc.), a great pair of jeans and a classy watch. Oh, also a pair of sunglasses.

  27. Andrea says:

    Thank you! This is why I love your site! You helped me so much. I recently lost a lot of weight and I have to buy a whole new wardrobe and this post has really helped me figure out where to invest my money. You rock!

  28. Natasha says:

    Black pencil skirt is essential. Works night and day. Can be dressed up with a silk blouse and jewelry or dressed down with a cardi and flats. Classic!

  29. Dee says:

    Great post!

  30. Marthe says:

    This is what I needed before I go shopping, I’m tired of buying things I wear for 3 weeks (and then never again). Thanks for this great post!

  31. ANG says:

    Love This List But I Would Suggest A Trench Coat, A Great Watch Preferably Gold Links, Blue Jean Jacket, A LBD: Little Black Dress, LWD: Little Whie Dress, LLD: Little Leopard Dress & LRD: Little Red Dress Are Great Investment Pieces

  32. Blackbuttafly says:

    Simeone help me out…..if im darker skinned like say viola davis or gabby union, and want a nude shoe, what colour do i wear?

  33. Belinda Hunt says:

    I love that you mentioned a great COAT! I find they always get forgotten as investment pieces.

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