Investment dressing, along with keeping an indoor plant alive and confidently ordering a bottle of wine for the table that isn't just the second from the top, is something you might well have envisioned would come with adulthood.
Ashley Olsen (left) and Mary-Kate Olsen’s label The Row is a lesson in ‘investment dressing.’Credit:AP
Investment dressing is decisive and grown-up. It's the MO of someone who is confident and no longer susceptible to fickle fashion trends; a higher being who won't succumb to the allure of glitter drop crotch pants on the half-off table.
It's owning things like a "timepiece" (not a watch) and a pair of black pumps you can wear with everything.
Phoebe Philo's Celine and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's The Row are the dream wardrobes of the investment dresser, though the more realistic option is a shirt and nice trousers from COS and some cashmere from Uniqlo that you, as the fashion magazines sagely advise on the quest to look "expensive", pair with a "splurge" item (a Chanel 2.55 bag, if you will, or a Burberry trench).
The pin-ups of investment dressing tend to be people like Caroline Bessette Kennedy, whose minimalist style is still slavishly followed some 20 years after her death with the @carolynbessette Instagram account (and who remains the ultimate inspiration for wearing a crisp white shirt). Other chic women such as Chanel ambassador Caroline de Maigret and Swedish blogger turned fashion designer Elin Kling might feature on an investment dressing mood board.
Grace, played by Jane Fonda, in the TV show Grace and Frankie is an ideal pop culture example, what with all her neutral cashmere and smart blazers.
The general consensus is that buying a few really good pieces which work with everything in your wardrobe, and which feature a "classic with a twist" aesthetic, is a good life decision. And it is. However, a true fashion investment is something you truly love and which says something about who you really are. That might well be glitter MC Hammer pants. Let's not be assigning morality to beige cashmere rollnecks.
But, is fashion really a good "investment"? Unless you're keeping collected sneakers and couture in climate controlled rooms, or bidding for rare items at auction (for anybody interested some of Princess Diana’s aspirational athleisure is about to go under the hammer), are you really investing when you spend big on items?
The line touted recently about a Chanel 2.55 bag being a better investment than property (because it has risen in value 250 per cent between 2004 and 2018 according to handbag index justcollecting.com) was awfully appealing.
Though, as Chris Kohler noted for Domain in comparing the outlay and returns on both, you can't live in a handbag. And you don't want to end up like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City (a cautionary rather than aspirational tale!) with her $40,000 spent on shoes and nowhere to live.
But, even as tastes change, there are some items that may well stand up as investments. I mean, an Hermes Birkin sold for $448,514 in 2016.
According to Fanny Moizant, founder of luxury resale website Vestiaire Collective (which last month completed a fundraising round of over $65 million for further international expansion), some items truly hold their value. These include Hermes bags, which she says continue to increase their value over time, Cartier Tank watches and the Alhambra collection from French jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels.
Moizant has also noticed the return of that '90s/early oughts classic the "It Bag", with the Dior Saddle (which was reimagined by Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior last year ) increasing its average selling price increase by 191 per cent year on year, and the Fendi Baguette (re-released by Fendi this year) going up 178 per cent year on year.
There's also the cult and cool factor when it comes to investing in fashion too.
"On the other end of the spectrum, there also cult collaboration item such as Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme, or the Nike X Sacai collaboration LDV waffle sneakers which can potentially give you big returns if you’re able to cash in at the right time and place," Moizant says.
Moizant is personally a fan of investment dressing for the reason many find most compelling: ease.
"I invest in quality pieces as I know if I love it I’ll wear it forever, I’m super strict and have a ‘one in one out’ wardrobe policy which means I’m super edited but I like to see everything in my wardrobe so I can get dressed quickly each morning," she says.
So if you equate the time saved in only having excellent quality pieces, then surely investment dressing is priceless?
Ultimately, the best investment for your wardrobe (and indeed the planet and your sense of self) is to only buy things you really love, not too many of them and in the best quality you can.
Tell that to your accountant, anyway.
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