One of the questions we get asked the most is: What pieces should I invest in? While we firmly believe in considering every purchase, there are a few that are truly worth the delayed gratification of an investment, and those which can be picked up at a smart price point.
This high/low dressing formula is one of the savviest styling tricks going and something we rely on time and again for our own closets. The key to success is identifying those particular pieces that necessitate a big spend, thanks to their longevity, durability and ability to elevate the rest of your collection. Then it’s a case of selecting the smart-priced treasures that deliver on quality to pair with them. We’ve scoured this season’s offerings and handpicked pieces in both categories. So, if you’re looking for guidance on where to splurge and where to save, read on.
When working out what to invest in, it helps to understand what is expensive to make and what isn’t. Good tailoring is labour-intensive, therefore it will cost – and any corners cut are immediately noticeable. By spending a little more to get that truly perfect fit, beautiful cut, exquisite fabric and considered detailing, you will ensure you have a piece that always looks on point and will lend premium polish to a pair of high-street jeans and a blouse. We consider Isabel Marant one of the best designers for blazers and love the versatility of this style. Wear it as a spring cover-up or use it as an extra layer over dresses and under coats in cool weather. The oversized fit lends itself to being dressed both up and down, spanning multiple occasions and dress codes.
Dresses are a mainstay of our wardrobes and one of the simplest ways to dress stylishly all year round. While it’s easy to pick up luxe-looking high-street cotton styles for summer, when it comes to winter-ready iterations, it pays to spend a little more. Firstly, fabrics need to be heavier; think velvet, corduroy and silk. Secondly, prints are more intricate and ornate, so need to be original. As silhouettes tend to be less floaty, cuts need to be elegant and colours intense. All of which takes that little extra investment. Ulla Johnson masters the winter dress, doing all of the above, as well as introducing elevating details such as ruffles and covered buttons. So special are her pieces, they can happily be paired with a smart-priced knit and footwear of the moment, which this season is the chunky flat boot.
We’ve lost count of the times we’ve sung the praises of a trench coat; however, such are its magic powers that we can’t help sing them a little more. Designed by Thomas Burberry in the 1920s, the classic silhouette has hardly changed, and with good reason: it is truly timeless. What’s more, it suits all ages, figures and sartorial styles – no wonder it’s Laura’s ultimate forever piece. Such enduring appeal makes it one of the smartest investments you can ever make; this is a piece guaranteed to look as good in 50 years as it does now. The best part? Team it with smart-priced separates and they are immediately elevated. We love the idea of it layered over a knitted dress and leopard boots for an easy cool-weather outfit.
There are a handful of shoe styles that can be considered authentic classics, and the Chelsea boot is one of them. Its preppy appeal has proved perennially stylish, aided by the fact that it’s practical and goes with everything from masculine tailoring to feminine dresses. Guaranteed to be on heavy rotation in your wardrobe, it makes sense to invest in a premium-quality pair that will last. We consider Church’s the ultimate cost-per-wear buy, thanks to its refined, flattering shape and exquisite-quality leather. Use them to up the ante of your smart-priced tailored trousers and crisp shirting.
When it comes to motifs, none is more timeless than a Breton stripe. The nautical-inspired print has been at the very forefront of style ever since Coco Chanel donned a striped marinière and sailor pants in the 1930s, paving the way for sartorial icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Edie Sedgwick to follow suit. A signifier of effortless chic, this is a piece you will never regret investing in. For autumn/winter wear, it’s wise to add a luxurious knitted version to your wardrobe that will add interest to plain, cold-weather separates. Try pairing it with a denim midi skirt and boots.
It is a truth universally known that a great bag can add polish to any outfit and is therefore a smart piece on which to spend a little extra. As with any investment, longevity is key, so it’s important to look for styles with classic lines and minimal hardware that won’t easily date – after all, this is something you want to be wearing year after year. Though it might be tempting to opt for traditional black, there’s a lot to be said for going brighter. Red is a clever colour choice, being all-season, versatile and making just the right amount of a statement. Gucci’s shoulder bag is the perfect everyday size and comes with the brand’s signature horsebit detailing – a design classic. It gives a casual denim boiler suit and winter accessories instant star quality.
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