It’s a long one, so grab yourself a drink (and possibly a little snack) and get comfortable…
I get asked a lot about investment pieces, in particular what I really consider to be worth the investment. So I have shared my thoughts (and suggestions).
I have created an edit of all my favourite investment pieces (and yes, some of the prices are pretty eye-watering (have your drops handy), but I have a very broad audience in terms of spending habits, and always have this in mind when we’re putting our edits together. I am clearly not suggesting you should be buying many of the pieces (or indeed any), but I am sharing things that I genuinely love and consider to be great buys. Many of which I already have in my own wardrobe. Most are timeless classics, but not all. Sometimes I want something different from an investment purchase, such as the ability to elevate an outfit by tapping into a particular trend (not to be confused with passing fads/anything gimmicky – no thank you. Been there, done that. You live, you learn). Anyway we’ll get to those later.
I have also shared things I personally have invested in over the years, that I have never regretted, plus have paid for themselves ten times over in the ‘cost per wear’ calculation.
Obviously these selects (scroll down) are not going to be for everybody, but if you are in the market for a bit of a splurge/treat (and the beginning of a new season is probably one of the best times to do this, or bookmark for the sales – you might get lucky!); or perhaps, like me, you have a ‘big’ birthday coming up and have been asked for suggestions? This is where I would start.
ps: as Douceur is all about the ‘hi-lo’ mix, we will also be sharing an ‘Under £150 Edit’ soon. Fear not, where there’s high, there’s low.
My Isabel Marant tweed blazer (this one is pretty similar) is probably the most-worn piece in my wardrobe. Bought two Winter’s ago (or it is three?), it was a splurge for sure (possibly the most I have ever spent on one item of clothing), and I actually almost returned it (was it too ‘Geography teacher needs Cagney & Lacey?), but it’s since paid for itself countless times. If you were to invest in just one piece this Winter (and you like my style/have a similar personal style), I wouldn’t hesitate in staying that piece should be a blazer (ideally tweed and oversized). I wear mine with literally everything – jeans, dresses (long, short, midi), jumpsuits – I have yet to find anything that it doesn’t look great with (for day or evening). Now that is an investment.
Watches & Jewellery
I have a classic Hermès ‘H’ watch that I wear every day that Tom bought me (as a surprise) for Christmas not long after we met (I know). I’d actually featured it in a story I styled in Paris for Glamour, where I worked at the time, and fell in love with its timeless style – gold hardware, brown leather strap (that over time faded to the perfect tan). Tom went to the store with a picture torn out from the magazine (I know). A perfect example of an investment piece that has never dated, and that I am yet to tire of. This was back in 2007, and it’s only now that I need to replace the leather strap (I’m thinking of going for black this time).
I have also gradually added to my gold jewellery slowly over the years – mostly necklaces and bracelets. I love Alighieri and have a couple of their necklaces that I love.
I don’t feel like knitwear styles really change that much (well, not the ones I want to wear anyway), so I don’t trend to buy a lot of knitwear (even though I literally live in jumpers (with jeans) throughout the Winter. I also keep favourites (high street and designer) for years and years (all in neutral colours). Favourite styles for me would include a cream cable knit jumper, boyfriend style oversized ribbed cardigan, a slouchy v-neck (preferably cashmere), a neat-fitting sleeveless jumper (great for wearing over those Summer/white dresses), a chunky roll-neck, a chunky Fair Isle, and some kind of stripe/Breton. I have my eye on this from one of absolute favourites, Navygrey. I also LOVE this.
I invest in one pair of designer (usually ankle) boots every Winter. Usually Isabel again (what can I say, I just love what she does (always have, and her pieces always feel very me). These are not boots that I am saving for best; these are boots that I will be trotting around in most days between the months of October-May. They need to earn their keep, and they need to work hard at elevating whatever I’m wearing them with. They need to work with (my Winter uniform of) jeans as well as dresses (short, long and midi), I know, I expect a lot. But then I am spending a lot – I want a return on my investment. These are top of my Wish List, as are these (although less versatile than an ankle boot, I love a tall boot with dresses, and is the perfect way of transitioning your Summer dresses into Winter).
I also love these Alaïa platform boots (also loved by Kate Moss). They not necessarily a ‘timeless classic’, but they would still be a great investment in my opinion. Put it this way, if I had the budget to buy more than 1-2 pairs of boots this Winter (I don’t), I would be seriously considering these. Because they are FAB. Not for every day trotting, no. But imagine with a favourite pair of jeans and a chunky oversized roll-neck jumper? Or with a gorgeous little dress and black tights for a party? I mean, yes please! Also, they are black suede. If they were purple tulle, then obviously that would be a hard no.
Now you know I love a dress, and I have a wardrobe full to prove it. But I don’t buy that many expensive ones (and yes, I fully accept how lucky I am to be given some beautiful ones as gifts from brands, that I treasure), so when I do, I am careful with my choices. I love and wear white dresses year-round (this one is just beautiful, and firmly on my Winter radar), so I’m not shy about adding a new one to the gang; but equally I love a (subtle) print, velvet, tulle, mini – I am so much braver with my dress hemlines during the Winter when the black opaques are back in business. I LOVE a short dress with ballet flats/flat boots. Am I pushing my luck as I teeter on the precipice of 50? Possibly? Do I care? No. But let’s not go there (so tedious…). The fact that you’re reading this in the first place probably means you’re not buying into those (hugely dated) theories about what women should and shouldn’t (or worse, can and cannot wear) be wearing after a certain age. Let’s leave that to our friends at The Daily Mail.
A great coat can literally transform an outfit, and in more than one way too. Many years ago when I was a Fashion Assistant at Marie Claire (on a very modest salary), part of my job was to attend the bi-annual fashion shows. The stress of what to wear was real – this was a whole other league from dressing for the office, appointments etc. But I always remember my friend’s sister, who was a fashion editor at Vogue at the time, saying “you just need one great coat”. She was talking about the Spring/Summer collections, which we went to in February and March. She was right. In the Winter we’re in outerwear so much, it almost doesn’t matter what’s underneath! So choose your coat wisely. If your coat purchases are considered ones (regardless of the investment), you can then build a coat collection, which is what I have done gradually over the years. I now pretty much have every style of coat I need (the latest addition being this one from Hobbs, which really is a beautiful coat I have to say – the quality is incredible). I am not saying I will never buy another coat, but it will probably be one of my most-worn styles, as that just makes sense, and can justify the purchase.
I crowd-funded one birthday (around six years ago I think? Or could be longer?) for this Jérôme Dreyfus Bobbi bag (it was lot less exppensive then), which I was obsessed with. It quickly became my most-worn (used?) bag ever. I literally used it every single day for about two years. I still have it, and still use it, and it still looks immaculate. Literally like new. And if you didn’t know, Jérôme Dreyfus is Isabel Marant’s boyfriend. Which all makes sense.
I also have a (pre-loved) Chanel bag, a Vuitton monogrammed Speedy (copied from one of my coolest friends, a NYC/LA based fashion photographer – I carried that bag solidly for months and months – I love it with the simplest, most low-key of outfits (never anything remotely dressy) – jumpers, jeans, ballet flats/boots. Again, it looks like new. Plus a great thing to pass onto my daughter one day if she wants it.
I have a burgundy Chloé saddle bag (a gift when I was a fashion editor at The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine), which are all still very much part of my ‘active collection’ of bags. The Chanel is probably a close second to the Jerome in terms of cost-per-wear (although it’s looking a little worse for wear as the leather is calfskin, which scratches so easily. But nothing a little stint in one of those amazing handbag restoring places can’t fix I’m sure (I hope!). My bags are for using – I do not buy bags to sit on shelves looking pretty.
Similar to knitwear, my wardrobe is definitely not made up of a lot of ‘designer’ denim. I think it’s a harder one to justify, as there are just so many high street/mid-market brands doing such great denim these days (and often made in the same factories as their designer friends). Having said this, probably my favourite pair of jeans ever were my Acne black skinny (they were the perfect skinny, i.e. not too skinny – more of a skinny-straight hybrid) jeans (as worn/loved by one of my style crushes, Sofia Copola) which I bought back in 2013. I think a great pair of designer jeans do have a place in a fabulous, hard working wardrobe, but for me personally, I would say they don’t work as hard for their money as say a blazer/coat/bag/pair of boots. But if you find a pair of jeans that you love, that fit you like a dream and your feel fantastic in (regardless of the price tag – high or low), I would definitely recommend buying. I just don’t think that necessarily needs to be an expensive purchase.
Now we get to my treasured Manolo patent Mary Janes (loved forever, and the obsession cemented by their unforgettable cameo in Sex & The City in Season 4 when Carrie visits the Vogue fashion closet), which I bought for my childrens’ christening back in 2010. I still wear them (even if they are little worse for wear – they’ve seen some good times!).
I also have these from Carel (another present from Tom – three Christmases ago), which are fab if you prefer your heels are bit more on the studier side. They are super-comfy and I love them with a floor-skimming flared jean.
Whilst we’re talking shoes, a great high (sexy, but in a low-key way) sandal has always served me well (Isabel Marant, unsurprisingly being my go-to, as she always does the perfect blend of pretty, but also cool). I have quite a few pairs, but all still very much in rotation – black, silver, gold, black and silver. I would definitely recommend a metallic sandal as it will go with so much, and I particularly love them with trousers – slouchy khaki ones being my favourite. Or a ‘barely there’ super-simple, chic high sandal. They will literally go with everything. Fact.
A chic little statement flat will always be chic and cool. With a slightly cropped jean, crew neck jumper, blazer/coat – perfect.
Watches & Jewellery
Main image: Isabel Marant