• Tue, Nov 9 2010

Do You “Invest” In Fashion?

Fashion glossies have kind of a skewed understanding of the word “investment.”

Or at least that’s what I think after years of thumbing through Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and seeing statements like, “This black trapeze coat is a great investment piece,” or “These such and such [name of designer]s are a perfect investment shoe.”

I like the concept, actually, of “investing” money in a piece from which you will metaphorically profit by its endless wearability. In other words, it seems like sensible “investment piece” means something you can wear for seasons to come, for ever and ever: a simple black wool coat, a classic belted trench, a subtly sexy LBD.

But whenever I see the phrase in a glossy, it’s seldom used to describe a truly timeless coat or dress, but rather appears to circumvent the (self-aware?) writer’s embarrassment at suggesting to you, the consumer, with a straight face that you should in fact spend $2,500 on a pair of fucking shoes.

So I’m a little divided. I think the idea makes sense: spend a little more than usual on something that will never look out of fashion, something you will always use, something that will look smart at any age with myriad styling. But has “investment” been bastardized into a simple short-hand for “spend a shitload of money”?

Over to you.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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  • Rose

    I’v always felt an “investment piece” is something that you’re willing to spend extra money on in order to get an article of clothing that is of such high quality and timeless style that it can be worn for years without needing to be replaced. So a perfectly tailored pinstripe suit or a perfect heather grey crewneck cashmere sweater would count as an investment, but a pair of leather leggings or hot pink strappy sandals…. not so much.

  • RedHoney

    I do buy “investment” pieces…black leather pumps, great trench coat, etc. Worth the money..
    Last forever…excellent idea.

  • Giambattista Valli

    Investments stand the test of time (cut, wear and tear, fabric, sewing, lines…) and are worth the additional cost if they take you decades beyond their purchase date. I just purchased my first Chanel suit, and I can’t wait to wear it for the next 20 or more years (sparingly). As for shoes, if you take them to the cobbler before the leather sole ever touches the pavement, they will last as long as you take care of them. Boucle, simple colors and a cobbler are a woman’s best friends.

    • Jen Dziura

      Wait, what does the cobbler do to your shoes before you ever wear them??? What do I not know here???

    • Ashley Cardiff

      I’ve never done this–gotten my shoes resoled before wearing them–but I know a few smart ladies who SWEAR BY IT. They claim that the small extra fee is worth the shoes (apparently) lasting forever.

  • Jen Dziura

    I don’t disagree with the other commenters that certain fashion buys will last you a long time and make you glad you bought them. But that’s still a smart “purchase.” Not exactly an “investment.” I mean, it’s not like when SATCII came out, you were able to sell your circa 1997 Manolo Blahniks at a profit.

    • Eileen

      Exactly!

      “Investing in fashion” is buying stock in the company, not buying its products.

  • Jennifer Wright

    Resoling your shoes immediately after you get them is the best idea ever, and it adds years to their lifespan.

  • Sheri Falk

    Women wear 20% of their clothes, 80% of the time. So why not “invest” in a few good pieces. It keeps things simple, affordable and if you choose the pieces correctly, incredibly chic. This is actually the basis for my line of clothing.

    Sheri Falk

    http://www.basiques.com