January 20, 2016 - Ask Alison, Style

Ask Alison: Three Wardrobe Pieces to Invest In

Ask Alison Wardrobe Pieces to Invest In2

Today’s Ask Alison video addresses a question I get asked by readers on a regular basis – what wardrobe pieces are worth the investment.

Alison – I’ve heard you say to invest in classic pieces for your wardrobe that stand the test of time.  What pieces do you recommend investing in and how much should I spend on them?

In the following video, I share three wardrobe items that are always worth the investment plus some advice on budgeting for your own investment item bucket list.

Three Wardrobe Pieces Worth the Investment
What NOT to Invest In

There are also some items that you should steer clear of spending much on.  For example,

  • Trends – Trendy items are usually only in style for one season.  If it feels overly trendy, then it probably is.  If you’re unsure, buy an inexpensive version and if it proves to have longevity you can always upgrade it at a later date.
  • Jewelry – Unless it’s the real deal, don’t invest much into costume jewelry.
  • Tees and Tanks – These are all basically made from the same materials and something you’ll want to replace on a regular basis, especially if you regularly wear them as an under layer.
It’s Your Turn:  I want to know what’s on your investment bucket list.  Tell me three items that you’d love to own (or already have) in the comments below.
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57 Comments

  • Great job on the video Alison, I completely agree with the philosophy of owning less but better quality! I always invest in quality bags, boots and jeans, Those are 3 of my fave pieces so it’s def. worth it to me. I also agree with not investing in very trendy pieces or costume jewelry.
    Marta
    http://www.sweatersstripesandsweets.com

    • Great minds think alike Marta. 🙂

    • Karen

      Thank you for the great information. I also love TJ Max for purses. Sometimes buying clothes I try to buy many at a cheap price instead of investing in less pieces for better quality.

  • Stacy

    This was great, Alison. Jeans are the other investment item for me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for reading Stacy.

  • Jenn

    I’ve been meaning to upgrade the quality of the cashmere sweaters I buy. I can’t wear wool and I’m not a fan of acrylic so if I need a warm sweater I look for cashmere. I usually buy it at TJMaxx and the quality is ok but I’m ready to buy some more classic pieces that will last a few years. Now that my wardrobe is under control thanks to your challenges, I focus on buying higher quality pieces when I replace items.

    You’ve got me convinced to check out the more expensive bags at TJMaxx. I always look at the the cheaper ones, the ones without the fancy alarm. But I’m so picky about bags and I haven’t found anything I like. So next time I’m in there I’ll check out the better bags.

    • The right bag will come along. I know you’ll find it soon!

  • BP

    Gray wool pea coat, mid rise boots, leather satchel. I also think jeans should always be great quality — they fit so much better!!

    • I’ll keep my eye out for a gray wool pea coat for you!

  • Nancy

    I agree on the items you mentioned. I have never really done that with my purses until this season. I wanted to try a smaller cross body bag and invested In a Fossil bag and I really have enjoyed carrying it. I would really like to invest in a Michael Kors bag soon. I think also a good pair of khakis is a good item to splurge a bit on. Khakis are such a key piece in my wardrobe that it’s important that they last and look good for a long time.

  • Beth

    Although I have always felt that the (3) items (purses, coats, shoes) were important to have as good quality, hearing the reasons behind your choices really put a new spin on it for me.

    A Bathing Suit is another item I find to be an investment piece. A good fitting, flattering bathing suit can be extremely hard to find, but once I find it, I do not worry about the price tag. If I can get (3) seasons out of that suit, its a win for me.

    Thanks for of your great posts!

  • Tracy Marsh

    Alison – This is right on! I also learned the lesson of cheap purses and shoes and now buy quality things, and only one at a time. My other investment pieces are a double breasted blazer and regular blazer from Talbots. I have had them since the late 90’s and keep them dry cleaned and covered in the summer when it is too warm here in Montana to wear them! I have also invested in a bright colored spring blazer from Austin Reed for spring\summer and a light weight black blazer for summer.

    Love GYPO!!! I am a member for life!!! 🙂

    • Tracy – thank you for being a member for life. 😉 I can’t wait to see your blazers in an upcoming challenge. 😉

  • Debbie Nowakowski

    I definitely agree with having a quality purse. I have one that I love which is blue leather. It was ordered during a during a special on GMA and got it half price. Love it! My boots are not quality-dying for a pair of Frye boots. Also, one other thing I really want is a mink jacket-that is not so in these days. I have a mink stroller that was my mom’s. Have not worn it but plan too. On Pinterest it is styled with jeans. Really cute! My jeans I get from JJill, Macy’s or Target. What type of quality jeans do you recommend?

  • Lisa C in Dallas

    I invest in good quality purses and boots. I buy the purses when they are on sale at Dillards and then an additional 40% off. I’ve bought really nice $300 bags for $60-$70. I also buy my boots on sale. I will also invest in a nice dress coat – one that I wear to winter weddings, church, etc.

    • I love a good sale! You are shopping smart!

  • Belinda Rosenberg

    Great video!!
    On my list would be nice boots, blazer or jacket and classic accessories that will last.

    • Thanks Belinda. Great list with the classic accessories!

  • KLE

    Classic watch- received a Tag Heuer as a combination birthday/wedding anniversary gift and have worn it every day for 10 years. It is indestructible, acts as understated elegant jewelry, and matches everything, in addition to bring practical. (Cheaper than a Rolex or diamond earrings, but just as nice).
    Cashmere- seasonless (usually), makes an every day outfit nicer, can be thrown over a pair of pastel shorts for a summer night, or with jeans or any type of skirt.
    Purse/shoes- found a medium size unembellished metallic Fossil tote shape bag on end of season sale; it’s seasonless & matches most things. I am looking to invest in a saddle colored bag this year. Same with boots- real leather, classic shapes without extra embellishments and they go with everything & last.
    This year I invested in 2 pairs of napa leather flats (on sale mid season)- again, they’re nice but not too fussy & match everything.
    Lastly- I hate that a small item like a bra costs so much, but am willing to pay for the one that fits great. It makes a big difference that they fit smoothly & feel good under your clothes. My favorite was discontinued a few years ago & I did a nationwide search and bought up several from a store 1000 miles away. Wacoal comes close, so I keep an eye out for sales on them.

  • Kati

    Great video! I’m saving up for my LV bag that I should be able to get in a few weeks! My husband is freaking out about the cost but I plan to use it for the rest of my life and leave it to one of my daughters! This time of year is a great time to find a pair of Frye boots on sale at Nordstrom Rack or Anthropologie!

    • I can’t wait to see what LV bag you will get. They are worth the wait. You are so sweet to pass it down to one of your daughters!

  • Kathleen Shrader

    I completely agree with investing in a quality purse, boots and winter coat. I finally invested in a quality name brand leather handbag 6 years ago which I am still using. I also would add well made and correctly fitting under garments to the must-haves. My bucket list includes cognac colored boots (which I am hoping to find at the end of the season on sale); & spring weight car length coat, name a couple.

  • Lori

    I agree with you about a good quality leather purse and shoes. The other thing I’m willing to spend on are nice jewelry pieces. I am a big fan of David Yurman and while I don’t have a lot of it, I wear it almost every day. I think classic jewelry can make even a very simple outfit look classy and put together.

    • What’s your favorite classic jewelry Lori? I love having new ideas. 🙂

  • Libby

    I completely agree with your list, and those are my “investment items”. Living in Houston, a trench coat is about all I ever need, so I get a lot of wear out of it. I also bellieve a classic blazer (black or navy) is a must-have, and I agree with Jenn’s comments about cashmere sweaters – an upgrade over wool or acrylic that is so worth it! Thanks, Alison!

    • Thank you for sharing your list with me Libby. Where did you get your trench coat?

  • Susie

    I have a leather bag on my investment list, but I really like to buy items that help others; so I have a bag picked out at Noonday Collection. I need to save for it, but I know it will be worth it! And, it feels good knowing it will help others!
    This fall, I was able to invest in great boots which I love!! Through a super sale, reward dollars and Christmas gift money I bought my first pair of Frye boots and they are so worth it! I know I won’t have to worry about boots for a very long time now!
    And lastly for me, I want to invest in a really good pair of made in u.s.a. jeans! I have a pair picked out, but I already own so many great jeans that this is on my list but after the purse!
    Thanks for the great tips on investment pieces! 🙂

    • Frye boots!! Always wonderful to wear, Susie. I love your investment list!

  • Kelly Rogers

    I share the same sentiment when it comes to investment pieces: bag, boots, and coat. Something that I invest in that makes me feel good is a really good haircut. I travel often and will check out a salon in a big city and go to a reputable stylist. It is nice to see what someone who doesn’t know you or your hair ruts will do with your look. I’ve never been disappointed.

    • Great investment! I have never thought of the haircut idea. I’m going to try that when my hair grows out again.

    • nancy

      Oh that’s the truth! Who cares what you are wearing when your hair looks lame. A great haircut and a great purse can make anything (almost) look better.
      I do wear expensive shoes but that’s difficult because my feet are complicated and wide. Wide feet = shoemakers thinking you are really into ugly shoes. Right now I live in Seattle and they seem to love some ugly shoes. But, I am from the South and it’s hurts me in my heart to wear some of these styles. However, I am grateful to have feet, not everyone does.

      • I agree with you completely Nancy!

  • cjcsissy

    My bucket list items are as follows:
    Louis Vuitton neverfull
    Burberry trench
    Hunter rainboots

    • Perfect bucket list cjcsissy.

  • My investment pieces are shoes and jeans. I get bored with purses too fast so I can’t justify spending too much for it (I buy mine at TJ Maxx)
    I also wrote a post recently on how to buy designer jeans for less than $40. Even on my investment pieces I will never pay full price
    http://fashionchallengeblog.blogspot.com/2016/01/tj-maxx-raise-double-savings.html

  • My investment pieces are shoes and Jeans. I get bored with purses too fast to spend a lot on them.
    Even on my investment pieces I would never pay a full price. There are always good sales you can find. I recently wrote post on how to buy $200 designer jeans for less than $40.
    http://fashionchallengeblog.blogspot.com/2016/01/tj-maxx-raise-double-savings.html

    • Irina, thank you for sharing your post. Good sales for shoes and jeans are an added bonus!

  • Tamara

    I live in Hawaii and have a very casual lifestyle. I just invested in two handmade leather handbags (one small cross body and one tote) and two handmade leather sandal (one cute red slave sandals and one dark brown crossover slip on) fromSoulshoes Raglan, New Zealand and they are not fancy but are high quality and go with my lifestyle. I love them.

    • What brand sandal do you have? It sounds perfect.

  • Athena

    Loved your video! I agree on your choice of investment pieces and also consider sunglasses and eyeglasses important investment pieces as I wear them everyday. I am also a sucker for Edwardian jewelry. When I traveled for work, I had two (one navy and one black) that were my staple “power suits” and high quality luggage. My bucket list consists of a long Edwardian European cut emerald and platinum necklace.

    • Thank you for watching Athena. I love your bucket list!

  • Debbie hunckler

    Alison,I agree with your investment piece choices. Two others which I think are important are a quality watch and a good pair of black dress pants. I cannot tell you how many times I reach for both whether I am going to work or out for the evening. I own a Michele watch which I purchased after a work promotion late in my career. EVERYTIME I wear it it reminds me of all the hard work it took to be able to afford it and I feel lucky that I was able to buy without any guilt or regret. I have told my children to do the same when they get to that point in their lives and to always be generous with others but to treat themselves once or twice as well. It is important to make yourself feel ” worthy ” of a splurge!

    • The Michele watches are beautiful. Which shape and color do you have Debbie? I love the way you think. It’s important to treat ourselves once or twice too!

  • Valerie K

    Great video. I bought my bucket list bag from Parker Clay http://parkerclay.com/shop/zip-tote last year for my birthday and I know it will last me for a very long time (plus it helps support a very good cause). My other investment staples are a great black suit and a great navy suit — both from Ann Taylor Outlet. When something fits you well and is well made, it can last forever — you just have to change the blouses and accessories.

    • Valerie, what beautiful zip tote from Parker Clay! I love how big it is.

  • danajscraps

    So, bucket list items include real leather boots in black, brown and at least one other color, a Burberry trench would be AWESOME and I am already working on upgrading my purse choices. 🙂

    As far as additional items I’d consider worthy of investing in: UNDERGARMENTS!!! Being a very busty, but short woman, I MUST have a good bra or everything else I put on looks awful. Foundation, foundation, foundation, lol.

    • I can agree with you on a great foundation Dana. 😉

  • Emma

    Hello Alison,
    Thanks for this post, totally agree with you. Just one question – what colour handbag would you go for? I really want to buy a nice leather bag, and being a Mum of two kids under 3, it also has to be practical (probably a cross body style, or something bigger but that has a shoulder strap as I do need to carry nappies, snacks etc).
    But I can’t decide on colour! In the winter, I’d probably go with black or dark red/purple, in the summer, maybe tan? Though I don’t think tan really suits me… What would you advise? Or do you manage with one bag throughout the seasons, and if so, what colour is it? As I want a nice quality bag, I want to buy something quite pricey, but not sure I can stretch to two bags in two colours!
    (I don’t like grey, white or beige colours.)
    Any advice for me? What type of bag did you carry when your kids were little?

    • The safest color for a handbag would be neutral. That way, no matter what outfit you wear, it will go with it. If I had to choose one bag that I would wear throughout the seasons, I would keep it cognac.

  • Christina Kealoha

    Those are good investment pieces that you chose. I think that for me it would be a good fitting bra, a good pair of jeans and a nice watch.

    • Perfect investment pieces, Christina!

  • Chris

    My 3 investment pieces are: a quality handbag, shoes and well fitting pants. I am still looking for the perfect bag. I have found some quality shoes and pants that I feel are in the investment arena. For me it is important to invest in good shoes as I wear a size 5, which is difficult to find, so when I do find a pair, I like to go for high quality.

    • Sending you positive shopping vibes for the perfect bag! 🙂

  • I agree with your three, I would add that I need several high quality reasonably comfortable pair of high heels (black, navy, brown). I want my imagine to be conservative and high quality; for the office or the courtroom, I have found that in addition to high quality boots, I value my expensive heels from Nordstrom. They are plain, but not ugly, and reasonable comfortable. Conservative work clothing is not complete without a high quality pair of heels.

    • I didn’t think of that. Great investment to add onto the list!

  • Julie Shipley Hoos

    Thanks for sharing this vlog(?)! I think when you posted this I was busy helping my son & his wife. You may not remember me, but I’m the one whose 7yo grandson was diagnosed with ALL last August (& who just recently returned home after a 2mo hospital stay).
    While I’ve always stressed quality over quantity with my children, I’ve sadly not always followed those rules!
    So, my suggestions to my daughters have been (quality & fit being the key): a white T-shirt, a white or ivory blouse, navy & black blazers, ditto skirts, a boot cut jean, a straight leg jean, nude heels, black heels, brown & black tall boots, hunters, trench coat, neutral cashmere sweaters (v-neck & cardigan). I rarely carried purses until my own daughters got me into them, so adding that to their list will be a good thing.

    My bucket list:
    A Chanel neutral evening bag
    If I could ever afford it, a Birkin bag, otherwise some classic bag. I’m not big on paying a lot of money to carry what is basically an advertisement, as many purses seem to be, so I don’t have a brand in mind
    Perfect nude heels
    A classic navy dress, an LND rather than an LBD

    • I am loving your bucket list Julie. I’d love to see what classic navy dress you pick out.