The 6 Wardrobe Staples Worth Investment

I'm often asked how best to manage shopping for fashion; which items are worth investing in and which pieces are just as good from the high street.  To say there's a cut and dry formula for every woman would be wrong but I do believe there's certain wardrobe pieces that most women need and will give you a better cut, style and longevity if you invest in designer brands.  Equally, there's pieces that the high street do so brilliantly that I wouldn't consider investing  in so it's important to  get your shopping pounds to work hard for you.  

 
 

In response to this request I've designed a two part series focusing on designer brands versus high street.  The first blog post today looks at my edit of investment fashion from a range of designer brands whilst Friday's post will celebrate the best of the high street.  I've spent a few weeks scouring the stores to bring you the best from the current collections so I hope you find this interesting and useful.  As usual, I've linked all images so all you have to do is click and it'll take you to a vendor's site.

 
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The 6 Items Worth Your Pennies

The six items I suggest investing in are:

 
  1. A Trench Coat.  A great, versatile piece that works through Autumn, Winter and into Spring.   It keeps you dry and warm and can be layered with knitwear or other jackets, whilst also working well thrown over a t-shirt.
  2. A Classic Blazer.  I believe every woman should have a classic, black blazer in her wardrobe.  I like the ease of dressing with a blazer - it can be styled with jeans and a t-shirt for a smart casual look, with dress trousers and a shirt for a more formal look or over a dress for easy evening dressing.
  3. A Leather  Jacket.  Another great, ageless piece that becomes such a staple for day to night dressing and works with almost anything in your wardrobe....jeans, dresses, smart trousers, white shirts, knitwear.  Investment here is key to get longevity plus a good quality leather only improves with age and wear.
  4. An Everyday Handbag.  When I worked at Harrods, our Chief Merchant spoke of the importance of accessories dressing and was an advocate of having a great classic handbag that could work for meetings, shopping and evenings out.  I've invested in a few over the years and completely agree with this notion.  Not only should they be practical and multifunctional but a good bag will lift any outfit and last you for years.
  5. A Pair of Classic Heels.  I don't own many pairs of heels at all, I am much happier in flats.  However, a classic heel will make a difference to your overall silhouette and really lift an outfit.  I do believe that investing in a well-made designer shoe is worth it.  A good shoe from a more expensive brand does tend to be much more comfortable and easier to walk in.  They also last much longer.  I've had my Jimmy Choo patent stilettos for 5 years now and they are still as comfortable, fit perfectly and look fantastic with a host of outfits.
  6. A Pair of Great Flats.  If I'm going to wear a pair of shoes four plus times a week and expect them to look great with most outfits, then I feel it's worth investing.  Always opt for a classic style with a great fit.  The flats I've invested in I've had for years and they look as good now as they did on their first wear, if not better.
 

My Shopping Edit

 

The Trench coat

 
 THE FOREVER CLASSIC  Burberry Sandringham Mid-Length Heritage Trench Coat in Honey £1295.00  If you're ready to really invest in a life-long trench coat then I'd look no further than Burberry.  Known as the  'owners of the trench coat' they offer several styles, fits and lengths to suit all shapes, sizes and tastes.  I love the Sandringham option as it's slightly tailored without being too fitted plus looks as great open with the belt tied at the back as it does closed.  For me the mid-length is the most practical as it works with dresses and skirts as well as trousers and jeans.

THE FOREVER CLASSIC

Burberry Sandringham Mid-Length Heritage Trench Coat in Honey £1295.00

If you're ready to really invest in a life-long trench coat then I'd look no further than Burberry.  Known as the  'owners of the trench coat' they offer several styles, fits and lengths to suit all shapes, sizes and tastes.  I love the Sandringham option as it's slightly tailored without being too fitted plus looks as great open with the belt tied at the back as it does closed.  For me the mid-length is the most practical as it works with dresses and skirts as well as trousers and jeans.

 AN OVERSIZED OPTION  Sandro Oversized Trench Coat in Beige £345.00  I liked the modern edge of this trench.  The bracelet sleeve is a subtle style statement - perfect paired with this season's fluted sleeved shirts.  I played about with this for a while and loved it open best. I flung it over my leather jacket, which looked great and gave a practical yet modern look.

AN OVERSIZED OPTION

Sandro Oversized Trench Coat in Beige £345.00

I liked the modern edge of this trench.  The bracelet sleeve is a subtle style statement - perfect paired with this season's fluted sleeved shirts.  I played about with this for a while and loved it open best. I flung it over my leather jacket, which looked great and gave a practical yet modern look.

 CLASSIC WITH A TWIST  Aquascutum Picadilly Cape in Navy £650.00  I was pleasantly surprised at this modern twist on the traditional trench from Aquascutum.  The caped-style is a great way to add personality to an otherwise classic piece and can be fastened and worn in a number of ways.  I like the sleeves slightly rolled to reveal the signature check and then I cinch the waist to show the exaggerated shapes.  Wear now with shirting and light knits and come winter it's a  great option to throw over jackets as it's  shower proof - practical yet pretty!

CLASSIC WITH A TWIST

Aquascutum Picadilly Cape in Navy £650.00

I was pleasantly surprised at this modern twist on the traditional trench from Aquascutum.  The caped-style is a great way to add personality to an otherwise classic piece and can be fastened and worn in a number of ways.  I like the sleeves slightly rolled to reveal the signature check and then I cinch the waist to show the exaggerated shapes.  Wear now with shirting and light knits and come winter it's a  great option to throw over jackets as it's  shower proof - practical yet pretty!

 NEVER OUT OF STOCK  Hobbs Blue Saskia Trench £199.00  A true British institution, Hobbs is a great place to go for outwear and I've been a fan of their trench and overcoats for years.  The Saskia Trench is a never out of stock classic.  It's gently tailored so looks great over breton tees and shirting but if you're in the market for an overcoat I'd suggest sizing up.  Good option at a good price.

NEVER OUT OF STOCK

Hobbs Blue Saskia Trench £199.00

A true British institution, Hobbs is a great place to go for outwear and I've been a fan of their trench and overcoats for years.  The Saskia Trench is a never out of stock classic.  It's gently tailored so looks great over breton tees and shirting but if you're in the market for an overcoat I'd suggest sizing up.  Good option at a good price.

 

THE CLASSIC BLAZER

 
 THE WISH LIST PIECE  Balmain Double Breasted Blazer £1325.00  If I were to chose a 'forever' black blazer then this is it!  When I tried this on it  sculpted my shape to perfection both done up and unbuttoned.  The fabric is beautiful and he silver hardware gives it a lovely sophistication.

THE WISH LIST PIECE

Balmain Double Breasted Blazer £1325.00

If I were to chose a 'forever' black blazer then this is it!  When I tried this on it  sculpted my shape to perfection both done up and unbuttoned.  The fabric is beautiful and he silver hardware gives it a lovely sophistication.

 FOREVER STAPLE  Jacket with Button Fastening £345.00 by Sandro  I found this piece in Selfridges and was pleasantly surprised by how many classic blazer options Sandro had available including an internal belted option and a fluted sleeve style.  This classic shape was my favourite however, it fitted really beautifully and I liked the roll of the collar which was very flattering across my broad shoulders.

FOREVER STAPLE

Jacket with Button Fastening £345.00 by Sandro

I found this piece in Selfridges and was pleasantly surprised by how many classic blazer options Sandro had available including an internal belted option and a fluted sleeve style.  This classic shape was my favourite however, it fitted really beautifully and I liked the roll of the collar which was very flattering across my broad shoulders.

 THE WAIST CHINCHER  Bliz Belted Blazer by Escada £655.00  I found this piece when I was doing my research in Harrods and loved it.  Made from pure virgin wool it felt luxurious and the waist detail made it incredibly flattering.  The white buttons lend themselves perfectly to a strong monochromatic look yet look great with denim too.

THE WAIST CHINCHER

Bliz Belted Blazer by Escada £655.00

I found this piece when I was doing my research in Harrods and loved it.  Made from pure virgin wool it felt luxurious and the waist detail made it incredibly flattering.  The white buttons lend themselves perfectly to a strong monochromatic look yet look great with denim too.

 SINGLE BREASTED SIMPLICITY  Paris One Button Jacket by Jigsaw £198.00  Jigsaw is one of those great brands where you are always guaranteed to find high quality wardrobe staples at a great price.  What I particularly like is that they offer a full story in their tailored ranges so you can buy the matching trousers, dress and skirt if you wish.  This piece  was so simple yet effective and sat equally as well with a high necked shirt as it did with the more simple t-shirt option.

SINGLE BREASTED SIMPLICITY

Paris One Button Jacket by Jigsaw £198.00

Jigsaw is one of those great brands where you are always guaranteed to find high quality wardrobe staples at a great price.  What I particularly like is that they offer a full story in their tailored ranges so you can buy the matching trousers, dress and skirt if you wish.  This piece  was so simple yet effective and sat equally as well with a high necked shirt as it did with the more simple t-shirt option.

 

the leather jacket

 
 THE DREAM  Leather Biker Jacket by Acne Studios £1300.00  When I'm asked to recommend the ultimate leather jacket, Acne has been my go to.  The leather is so luxurious and buttery (as you would expect for the price) but the details make it feel super special; the polished silver hardware is of top quality, the satin lining is stunning and the fit is hard to beat.  This is not the most expensive jacket I found (Tom Ford and Saint Laurent can be three times as much) but it's my favourite by far.

THE DREAM

Leather Biker Jacket by Acne Studios £1300.00

When I'm asked to recommend the ultimate leather jacket, Acne has been my go to.  The leather is so luxurious and buttery (as you would expect for the price) but the details make it feel super special; the polished silver hardware is of top quality, the satin lining is stunning and the fit is hard to beat.  This is not the most expensive jacket I found (Tom Ford and Saint Laurent can be three times as much) but it's my favourite by far.

 COLLARLESS OPTION  Lambskin Leather Jacket by Sandro £529.00  I was searching for a collarless option against the traditional biker styles I had selected so far and loved this one from Sandro.   Again, in the lambskin is lovely and soft to wear.   The linear markings and darts give it a lovely draped appearance and I liked this both worn zipped up and open with the top button done.  A lovely feminine option.

COLLARLESS OPTION

Lambskin Leather Jacket by Sandro £529.00

I was searching for a collarless option against the traditional biker styles I had selected so far and loved this one from Sandro.   Again, in the lambskin is lovely and soft to wear.   The linear markings and darts give it a lovely draped appearance and I liked this both worn zipped up and open with the top button done.  A lovely feminine option.

 NYC COOL  Mercer Jacket by Rag & Bone £750.00  Rag & Bone are a super-cool brand from New York that I love for their modern designs bound by the designers' British heritage.  This jacket is made from their lambskin leather so it's beautifully soft and will easily mould to the body with wear.  The tonal hardware looks great but also means  you're in no quandary about accessorising with silver or gold.  A real winner

NYC COOL

Mercer Jacket by Rag & Bone £750.00

Rag & Bone are a super-cool brand from New York that I love for their modern designs bound by the designers' British heritage.  This jacket is made from their lambskin leather so it's beautifully soft and will easily mould to the body with wear.  The tonal hardware looks great but also means  you're in no quandary about accessorising with silver or gold.  A real winner

 QUILTED DETAILS  Papin Leather Biker Jacket by All Saints £380.00  Leather Jackets are part of All Saints' signature collection so they were a definite stop on my shopping expeditions.  I tried on several styles, all with different details and cuts and love this option for it's shape, simplicity and quilted sleeve detail. Crafted from soft lambskin, it has a lovely feel and a well-cut slim fit.  It's slightly cropped with a slight rise due to the curved back hem and feels super feminine.

QUILTED DETAILS

Papin Leather Biker Jacket by All Saints £380.00

Leather Jackets are part of All Saints' signature collection so they were a definite stop on my shopping expeditions.  I tried on several styles, all with different details and cuts and love this option for it's shape, simplicity and quilted sleeve detail. Crafted from soft lambskin, it has a lovely feel and a well-cut slim fit.  It's slightly cropped with a slight rise due to the curved back hem and feels super feminine.

 

The  everyday handbg

 
 THE INVESTMENT BAG  Prada Galleria Bag in Medium £1650.00  This bag is the ultimate for me for the everyday handbag if you're ready to invest.  It is relatively lightweight and comes with an adjustable shoulder strap which is a great option if you're using it all day.  There's zipped front and rear pockets plus little compartments on the inside.  Compared to the other two options I'd have to admit you're paying for the brand but if you're a Prada fan then it's a great statement classic.

THE INVESTMENT BAG

Prada Galleria Bag in Medium £1650.00

This bag is the ultimate for me for the everyday handbag if you're ready to invest.  It is relatively lightweight and comes with an adjustable shoulder strap which is a great option if you're using it all day.  There's zipped front and rear pockets plus little compartments on the inside.  Compared to the other two options I'd have to admit you're paying for the brand but if you're a Prada fan then it's a great statement classic.

 BLACK MEETS BLUE  Editor's Tote in Black Pebble & Blue Moon by Aspinal £850.00  I'm always keen to include British brands in my mix and Aspinal is a forever-great option.  This bag is so chic and the contrast of the blue against the black gives it great personality.  Quintessentially English and lady-like yet modern (it has an internal pocket with a cable path) this is a great option for a busy working woman.

BLACK MEETS BLUE

Editor's Tote in Black Pebble & Blue Moon by Aspinal £850.00

I'm always keen to include British brands in my mix and Aspinal is a forever-great option.  This bag is so chic and the contrast of the blue against the black gives it great personality.  Quintessentially English and lady-like yet modern (it has an internal pocket with a cable path) this is a great option for a busy working woman.

 STYLISH AND PRACTICAL  Brooklyn Carryall 28 Bag in Pebble Leather by Coach  £495.00  I loved this bag almost instantly due to it's safe fastenings and huge amount of internal pockets, perfect for anyone living in a city and carrying around valuables daily.  It's also incredibly light meaning I could pack it full with all my kit and still not have shoulder-ache come the end of the day.  A great option at at more accessible price.

STYLISH AND PRACTICAL

Brooklyn Carryall 28 Bag in Pebble Leather by Coach  £495.00

I loved this bag almost instantly due to it's safe fastenings and huge amount of internal pockets, perfect for anyone living in a city and carrying around valuables daily.  It's also incredibly light meaning I could pack it full with all my kit and still not have shoulder-ache come the end of the day.  A great option at at more accessible price.

 

THE CLASSIC HEEL

 
 THE ULTIMATE BLACK CLASSIC COURT SHOE  Black Patent Romy 85 by Jimmy Choo £425.00  Jimmy  Choo are genuinely master shoe makers.  I've bought a few pairs over the years and when it  comes to heels I always find them comfortable and long lasting.  This option is the 85mm heel height with a slight point on the toe in the classic patent leather.  I am quite the advocate of the patent option as it instantly lifts an all black outfit.  Additionally, the staff  in their boutiques are delightful and always happy to spend as long as it takes to find you the perfect shoe, with no pushiness or pressure.

THE ULTIMATE BLACK CLASSIC COURT SHOE

Black Patent Romy 85 by Jimmy Choo £425.00

Jimmy  Choo are genuinely master shoe makers.  I've bought a few pairs over the years and when it  comes to heels I always find them comfortable and long lasting.  This option is the 85mm heel height with a slight point on the toe in the classic patent leather.  I am quite the advocate of the patent option as it instantly lifts an all black outfit.  Additionally, the staff  in their boutiques are delightful and always happy to spend as long as it takes to find you the perfect shoe, with no pushiness or pressure.

 THE COVETED RED SOLE  Simple Pump Nappa Shiny 85 by Christian Louboutin £455.00  When I worked at Harrods this pair of shoes were the first thing I bought with my business dress allowance.  We were required to wear a heel and so I did lots of research and concluded this pair would work best for me for comfort (I wore the for a minimum of 10 hours each day) and style (I wanted classic statement).  I am so glad I bought these as they were lovely to wear from day one, never hurt my feet and made me feel truly special as I flashed my red sole.  Timeless classics.

THE COVETED RED SOLE

Simple Pump Nappa Shiny 85 by Christian Louboutin £455.00

When I worked at Harrods this pair of shoes were the first thing I bought with my business dress allowance.  We were required to wear a heel and so I did lots of research and concluded this pair would work best for me for comfort (I wore the for a minimum of 10 hours each day) and style (I wanted classic statement).  I am so glad I bought these as they were lovely to wear from day one, never hurt my feet and made me feel truly special as I flashed my red sole.  Timeless classics.

 THE PARTY SHOE  Jane Lizard-Effect Leather Sandals by Saint Laurent £600.00  Up until now I've been relatively sensible and classic and whilst I don't want to veer away from true investment I do want to illustrate how fun pieces can become wardrobe staples too.  These gorgeous bowed sandals from Saint Lauren are a great go-to for evening shoes and will work with cigarettes pants, dresses, skirts, jeans...anything you want to dress up!  They are surprisingly comfy as I found when I was dancing around Matches in them so there is a hint of practicality...!

THE PARTY SHOE

Jane Lizard-Effect Leather Sandals by Saint Laurent £600.00

Up until now I've been relatively sensible and classic and whilst I don't want to veer away from true investment I do want to illustrate how fun pieces can become wardrobe staples too.  These gorgeous bowed sandals from Saint Lauren are a great go-to for evening shoes and will work with cigarettes pants, dresses, skirts, jeans...anything you want to dress up!  They are surprisingly comfy as I found when I was dancing around Matches in them so there is a hint of practicality...!

 

the everday flats

 
 THE PRETTY  BALLERINAS  Embellished Leather Flats from Gucci £515.00  I truly  believe it's a good idea to have a pretty pair of flats for those evenings you don't want to wear a heel.  These ones from Gucci are super comfortable thanks to the soft leather and the ankle straps plus the little gold and pearl flower add such  a pretty touch.

THE PRETTY  BALLERINAS

Embellished Leather Flats from Gucci £515.00

I truly  believe it's a good idea to have a pretty pair of flats for those evenings you don't want to wear a heel.  These ones from Gucci are super comfortable thanks to the soft leather and the ankle straps plus the little gold and pearl flower add such  a pretty touch.

 POINTS WITH A BOW  Gala Patent by Jimmy Choo £395.00  I can personally recommend the Gala flats from Jimmy Choo as great flat loafer option.  I  have them in both gold and maroon and I' sure these black ones will need to add to the collection soon.  They do stretch due to the softness of the leather so I'd recommend sizing down a half or a full size in these (depending on your foot width) but they are very comfortable and incredibly long lasting.

POINTS WITH A BOW

Gala Patent by Jimmy Choo £395.00

I can personally recommend the Gala flats from Jimmy Choo as great flat loafer option.  I  have them in both gold and maroon and I' sure these black ones will need to add to the collection soon.  They do stretch due to the softness of the leather so I'd recommend sizing down a half or a full size in these (depending on your foot width) but they are very comfortable and incredibly long lasting.

 LOVE A TASSEL!  Hefner Black Velvet Tassel by French Sole £190.00  Another favourite 'flats brand' is French Sole.  They are known for their ballerina style pumps but I've become a fan of their Hefner loafers.  They do take a little bit of breaking in but once they have they are really easy to wear pus the tassel adds a sense of occasion and style.

LOVE A TASSEL!

Hefner Black Velvet Tassel by French Sole £190.00

Another favourite 'flats brand' is French Sole.  They are known for their ballerina style pumps but I've become a fan of their Hefner loafers.  They do take a little bit of breaking in but once they have they are really easy to wear pus the tassel adds a sense of occasion and style.

 

And finally...some shopping tips!

 

I hope you've enjoyed this investment dressing article and have found some great new discoveries.  My  final piece of advice is to make sure you do your research and consider purchases well when you're making more of an investment....

  1. Go for staple classics in more neutral colours so they don't date and go with more items in your wardrobe.
  2. Opt for quality and great fit.  I've really researched my edits because whilst they carry brand names, I wanted to ensure they came with quality - good fabrics, strong make and beautiful finish.  This is where you'll get true distinction over the high street.
  3. They should 'sing'!  If you're going to invest in something you have to love it!  My mum was shopping in Paris and the sales assistant asked her the most simple yet effective question...."does it sing?".  Ask yourself this before you buy - you want to love wearing your new purchase and enjoy it for a long time.
  4. Research and shop around.  Do the leg work and ensure you try everything on and really think about what your lifestyle will demand of that piece.  Shopping around is key and you can often find some great bargains in designer outlet villages and on auction sites if you know what you're looking for.
  5. Look after your purchase.  This seems obvious but invest in leather protectors for shoes and handbags and source a great dry cleaner for apparel.   The better you look after it, the long you will have it for.