9 Wardrobe Items That Are Worth The Investment
Creating a solid wardrobe on a budget can be really hard. Especially when it feels like we're inundated with new trends and style "must-haves" every other hour. The key then becomes figuring out which clothes are worth the splurge and which ones are just passing fads in the wind.
And sometimes this can be trickier than it sounds. I've made the mistake many times in my life of spending a ton of money on something I only ended up wearing once or twice, and skimped on things that I actually planned on wearing a ton and that would technically receive the most wear and tear. I've also had to break myself out of the habit of splurging on items that are extremely event-specific (New Year's Eve flapper party 2011, I'm looking at you), which while absolutely perfect for a single evening or moment, would literally never be born again.
Old shopping wisdom tells us to focus our money on "investment pieces" — AKA pricier items that seem like a huge up front cost but you'll have for years. And while this makes a lot of logical sense, it can still somehow be difficult to know exactly what items are worth the splurge.
If you've been feeling like you've been spending your style budget unwisely, or are in need of some wardrobe basics and just want a little guidance, here are nine wardrobe items that are absolutely worth the money.
This might seem counterintuitive — jeans are casual, so they don't necessarily feel like a splurge item. However, according to style budget expert Jacqueline Curtis on MoneyCrashers.com, jeans are the perfect investment piece since you will likely wear them so many times over the course of owning them. She said that once you have a few basic pairs you can rely on, then you supplement with cheaper bargains on things like those trendy skinny jeans or bright red trousers, as chances are you won't be wearing those on a daily basis.
2. A Pair Of Good Heels (And Flats)
In a compilation piece for Who What Wear on wardrobe essentials, one of the top picks was a quality pair of black heels and flats. Both are items that pair with tons of different outfits, and you'll likely find yourself falling back on them more than you even think you will. Because of this, it's important to invest in high quality pairs that are both comfortable and can handle the wear and tear.
According to Ginger Burr, a Boston-based image consultant in a piece for Women's Health, investing in good bras is an absolute must. When you wear a good bra, “lumps and bumps are minimized, your body is brought into balance and you look taller and slimmer,” she said. She also recommended having at least four quality bras and getting rid of any with straps that have stretched.
4. A Little Black Dress
According to assistant fashion editor at POPSUGAR Aemilia Madden, a versatile little black dress is worth every penny. She said that when you find one that truly fits well and — most importantly — makes you feel great, you should definitely purchase.
Curtis at MoneyCrashers.com also said that a quality pair of boots definitely constitute a splurge item, as "more expensive shoes are usually better quality, more comfortable, and will last longer." And my personal tip is to always opt for the pair that are realistically more timeless and won't go out of style with the season — that way they'll truly be worth the money over time.
6. Cashmere Sweaters
The Who What Wear roundup also prominently featured quality cashmere sweaters as well worth the money, but noted to be sure you purchase them in sensible color choices so you can wear them with multiple outfits and for many different occasions. Also, while cashmere can definitely be crazy expensive, I've often found awesome deals at places like TJ Maxx and Marshall's — that way you could end up spending $100 for a sweater originally priced closer to $300.
7. A Great Swimsuit
Madden over at POPSUGAR also highly recommended investing in a quality swimsuit that you actually feel good about wearing. And I personally can't second this enough. I can't tell you how much money I've wasted on impractical bathing suits over the years that I end up feeling totally uncomfortable in and ultimately get rid of. A swimsuit that actually makes you feel confident and supports you in all the right places is well worth the money.
8. A Leather Jacket
In a piece for Women's Health, Jessie Holeva, editor of TrendHungry.com, a Philadelphia-based fashion site, said a quality leather jacket will last for years and "you can pretty much wear it with anything." She also recommended purchasing a short one with a tailored color in a neutral color, like black or brown, as it will never go out of style.
9. A Warm Coat
And finally, a compilation piece in Harper's Bazaar noted the importance of investing in a high quality winter coat. "A streamlined cut that works over both casual and evening ensembles is worth the money. Look for superior fabric that will hold up to the elements. You want your coat to be a workhorse, but it should always look pristine," they noted.
Shopping smart shouldn't ever feel impossible or overwhelming. Before making a big purchase just figure out if the item is something you'll realistically wear a ton over the years or if it's just something you'll be wearing once or twice for a specific event or occasion, and let that guide your decision.
Images: Courtesy Brands