28 Jan 2021

Investment Dressing: Move The Pieces

Investment Dressing: Move The Pieces on vickiarcher.com

We have moved the pieces when it comes to dressing.

The capsule wardrobe, the investment pieces and the whole cost per wear philosophy of dressing have taken a sharp turn. The thought that I will invest heavily in business style wear – those divine blazers and classically cut trousers, once my idea of joy, is off. Principles of wardrobe investment remain the same but this year I will definitely move some of the pieces.

There is room for change.

We must change and adapt to the times, or we will be miserable. I might not like or feel we have prospered with the restrictions we have been living under but neither can I give in. Making a new normal suit and embracing it for now is the goal. I truly believe being at one with our circumstances is the best way forward. Work with what we have and change what is possible. If I sat all day and longed to be swimming in turquoise waters I would not make it through the months I suspect are ahead.

The wardrobe is the same.

Do I long for a slick hair-do, a professional makeup appointment and a gorgeous new party dress? YES. The answer I will make do with my new hair straightener, take some time over my make-up definitely incorporating red lips and wear a dress. Not a party dress but a sweater dress. The sweater dress like sweat pants has become part of the new investments. Like the trainers, they are one of the essential pieces.

There are no rules to say what is an “investment”.

Once upon a day, we invested heavily in handbags and if we didn’t carry the bag du jour, it felt like fashion expulsion. Today bags are about sustainability, practicality and craftsmanship. At the least, it’s about using what we have. Shopping our own wardrobes and recycling vintage has never felt more right.

I have invested in trainers and they have proven invaluable. Who is to say how many is too many as long as they are worn and make good the cpw argument? Tracksuits now fill my bottom drawers with the more formal sweaters pushed way into the back. My dresses line up untouched and my blazers look lonely. It’s ok; right now it’s how it should be.

The sweater investment I’m thinking of doesn’t need to be expensive. If pure cashmere is your brief then it can be.

For me, it needs to be cosy, long enough and without long splits. I like them with a turtle, round or crew neck and a generous sleeve – even a little blouson can work. There are a huge variety of styles but my very favourite for this time of year is the overgrown sweater look. Pair with trainers or boots and it is as easy as the sweats. We have talked about sweater dresses on many days but they couldn’t be more worthy of a visit now.

A year ago I would never have included a sweater dress as part of my investment dressing.

Move the pieces? Most definitely. xv

Move The Pieces

easy crew  ||  oatmeal  ||  turtleneck  ||  camel wool & cashmere  ||  sweater of intent  ||  crewneck ||  allude wool   ||  roll neck in cream

this feature contains affiliate links

image from The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix

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I hope you’ve watched The Queen’s Gambit Vicki. Bob and I thought it was awesome and we don’t know a thing about actually playing chess! The retro wardrobe was amazing – and the compelling story beautifully acted.

Yes, practical bags are definitely my bag these days – smaller cross-body styles for the grocery store run when all that’s required is the list, a credit card, car keys, phone, and the house key for when I return exhausted from an hour in a mask!

My sweaters, even the cashmere usually saved ‘for best’, are being worn daily on walks, or even just around the house – they are so comfy with the jogger pants. What the heck do I need to keep them for anyway. As for sweater dresses, I have a couple, but need to work off those few ‘COVID pounds’ I’ve gained so I look a little smoother!!!

Hang in there – we have a little snow today and the daffs are poking through in the garden – Spring will come!
Mary x


I loved it Mary,
Let’s wear it if we can and mix it up… walking is my antidote to the extra calories… some days I win and some days I don’t ;)

Linda B

I adored the Queen’s Gambit–one of the best series I watched in 2020!

And I love all these sweater dress ideas. You have me quite tempted. I am relishing the possibilities. . . Short or long? The go-to black or a warmer neutral? I also am wavering back and forth over my plans for knitting myself a new cardigan with balloon sleeves–I have found a gorgeous pattern, but do I want to make it in charcoal or black?

I have bought myself almost nothing for months, and keep looking at the clothes in my closet that I have stopped wearing, and wondering if I ever will again. I did wear a blazer for a necessary outing yesterday, and was surprised by it not feeling “me” much at all; maybe it should not have been so surprising! I am not ditching them yet, but I see the faint handwriting on the wall. . .


I hope we will wear them again Linda but I think less frequently and possibly when we do dress up we may really dress up… :)


I resonate so much with this Vicki especially the hair!! But it is what it is and everyone is the same. However a sweater dress is something else to think about as an easy to wear option. I have even stopped taking my cross body bag out with me and slipping my mobile in my coat pocket and using a simple leather card wallet for my bank card, and that’s all I seem to need except of course an extra mask in there too. I love a cross body bag too but as nowhere really to go I just don’t need it and am embracing the freedom! Hope you are feeling much more stronger and healthier. x


I’m much the same with the bag, Janet… and thank you for asking… this week I really have felt like my old self again… :) :)


I love a sweater dress with an interesting bootie or chunky sneakers but I’m still at a loss with what to do with bare legs in winter. I’d be fine driving to a restaurant to dine but now we’re either home doing takeout or walking everywhere we go. Any ideas on how to deal with bare legs – tights, tanning products?


Maryanne, I am an opaque tight wearer … it’s my favourite way to go… usually a black or steel grey in colour..


Sweaters, trainers…and after we have gone to all that trouble in the past. At least red lipstick can make our day. But it is as it is. Enjoy

Jacki F.

I was inspired (by your link) to dig out my Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in “club mix”, which is a great shade of wine (literally “grape”) red; I forgot how moisturizing it is and so easy to apply. Since I am petite and amply endowed, sweater dresses are not really my thing (the length would be all wrong for one). But an oversized, longish cashmere sweater with dark leggings, trainers, and red lips, perhaps a silk scarf? I can make that work!

GL Gardener

52 days until SPRING…..it can’t come soon enough. My only outing is to the grocery for which I dress “up”. I do not wear sweats but continue to wear my good sweaters and prefer merino wool to cashmere…no itch what so ever. I have been wearing nice knit black trousers and my good wool trousers continue to hang in the closet. A sweater dress sounds wonderful as it promises warmth. I wear black tights all winter to stay warm. I just purchased a pair of converse high tops to use as my trainers to liven things up. They also come in red…and I am thinking about it. Enjoyed your post.


The last handbag I bought was a couple of years ago. At Sonia Rykiel in its last summer before closing down. It’s a smallish (but not too small) rectangular flap on a double silver colour chain. Navy, white and silver SR sequin signature stripes (they flip over to reverse the colours and create new stripes). It’s fun and great for day with navy jeans but also suitable for evening wear.
Haven’t bought any new clothes since the pandemic began. Don’t feel the need. I already have so many and feel perfectly happy to stick with them. I’m rather enjoying living more frugally and concentrating on the garden, reading and the house and family and friends. I miss travel desperately, especially our annual 5-6 weeks in Paris where I do most of my wardrobe shopping. But there’s no sense pining. This time is what it is. I did love the Gambit series too!! Best wishes, Pamela


Merci…a great selection of sweater dresses!
Hope you are feeling much better. Wishing you a speedy recovery.


Good morning Vicki!

As I was reading, a few images came into my mind. One was perusing through thrift stores and finding vintage prom dresses, old and tailored suits from the ’40s, classic pumps from the 40s and 50s or finding some funky hippy wear from the 70s. During those shopping sprees, I didn’t think much about who had worn these treasures back in the day; I simply bought the items for the sheer joy of owning something from the past. Now, you helped me think about the person behind the elegant, well-fit, well-chosen clothing from the past. Now, I will be that invisible person behind the Anthropologie skirts with gold threading, the Audrey Hepburn style little dresses and the Anne Taylor cardigan sweaters because I am finding now that as a retiree who may not travel for another 2-3 years, I may never have need for these elegant outfits that I wore (and to some of my colleagues, overdressed) in the elementary school classroom. So in this game of investment strategies, we all have to realize that the pieces won’t be where we once left them.


I am just getting to this post today – one thing that has been a positive for me this year is that I made a change that I had been wishing I could do for years. After 25+ years of having my hair cut and colored every 4 weeks at great expense, and add that it’s been with the same stylist that I didn’t care for personally, I made the break!! I made the changes to my hair color that I have been wanting to do for years, and let my hair grow out into a French bob that I can either blow dry, or let it air dry. My new stylist?? My daughter – who is a professional, but likes to do everything herself. I feel like the weight of the world has been taken off my shoulders!! It’s amazing that what was so important at one time simply isn’t a priority anymore.


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