17 Oct 2014

Investment Dressing: The Strategy And Angelina Jolie

Investment dressing… the strategy… Is there such a thing?

When I hear the words investment, dressing and strategy in the same phrase, I am intrigued.

Do we consider fashion an investment?

It’s a complicated question and one that I don’t completely have the answer to.

For some, fashion is important…  it is about passion and creativity…  a love… something to invest in.

For others the fashion world would never enter their radar… let alone be considered an investment.

st john, angelina jolie, nordstrom, vicki archer, investment dressing

I do see dressing as an investment… it is an investment of time, of personality, of energy and of course, finance.

The rewards are many… looking fabulous, feeling great and an enhanced self-confidence. For rightly or wrongly a new addition to the wardrobe is often the greatest mood elevator of all.

If we feel en forme then others around us will be lifted.

My approach to investment dressing is simple.

I invest in costly pieces when they will provide the ‘cream on the top’.

Items that will enhance what I have in my wardrobe and enable me to stretch my wardrobe further.

They will be garments that I can co-ordinate with lesser pieces and they will be pieces that are timeless.

I will invest for a special ocassion but in general I prefer to shop when I find something that works for me…when it is not expected.  There is nothing so frustrating as buying “something to wear” because we have to, not because we want to.

st john, angelina jolie, nordstrom, vicki archer, investment dressing

I have always loved these shots of Angelina Jolie, when she was the face of St John some years back.

Who wouldn’t want to wear these beautiful pieces?

Serious investment dressing but exquisitly stylish and guaranteed to make you feel your very best.

St John is not as widely available in Europe nor is it as well known as other  high end designers.

They design very beautiful clothing and are one of my go to brands for elegance and femininity.

When I am travelling in the US a piece from St John is the one investment for my wardrobe that I try and make.

st john, angelina jolie, nordstrom, vicki archer, investment dressing


Nordstrom have asked me to curate their St John collection… and their stores have the most extensive range.

On the plus side, some of the dresses are on sale so that makes a difference.

The dress I would buy is a simple one.

If I am going to invest I want something that will take me everywhere and make me feel wonderful.

I want a piece that I can dress up or down with accessories… and wear with either heels, flats or boots. I want something that can look edgy in the right circumstances or something that I can sophisticate. I won’t buy if I will be tired of it in three months.

I don’t consider this philosophy boring or dull… but rather, smart and clever. Nothing makes me feel worse than a “bad” buy. That expensive mistake that challenges you each time you open the closet. Even trying the offender on from time to time never changes the story. A bad buy is a bad buy.

The fashion faux pas can be very costly.

Building a wardrobe is expensive, requires planning and is time consuming…  and at this stage and age I know where I want to make my investment.

Do you have an investment strategy when it comes to dressing? xv

to see the full collection of st john click here

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Anita Rivera

Dearest Vicki,

Bonjour! This is a brand of clothing that is at the top of my list of clothing that I’d call “KEEPERS.” I have to say that I am an investor myself in clothing, but there have been many a dress or skirt or jacket that I’d wear for years, but had to come to the point of either throwing it away or giving it to the charity shops. Those were inexpensive buy nice pieces that I’d accessorize and I’d keep them for so long because I simply loved the cut on me or the classic style. However….there are some dresses I still have from (dare I say here) about 30 years ago! YES! They are so well made, tailored, and have been a good investment because I can still wear them and feel great.

I loved what you said about how when we feel en forme and feel good about ourselves, we “lift others.” How true. When we love ourselves, we see the best in other people.

Cloth yourself in grace and beauty dearest Vicki. Anita


Thank you Anita…
I have all my favourites too… from a very long time ago..and I wear them.

Let’s all cloth ourselves in grace and beauty… :)

Mimi Gregor

I have mentioned that I am a minimalist, and this extends to my wardrobe as well as my decor. I have a small closet, and even as such it is decidedly NOT packed to the gills. Even though I have relatively few pieces, they are all the best quality I can find. I do my shopping mostly at consignment shops, and I am fortunate to have several around me that carry high-end items, from Chanel, DVF, as well as mid-range (J Crew, Anthropologie, etc.) Sometimes it takes a while to find something that I am looking for specifically, but I refuse to settle for less than the best and will not substitute new items from cheaper stores. Also, I refuse to pay full price for these items and go into debt. It may take a bit longer to find what I am looking for, but I enjoy the hunt AND the feeling I get for getting something that someone paid hundreds of dollars for on the cheap.

Everything in my closet works with everything else. I don’t buy items that won’t work with what I have, no matter how tempting. Everything is neutral, because I simply am not fond of bright color. My closest concession to color is a very dark aubergine cashmere Chanel sweater that I found for five dollars at a yard sale (I don’t think she realized that she had it on the rack with the inexpensive sweaters, and I certainly was not going to say anything.) But it works with everything else in my wardrobe.

Almost everything can be dressed up or down, depending on how I accessorize it, and even with accessories, I try to buy the best I can.

This, to me, is what constitutes an investment wardrobe: quality, versatility, and effortlessness. I don’t have to stand in front of the closet and puzzle out what to wear, as everything is quality and everything goes well together. Some may think, “how boring!”, but I assure you it is anything but. I find it fun to change the look of something by pairing it with something unexpected (I am very fond of pairing two different patterns containing the same colors) or with different accessories. And it is reassuring to know that everything from my dressy dress to my jeans are quality, so I never have to doubt that I look pulled together.


Great points Mimi… quality, versatility and effortless… so important for our dressing… and not boring at all… :)


Hi Vicki,
I really enjoyed your post today. I am very fortunate that for many years, my husband was an executive in the retail world and I was able to purchase several beautiful pieces from St. John, at a nice discount. While they still fit, I find the shoulders are too exaggerated for today’s styles.
Do you know if St. John will restyle them?


I don’t know if St John alter but I am sure if you asked/emailed Nordstrom they could put you in touch with someone who does. I don’t think it’s a huge task but it would require an expert tailor… Certainly worth it, Barbara.


I understand what Barbara is saying as I sent several St John’s to consignment because to pay for alterations was so expensive.

I love these classic new looks at St John!
The Arts by Karena


I love this subject. I reminds me of a little story from a few years ago. We had a young college intern in the office for several months and she said that she never saw me in the same outfit twice, and that I always looked so lovely and put together. I just smiled. If she only knew! I put so much thought into my purchases – always updated classics that all worked together. I hope she may have picked up a few tips to carry her through her professional career. I have now retired and have revamped my wardrobe for a more casual lifestyle – and I still get compliments! Vicki, I just love French Essence. Thanks!


Thanks Lyn… and updating the classics, knowing what works for us and investing well… it surely is the secret to great dressing… :)

Marsha @ Splenderosa

I think you already know my answers, so I’ll just say this: The fabrics alone make these garments “forever” pieces. The blacks stay black. The fiber never shows wear, mostly they don’t wrinkle at all, so even when travelling you look perfect upon arrival. And, this is not just St. John, it’s all fine apparel. I must say Escada is a definite favorite for all those reasons and because they look fresh & sharp. Yes, it’s definitely investment dressing, but as a quick example…I have a silk Calvin Klein long-sleeved tee, it still looks & feels new & I’ve had it for 10 years. I almost don’t leave home without it. Great post, Vicki !!


I go with Mimi …less is more (or can be more).
Investing in quality is never wasted money and when you know how to do you can dress it up or down and wear it for many years and occasions. The best investment are hand bags and shoes, if they are top, your clothes can be from , an o name brand. Also important for me is, that I can mix and match all my wardrobe according to my daily mood. And yes, I would also buy a nice piece from St.John, very


Mood is a great addition to the converstaion Rena… I often find that my mood will seriously determine my choices… good and bad… ;)


so true , Vicky but be dressed up just a little bit, will always change your mood , I hope at least.

Cathy Wong

For me, investment pieces are those that fit nicely and are well made with a good quality fabric. These are the things that always look and feel good-can be worn often and in so many different ways. They’re classics, not trendy, and often have a little something extra, maybe nice buttons, fully lined etc. They “go the distance”, don’t stretch out of shape, fade, etc and you always feel lovely in them. The actual cost isn’t always the point, but these items are more expensive and often take more determination to find. When I do acquire these pieces, I consider it “collecting” clothing….as you said Vicki ,it takes time,effort/energy, and maybe a “little” more than you thought you’d spend.


I LOVE this post. It is exactly my philosophy. And love your curated St. J’s collection!


Hi Vicki,
I totally agree with your latest post, the only difference is I love trendy clothes but they must be made from beautiful fabrics, very well cut and black, white, caramel or all shades of grey. These are the colours that suit me.
I change the look with classic or trendy jewellery and accessories.
I am loving all your fashion tips and when in Paris a few weeks ago, I really enjoyed following all your wonderful advice – Buly, Palais Royale, converse sneakers for walking and places to eat. Thank you.
My husband and I have been staying at Le Petit Bijou for the last few days and it is very special. You and David’s generosity is really appreciated and again we have followed your advice on what to do and where to eat in St. Remy. It is our second time staying in St. Remy and it really is beautiful. Those Plane tree lined streets in and around the village are truly gorgeous!


Hello Gail,
I am so glad you are enjoying Le Petit Bijou… and the village… it is a special destination… hard to explain… isn’t it?
Have a wonderful time… :)
Thank you… xv

Nancy in Naples

Hi, Gail and Vicki. My husband and I will be arriving for our stay at Le Petit Bijou next week, Wednesday. It will be our first time staying in St. Remy so we will definitely appreciate all of your suggestions for restaurants and things to do. Have a wonderful weekend.


Really loved your post today. I worked for Nordstrom in the St. John Department and as a result own quiet a few pieces. I ended up spending more on St. John than making money, but it was worth it to own this timeless pieces. Like you said, it’s definitely an Investment that will carry you forever. Totally agree – Alterations, especially if they need blocking can be very expensive.

Heather in Arles

Ok…warning! Cranky off topic comment to follow…but after looking at those gorgeous photos of Angelina Jolie and then scrolling down to the Nordstrom model my first thought is “Wow is she too skinny”…Something as classic as St. Johns is best when modeled by a woman and not a skeletal young girl…


Of course… but in-house models are all the same… I don’t know why these stores don’t do the clothes justice and employ healthier and older looking women… Don’t get me started… this is something I am always complaining about!

Heather in Arles

Oh good. Because truly, I would imagine that anyone that would be tempted to drop a grand on one of those dresses would be more convinced to do so on seeing it on a healthier woman. It isn’t Givenchy we are talking about! ;)


Do you have any suggestions for accessories for my Black Classic Jacket, Straight Skirt and trouser that is rather full?
I am living in Florence, Italy and when I wear the outfit I can’t find a way to soften it so it doesn’t look quite so corporate. It travels so beautifully . I have tried soft cream with a long flowing soft cream scarf with a sheer blouse with pearl buttons but would love some suggestions.
Love your posts and have been following you forever !


Hello Debra,
Have you worn the trouser suit with sneakers and a tee-shirt? I am great fan of this look and it is elegant but still casual. This season there are some fabulous tee shirts around that are decorated… not too much but just a bit of something…

Or try a loose style chunky knit in a lighter colour with the straight skirt? Add some opaque tights and a pair of flats and the look is quite casual.

I have also been wearing my black turtleneck with a tailored suit and that also looks less formal.

The all black looks fantastic with a coloured shoe also… or colourful handbag… I have seen women wearing all black and then a flash of buttercup or red in their accessorising and it makes all the difference.

Have fun playing… Send me some pics if you like… :) xv

D. A. Wolf

I have often looked at St John in magazines and found it classic, which is always key for investment dressing. As very (very) diminutive woman (but not thin, and with une forte poitrine), many brands/designers don’t work on me.

When I find one that does, I’m willing to invest, generally separates. Alas, my lifestyle is uber casual these days. I have nowhere to wear the pretties I’ve had for years!


15 years I bought a very expensive black tailored blazer in the U.S. – I call it my Gulp Jacket, ‘cos that’s what I did a lot of when I handed over my money! However it’s been my best ever investment – I wore it yesterday over a new very cute black & white Laura Ashley shift dress that I grabbed for $80 on sale last week. I received some gorgeous compliments from clients, one of them from someone who is only 5 years older than the jacket!
M xx

Mrs Helen Douglas-Irving

Dear Vicki,
Investment dressing is key! When growing up my elder female relatives drummed into me that always spend more on the fabric and the cut. Never wear a colour or style just because it happens to be ‘in’ that season. Wear what suits you and expresses who you are were all important lessons.
So I collect textiles in natural fibres only in colours that suit pale skin, green/grey eyes and dark red hair….I also collect pictures or sketch images of outfits I like, put them in my style files and when the time comes make them up (trusty vogue patterns) or have them tailored. That way I have something that is just for me and will last the distance.
Looking out for vintage accessories is fun – 1930s crocodile handbags and a couple of inherited Hermes scarves add a little élan and bring back lovely memories of those elegant “family tutors.”
I also agree that it is really important to invest in the best shoes, belts and bags you can. Equipment that can be reheeled, polished and gets better with gentle wear!
The internet and world of online shopping has helped. Even Carmina, the elegant Spanish shoe maker is beginning to sell women’s shoes on line!
These investment pieces become ‘close friends’ – you trust them absolutely and they never ever let you down…
Thank you for this topic and great blog. It always makes me smile!
Helen D-I
PS It is always worth finding a good tailor to alter your clothes like shoulders etc., so off peg clothing fits perfectly or a look can be updated. In the long run…it is actually a big saving.

danielle oke

I find that the instant you put on a well made garment–one that fits you to a T–you understand what the fuss is all about! These pieces show off your figure to its very best and are so quietly luxurious that your confidence level soars!


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