20 Jun 2019

Masterclass: Investment Dressing

Masterclass: Investment Dressing on vickiarcher.com

Let’s state the obvious today.

Investment dressing is what we need to consider.

Not every piece should be an investment because no wardrobe works with “all stars and no chorus line” but a 70/30 ratio is about right. I invest in the keepers and play with the trends and one season wonders. Not every garment has to be an expensive purchase but neither should all items be throwaway.

The skill is in knowing where to spend and where to save; what to mix with what.

An all expenses top-to-designer outfit is neither a good look or worthy of investment but a beautiful jacket worn with a casual pair of jeans is. The jeans can save the dollars and the jacket spend them. The same with a less than exclusive dress; pair it with a fabulous 3/4 coat and whether it cost $50 or $500 is irrelevant.

What about shoes and handbags?

The same applies a well-crafted handbag, which will set us back looks perfect with our sneakers or less than designer slippers. Our straw basket is gorgeous with a streamlined pair of Manolo’s.

So much of our style revolves around the mixing and matching. That’s the hard part.

I start with the investments I know are sound and apply my cost per wear strategy. Investment dressing can take the wind at “checkout” but if I look with wide eyes in my cupboards, the strategy does work. Pieces, well crafted and well made will last and at this stage, the styles I wear don’t change massively. If I wear the cute khaki jacket with my tuxedo pants (which did set me back) and a jersey tee, it balances out.

Where to start?

Start where you feel most confident.

Invest in what you know you love and will wear. If there is any doubt, don’t.

Understand working life and playtime requirements. I can be guilty of investing in work wear but ignoring the casual components; that’s why we started writing, Weekend Wardrobe, to find great alternatives from the Monday through Friday life.

Buy and try. An investment piece needs consideration; don’t rush the decision. Try similar alternatives and make sure it really fits the criteria. For example, with dresses, I try on several to make sure my purchase is the very best for me. It’s easy to buy online and try them on in the comfort of our own bedroom with a familiar mirror and all the accessories we need. Returning has never been easier and such an aid to investment dressing.

Fitting rooms and I have never been the best of friends.

An investment means something different to each of us and we won’t necessarily agree. For me I invest across the wardrobe spectrum, for other women, it will be shoes and bags all the way. Dressing styles change, as do our intentions. I no longer invest in cashmere wool sweaters; the cashmere is not the same and the difference between price points makes no sense.

Don’t be afraid to invest when the time comes. I don’t agree with buying what we don’t need or can’t afford but I do believe once the commitment is made we should enjoy. A good investment will reap a return; fashion is no different.

We can all make bad investments; don’t be put off.

No one is exempt and the smart woman learns from her mistakes and makes better decisions from it.

Investment dressing is all about the know how. xv

Yes, I Think I Would

st john elbow sleeve dress  ||  victor glemaud sweater dress  || alexander wang sweater dress  ||  co cotton shirtdress  ||  lafayette shirtdress

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image, brie larson, camilla akrans for porter magazine 2017

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In This Post:



Debra Botthof

Would you ever consider posting on sustainable fashion such as vegan shoes and handbags? There are some beautifully made-in-Italy and Spain options out there.


I don’t really know enough about it but I am very interested in our future in terms of sustainability.
One of the reasons I love my new adventure, THE EMPORIUM is the philosophy behind which is to re-purpose and re-use beautiful pieces for us and the home.


So good to read your sanitary views about fashion and I totally agree. Don’t like fitting
rooms too because the lighting is mostly so awful but I also avoid to buy online for
many reasons.


I’m beginning to wonder if American women are even interested in dressing up any more? Last weekend I went to Las Vegas to see the glamorous Diana Ross’s 75th Birthday concert at the Wynn hotel’s beautiful, intimate theater. There were so many women in flip flops and “mow the lawn” clothes. I was shocked and disappointed. But I dressed up, and Diana Ross pointed at me twice during the concert and then called me to the edge of the stage to tell me, “I love your dress.” It made my day! xoxox, Brenda


This is an excellent article Vicki and very timely for me AND as always, wonderful to have you confirm a few things I have been unsure of recently. I agree on almost everything except the cashmere. Every winter I scour the sales and add at least one more cashmere jumper to my casual wardrobe. Love an oversize with jeans on weekends and this year I found a couple from Matches that I am extremely happy with. I prefer turtle necks, and wool scratches and irritates my skin no end hence the love of softer fabrics. My investment pieces are usually shoes, jackets (blazers), shirts and bags.

I have never been sure about the ‘expensive’ bag teamed with ‘lesser’ shoes as I often felt it was a ‘got the expensive bag and could then only afford the cheaper shoes’ look. So I will now more confidently wear the Loewe shoulder bag I had tucked away for ‘special’ occasions with the sneakers.Yes indeed, another ‘what would Vicki do’ moment answered perfectly for me! Thank you Vicki and team – loved this post


Now this is SUCH a great concept, Vicki. Not all pieces should be considered practical but there has to be wiggle room for some play! I think I’ve managed to do this without even thinking about it. I have an adorable top with bell sleeves that I got at Anthropology on sale that I certainly could not wear to school (it is studded with matte gold sequins!) but I have a dinner party to attend on Saturday so I know what I’m wearing!

As always, your posts pique our imagination and help confirm our fashion sensibilities!


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