Internet is full or articles and tips about how to invest in clothes, what to buy and how to buy. I am not going to repeat what was already said because this is not my goal. What I am going to do is to share with you MY tips, criteria and decision process that I use every time I buy a new piece to my closet.
For me investing in clothes is like building a house. I always make sure to build a solid base before I start working on complementary pieces and accessories. At the end you can’t start the interior design before the house is built, can you? Ok, maybe the comparison is two exaggerated, but I believe you got the idea.
When I graduated from university and started my professional career ten years ago, I realized quickly that my student’s style and outfits are not right for the office. They were way too sporty and casual. However I was earning peanuts that time and replacing my clothing with new one was not an option. Since then I changed the employer and job position a couple of times, moved to another country, redirected my career from finance to design, found MY signature look and finally built the “apparel investing process” that works for me. I must warn you though: this all did not happen over the night so the patience, perseverance and clear vision are absolutely critical here.
Ok, let’s get started!
Note: before I started revising my wardrobe, I have chosen my neutral color palette.
Phase 1: reviewing the content of the closet.
From the pieces I already owned, I selected the ones that I could somehow adjust to office needs and put aside everything else that was impropriate and too easy-going. I inspected the state of all items and left only the once in a good condition and neutral colors (black, grey, blue, beige, taupe, olive, etc).
Phase 2: replacing the impropriate-to-office pieces with more elegant once.
This phase took me long time due to the limited resources and time, but also because my look and needs were constantly changing. The good thing is that eventually I found MY effortless chic and built a nice collection of clothes that are compatible with each other.
My criteria to choose the essential items to my wardrobe are (in random order):
Color: I stick to the neutral palette, because it is easy to match with other colors and neutral are the essence of my signature look
Design: for me it must be sober, simple and all in all elegant.
Fabric: it has to be nice and pleasant for my skin due to my condition (I have a AD – Atopic Dermatitis). All woolen and scratching fabric are out. I also check the susceptibility of fabric to crease. The last thing I want is to spend all weekend on ironing.
Right size: for me the piece needs to fit me. It does not matter if it is 38 or 46. I always try the outfit on. In general 38 is my size, but I always take one size below and one above to have a comparison. At the end every brand has it own size system and trying the clothes helps to find the best option.
Quality of the fabric and finishing: even if the item is not very expensive, the finishing and quality are very important for me. My rule of thumb is Quality over Quantity.
Price: the more expensive item, the more strict I am and the more criteria boxes from this list the item should check.
Label: I always check the cleaning and drying recommendations. I am not afraid to buy the items that need to be cleaned professionally. However, I always add this extra cost to the price of the item in order to calculate the ROI (return on investment). Remember: the lighter the material is, the more often it will need to be cleaned and this may increase the price of the piece significantly.
Voilà! All secrets revealed! Once you have a solid base built, you can start investing in timeless accessories. I will tell you how I do this in my next post. In meantime I look forward to learning what are your shopping tips & tricks!