Photographed in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris
With it still being the beginning of the year (just about) and fashion month coming up, I thought it might be a good time to talk investment buys. I also invested in a couple of more expensive items of clothing recently and wanted to share my thoughts on why in the long run it costs less to spend more and why it’s all round better for your wallet, mentality and the environment. I love clothes and I like to shop, and I’m an advocate for Monroe’s school of thought: "give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world." The right clothes do indeed give us confidence and make us feel empowered. But the fact that fashion is one of the most polluting industries on the planet is not lost on me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a lot more discerning about my buying choices. I'm happy to report that I rarely panic buy anymore - remember those days, when you had a party coming up and dashed into the nearest high street shop to purchase a ‘going out’ top?! Guilty. And I try to buy less, as well as better quality clothes that will last longer. Of course I still follow the trends, but I am much more selective with which ones I buy into, favouring instead items that are more likely to last and that will be ‘on trend’ in years to come. As Yves Saint Laurent once said: “fashions fade, style is eternal.” Timeless style is in fact the trend you should be buying into. It is also, incidentally something I've learnt a lot more about since moving to Paris – but more on that later. Of course buying better can come with a heftier price tag, but if spend more, but buy less, things eventually even out and it could save you money as you won't have to replace items so frequently. I do have a few tips up my sleeve for this - see below.
I also think it’s important here to address the apparent need for new that has been fostered and actively encouraged by the blogging and influencer industry. A subject that Brittany Bathgate, whose carefully-curated minimalist style I admire, has written a good piece on. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t also feel the constant pressure to buy, wear and photograph something new in the quest for new content. I do. And I’m also signed up to affiliate link platforms, as many bloggers are - so it has become part of my job. These platforms are indeed brilliant inventions, because why shouldn't we, as content creators, wearers of clothes, discerners of fashion, things and promoters of brands, have the chance to earn a commission from the items we suggest and work on promoting? Of course the downside of content creation, is that it can promote addictive, as well as cloning tendencies, something I've also been guilty of. Unless one has very deep pockets, or is only buying budget clothes, it’s not possible to have a new wardrobe every month. On the flip side, I do love discovering clothes, trends and shopping destinations via my friends, favourite bloggers, grammers and of course magazines - those that personally influence me. It’s swings and roundabouts, but one thing's for sure, it is important to shop consciously, which is why you should put investment pieces on your buying wish-list. Vivienne Westwood was not wrong when she said: “Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.” It is indeed life-enhancing and so we should be doing it well - hence investing in items that will not only bring us pleasure, but also last longer and not add to more waste. And this probably goes without saying, but we, as bloggers have a responsibility in the things we promote to our audience, however large or small.
Buys worth investing in:
- Statement jacket – Coco Chanel was on to something when she created her iconic tweed jacket. I love jackets. I wear a lot of denim and I think there’s nothing better than topping a pair of jeans with a beautiful jacket = instant outfit elevation. It’s my go-to ensemble for a meeting, dinner, evening event or any time I need to look a little more chic. This has become a sartorial necessity living in Paris. I snapped up this Isabel Marant cropped style in the NET-A-PORTER sale recently.
- Pair of well-fitting jeans - if it's something you're going to wear a lot, it's worth investing in, and I wear jeans almost every day. Last year I invested in these pair of black jeans from Mother, which cost me 300€ - the most I've spent on a pair of jeans, but they've become one of my favourite pairs. I've worn them over and over again and they are still going strong despite multiple washes. The ones I'm wearing in the photos are from Whistles and over the 100€ mark, but again I've worn them so many times, they've practically paid for themselves.
- Leather belt – this belt was a little pricier than what I would normally spend on one. But again I wear it every time I don a pair of darker jeans. Like a jacket, a good belt instantly elevates jeans and tt’s also a patent finish, so will last longer!
- Stylish, but practical bag – I have carried this bag by Simon Miller almost every day for the past year (it was by far my best buy of 2017) – you can see by the handles, which are now sadly worn (I see they've switched to perspex handles, I’m sure for this reason). It's statement making, but I can also fit my necessities in, including even, my Canon camera.
Tips for buying better:
- Create wish-lists on your favourite higher end / luxury sites, add to them throughout the year and wait for the sales! This can be a little laborious, but if you like clothes and shopping (that doesn't involve going into an actual shop) you'll enjoy it! It can save you a lot of money and it means you spend your hard earned cash on things you’ve been coveting for a while at a fraction of the price. For example, I create wish lists on NET-A-PORTER, Matches, Moda Operandi, 24 Sèvres, Farfetch and MyTheresa. The Outnet is also a great destination - it sells last season's clothes at a discount.
- Follow trends and find a more affordable equivalent. This will take some searching. H&M, Mango, COS and Topshop are my go-to high street retailers for this. Just limit your fast fashion buys to less colourful, more minimal items – one they’ll look more expensive than they are and two you won’t walk down the street wearing the same as everyone else. Also buy from their Premium or Conscious lines - both H&M and Mango have these. And always check the material - buy 100% cotton and try to steer clear of polyester.
- Buy vintage / second hand. I used to buy a lot of vintage when I lived in London, but haven't bought many second hand clothes in recent years. Mainly because I just don’t have the time to rummage through racks of clothes to find a hidden gem. But I’ve recently discovered the likes of Bonsergent Studio – whose thoughtful curation of second hand clothes that has me coveting everything!
- Sell clothes you don’t wear any more and use the money to invest in new ones. I use Depop every now and again for this. You can follow me here.
What are your buying habits? Do you try to buy better and buy less? What's your advice?
Photographed by Monika Varšavskaja, edited by me.