Lots of people talk about purchasing investment pieces for their wardrobes. But what are they? And how can you know what will be a good choice for you?
Know Your Stuff
First of all, “investment” is a scary word. Let’s stick with the word “splurge” — it’s more fun to say and sounds far less serious. Serious is over-rated, anyway.
splurge |splərj| informal, noun: an act of spending money freely or extravagantly; a large or excessive amount of something.
investment |inˈves(t)mənt| noun: the action or process of investing money for profit or material result; a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future; an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.
Ideally, we should have no trouble blending the two:“splurge-estment.” After all, this publication is about indulgence; I’m just here to help you decide how and what to indulge in.
Splurgestment, noun, as defined by Wardrobes by Lillian Charles: act of purchasing an item that can be used for a variety of occasions, will prove durable over time, calls attention to your best attributes, and adds both “fun” and “weight” to everything else you’ve got goin’ on in your ensemble.
What are clothing items that both men and women need year-round (more or less), regardless of location, age, and size? My mind immediately goes to leather goods, shoes, outerwear, accessories, and “signature” pieces. Practical investments. The splurge portion of those kinds of purchases comes in when you consider an extra special detail on the garment, something that makes it unique to you.
For the Ladies
I have a pair of shoes that I love: they’re super tall, super comfortable wedges with thick, rich chocolate-colored suede straps that hug my feet just perfectly. They are gorgeous and work with any bright hue and are the perfect accent to an ensemble of mixed-neutrals.
And the wedge-portion of the shoe is leopard print. Yep. A true splurgestment. When I turn to the side, you see that pop of pattern and creativity.
I will never forget the first night that I wore them out — if I can’t remember what I wore on a date or some special occasion, I have a hard time believing that said occasion ever occurred. Anyway, I wore these beauties with ever-so-slightly flared white denim, a beige fitted tank, a huge statement belt, colorful scarf, and an orange cashmere sweater. Divine! If I may say so myself…
So, ladies, this might mean that you create for yourself a pair of custom Attilio Giusti Leombruni shoes or that you splurgest in a small, square Hermes scarf that just sings with the colors that make you look and feel most alive. In those AGLs, you can walk for miles through the streets of Paris (or around the grocery store), and with that little scarf, you can add pops of color in a variety of places within your wardrobe. Maybe you are tired of the straps on your TJ Maxx purses fraying and looking raggedy. Time to splurgest! Invest in a classic, durable, lovely bag, but splurge on the color or shape of it.
For the Gents
Menfolk: A belt is a beautiful thing for which a man should splurgest! A great belt can dress up an otherwise dull outfit and it also gives your ensemble a little “weight” and masculinity. And yes, even a scarf, for a man, is a great splurgestment.
Little details and well-planned accessories can serve as:
- the “weighted” item that pulls together all the loose-ends in the outfit (literally, think of it as an ink-blot stamp: it seals the deal and holds it together).
- a great pop of color or interesting piece to your outfit that ISN’T just your tie.
- great conversation starters and story-telling. Isn’t that what all men strive for when picking out their clothes? (haha) But really, a fellow dude comments on your scarf (probably because he’s impressed with your confidence to rock it in the first place) and you get to tell him, “Yeah, I picked it out at ______ market in such and such part of town while I was visiting ________ in the mountains of ___________.” Or you can just say, “Thanks bro,, my sister got it for me.” Either way, it’s a win.
As with women, shoes are a wonderful way (ahem, excuse) for dudes to splurgest. Purchase shoes for their level of comfort, for the style, for the quality and for the versatility. If you cannot put checks next to all (or almost all) of those boxes, move on.
The things you wear and use every day are what you need to put money into. Trust me, you’re saving in the long run by doing so. The splurge part of this is making your purchases unique to you. What kind of details stand out to you and why does that make them special? Think about the amount of time and wear you will receive from a splurgestment piece. Think about what it will say about your style or why it is uniquely “you.” You can’t go wrong on a splurgestment when you use this algorithm.
Please do not splurge or invest in anything that will make you look exactly like everyone around you. A true splurgestment is something that you’ve purchased for yourself, by yourself as an extension of yourself. That’s what your clothes are supposed to do for you: express who you are and tell a bit of your story, visually.
All photos courtesy of the author except the lead photo by EdouardHue.