The Myth Of The “Investment Piece”
A while ago , I read an article on The Hairpin that stuck in my craw. The author, in support of of emerging fashion designers , came across as an Anthony Bourdain of style. Tone deaf, classist and utterly confused , conflating ideas of durability and high end, fairly made and “luxe” , “mindfulness” as buying a 200$ sweatshirt vs the zombie oblivion of shopping at Forever 21. Also , dismissing rayon. Lovely , drapey, comfortable rayon. And the idea that expense is investment. Buried in all this was the notion that buying the right things is a way to be a better person. More money to buy even better things , then you are probably some humanitarian; saving worker, the environment all the while helping out struggling indie designers. It must fee great to be able to afford to save the world , one t-shirt at a time.
I’m pretty sure the concept of the “investment piece” is something fashion editors came up with in order to part women from their money. The idea on the surface is absurd , wardrobe basics that are so “classic ” they never look dated and are quality made so never pill or lose their shape sounds great I guess if your weight never changes and if you aren’t a klutz who spills everything on everything else (Hi!) but does this actually pan out in reality?
It sounds like pure magical thinking. How long does anyone really wear these investment pieces for anyway?
My own idea of an investment in style is one of more time and daring than money. It’s not a closet of “staples” you accessorize and is not even an article of clothing. It’s having a personal style strong enough to keep you at least somewhat immune to the ever changing trends. If you look like an insaniac , you can make whatever you want to wear work for you. The ability to break rules , even your own , without breaking a sweat is the best style investment you can make. And it only costs in attitude.
Does it fit, does it look good, is it going to wear without falling apart, is it totally awesome and make you feel like a million bucks , does it make you wanna starte at yourself , does it make you wanna go out and show off? Then it’s an investment piece. Investment pieces are laying in wait at your local thrifty , some of them quite luxe, many of them under 10$.
I think getting a dress for 10$ because one or more ladies has already worn in is much better all around than a dress for 10$ because it was made by severely underpaid workers in countries without environmental laws. It’s also more in my scrounger budget. Not to say I don’t think it’s worth it to support emerging designers. I feel as a creative I have a responsibility to support my brothers and sisters in arms. But no feel good hard sell is gonna convince me that a 100$ scarf is an investment. I’ll be buying well made accessories from indie designers who sell at fair prices that fellow creatives can afford.
I chose in invest wisely, in some vintage bangles from the Salvation Army in Sherbrooke for 50¢ each.
This linen skirt was another cleaver investment. I don’t remember what it cost but it’s from the Salvation Army store downtown and I bought it 7 years ago and have been wearing it year round and often ever since. Rayon sleeveless blouse from thrifty in Winnipeg, 1.50$. Tarnished braided chain was 2$ at a Value Village in Red Deer. Shoes are from Winners, 50$ , bough 2 summers ago. Lips are a mix of Vintage and Tarred lip tar from OCC.