As I've gotten older and my size and styles have solidified a bit, I've realized that spending money on quality pieces that will get a lot of wear-time is a solid investment - and further, spending my hard-earned money on something that won't last past a few runs in the washing machine is a waste of both my resources (and the world's). Further, making an investment doesn't always mean spending money - it can refer to the time needed to find the right fitting clothes, a trip to the tailer, and supporting locally-owned businesses and American-made brands. Ultimately, for me, making an investment means that the things that you buy will last years rather than seasons, get better with the right care, and continue to flatter you regardless of trends.
The items below will probably not surprise you - but may serve as a reminder that sometimes the best investments aren't the ones that cost the most.
1. A pair of straight-leg or skinny jeans that fit in a dark wash.
There's something about denim that fits and lasts.
I'm someone with a bit of a fit problem - i.e. jeans have a habit of fitting throughout the thigh and then gapping at the waist so it looks like I could fit a few baby kangaroos in there, plus I'm in the awkward 5'4" threshold where petite sizes should fit but fall a little short sometimes (ha). I've struggled with buying jeans in the past, but recently found a pair that fit from Loft. (Loft & Ann Taylor have a great selection for petites - and also seem to understand that "curvy" can mean a lot of different things.)
2. A buttery leather jacket.
If I had the money right now, I would go out and purchase a leather jacket - and the kind of leather jacket that my future teenage daughter borrows because it still looks that great. Fortunately enough, there are so many great options these days in different price points but also in different materials for those of you less-inclined to buy actual leather. I'd go with a classic silhouette, well-made materials regardless of what they are, and dependable customer service. (This article from Elle has a lot of great options.)
(For reals: as I prepare to go abroad next spring, leather jackets have truly been on my radar. Black seems like the obvious Parisian choice, but I have to say - the caramel color looks great too.)
3. A strong handbag & wallet.
As I begin to think more and more about (the impending nature of) my professional life, I've begun to think more about the importance of having a strong, professional handbag in your repertoire. Carrying my laptop is important to consider, but so is the structure of the bag and how the materials may alter with age.
Though I may not have realized it before, a bag can really elevate your look and your presence in a room - or maybe it's that it can also turn a great outfit into something less polished. Probably safer not to make the mistake in the first place. (Kate Spade's surprise sale had a lot of great options for black laptop-friendly bags - and I have a wallet that I bought at a KS outlet that I've had for six years now that still looks fabulous.)
4. A blazer
Day, night, work, play. Need I say more?
As much as I love the budget options - for a tuxedo blazer which may not get too much air time, for example, they're perfect - splurge for a quality piece that will last you longer than your summer internship and make taking care of it a priority. A classic blazer in navy is perfect for nearly every occasion.
Are there any things I forgot - or was I totally off the mark? Let me know!