By Jenn Bussell
If you’re one of the Lucky Ones receiving a refund from Uncle Sam this year, do a little dance. Then pay down a credit card (or two), and maybe tuck some away in a rainy day fund. That’s no fun, you say? Well, you’re right. Let’s shop!
While I usually steer you towards more thrifty style statements (read: pieces under $50), this week’s focus is on fashion investment pieces priced between $100 – $400. Why the change? Well no proper career girl can survive – let alone thrive – on H&M alone. Spending wisely on wardrobe classics that have stood the test of time will not only underscore your keen fashion acumen; but the right purchases will serve you – and your wallet – well for years to come.
Where to start? Look to fashion icons from yesteryear that are still influencing designers today…Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy. Classic French and American styles are rooted in sophisticated simplicity, with women on both sides of the pond sharing a common belief that quality trumps quantity when it comes to building a wardrobe tailored to evolve with you. Plus, the postage stamp-sized apartments of Paris and NYC mandate a well-curated closet.
Model-turned muse-turned author Inès de la Fressange has captured the essence of French fashion in her book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide, where she recommends every woman’s wardrobe include:
- The blazer
- The trench in classic tan
- The navy sweater – v-neck is preferred in fine gauge cashmere
- The tank in white, black, grey, navy or khaki
- The little black dress
- The perfect jeans – a dark indigo wash is the most office-appropriate
- The leather jacket
Personally I think you’ll get more mileage from a v-neck cardigan in navy or black. And my choice is always black or olive for outerwear. So much easier to keep clean, which in turn keeps the dry cleaning bills down.
Beyond apparel, a structured, lady-like bag in tan or neutral red leather is a smart choice. Likewise a classic heel in leopard print will prove surprisingly versatile over time when paired with a dress or pencil skirt for day, and jeans plus blazer for casual Friday.
No matter where you start, you’ll make the most of your fashion investment by purchasing the best quality fabric and construction your budget allows. The fit should be flawless, with shape being the key to mastering the classics.