If there's one thing the clothing and accessories industry understands about the modern fashion-lover, it's that while they want more (more options on the shelves, more thoughtful sustainability practices, inclusive sizing, gender fluidity, etc.), they also won't settle for less. Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z shoppers all find value in splurging on classic pieces that will stand the test of time. The question is, which products are actually worth spending extra dollars on?
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Stylist Mickey Freeman explains over email that it's both the quality and craftsmanship of a clothing item that makes it worth the investment. What makes something "classic," however, is its timelessness (if it will appreciate in value over the years) mixed with a dash of notoriety (i.e. what Sex and the City did for Manolo Blahnik shoes).
"For fashion-lovers, obtaining these pieces will not only allow you to possess a piece of the designer's heritage, but these items are staples that can be worn over and over again," Freeman says over email.
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So which pieces should you be eyeing the racks for? We reached out to a few stylists to find out their own best investment buys. Take a look at their picks, ahead, and get ready to take notes.
A Black Blazer
Fashion stylist and founder of Second Wind Karen Perez says a tailored- fit, quality-made black blazer is a classic piece worth every penny spent.
"Adding a blazer to a T-shirt and jeans adds a more polished look to your outfit, and wearing an oversized style as a dress with strappy sandals is the perfect and chic look for the evening," she tells us over email. "This is the staple that everyone needs in their closet."
A Flap Bag
The founder of Jaidi Finds, Jaidi, tells InStyle that, among the many classic pieces the personal shopping service sources for its VIP clients, flap bags — more specifically, Chanel flap bags — are among the most popular.
"This is an all-time classic, an investment piece of art crafted by skillful artisans of Maison Chanel in France," says Jaidi. "It is definitely a splurge, but absolutely worth it because over time, it appreciates in value and it lasts a lifetime."
A Trench Coat
Despite originally being designed to help army officers weather rainstorms, the trench coat has become a classic staple across all wardrobes. As far as Jaidi is concerned, a Burberry trench coat is a must-have.
"It's easy to style, sophisticated and timeless. It is a great transitional piece and such an effortless piece for all ages, all genders."
A Statement Necklace
Another must-have accessory worth the money? The statement necklace.
"Statement necklaces, especially in a chain style, have been the biggest trend this year and have made it down the runways of Givenchy, Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Saint Laurent, to name a few," Perez tells InStyle. "Statement necklaces have been my go-to splurge item, in vintage styles or more modern chunky chains. This will elevate your day or night looks."
The Perfect White T-Shirt or Button-Down
Finding the perfect white T-shirt or button-down is a difficult feat, but an important find if you're trying to build a classic basics wardrobe. Celebrity stylist Cindy Conroy tells InStyle the key is to find these tops in premium fabrics that will extend the longevity of the pieces.
"You'll spend more upfront, but you won't have to buy a replacement for years," she says.
Strappy, sparkling numbers are eye-popping and will no doubt elevate an outfit (pun intended), but when it comes to investing in a pair of heels, Conroy says it doesn't get much more classic than an exquisite pump.
"They've been classic wardrobe staples long before the '60s, so they will stand the test of time and put in work years down the road," Conroy says. "If you're not sure if it's worth it, just ask yourself this question: Will I wear it in two to five years? If the answer is a resounding yes, go for it! Splurge away."
A Clutch Purse
According to Conroy, a fabulous clutch is just as essential to your wardrobe as a flap bag because it's a classic that works overtime.
"Sure, most reserve it for magical evenings out, but you can use it during the daytime too," she tells us. "Pair it with workwear or casual weekend outfits and you'll add the perfect dash of spice to your ensemble."
An Occasion Gown
Fashion designer Reem Acra says that in addition to quality everyday basics, investing in formal attire is essential, too.
"A great gown that you can always pull out for an event like attending a wedding or a special occasion is a key investment," Acra says. "A classic gown never goes out of style and you will wear it for years to come." Having one go-to, splurgy gown (which you accessorize in different ways to make it feel fresh), is certainly a more Earth-friendly way to think about formal attire than buying a new piece each time you have a wedding to attend.
Though a seasonal pick, Jaidi recommends splurging on a quality pair of summer sandals to keep as a wardrobe staple. Their pick: Hermès Oran sandals.
"Oran sandals from Hermès are definitely many clients' top investment choice for summer sandals and they last for years to come," says Jaidi. Aside from being chic and comfortable, the iconic sandals come in a variety of shades, including timeless colorways, like black, white, and gold.
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