Week of requests: investment pieces, my way

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I’m just going to do a few more days of requests because you all had so many good ones. For today’s post, a reader named Liz writes, “I’m interested in investment pieces – jewelry, watches, handbags, coats – that stand the test of time. I’m at an age where I’d like to look pulled together without having to chase new stuff every season.” I am throwing the GOACA price limit out the window with this post, so just know that going in. Let’s start with one of the most important investment pieces I can think of, a statement coat—something that’s classic enough to wear for years, but also somewhat left-of-center design-wise, like this one.

 

I don’t wear a watch, and believe those who insist that that a Timex keeps just as good time as a Rolex does, but if I were to go for a splurgy one, it’d be a tank watch from Cartier because it’s so elegant, understated, and French. However, this one from Seiko is a pretty convincing dupe.

Popular wisdom dictates that bags and shoes are the two most important pieces to invest in, and I very much go along with that assessment. I sprang for this bucket bag from Il Bisonte a few years ago, and it only gets better with age, truly. I’ve bought new bags since I acquired this one, but I always come back to it.

 

I once temporarily took leave of my senses and purchased a Jerome Dreyfuss python bag like this one, but I don’t totally regret it, because whenever I’ve got a nice event to attend, I’m prepared.

And speaking of which: a really good pair of heels—these are Christian Loubouton’s Pigalle pumps—are essential. This is about as high as I can go at the moment.

Statement jewelry can turn an otherwise everyday ensemble into something really exciting. I’d love to go for something luxe-but-not-showy, like these gorgeous Ted Meuhling hoops.

A pair of cashmere joggers—these are from Nili Lotan, and the cut is based on her Paris pants—are a good way to feel fancy when all you’re doing is lounging about. These, from Nadaam, are a whole lot cheaper, and also pretty good.

Never underestimate the feeling of power that comes with wearing a really, really nice bra.

I generally think that expensive cashmere isn’t worth its price: it pills and wears just as fast as inexpensive cashmere, in my experience. But a thick ply cashmere sweater like this is just impossibly deluxe, and well worth shelling out for.

I have said before that I prefer a Serious Black Dress over a LBD: something that’s interesting from a design perspective—like this Rachel Comey number—and can be worn any season (I’d make it winter-worthy by layering it over a turtleneck or pairing it with a cashmere cardigan).

Buy a good leather jacket in a classic cut and you’ll never regret it.

 

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Comments

38 Thoughts on Week of requests: investment pieces, my way
    Liz
    12 Jan 2021
    12:14am

    I love everything but especially the coat and the watch! Thank you Kim!

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    Amy Chen
    11 Jan 2021
    8:12am

    What is the price limit for GOACA usually?

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      Mamavalveeta03
      11 Jan 2021
      12:49pm

      I’ve always assumed that it’s “in the Cloud” – it’s out there, and someone knows how to find it, but it’s not me.

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    CL
    11 Jan 2021
    8:31am

    LOVE IT. A post to bookmark and send to every Gen Z gal who will listen. At my age, I am covered on all X the bucket bag which is not my jam and the earrings (ears not pierced, so lazy of me). I guess I make up for it by owning a good few statement coats. Bought the NL cashmere joggers bc of this blog (why yes, they do pill). Kim, thank you so much for going straight for the style jugular, as it were.

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      AKM
      11 Jan 2021
      2:36pm

      I too brought the NL Paris joggers last year and am grateful I got them on sale because while the styling is superb, the fabric is cheap. Drives me mental that they pile so quickly… at that price point (even on sale!) Love everything else I have from NL though, so that hasn’t turned me off of other pieces from her collections.

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    MaryAlice
    11 Jan 2021
    12:11pm

    That dress is a work of art. And it’s hand washable! Win/win.
    (also the link to the shoes doesn’t work)

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    Joannawnyc
    11 Jan 2021
    12:21pm

    Interesting. At 60 I have fallen into my individual versions of all these except the statement coat, the heels and the cashmere joggers (I’ve had them in the past and they did not suit me or my life). What do I have instead? Puffers, nice flats or fancy boots, and regular sweatpants I guess.

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    Peggy Orenstein
    11 Jan 2021
    12:33pm

    I love that bag. The site doesn’t show the lining or say whether it has a little pocket or anything? I don’t want to make you open your purse, Kim, but would love to see what the interior of the bag looks like and includes….

    Also, OMG, TED MUEHLING! Totally forgot about him! Catapults me back to the late 1980s when I bought a pair of TM earrings at Bergdorf’s and it felt like the worlds’ biggest and most sophisticated splurge…. I wonder where those earrings went?!?

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      Joy
      14 Jan 2021
      11:12am

      Hi Peggy, This bag is lined and has a large inside pocket. I’ve adjusted our product description accordingly. Thank you for pointing this out! Best, Joy @JDR

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    Mamavalveeta03
    11 Jan 2021
    1:02pm

    Most excellent choices, Kim! I have been switching over to “Buy better – Buy less” over the recent past. It just feels so much better to wear things I truly love that fit my lifestyle and promote sustainability. At this point, how can we not? That being said, “better” is a subjective measure since income and circumstances vary greatly.

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    Alison
    11 Jan 2021
    1:32pm

    Request! Love this post, but none of these items are even remotely acquirable for me. Would LOVE a similar post on pieces that feel like they’re way more expensive than they are- more in the $80-200 range. Could be “classic” pieces, wardrobe staples, or just fun items that can funk up an otherwise basic outfit. Thank you!

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    Jenny
    11 Jan 2021
    1:41pm

    I bought some investment pieces in my 40s, and now at 50 they don’t fit my style or my body. And pieces I bought for no good reason end up being the ones I’ve worn for years and years. All these items are impeccable, but I think the idea of investment pieces doesn’t work for me, or maybe I’m a bad investor?

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    Ramona Q
    11 Jan 2021
    11:28am

    Thank you!! Love this post and these picks

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    Mary
    11 Jan 2021
    11:18am

    I’m pretty much through with fast fashion so I love posts like this. I can’t believe how I used to shop and all I had to show for it was a heaving closet full of crap.

    Thank you so much, Kim!

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    DC Diva Who Is Hiding Under Her Bed Until Jan 20
    12 Jan 2021
    1:46pm

    Thanks for posting this silly stuff — I am so exhausted by the news, and this is so fun! I love the shape of the classic Cartier watch but it has always bugged me that the Roman numeral four is incorrect. It is supposed to be IV and I assume they know it because they have the numbering correctly printed for nine. Meanwhile, I am drooling over the earrings.

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      Christine
      9 Feb 2021
      9:42pm

      That’s actually a common usage on higher end or traditional clocks/watches. There are a number of different theories why — from visual symmetry to covert support for deposed French monarchs to avoiding blaspheming Jupiter. Right or wrong, it’s deliberate, not an accident.

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    Candy
    11 Jan 2021
    10:22am

    I know this is about investment pieces worth the money, but for cashmere I just ordered a beautiful cashmere sweater from Quince, marked down now to $50, and it’s much thicker and softer than even the one I bought in Scotland back in a previous life.
    https://www.onequince.com/women/cashmere/mongolian-cashmere-v-neck?color=black&tracker=collection_picked+for+you__desktop__4_1&utm_source=pepperjam&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=73861&clickId=3441785143

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      Rita
      11 Jan 2021
      11:33am

      I second Quince. I bought one of their cashmere sweaters recently and the quality and thickness rivaled an old Eric Bompard sweater I have. I’ve worn the Quince sweater three times so far and no pilling! I’m very tempted to go back and try some of their other pieces in silks and cottons.

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        Viajera
        11 Jan 2021
        12:36pm

        Good suggestion – thanks! I don’t always remember to check the other fabric choices. Housemates like to keep the place warm – I don’t need more wool. A near miss with the cropped cardi in alpaca. I hope they explore a better range of sizes.

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      Kim
      11 Jan 2021
      7:09pm

      Just made my first Quince purchase (cashmere v-neck and a washable silk tee) and am awaiting its arrival eagerly.

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    Kim France
    11 Jan 2021
    9:08am

    It used to be higher—around $900—but lately I try not to go above $600.

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    Betsy Palmer
    11 Jan 2021
    9:23am

    Great post. I wish that I’d realized years ago that all the items did not HAVE to be black as well. I will say that I have seldom regretted the splurge and often regretted cheaping out. About that watch, best jewelry purchase I have ever made. I wear it every day. Ditto my diamond studs.

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    cw
    11 Jan 2021
    9:35am

    As I get older statement pieces make more sense– I find my desire for “the new thing” grows dimmer––no doubt exacerbated by the Pandemic and isolation requiring not much more than comfortable sweats. Comfort is key––particularly in footwear and I’d love a really good comfortable leather jacket, but both shoes and jackets require trying on and that’s where I get bogged down because I still don’t feel comfortable going into a store. The only cashmere sweater I’ve ever owned that didn’t pill is by Magaschoni which I purchased at Last Call for about twenty bucks. I don’t know why it doesn’t pill, but I wear it ALL the time (on me as I type)––have hand washed it, dry cleaned it and it has held up for at least six years. Never a pill in site. Did I just get lucky? Or do other Magaschoni sweaters hold up equally well?

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      Hannah Holden
      12 Jan 2021
      4:18am

      I have a cashmere cardigan from the late 50s that I was amazed to discover doesn’t pill. I bought it second hand and assumed it hadn’t been worn much to be in such good condition. The only reason for pilling I can think of is the way the fibers are processed for yarn. Longer fibers are less likely to pill. I think demand for cashmere pushes producers to include shorter fibers so they can increase production volume but it lowers the overall quality of the yarn. Nice to know that there is at least one company that is still using higher quality yarn. If only there was a way to know beforehand how they were carding and spinning their yarn to avoid costly mistakes!

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      kimbersam
      11 Jan 2021
      11:20am

      CW, Me too! I picked up 2 Magaschoni hoodies 4-5 years ago from eBay. Thick, luscious, and no pills! And (shame on me) I run them through the washer in a bag on the gentle cycle.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        11 Jan 2021
        12:55pm

        I actually think that’s a perfectly acceptable method of cleaning them, Kimbersam!

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          D.Morgendorffer
          11 Jan 2021
          1:42pm

          Let me suggest a micro-micro investment piece: a Wacoal lingerie bag. For some reason, I have found Wacoal’s lingerie bags last way longer than others. While they are sometimes included as free gifts for lingerie purchases in department stores, you can find them for sure on Wacoal’s own site where they are listed as wash bags.

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            kimbersam
            12 Jan 2021
            10:50am

            Excellent suggestion. Thank you!

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    Suju
    11 Jan 2021
    3:52pm

    LOVE! Especially that dress and those heels. One day…

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    Mary
    11 Jan 2021
    2:44pm

    Obviously everyone’s investment pieces are going to be different. There are many women who swear by certain investment pieces they’ve purchased but I’m decidedly uninterested in many of them – I don’t need them nor could I possibly wear them enough to justify the cost.

    But if I’m absolutely positive I’m going to wear an item to death and have far fewer of these items, then I’m prepared to spend more. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – those $50 purchases you don’t really think about add up.

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    Sharona
    11 Jan 2021
    2:47pm

    I love the idea of serious black dress. Am over the lowest common denominator supposed classics like the lbd. I want to love the stuff I’m wearing every day (coat, bag, earrings).

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    Sharona
    11 Jan 2021
    3:04pm

    Kim, could you maybe talk about seeking out slightly off-center investment pieces? So many of my personal building blocks have been random finds (vintage, a fake fur coat from the Saks outlet back in the day, Brunello Cucinelli at c21 (cry, and in a whole different world from fashion cashmere) that I’m kind of lost trying actively to find inspiration.

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      Eloise
      11 Jan 2021
      3:33pm

      Yes – and at the risk of sounding particularly shallow, I miss this kind of hunt so much these days!

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    Eloise
    11 Jan 2021
    3:27pm

    I’ve finally learned to go for “investment” undergarments, too. Yes, they eventually wear out but my fave Hanky Panky boy shorts last longer (with no visible panty line) – and make me feel better – than whatever cheapo undies I end up buying when I get in my “but it’s just underwear” moods. I do try to scout the sales (hence, some odd colors) but sometimes I go rogue and pay full price and have never regretted it. Have started to do the same with socks (Smart Wool and Darn Tough), too.

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      Mae
      11 Jan 2021
      6:16pm

      My skin is much more delicate now that I’m older, and the seams on cheapo undies are quite uncomfortable. My investment pieces are Hanro seamless 100% mercerized cotton panties (style 07 1625). They are $40 a pair and nothing to show off, but they are soft and trimmed in silky satin so they don’t rub “down there” or slide down my waist. They hold up well in the laundry, too.

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      MaryAlice
      11 Jan 2021
      8:45pm

      Hanky Panky boyshorts are the holy grail of underwear

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    Gigi
    11 Jan 2021
    6:30pm

    Dying over the Max Mara coat!

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    MaryAlice
    11 Jan 2021
    8:47pm

    The best investment piece I ever bought was a black MaxMara peacoat which cost $600 in 2005. I had NO business spending that amount of money but that coat is still absolute perfection. When I win the lottery I am going on a spree at MaxMara.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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