We all love a fashion bargain (my current fave is an abstract-print Patterson J. Kincaid dress that someone mistook for Marni), but I would argue that a serious investment from an award-winning designer is something that brings your appreciation of fashion to a whole new level. Truly great design is timeless and, like a blue-chip stock, holds its value over the years, but what’s more, supporting artisanal clothing lines enables fashion talents to keep making beautiful things, a hard fact I hadn’t given much consideration until I saw Seamless. Previously I assumed that once the CFDA waved its magic wand over a designer’s head he or she lived in the lap of luxury, or at least comfortably in a floor-though loft or four-story brownstone. Apparently not. This documentary shows one top designer toiling away in the basement of her parents’ dry cleaning business. But I digress. Suffice to say, it’s a must-see.
Still, I appreciate all too well how pesky financial realities like grad school loans and car payments can keep even the most passionate fashion connoisseur from filling her closet with Kimberly Ovitz and Giuseppe Zanotti. So how do those of us without a trust fund or a Goldman Sachs bonus at our disposal do it? Limit yourself to two love-at-first-sight splurges a season. (In case you’re curious, my big ticket items were a Thakoon Addition dress and a Mulberry bag. And I may be hitting Santa up for a Herve Leger.) Distinctive but never gimmicky, these pedigreed pieces have the power to elevate the more pedestrian basics that make up the majority of most of our wardrobes. Python Sergio Rossi sandals bring instant fashion cred to a basic tee and baggy trousers, while Balmain gladiators make Monrow sweatpants worthy of Paris Fashion Week.
(See more ways to mix fashion’s blue-chip investments with affordable pieces in our Go High/Low lookbook.)