Buying “investment” clothes – is it a crock?

Taking some time off teaching and writing and cleaning (it’s called enjoying my weekend), I got to musing about clothes. As you know I’ve lost quite a bit of weight lately, and my more recent purchases prior to the weight loss no longer fit me. I’ve recently had to throw out most of my old clothes, including those I used to wear when I was a young thin thing.

While I still have some workday clothes I am aware of having very few lovely clothes to wear to functions, including dress pants and shirts. Little black dress? Last year I had three good ones. This year: a ten-year-old Table 8 linen shift; and an Esprit knit jersey bought 1 month ago.

Living in humid, steamy QLD means clothes become old very fast. They lose shape, need frequent washing and frequent replacing. Leather goes mouldy, cotton mildewy. In my old life I used to buy clothes almost as long-term investments – I would wear a favourite piece for several years until it fell apart or just became too shabby, but here I can’t – the clothes just don’t last more than a couple of summers. It makes life quite expensive, and I find myself buying a “uniform” of clothing usually consisting of stripy shirts and plain pants, and the occasional wrap dress because at least they’re affordable and replaceable.

Sometimes I dream of being able to buy whatever clothing takes my fancy, including the gorgeous expensive stuff from top designers, but I can rarely afford it. Except every few years. When I buy shoes.

Last night hubby and I went to a do, as we do, and I pulled out my new knit jersey dress and my 5 year old black patent leather Salvatore Ferragamo pumps. They cost me about $AU300 on sale in a wonderful shoe shop in Paris on Rue Capuchin (in Australia 2 years later they retailed at $AU700). I’ve worn them about 10 times a year and this morning I gave them a quick clean and lo – they came up looking wonderful again:


At the time of purchase I called them my “investment” shoes. Hubby laughed, but I was serious. There are certain clothes I buy because I believe they will last a long time, and are timeless fashion. The cost of the shoes means that I spend time looking after them, including regular cleaning, and storing in their original box. With cheaper shoes I am less inclined to do this, but buying these first really expensive shoes has taught me the meaning of quality and care, and they suit most evening clothes. Consequently, my expensive shoes, sober in colour and design, are certainly investment shoes if they can last this long, look this good, and have another ten years of wear in them.

I wonder if men buy investment clothes? Are good Italian cloth suits investments? Should I call them investment garments at all? Because they don’t make me any money, that’s for sure! But I wear these good quality clothes to make a good impression, to look my best at functions where I need to be seen. Which surely makes the purchase of expensive clothing worthwhile, when it can be worn time and again and still look fabulous. Certainly saves the purchase of cheaper stuff year in year out. Except that, darn it, I still buy cheaper stuff year in year out!


3 thoughts on “Buying “investment” clothes – is it a crock?

  1. Ha! My husband tried that – bought an ‘investment suit’. 2 years later, he now has the trousers in a larger size, and the jacket has a large but very feint burn mark on the lapel from where it was LIT ON FIRE by a spilt flaming cocktail.

  2. Oh, I have investment clothes but I make sure that they’re ‘classics’ but I’d definitely agree that shoes are far easier to keep for a long period of time.

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