Monday, November 11, 2013

Investment Pieces

I'm really happy to finally be at the point in my life where I can start thinking about investment pieces. These are pieces where it is 100% worth it to not bargain hunt your way into a product, to find the cheapest bang for your buck, or go for quantity over quality. Rather, these are pieces where you want to splurge, because you buy ONE, and that one item will never go out of style and never wear down on you.

Now, when I say I'm at the point in my life where I can start thinking about these things, I mean two things. First, I don't necessarily have the money to go out and buy and investment jacket and investment boots and investment yadda yadda yadda right now (this is still Wide Eyes, Tight Wallets), but I do have a little padding with each paycheck that I can put towards saving up for those really worthwhile purchases.

Perhaps even more important, I am confident enough in my personal style as well as my own sartorial education to be able to pick out pieces that I know I will want to wear forever, and will look good forever. After all, it's pretty pointless to shell out for an expensive, durable jacket, only to have it go out of style and out of favor in a year.

I also have to include a small caveat. These are all items that are worth investing in if you have the money to invest in them. For example, later I'll discuss denim as an investment piece, but if you need a pair of dark blue jeans and only have $40 in your budget to cover them, don't freak out, open a line of credit, and go into debt to get that awesome pair of $100 (or $200) jeans. Shop within your means.

OK! All that out of the way, here is the list of investment pieces going onto my wish/save list:

Boots - This is probably first on my list, but largely because I have an almost fetishistic obsession with these Allen Edmond's Dalton boots. They are just so perfect that I can't bring myself to settle for even a temporary inexpensive alternative. Nope, I'm holding out for the real deal, and baby, this is it.

Dalton by Allen Edmonds | $395.00 at Nordstrom

Coat - A good winter coat is an easy choice for the 'investment piece' list. First, the truly classic styles have never gone out of favor. Your pea coats and chesterfields will be as safe as a purchase now as they were ten years ago and will be ten years from now. On top of that, a winter coat is an item where style and functionality are equally important and equally hard to find at lower price points. If you want to stay warm (especially in a city like Chicago), and not look like you're wearing a glorified garbage bag, you're going to have to shell out a few bucks.

Grafton Coat by Rag & Bone | $895

Shoes - Another easy addition to the list. I've done great for a while grabbing some fantastic used shoes off of eBay, but at some point I'd really like to purchase at least two pairs of brand new, high quality dress shoes. Why is brand new important? There is a layer of cork between the insole and actual sole of every shoe (well, to my understanding), and this layer forms to your foot over time, like memory foam, but more permanent. If you buy used, no matter how nice of condition the shoe is, that cork layer is going to be formed to someone else's foot. Why is high quality important? Much like a good coat, a solid pair of shoes from a renowned brand like Allen Edmonds or Alden will never go out of style and will last you a decade.

Limited Edition Alden Cadet Cordovan Bluchers | $657.00 at J. Crew

Jeans - One of the biggest eye openers for me as I learned about menswear was the realization that holy hell people pay $200 for a pair of jeans! Even more importantly, I realized that there's actually a difference between a $200 pair of jeans and one that only costs $50. Again, this comes down to two things: the right $200 pair of jeans will 1) never go out of style; and 2) last forever - are you noticing a theme here?

A.P.C. Petit Standard Slim-Fit Dry Selvedge Denim Jeans | $205 at Mr. Porter

Watch - I've never been a watch guy myself, but even I can tell the difference between a cheap Timex and something of more esteemed quality. Don't get me wrong, a Timex will serve my purposes nine times out of ten, but one day I want to own one nice timepiece that I can bust out on special occasions when I really want to look and feel like a boss.

Burberry Silver Ceramic and Stainless Steel Watch, 42mm | $795.00 at Bloomingdale's

A Bespoke Suit - Notice how I said 'A.' That means one. Sure, someday it'd be killer if I could afford to have all of my suits made custom, but even if I never reach that sort of baller status, I'd like to own at least one fully bespoke suit before I die. As a menswear enthusiast, I can't tell you how many articles I've read reveling in the pure joy, comfort, and confidence that comes from having a suit of the finest fabrics cut and sewn for you alone, and that's a feeling I want. Now, due to the nature of 'bespoke,' I obviously can't pick out an online example for you, but you can imagine it...I'm thinking a warm brown, in a wool-cashmere blend, peak lapels, brown nut buttons...ah I could go on and on...

I'm sure there's more to this list, and hopefully I continue to improve my socio-economic status throughout my life and in turn get to add more items to this list, but right now, these are the things I'm ready to save and splurge on.

What's on your list? Any overlaps with my list? Anything you'd add or remove? Share in the comments!

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