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Ask Avery: Invest in your wardrobe

Photo courtesy of Flickr / josey4628

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

What are good pieces to invest in? I usually try to buy inexpensive things, but are there items that you should splurge on? This goes for girls and guys.

As a fellow frugal shopper, I understand how difficult it can be to justify spending a lot of money on one piece when you can buy a whole bunch of things for the same price. But in my 21st year, I’m trying to be a smarter shopper. Instead of buying shopping bags full of 20 dollar tops that are practically disposable, I’ve started thinking about my wardrobe as an investment.

While not everything you buy has to be high-end or designer, some items probably should be. What you wear says a lot about you, whether you like it or not, and you should keep in mind what kind of image you’d like to project. As shallow as it may sound, something as simple as a nice briefcase or bag may help someone take you more seriously during a job interview.

The most important item on the Splurge List for girls and guys alike is a nice watch. Investing in the perfect watch is a no-brainer, because you will always, for the rest of your life, need to know what time it is. I began a serious relationship with watches on my 18th birthday and have never looked back. I now alternate between two different watches and on the days when neither one matches my outfit and I’m forced to go naked, I suffer separation anxiety all day and clutch my left wrist in desperation. What can I say? I get easily attached. 


Girls: Marc by Marc Jacobs, $200
Guys: Movado, $350

I am embarrassed to say I know boys who still use a velcro wallets. This horrifies me to the point that I will willingly pay for our movie tickets or lunches if it keeps them from displaying their wallets in public. For anyone over the age of 12, a nice wallet is a must. Guys, try taking a hottie on a nice date then whipping that thing out (the velcro wallet, I mean) when it comes time to pick up the check. There will not be a second date. That might be a touch overdramatic — most the female population isn’t quite that shallow — but you get the picture. It’s time to grow up.


Girls: Kate Spade, $178
Guys: Cole Haan, $59.99

Though the right sunglasses are important year-round, a sweet pair of shades really comes in handy during the summer months. Your youth is the time for free plastic sunglasses you got at a concert or the latest trendy style you found for five bucks at Target. But there comes a point when it’s time to invest in a nice pair of sunnies with actual UV protection and hinges that won’t snap at the slightest provocation. You’ll feel like a classy adult in sunglasses that come with their very own case and even a little cloth to clean off all the fingerprints you’ll probably get on them. Be sure to choose a style that is fashionable, but not overly trendy. This is an investment piece, remember?


Girls: Dolce & Gabbana, $275
Guys: Ray-Ban, $169.95

This may seem obvious to the rest of the world, but I’ve recently realized that a really nice pair of go-everywhere shoes is vital to any wardrobe. While it’s fun to splurge on the latest pair of kicks once in a while or snag the cheapest shoes you can find, it’s more important to invest in a great pair that will match most of your outfits and can be dressed-up or dressed-down as needed. For women, a pair of functional, comfortable, neutral heels are a must-have. For men, a pair of loafers or boat shoes could take you anywhere from work to a wedding to a night out. It’s going to hurt your bank account at the time, but you’ll be thanking me in the long-run.


Girls: Kate Spade, $325
Guys: J.Crew, $138

Dear Avery,
I was under the impression that capris are a thing of the past, like gauchos and parachute pants. However, everyone seems to be wearing them! Am I wrong here? Is my high level of annoyance at every pair I lay eyes on unfounded? Please advise.

Yours truly,

I don’t know who you’re hanging around, but you should stop being friends with capri-wearers immediately. I’m just kidding, that’s a little severe. But I do take a strong anti-capri stance, at least as far as my own legs are concerned.

There are very few people who look great in capris, myself included. Short people of the world should steer well-clear of any pants that bisect their legs. Pants that hit right at the knee or a little below only enhance the overall shortness of already too-short legs. Capris also aren’t super flattering on anyone trying to hide weight gain in the hips or thighs — chopping the leg three-quarters of the way down does nothing to flatter the lower body.

Men should also not be allowed anywhere near capri pants. I know some girls think it’s sexy and European when their guy dons capris, but that’s a life choice I just cannot support. Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough, but man capris may just be my least favorite trend in guys’ fashion.

My strong aversion to capris should not be confused with a hatred of all cropped pants, however. I love ankle-length jeans and pants, particularly during summer. Nothing looks better with a pair of ballet flats than a skinny pant that hits right at the ankle bone, and I’m often guilty of rolling up my jeans a few inches to achieve that perfect length. I love this look on guys, too: it’s casual yet fashionable in a way that doesn’t give off the vibe of someone trying too hard.

So if you’re capri-lover, don’t give up hope. They’re not so horrible as to be on the level of gauchos or parachute pants — not yet, anyway. But take a look in the mirror before you leave the house in your beloved capris. Though you may not look awful, you may not look great either. And it is my firm belief that every time you walk down the street, the general reaction should be something along the lines of, “Damn, girl!”

Have a fashion conundrum? Need advice? Visit the Ask Avery page to submit a question. Don’t worry, Avery’s got you covered. 

Photo courtesy of Flickr / josey4628.

TAGGED: accessories, fashion, investment pieces, splurging, style

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