How to Know What Items to Invest in for Your Professional Wardrobe
Updated: Jan 28
Investment pieces are one of the most important and fundamental parts of your wardrobe, but what exactly is an investment piece, and what is its role and purpose in your professional wardrobe?
As well as explaining the basics, I'm also going to share how to determine what items belong in your professional wardrobe, plus the four factors you must consider before making an investment purchase.
So, what exactly is an investment piece?
An investment piece simply refers to an item of clothing that costs more than you would normally spend. Depending on how much you usually pay for items in your wardrobe will shape how much is right for you to spend. But the most important thing is that you are buying the best quality that you can afford.
The reason that you are buying the best quality is because investment items are designed to be worn year after year, season after season.
Better quality items are going to help ensure longevity for you, and because you want to be able to wear these pieces for years to come, items that are more timeless and classic in their styling will also work best to invest your money in.
I like to see investment pieces as 'integrators' within your wardrobe - they're versatile which means you can wear then with lots of different items to create outfits - which helps you get extra mileage out of all your other pieces.
How do you figure out what are the right professional investment pieces for you?
When it comes to investing in your professional wardrobe, you need to consider:
Your professional lifestyle (do you work in an office, at home or a combination of both?)
Your professional environment (how formal or casual is it?)
Your professional aspirations (what goals are you working towards and where would you like to progress?)
For example, let's say you're a senior female leader in a software company and you regularly present to the Executive Team and occasionally to the Board. You like to have a sense of presence when presenting in those situations and you'd like to be perceived as credible and authoritative. A great investment item that you'd benefit from could be a beautiful, tailored blazer in one of your power colours.
Another great investment piece that you can wear on your more relaxed days at the office is a leather jacket - you can pair it back with jeans or a skirt and tee as well as wear it outside the office.
If you have a corporate role and you travel a lot for work, then a beautiful luxury pashmina could be a great investment for you, as well as some dresses, which are often more convenient than taking bottoms and tops and having to coordinate them when travelling.
One other key factor to consider is what do you enjoy wearing and are willing to spend money on?
Since these items are going to be in your wardrobe for a number of years, it makes sense to invest your money in items you truly love to wear.
What should you prioritise investing in your wardrobe?
If you're a female professional or leader, there are 5 items I recommend. Check the slider below to find out.
The four key factors you must know before you make an investment purchase
Investment pieces must be in a colour that looks amazing on you - this is a non-negotiable! I talk about colour all the time because I'm so passionate about how much impact it has on someone's appearance and how quick an
d instant it can change how you look.
But what are the best colours for you to invest in?
I always recommend getting your best neutrals first, because these are also the most versatile. Depending on the season you are buying in, and also the item itself, you can choose either your best lightest neutral or best darkest neutral
Light neutrals include: white, soft bright, cream, tan, beige, light grey
Dark neutrals include: black, navy, dark brown, olive, charcoal
If you'd like to know which neutrals work better for you, read my post on colour here.
Neutrals serve as excellent connectors in your wardrobe - they easily link and bring other colours together, and are incredibly versatile when it comes to mixing and matching with a wide variety of items.
If you would like to invest in an accent color, make sure that it is one of your top colours. When I do a colour analysis with a client, we identify her top two, three or even four colours - these are the ones that really light them up and make them look amazing. Your investment piece should only be in one of your best accent colours.
2. Your personal style and aesthetic
Investment pieces should not only flatter you physically, but they should also align with who you truly are - your inner essence.
This is about understanding who you are, and a great starting point to help you discover the styles of clothing that best reflect your personality is my Style Archetype quiz.
Once you understand who you are at your core, you can choose investment pieces that will resonate with you, as well as what you want your style to say. Don't be drawn into 'must have' items on wardrobe investment lists - these are only great purchases for you if they truly reflect who you are.
Often, there may be a better translation, such as a cream silk blouse for the 'must have' classic white shirt or a contemporary block heel pump instead of a ballet flat.
3. The shape or silhouette
The third key factor to consider is what are the shapes and silhouettes of clothing that best flatter your body type? Once when you understand this you can make smart choices.
An easy way to help figure this out is to look for clothes that repeat your body's natural shape.
If your body is fairly straight up and down, look for items that share that rectangular silhouette. If you have slight curves, styles that have subtle shaping will suit you best. If you are curvy, look for shapes that move in and out and can accommodate your curves.
If we take the example of a blazer, one that features a defined nipped in waist will suit curvier shapes while styles that have more subtle shaping or are cut straight up and down will better flatter other silhouettes.
4. What else you will pair it with
I always recommend prior to making a purchase, especially when it involves spending more money, that you have considered what other items you already have that you can pair it with.
Where this new piece will fit within your wardrobe
What outfits you can create with items you already own
Individual pieces this item will work with
When I bought my leather jacket, I knew exactly what I could pair it with. I had a number of outfit combinations already worked out in my mind, so I was confident that it was going to be incredibly versatile. It also helped me bring different items (such as skirts and tops) together as it helped to create the link between them.
I'd also had a cheaper priced leather jacket for a number of years which I'd loved wearing, so I knew upgrading was going to be a good investment for me.
If you'd like to to find out what investment pieces I would recommend for your professional wardrobe, get in touch. I'd love to connect and chat!