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A How-To Guide on Selecting Investment Pieces

I’ve been curating my own collection of investment aka designer pieces for about 12 years and I’ve learned some things along the way – whether from research, buying mistakes or what sales associates have advised me on – and I figured I could share the knowledge and tips I’ve learned so that you hopefully don’t make the same mistakes as I have and, maybe, even save some moola!!

Before I get into all the things to think about when purchasing an investment piece, I want to discuss the most important factor that plays a role in every point we will discuss below, whether specifically mentioned or not – cost per wear.  Always think about your cost per wear!  The more you wear/use an item, the cheaper it becomes each time you wear it.  For example, you buy a purse for $2,000 but wear it almost every day that year – let’s say 250 times.  That means, each time you wore it, you paid $8 for it.  But you buy a designer tee for $500 but only wore it 10 times that same year, that means you paid $50 for it each time.

1.    Start with Bags, Coats and/or Shoes: When it comes to investment pieces its always best to start with items you can wear with any outfit.  Investing in a designer tee is great and all, but how many times can you actually wear it?! But with bags, shoes, and coats, you can accessorize and wear those items a myriad of times with multiple and different outfits! Meaning your cost per wear will lessen!

2.    Quality over Quantity: I feel like this is an obvious one but just to make sure no one forgets – always invest in quality designer pieces than having a bunch.  The reason for this is that you can wear it more often without signs of wear being as significant and it will stand the test of time!  I’ve always said I would rather have one great, quality piece than having a bunch of crap!

3.    No Trendy Pieces or Capsule Collections: Every year designers come out with a capsule collection that contain very specific trendy pieces.  These pieces are around just for that season/collection and typically will never be brought back.  Now you would think this would be great for resale value, and sometimes, actually very rarely, it is.  But typically speaking, when it comes to designer resale value, these capsule collections normally don’t fare well, especially in comparison to iconic, timeless pieces, i.e., the Chanel flap bag.  Now I’m not saying to buy pieces for the purpose of resale but it’s always something to keep in mind, especially when starting a collection.  Now the other, and probably the more important factor of why you should not start with trendy or capsule collection pieces is, cost per wear! Chanel just came out with their By the Sea Spring/Summer 2019 collection and I’m obsessed with it!  Everything includes straw, pearls, beach balls, etc. It’s so chic and cute and so very Chanel.  But how often can you wear the PVC Chanel flap bag with sand in it?  Or the mini Chanel covered in faux pearls?!  Realistically, not often.  And maybe rarely once the summer passes.  It’s great to invest and own one of these fun pieces but not when you’re first starting out.

4.    Start with Neutral Colors: Just as you don’t want to invest in a trendy handbag or shoe or coat because your cost per wear will suck the life out of you, this also stands true with buying one of those items in a loud, colorful color.  Yes, I just said colorful color.  My rule of thumb is to start with black or cream, then navigate to white, then grey, then color/prints.  I’m obsessed with the Dior print and love that vintage is having a moment right now. But this white leather saddle bag was my introduction to Dior aka my first ever Dior bag and I wanted to make sure I started out with a bag that I could wear year-round and with so many different outfits!  Plus, the shape of the saddle is more unusual than the bags I own and I wanted to make sure the neutral color made it not only more versatile but also not as “loud” so I wouldn’t get sick of the bag quickly.  Not only will neutral colors create a better cost per wear (because, again, you can wear those colors daily, with different outfits/styles/looks, and they transition better from day to night and for different life events; but they will also stand the test of time.  My classic black Chanel flap bag?  I wear that now and can wear that when I’m 80 years old!  My bright yellow Celine Phantom?  Haven’t worn it in over a year and am considering selling it to make room for a new bag.  You get the drift.

5.    Start with a Classic Designer Brand:  There are so many beautiful and amazing designers out there – but there are only a handful that have lasted, stood the test of time, and I feel like can truly be deemed a classic brand regardless of who you are and where you are in life.  Some of these, off the top of my head, are Chanel, Dior, and Hermes for bags and shoes and Acne and Theory for Coats.  If you’re going to invest, and invest for the first time, start with something from one of these designers (and if you’re reading this and just starting your collection, I would say shy away from Hermes because that’s way up there! Eeek!).

6.    Get Creative:  No, not with your bag, but with the way you buy it.  My first designer bag purchase was a Gucci bag that I bought on sale from Gucci (yes, I said it, on sale – this is 12 years ago when Gucci wasn’t as hyped up!  LOL.). My next two designer bags were both Louis Vuitton, bought at full price at the LV store.  Why? (1) LV was way cheaper then and (2) I didn’t know any better.  My next bag was a classic Chanel flap bag – a college graduation present from my parents! This all happened within 18 months of each other.  Then I took a breather from buying but always looked at new collections, researched, found inspo, etc.  As I did this, I realized there were a bunch of second hand luxury retail stores!  And so, my second Chanel bag came to fruition. And since then, regardless of what bag I want, I always look at second hand sites.  Sometimes you can find what you want, sometimes you find vintage, and sometimes you can find a brand-new bag with all the tags and papers and boxes!! Can we say, hashtag SCORE!  This takes a lot of looking around, being vigilant, and sometimes patient in order to get exactly what you want.  But it’s definitely worth always keeping your eye out on these sites/store fronts just to see what’s coming in and out of there!  Some sites would be The Real Real, Tradesy, Fashionphile, What Goes Around NYC, and Vestiaire Collection.  I’m sure there are many other sites and storefronts, but these are the ones I know of.  I prefer The Real Real for its collection and prices over Tradesy and What Goes Around NYC. But What Goes Around NYC always has really cool different and vintage pieces – but their prices seem to be on the higher end of resale.  And I haven’t personally shopped at Fashionphile or Vestiaire Collective but I have checked out their inventory and have had friends shop and recommend those sites.

I do believe shopping at second hand stores is a whole other beast though – things to look out for, how to truly know if its authentic or not (because even these sites have made mistakes), etc.  I could write so much about this because I’ve done my fair share of shopping on these sites, and yes, have received fake items that ended up becoming this whole ordeal of returning them and getting refunded.  So let me know below if you would like a more thorough post about shopping designer goods from these consignment/second hand stores!

As for this post, these are my biggest and the most valuable shopping tips that I live and shop by!  I hope this post helps you in your endeavor of starting and curating the most amazing collection of designer and investment pieces!

My last piece of advice – although there are SO many fashion rules that are set by the industry, don’t forget the biggest rule!  Fashion and style should be a reflection of you and who you are.  So have fun with it and make it YOU!  Even if that means ignoring everything I just wrote!  😝

Until next time…

xx, Neghin

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