When Is Fashion A Good Investment?
Every year I write an article inspired by Vogue’s ageless style issue (read 2015’s review here and 2016’s commentary here) and this year is no exception. Going through it today I was pleased to see many more ‘older’ women featured. I still would like Vogue to bite the bullet and feature a woman over 40 on their cover – particularly on an issue like this – but there’s no denying there is progress for which it should be congratulated.
But for me, the best thing about this issue is Lisa Armstrong’s insightful article: “As the decades unfurl, we need fashion more than ever”, focusing on women over 45, and the role fashion can – and should – play at that age and onwards. Armstrong argues that fashion should still be embraced as it will keep you looking fresh and updated. Yes, you might have a signature style or ‘uniform’ you like to keep to, but injecting a bit of fashion keeps you sartorially current and youthful.
Athletic chic isn't just for those in their 20s. Side stripes are slimming, and when paired with something classic like a white shirt, the sport lux look is cool and stylish
It’s something I’ve been saying for some time. I frequently get asked to write pieces for other blogs, often with an emphasis on trends. And whilst I strongly believe in defining your own sense of style, rather than being a slave to trends, I do encourage subtle updates and references to them.
Rather than throwing on the A-Z of the current trends, I encourage focusing on the details. By styling something differently, adding in a new colour, or wearing a piece that has, say, a different zip, button detail, or sleeve length, your look instantly becomes refreshed. But more than anything it shows you still care about yourself. You’ve taken the time to renew your look because you know you deserve to indulge yourself and to be noticed.
Of course this does come at a price. Unless you’re a skilled seamstress, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to update your look without doing a bit of shopping. And if this ‘update’ is only going to be fashionable for one season, is it really worth buying into? Or at the very least, surely it’s only worth a trip to H&M?
"A good fashion investment is joy per wear"
Well that depends on how you define worth. Cost and value are two very different things. To some quality and feel are key, so they’re happy to spend, whilst others might find pleasure from knowing they’ve bagged a bargain. As Armstrong astutely puts it “a good fashion investment is joy per wear” – and it’s up to you to decide what this joy derives from.
Personally, I fall into the former camp of wanting quality, so I think there’s no shame in splashing out on a ‘fashion piece’. But given cost is a factor, I do think it’s worth setting some guidelines when buying such pieces so you don’t go crazy.
The first thing to do is work out which trends work for you. By this I mean, which ones flatter your shape, could fit well into the rest of your wardrobe, and you actually like. For me the off the shoulder and the ruffled sleeves trends are good examples – they will always be flattering, I can easily wear tops that feature them with my jeans, trousers and skirts, and I was a fan of them before they became trendy. So even when they are no longer fashionable, I’ll still enjoy wearing them Result: they’re trends worth investing in.
Pink might be one of the hottest trends this season, but it will still add a dash of playful femininity to any look for years to come
I do have one exception: if a garment awakens a sense of unconditional love within me, it’s worth it, no matter how avante garde, high fashion it is. Because I know I’ll be cooing over it for years to come (even if no one else is!).
So if you’ve been shunning fashion for some time, I encourage you to give it another look in. Yes you should focus on your own individual style, but you don't need to reject trends altogether. If one or two catch your eye, consider giving it a go, and even investing in it. Because if you love it and it gives you and your look a new attitude and perspective, you’ll love yourself even more – and that’s one of the best investments anyone can make.