It’s time! It’s here! It read, “sale!” everywhere I looked, and suddenly all I could think of were the immortal words of Jermaine Dupri and Jay-Z – “money ain’t a thang.” I had a date that evening and even with a walk-in closet full to the brim, I needed a new outfit. It didn’t take long before I set my eyes on a dress. It was simple, but still managed to say, “not just a pretty face with an ass that won’t quit.” It was perfect…but no…it can’t be…PLEASE NO. It was not on sale. To make matters worse, it was three hundred dollars!!! Oh Jesus, it’s 96% polyester. I thought it was at least silk. Was I in a treat yo-self kind of mood for this well tailored but shitty dress, or should I just cancel this date and down a pizza by myself while crying over my Bachelors Degree…again?

Ever been in this situation? No? Just me? Okay – just without the Bachelor’s Degree, but soon.

Well listen up bitches; I’m about to drop some knowledge on the art of purchasing investment pieces. The fact is, the average consumer doesn’t know how to properly invest in their wardrobe. Or rather, what they’re investing in. Since the invention of outsourcing, you’ll often find the same dress in the same fabric from both a semi-luxury store and a fast-fashion retailer.

So going forward, consider these tips when purchasing pieces over $100.

Two words: Fabric Content. Often extremely overlooked. It’s confusing because the average person doesn’t know much about textiles or blends beyond popular fabrics. Let me just say this, why does polyester get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under it’s big feet? Cotton is more breathable than polyester, right? Cotton is way older than polyester, people totally like cotton just as much as they like polyester, and when did it become okay for one fabric to be the #1 used textile because that’s not what fashion is about! We should totally just STAB POLYESTER!

If what you are buying is more than 50% polyester, you should not purchase it unless:

  • It’s print is unique.
  • The other half of the blend is a better quality fabric, such as silk, cashmere or cotton
  • It is well made in terms of the pattern, fit, and manufacturing.
  • Look for fabrics that are made of natural fibres, such as cotton, silk, wool, and cashmere. This means you won’t perspire as much throughout the day (always a plus) and the fabric will keep its shape and quality over time. Be prepared to have these items be Dry Clean Only. Yes, it sucks financially  – but a proper dry cleaner will keep your investments looking hella good.

Inspect the stitching. I know this one sounds straightforward but it’s not something I notice people looking at prior to a large purchase. Nobody wants to be the weirdo that spends an hour inspecting a garment (and sales people will hate you) so if the store has a generous return policy, be a weirdo in the privacy of your own home. According to typical manufacturing standards, all stitches must be evenly spaced. That means if you see any gaps, the seams on your garment will most likely unravel at some point. It’s also important to check for backstitching, which is basically a double row of stitches at the end of a seam. This means your garment was actually made properly, and won’t fall apart while you’re wearing it (my worst nightmare – it happened at the last wedding I attended).

Try it on. I know, I know. You just ate a burrito, and you have a food baby to prove it. But realistically, you’ll have be able to eat in it anyways and you know if you’re buying a cute dress for going out, your sexy ass is going to want a Jr. Chicken at 3AM. I’ll stop with the food talk now. My point is if you’re splurging on this item you need to make sure it’s worth the money. You may find right away that there’s something you didn’t notice on the rack. Retailers like to put weird yokes* in random places, and they’re not universally flattering. You also need to ensure that it looks like an expensive piece. Fit, colour, fabric, and length all play into these factors. Sorry to all ladies like myself who can’t do the 70s flare pant trend, God they’re cool.

Labels. What can I say? I’m a fashion student. I could say that labels aren’t an important part of a purchase, but at some point in your life you’ll want something because of the brand. Famous labels are usually famous for a reason, good or bad. For example, I hate Yeezy more than any brand on this planet. It’s recycled American Apparel neutral layering look that costs a minimum of  $2000 dollars per piece. DON’T INVEST IN YEEZY. BAD. Brands such as Yves Saint Laurent are specifically known for pieces like their classic women’s suit. Not only because of the quality and reputation of the brand, but because every woman needs to play with a little androgyny in her life. These pieces are worth investing in! Also, a little Chanel never hurt nobody.

Dammit. Now I want a burrito.

*Yoke: A yoke is a shaped pattern piece which forms part of a garment, usually fitting around the neck and shoulders, or around the hips.


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