# 10 Item Wardrobe # Books

Investment Shopping 101 + Delancey Giveaway

My eldest daughter and I both celebrated birthdays last week. Thank you for all of your kind messages on social media! We had a really fun week, which also explains why this blog post is a little late... Thank you for your patience!

Ah, another year older...

Investment Shopping 101

Yes, I'm another year older. This, combined with our recent discussions on the blog, all got me thinking about investment pieces in our wardrobe. As we grow older we are becoming more mature and sophisticated. Is our wardrobe keeping up? Or are we still purchasing low-quality, practically disposable pieces of clothing that are nowhere near as dignified as we are?

So many people have posed questions to me about investment shopping and I'm giving you my answers in this week's video: Investment Shopping 101. I made the commitment in my 20s to stop buying junk clothes and to put some thought into my purchases for long-term satisfaction. If I can do it, you can too!

To get started with investment shopping you need three things:

Commitment- You must commit to a new lifestyle of seeking out higher quality clothes and accessories. This commitment will be tested regularly! You must commit to stop the cycle of compulsive shopping in order to save for the larger purchases.

Discipline- Oh, we need discipline for so many things... It takes discipline to break old habits (like compulsive spending). It takes discipline to save money for your investment piece. Once you buy your high-quality item, it takes discipline to learn to be content with what you have and not immediately set your sights on the next shopping conquest.

Vision- If you're going to invest in your wardrobe you need a vision of what is right for you and your style. A high-quality piece could last several years, if not a lifetime, so you can't make hasty purchases. Think about the entirety of your wardrobe and think long and hard (and save!) before making any purchases.

Check out this week's video to hear the entire discussion and a tale of the first time I decided to go for quality over quantity. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Delancey Giveaway

Our summer of book giveaways continues as we explore Delancey by Molly Wizenberg.

In this funny, frank, tender memoir and New York Times bestseller, the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.

Simon & Schuster are kindly offering to give away 5 copies of Delancey to a reader of the Daily Connoisseur. Please enter via the rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open to US residents only (terms set by Simon & Schuster). The winners will be announced on the widget and contacted once the giveaway is over. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

and be sure to visit Molly's award winning blog, Orangette here.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Just like one can be addicted to junk food, you can also be addicted to junk clothes. When you make the commitment to eat healthful foods and cut out the junk food, you are aiming to better your life. The same can be said for clothes. This doesn't mean that we never eat junk food (or buy low-quality clothes) again, but it does mean that we no longer exist on only junk food, because that is a recipe for disaster! Break the cycle today and start to make thoughtful purchases. You'll find you save money this way and have much more long-term satisfaction.

This week I would love to know... What was the first investment purchase you ever made? What investment purchases do you plan to make for the future? Are you tired of disposable clothes that only last one season? What are your thoughts on investment shopping?

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susie king said...

Yes, I'm tired of disposable clothes that only last one season. It's a waste of resources.

Christina said...

My first investment piece was a black Coach handbag. It's a classic style (without an obnoxious logo) and I can see it serving my needs for years and years to come.

Muffin said...

I just finished Delancey last week (loved it) and hope to visit next time I'm in Seastle!
Yes, I am very tired of fast disposable fashion. T-shirts seem to be the worst offenders for me. I have a few investment pieces but one am most pleased with is a Burberry trench (once I got over saving it for good). Living in the Pacific Northwest, it is getting a lot of use!

Teen! said...

I purchased a marc jacobs quilted bag.
Lovely. Conservative.All 4 Seasons Goodness.

kerij said...

My first investment piece was a pair of Frye shoes- long before the Frye craze hit. They are red, 4"platform pumps and are still amazing. At that time they were a lot of money for me to spend and I think I stopped breathing for a bit when I ordered them. They're far from neutral and are not even a little conservative, but they add just the right bit of sass to my typically minimal outfits.

Susan Cross said...

Thank you for the time and thought you put into these posts. I find them inspiring and look forward to them each week.

Anonymous said...

Chic is knowing how to buy things that last. My first investment piece was a Louis Vuitton classic handbag. I was still a teenager and I had gotten money from my birthday but instead of running to the nearest H&M, this time I decided to take that money, add some from my pocket, and invest in the handbag. It's been 5 years since and I still use the bag daily. It has never gone out of style and the leather is becoming only more beautiful.

Investment shopping is not really an "investment" if you do the math. Buying one dress of 200 dollars and wearing it for years, brings the cost-per-wear down to maybe 2 dollars. Buying your fiftieth dress of 20 dollars and only wearing it twice has a cost-per-wear of 10 dollars. Also, you'll look better in your expensive dress and you'll appreciate it more.

There is a saying in Russia: I am not rich enough to buy cheap clothes.

Jenny Williams said...

I always love hearing your tips on a limited wardrobe, Jennifer! I have purchased maybe 2 items of clothing in the past year. It was hard at first, but now I don't even think about it, and it is actually quite liberating! My first investment piece was a pink wool coat from Anthropologie five years ago. Every season, I am so excited to wear it again, and I can't leave the house without strangers complimenting it. I am currently saving up for an investment piece, but haven't decided what it is yet. But that is half the fun!

Ellen Cleveland said...

First purchase was a black cashmere sweater as a young adult (30 years ago).

RachelCreel said...

My first investment piece was a pair of Blake riding boots. Great investment that lasted years!

cherie said...

I have been adding high quality shoes and handbags for years, but have been struggling with the clothing aspect. I have been burned buying items that I think will fit well and be comfortable only to find they shrink or shift or make me sweat in such an non-chic way. What if I spend a lot of money on a clothing item only to find I wasted it?

Also, sometimes I find I have narrowed down exactly what I need to add to my wardrobe and then can't find it anywhere! But I am in desperate need of this item. Then what?

So, what do you do when you can't find an item you need? And how do you choose your investment pieces to ensure a comfortable, flattering fit?

The Wool Fairy said...

Last year I purchased a pair of Frye boots and this spring a pair of Swedish Hasbeens clogs. I know both will be loved for years to come. I too find garments a bit more difficult. Despite my best efforts, my clothing still gets stained and ruined easily in my home environment. I live on a hobby farm! I'm still trying to define the best way for me to dress that allows me to get what I need done around the house and yard, while still looking presentable. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks again for a lovely post Jennifer.

Catelijne said...

Hi Jennifer!

Because of the difference in time, your post arrives when it is monday in the Netherlands, so I'm starting the week always good with your post. Thank you so much!

My first investment piece..hmm my parents supported me with buying one pair of really good shoes a year until I was 20, so apart from that I think my first investment piece was a mohair little black dress when I was 17. Now 9 years later I still love and wear it. After that, a beautiful leather bag, leather riding boots, a navy woolen winter coat, lingerie, victor&rolf blazer and..and..and..
I'm pretty far already with an investment wardrobe because I substitute worn down clothes/accessories for better ones. Quality last so much longer so in the end it is much more affordable. I love my capsule quality wardrobe..it is so much better than the too stuffed wardrobe it used to be.
My last investment purchase were leather ballet flats. I walk almost every day on them this summer.

Jennifer Klee said...

I enjoyed this video even more than your standard Daily Connoisseur awesome-ness. Maybe it was the detailed personal experiences that really hit home, and the spelled out admonition to STOP shopping. I love the DC weekly updates. I've read 'Lessons' a couple times and it always has a positive impact on me, but I sometimes forget some of the more important points when I haven't read it in a while and the video updates help me stay on track. Sort of like being in school! hah. Thanks Jennifer!

LD Siess said...

I am lucky to live near a thrift store (which benefits local charities) that receives wonderful clothing and accessories from generous donors. I've been able to upgrade to Cole-Haan, Coach, and more - and my rule is, if I bring something home, I must donate something at the thrift store, thus continuing a great cycle while keeping my closet reasonable!

Emma Claudius-Tapp said...

I've started in the last few years to pare down my handbag wardrobe and replacing the cheap bags with well-made, sturdy leather bags. I now have a much smaller collection of nicely made and classically styled bags. I need to move on to my clothing wardrobe now! I love the idea of the 10 item wardrobe and building a wardrobe of high quality items. But that mindset shift is definitely a challenge.

Daniella C said...

Love this video Jennifer, as with all your videos! I run into this every year with leather boots for Winter. Why haven't I just purchased a good pair already that I saved up for that will last??? lol.

P.S. On my computer, your "type this text" box is covered by an add. I can't see the text to type. I had to keep hitting refresh and try to read the number super quick before it gets covered by a Photo Sphere ad…

Maureen said...

Hi Jennifer,

First of all, I hope you had a lovely birthday!

This is such a great topic. Since first reading Lessons from Madame Chic, I've been carefully curating my wardrobe. It was a rush to first go through all of the junk I had and develop my ten item wardrobe. It's rewarding to know my true style and identify pieces that will round out what I already have and know what will need to be replaced down the road.

When I first brought my mega-haul of rejected wardrobe items to Goodwill, my husband was concerned that I'd regret it. It's been two years now, and I'm still so glad to be rid of all of the clothing clutter!

Here's where the story gets even better. Last week, my husband said to me, "I want to go through all of my clothes like you did a couple of years ago to get rid of things and put away things I'm not wearing right now." So yesterday we went through all of HIS things. We put away all of his cold weather items in another room, and we brought a big bag of things he doesn't wear anymore to Goodwill! SUCCESS.

Your advice is trickling down to the spouses. :) Merci beaucoup!

Rita said...

Jennifer, your videos tend to be very good, but this one is the BEST! Thanks for this.

Sophisticated Chic said...

Hi Jennifer: This video serves as such an inspiration for me as I work toward developing my ten item wardrobe and investment pieces. My only problem, I enjoy shopping at consignment shops and on eBay where I find very high quality, good condition pieces for next to nothing. This does cause me to "over" shop. Any advice on how to tame

Catelijne said...

oh and my next investment will be some winter sleepwear in october and a new perfume (givenchy - ange ou demon le secret) in december..like a christmas gift for myself. The perfume will substitute the other one which will be empty by then. I have a 'capsule perfume collection' of three quality perfumes.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

A DVF silk jersey wrap dress. I chose a sleeveless style so I could layer in cool weather and it is truly year round wear. Loved it years ago & love it just as much today!

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Extance Garcia said...

The first investment piece I purchased was a wool winter coat. It was $500 and I was quite poor, but it lasted me 10 years. So worth every penny. I'm about half way through moving my wardrobe from cheaper to investment. I definitely need to improve my dress shoes. It is exciting to think I might actually aspire to a designer pair of pumps that previously I never thought I could attain. Thanks for the inspiration Jennifer.

Ashley Buffa said...

This is my all-time favorite video Jennifer, well done!

My first investment purchase was a pair of Mikimoto pearl earrings. I bought them with my high school graduation money. That was 15 years ago and I still wear them several times a week.

I really need to start saving up for better shoes. I have very wide feet, so finding high quality brands that accommodate the width can be a challenge. But I can't remember the last time I owned a pair of shoes that were actually comfortable.

Annie Roberts said...

Just finished reading The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, a collection of short stories by a young student and aspiring author that was involved in a fatal accident. It is without a doubt that she would have been a hugely successful author. My next read is The Vacationers by Emma Straub.

Christina Durborow said...

The idea of shopping for investment pieces is really appealing to me, but I share some of the same concerns Cherie posted below. Not to mention that looking at each piece of clothing I buy as an investment makes the shopping experience a little intimidating. But I so want to learn how to make high quality purchases I won't later regret.

So far I have purchased two investment handbags- a navy Michael Kors bag for fall/winter and a muted turquoise Coach bag for spring/summer. I really love both bags, am confident I will carry them for years to come and have no intention of buying another bag in the near future. Now if only I could make such confident investment purchases in other areas of my wardrobe....

Jennifer Branch said...

Happy birthday!
I buy 1 pair of shoes a year, as high quality as I can find for what i need. I'm having some trouble finding good quality more casual shoes lately. Expensive doesn't equal quality though quality is rarely cheap!
My best wardrobe investment was my Bernina sewing machine. High quality fabrics and a little time means my wardrobe suits me perfectly!

Suad Addarrat said...

Happy Birthday! I'm currently reading Prayers For the Stolen- a book about a group of women in Rural Mexico and their lives dealing with lack of proper education, being sold into sex slavery and more.

Casey said...

My first foray into Investment Shopping was a huge mistake & expensive lesson learned. I purchased a small black Coach leather backpack (because it was trendy - hey, it was the 1990s!)instead of the classic duffle sac that I wanted. I never used it and for the longest time I couldn''t get rid of it because I spent so much money on it. I'd love to take it to a consignment shop (ebay, etc seems like so much work!) but right now they are only taking things for store credit, not cash.

Helena Oops said...

Happy Birthday!
Enjoyed watching this video!

Shannon Dunn said...

Happy Birthday, Jennifer!!!!

I am loving the idea of investment shopping. And I plan to incorporate it more fully into my life. Thank you for the wonderful advice of how and why I should do so.

My summer reading is coming along nice and steady. One of the books I am reading is Paris, My Sweet: A Year In The City Of Light (And Dark Choolate) . . . It's WONDERFUL!

Delancey sounds wonderful as well. Right up my alley, even. Thank you, dear, for the chance to win.

Love you! xxo

Alice Henderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice Henderson said...

Hi Jennifer,
This is my first comment on one of your posts, but I have been reading (and loving!) your blog for many months.
I am just starting out revising my very full wardrobe into a ten item capsule wardrobe and I'm so excited about it. One thing I really want to ask you though is how far in advance you buy items/put together each seasons wardrobe? I've become much better at thinking before spending but I've still bought a couple of things for summer which is 5 months away. When do you start planning your next ten item wardrobe?

Summer Smith said...

First investment purchase: My Biviel brown boots! About 7 years ago. I saved up for them and then it turned out they were on sale too. Double bonus. I LOVE THEM! Still wear them all of the time and get compliments. I wish I would have felt like that about more of my purchases. It is well worth it to wait for the piece that is perfect for me.

Future investment purchases: A nice navy or black bag, navy boots if they exist, and a really nice black pencil skirt. One in navy too! I've got a list!

I am growing VERY sick of disposable clothes. I will mention that I bought from a "quality" retailer for two years, for their incredibly soft basic T-shirts and they all have holes in them, while my Target basic Ts have not a hole and are holding up nicely. Any recommendations for a nice, quality White T-shirt would be greatly appreciated.

Reading: Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson and a gift from a friend, Dinner with Mr. Darcy by Pen Vogler

Recipes: anything fresh and grilled.

Summer Smith said...

P.S. I'm just watching your video and noticed that you got your artwork piece framed, it looks very nice! :)

Kathy Jarwent said...

Thank you so much for this video Jennifer. My concerns with investment shopping have been mentioned already - what happens if the investment doesn't work out?

I try and buy the highest quality items I can afford (after saving up), however that is still not very high and the quality frequently lets me down for example after hand washing woollen sweaters they end up bobbly. After a couple of 'investments' have let me down I'm really nervous about buying something that I have to save for months for, in case the item doesn't last for years, but only a few washes.

I have a toddler and although I take your advice of wearing an apron my clothes do end up getting very mucky (especially during meal times) and so require very frequent washing.

I guess my question is: how can I know that the investment is worth it before I purchase the item? I try and read reviews but by the time the owner has worn the clothes for years they generally aren't in stock anymore!

I love reading your blog and watching your videos and I find you inspirational, especially with regards to living a high quality life. However I still end up paralysed with indecision when it comes to this issue!

Maria Papagiannidi said...

This is for Kathy Jarwent: Kathy, I know you posed your questions to Jennifer. I also look forward to reading her response, but I also wanted to put my two cents in, if you don't mind.

I feel that not every item in a wardrobe has to be an investment piece. For those who can afford it, then I say, "Go for it." If not, then you should be practical and mindful. By that I mean that you should save up for better quality pieces that are the basics--a good pair of shoes, handbag, coat, blazer, etc. These are the items that work the hardest in your wardrobe, the ones that you will build your wardrobe around, and some of these will depend on each person's individual lifestyle and needs. Once you have these, then you can work on upgrading some more pieces in your wardrobe (i.e. pants, accessories), and they can be a notch or two below the basics in quality and price. Items with a shorter life span (such as tee shirts) can be even less expensive.

As to your concern about your clothes losing the battle with hour toddler, Jennifer actually addresses this in one of her videos when she says that you can have a separate capsule wardobe for work. I don't see why this wouldn't apply to you--keep certain clothes that are reserved for that purpose.

As far as washing wool sweaters, I'm an avid knitter and have a ton of them. You want to soak them for about 20 minutes in lukewarm water and a gentle detergent. Then gently squeeze the sweater to work the dirt out (don't rub as this may felt the wool). Rinse a few times until the water runs clean, and then roll the sweater in a towel to soak up most of the water. (You could put in the spin cycle instead, but only for a few minutes.). Reshape and lay flat to dry. As for the pilling, some wool does that and doesn't necessarily mean that it's low quality--it can't be helped. The best thing is to invest in a good pill remover.

Hope some of this helps.

Jennifer: Please don't think that I'm overstepping my bounds. Just wanted to let you know that I love your book (which led me to your blog), and I'm an avid fan.

Kathy Jarwent said...


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my comment. Your advice is very helpful. I shall look up that video of Jennifer's regarding having a different capsule wardrobe for work.

Also thank you for your guidance on wool washing, that is certainly very different from how I wash my sweaters at the moment! I can see that your advice is much more gentle, so I will give it a go!

Ann said...

What a great post. I am so the "Ross, it is a good deal" shopper and excited to buy less and enjoy more. I especially like the BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE concept. We have done that with our home - not succumbing to the must haves of everyone else - so I need to use discipline and apply this to my wardrobe. Always complaining that I don't have time to read...if I am not out browsing at Ross I will have time !!!

ellen white said...

The video on investment shopping was great. I feel like I need to watch it every day! l live in a city that has extremely limited shopping options, so investment shopping is hard to do and must be done online, leading me to shop online TOO MUCH! I will try to keep your reminder to "stop shopping" in my head at all times!

I am curious, however, what are your core items that a well-dressed lady MUST have? I'm assuming you've covered this somewhere before, but thought I'd ask...

Got to have a starting point...

Many thanks and keep up your great work!


April said...

This is such a great post. I got some serious Christmas money, and I'm in the market for black heels. These days I only wear heels on dates with my husband and to church every Sunday. My last black heels I had for 11 years. Would classic black heels be worth the splurge if I'm not working in an office like I used to? I've been on a 4-month shopping binge because I finally figured out who I am and what my style is, so I donated tons, and I've been selling my nice stuff to pay for the new things. I basically replaced everything because I was dressing in a very subdued way to try to compensate for my big personality. I've also been working my way down to a capsule wardrobe. I'm not down to a 10-item wardrobe. More like 30 for winter because I like to layer sweaters and button ups, I live in a much colder climate. Still, that is a dramatic change, as you know. I've been buying much nicer things, but buying much of it second hand or on major sales. I just got a few really nice Ann Taylor classic sweaters, but only paid $20. It's hard to say what my first investment piece was, because it is relative to income, right? When I was out of college and started my career, it was a couple of suits from Ann Taylor and a pair of BCBG heels (the ones I need to replace). With the income I had, those were investment pieces. This year I bought a gorgeous Tory Burch bag that makes my heart sing, but I got it on ebay for $100 for a $500 bag. It was an absolute steal and in practically new condition. I'm looking at a TB wallet to go with it, but it is also second hand in practically new condition. Does it count as investment shopping when you do it that way? Anyway, since we have 6 young kids, for a lot of years I bought flats and sandals at Target, even clothes sometimes. Part of it was being cost effective, and part of it was my clothes had a high likelihood of getting bodily fluids on them. Now our youngest is 2.5, and in the last year I've felt like I can wear nicer things again. I've pulled out my cashmere! Silk is still iffy. It stains so easily. Now my shoes are brands like Isola, Sam Edelman, Ted Baker, Fergie, Steve Madden, J. Crew, etc. I do have a large shoe collection. Those are some very random thoughts. So yay or nay on the high end heels?