This February I'll be writing a series on how you're best off buying clothes. I'll take on the topic of how and what you should buy in order to end up with a stylish, timeless yet modern pieces of clothing that will last years if not decades. Investing into quality clothes and shoes is something that many unfortunately see as extravagant, pompous or simply too expensive. However, buying quality doesn't have to be more expensive than buying low grade sweatshop goods, at least not in the long run. When you actually save up and purchase something that lasts it will still be there for you after years. Most likely, you will also appreciate it more and care for it better. And finally, when you get something that is timeless in its style, you won't have to go looking for a new "latest model" next year.
So, what are the top tips when you're building your quality wardrobe? The answer's pretty simple: planning your purchases and sticking to your plan. I for one have made dozens and dozens of "investments" that weren't really all that smart at all. That said, practice makes perfect and I'd say I'm nowadays a somewhat cool-headed buyer that isn't too easily tempted away from his next target.
Start by making an inventory, see where your money will get you the most value (what you need the most). Research and find the best option. If you're not a millionaire it might require some or a lot of saving, but it will most likely be more than worth it. If you've just arrived from the world of fashion (or somewhere else) your list might be quite long, but you'll get there with patience. The worst thing you can do is rush it and spend your money on sales and on something utterly useless, something you probably didn't really need all that much and probably don't even like. And with these words we arrive to tip three: avoid sales. I've bought tons of stuff from sales in my life, and many of these items have not even been worn. Don't let the red price tags fool you, unless it's really something you require.
Then to the subject of what to buy and how to determine what the optimal quality is for you. This is a little bit more subjective, for some people Edward Green's shoes are worth every penny where as most regular suits will be perfectly happy with Meermin's basic Oxford shoes. For example, I myself currently find my value for money sweet spot at the sort of Carmina/Alfred Sargent/C&J level. For suits I'm currently finding fully-canvassed made-to-measure to be the best option for me, but in sport coats I'm still kind of in between some ready-to-wear brands and made-to-measure. As you can see, determining what suits your aesthetics and wallet best is really up you to decide. Most will not see any added value for getting a bespoke Neapolitan suit over decent ready-to-wear piece, for some anything less than the handmade suit will be waste of money. Instead, I recommend thorough research before buying anything. See what's out there and then make the call. The thought process alone will make you a smarter buyer.
If you're just starting your journey into the sartorial world, picking the right pieces to buy can be a bigger challenge. Your taste will grow over time and most likely change, so a little help can be useful. Many sites and forums will give you help and advise on how to build a versatile, good-looking, modern yet timeles wardrobe for business use. To do my part, the next part in this series will be a newbie's guide to dressing well where I'll give you my list for getting the look.