The Return of ‘Investment Clothing’

The recession is over. Ding! Dong! The witch is soooooo not dead!! Just sleeping at the moment. Though the recession is over (June 2009), people nationwide have little to celebrate. The one escape we used to have? Fashion Week. Every year, fashion week brings us the imaginations of those more talented than ourselves. A dream world only possible of achieving and visiting through the fine stitches of Alexander McQueen, and the classic shapes of Ms Coco Chanel. This years fashion was…wearable! Dun, dun, dun!!! [Insert dramatic music here]

Investment Clothing

In response to the played out “economic downturn”, Fashion Weeks’ and Fashion Houses from  across the globe showcased a ton of “investment” pieces this year. No it wasn’t the return of the Plain White Tees, but it was the comeback for – brace yourself – wearable fashion.

“Wearable”, a phrase that haunts the halls of high fashion magazines and couture designers alike. I know its scary but its practical. (Aaahhhhh! Stop the bleeding!)

Wearable? But why?

While fashion is and always will be about uninhibited creativity and self expression, at the end of the day, most of us shop for items that can be worn to the few places we frequent (i.e., work, school, dates, etc.). Usually, tops, sweaters, jackets, pants and skirts are classified as genres of clothing you should be purchasing as an investment. But finanshionistas alike shop for style and sales; we mix and match the highs with the lows, combining high fashion with complementary ‘boutique items’ from favorite vintage/thrift shops or the all to irresistible Target (Don’t act like you don’t shop there!).

But this year our designers have done us a favor by focusing on the demure; quality pieces we see as investments that will last well into the next season and years to come. No, it wasn’t (all) about the glitz or extreme glam but about quality sportswear infused with this years trends.


Photos courtesy of iFashion.co.za.

A few great designers took it a step further and created a separate (and new) collection/line for less expensive but still uber chic styles. Zac Posen, known for his glamour, tailoring, dramatic details and high priced gowns, continued to wow the audience with the launch and introduction of Z Spoke.

“I want to show clothing with the ability to be sold to the people,” says Mr. Posen. “The young people following the blogs, I want to create pieces they can afford so they can become Zac-ettes.”

Pieces range from $80 to $700, a far stretch from the usual $1,000 to $12,000. [Photos courtesy of IMAXtree.com and Matteo Volta via Elle.com]

While, yes, they (the designers) may have helped out a few finanshionistas who might have been struggling to stay in line and in style on her new budget, they did it for selfish and strategic reasons. They also wanted to help themselves out and their retailers by making options that were more commercial and sell-able. Before, secondary lines were showcased in private, far from the tents of Bryant Park, for a select group of buyers. To have them front and center in Lincoln Center is a definite sign of the times. [Photos courtesy of saksfifthavenue.com and style.com.]

The quality hasn’t changed but the materials have. Badgley Mischka featured its contemporary line, Mark + James, “made of cotton, linen and silk blends, rather than the double-face satin, chiffon and six-ply crepe used in the couture collection”.

The times, they are a changing, and designers need to stay current. Not only with setting the latest fashion trends but to the sensitivity of the price points of their consumers. Fashion is a business and sometimes the customers decision to buy an item or pass, is as well. Because in Fashion, ‘One day you’re in, and the next, you’re out!’. Let Heidi tell it…

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