Fashion: Is There Such a Thing as an Investment Piece?

Since the focus of this blog is investments, I’ll post about what fashionistas call as “investment pieces”. From a perspective of an investor and not a fashionista, do these things really exist?

Fashion pundits throw the term “investment pieces” as if they were Jordan Belfort  – played by Leo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street – throwing money off a yacht.

Leonardo DiCaprio throwing money off a yacht in The Wolf of Wall Street
Because “luxury” confetti is so much more expensive. Image by popsugar.com from scenes of the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

 

How do fashionistas qualify an item as an “investment piece”?

  • It must be expensive or must come from a brand known for selling expensive stuff. I’m taking about Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. You have to plunk serious money to get an “investment piece”. So how about the fabulous store-brand sweater you bought at Target? Investment piece it’s not.

 

  • The item must be of great quality or generally perceived as having great quality, since the item is expected to last for a long time. Quality and specially the perception of it don’t come cheap though. So how about that “fabulous” and expensive Balmain “distressed” shirt from a few seasons ago that sold out quickly? I’m betting Balmain fans didn’t buy it for its quality.
Balmain US$ 1625 Olive Green Distressed T-Shirt
Is this dry clean only? The washer would eat this for sure. Balmain US$ 1625 Distressed T-Shirt. Image from net-a-porter.com / huffingtonpost.com

 

  • The item must be trend-proof, meaning it is something that will still look fashionable after many years, or decades even. Think “little black dress” or “navy blazer”. So how about the Juicy Couture Velour Tracksuit that was the “uniform” of celebrities a decade ago? Based on what happened to the Juicy Couture company itself, I’m guessing it didn’t become an investment piece. If you still want the look (as a period costume for the 2000’s perhaps), you can get the Juicy Couture hoodie for US$ 36.00 and the matching pants for US$ 32.40 at Kohl’s.
Juicy Couture Red Velour tracksuit
It’s not coming back! Juicy Couture now available at the fashionista-disapproved Kohl’s chain of stores. Image from dealsplus.com

 

  • It must be easy to coordinate with your other wardrobe staples. You must be able to vary the “look” of the item based on what you’re wearing it with. Think about a classic silk top that can go from day to night with a quick change of accessories. How about that fabulous Chanel Hula Hoop bag? It’s Chanel, it must surely be an investment piece, right? I’m guessing that if  it becomes an investment piece, it will be for other reasons.
Chanel Hula Hoop Bag as seen in the Chanel runway show
I think “ridiculous” is the look she’s going for. Chanel Hula Hoop Bag. Smaller versions sold out in Chanel stores. Image from purseblog.com

 

  • The item must have high resale value. This is what makes an “investment piece” an investment in the true sense of the word. The item must hold or increase its value over its lifetime, even in a “used” state. The undisputed champion in this category? The Hermes Birkin bag.

 

Hermes Blue Crocodile Birkin bag
This costs more than my car. Hermes Blue Crocodile Birkin bag. Image from Heritage Auctions

 

The high resale value of the Birkin has been repeatedly discussed in this very popular handbag blog and forum. Even the Wall Street Journal weighed in on this. If the Birkin is the ultimate “investment piece”, what is the runner-up? The Kelly – another Hermes bag.

 

Singaporean socialite Jamie Chua's Hermes bag collection
As Hermes Birkins are the ultimate “investment pieces”, Singaporean socialite Jamie Chua must be the Warren buffett of fashionistas. That’s not a store for Hermes bags btw, that’s actually her walk-in closet. Image from Jamie Chua’s Instagram account

 

If you want to know more about these investment pieces, read what real fashionistas have to say, because I’m not one, even if I try to be.

 

 

– Finance MD

thefinancemd.com

 

 

 

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Finance, M.D.

Finance, M.D. is a practicing physician who dabbles in finance and investment. He has passed all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, all in his first attempts. thefinancemd.com

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