Tina, here.

Just recently I had an interesting conversation with someone who wears expensive work-out clothes. And yes, they are the ones you're thinking of. I happened to be wearing inexpensive jeans and a regular ole sweater, with my "H" belt. And the conversation went like this, Surely you wear designer yoga pants if you wear an Hermès belt. 

Investment Dressing

Great example of the high low mix I love: Chanel jacket, Gap tank, and denim skirt available inside March Style Vault for under $35. Just because you wear some investment pieces, doesn't mean all your pieces are.


Ladies, I am a ball of conundrums and mysteries. And this is one of them. Yes, I wear a primo designer belt, and even have a Chanel jacket, but I most certainly do not spend money on work-out clothes, or designer jeans, or a lot of beauty treatments. Allow me to explain. And this is going to be a first world problem discussion. Not a changing the world for a better place discussion. Keep that in mind as you read and perhaps smirk. (And check out the

First, consider value. You sweat in yoga pants, they go down in value and eventually wear out, and must be thrown away. This is true of most of your clothing. There are only 2 luxury designer brands where your purchase is worth more when you get home than when you bought it an hour ago. Just two. Hermès and Chanel.

Investment Dressing

My "H" belt buckle (not available online) I found at the Paris flea market years ago on our Paris Shopping Trip. I took it to the store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and they verified its authenticity. I bought the leather strap at the store.

Next consider the hunt. I love the hunt. I will spend years searching for and waiting for the right piece at the right price. I will wait for a deal. I rarely pay retail for anything of great value. Not the "H" belt and not the Chanel jacket (it was drastically reduced to an amount I was sure was a mistake). I also earn my finds. There is such pride and pleasure in working for the things you collect as opposed to being handed them when you're a mere teen who hasn't had time to hold a real job.

So why are investment pieces so expensive (click the link see what mine are)? Is there any reason other than funding their marketing campaigns and celebrity endorsements? We believe in investing in good shoes and good handbags when you are able to. So let's do some comparisons.

Let's compare 2 nude heels.

Investment Dressing: Is It Worth It?

Can you tell which one is more expensive? The one on the top is $78.95 full price, by Jessica Simpson. The one on the bottom is $365 full price, by Stuart Weitzman.

Now let's break it down point by point why the expensive one costs more.

The construction of a quality high heel shoe must be designed to minimize strain on the back.  Fast-fashion shoes equal a fast path to foot pain.  Save your cheap thrills for costume jewelry, not shoes.  Well-made shoes have good bone structure.  The relationship between the heel and the shoe has been worked out properly so that your weight is distributed through the body instead of just on the balls of your feet.  Caroline Cox, author of Vintage Shoes, says, "there must be a perfect balance of aerodynamics, aesthetics and engineering."

This is a tell-tale sign of inferior materials being used: the patent leather on the left shoe is already buckling, and it's still in the store. While we're looking, notice how much more refined and elegant the heel on the right shoe is - it's leaner and therefore sexier than the thicker, more clunky heel on the left.

Now look at the toebox. The one on the left has a slightly longer toebox, which translates as frumpier. A shorter toebox, like on the right, extends the long line of your leg so you appear taller and you get that sexy toe cleavage.

The placement of the heel is very important. Note the left heel pivots forward, which makes it hard to walk in; and the right heel is at a 90 degree angle, which more evenly distributes your weight.

And finally, look at how the shoes are cut on the arches. The shoe on the left has more coverage at the arch and by the ankle, which again translates as frumpier by comparison. The one on the right is cut low on the arch and ankle. It is a more elegant shoe, and these kinds of differences, though they are measured in millimeters, take more skill and time to create.

What about handbags? I carry two handbags for daytime use a year: one for fall/winter and one for spring/summer. And I have been carrying these same two handbags for years now. It's really because I rarely take the time to switch, but I also just really love these two handbags, and I bought well. Let's compare an investment handbag to a cheap thrill one.
Investment Handbags

The one on top is my spring/summer handbag. It's a Ricky by Ralph Lauren. I've had it for about 8 years, and I bought it on the secondary market so someone else took the hit. The one on the bottom is a fun, cheap bag I bought because I got drawn in by its Western Glam feel. I've had it for 2 years. Wow what a diff.

Investment Handbags

A well made bag is hand-stitched, never glued, and you should not see any fraying or splitting of seams. The hardware will be sturdy and strong, too, holding up to years of latching and unlatching.

Investment Handbags

Again, note the stitching. On the Ricky, you can see a tighter stitch with stronger thread, and it's very straight. It's hand-stitched. The stitching on the bottom handbag is fine for what I paid for it (around $100) but it's not as robust and you already saw where the stitching was fraying on the outer seams. It's machine-stitched.

These are good clues to tell if a designer handbag is a fake. If handbags and shoes aren't your thing, no biggie. We all have our vices. I just like building a case for mine. 🙂
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our April Style Vault which is going to feature my FAVE handbag line. It's seriously the coolest brand, and the bag I chose for you is under $250 - and it's year-round, and it's quality hand-made and it's cool as all get-out. And it travels well. And I just love it. Can't wait to share it with you. If you want in, you can join here:

Join the Style Vault Now!

Live in Nashville? You can hire us. Our Nashville Wardrobe Consulting business is pretty cool, too.

All the best,


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