We all know the familiar thrill of shoppingfor new clothes, and with the seasons changing and the cold air swooping in quickly and mercilessly, it's no wonder people all over the country are heading for the high street to pick up some new autumn/winter apparel. Summer dresses and sandals are making their way back into the wardrobe or the loft, and the chunky knits and winter boots are resurfacing, but what about the new items you'll be adding to your collection? Is it more beneficial to buy clothes as an investment (i.e. those that will last, or retain their value) or is it better to spend little on clothing each season, knowing that it will have fallen out of fashion favour before the new spring season arrives?
You know the score – you see a beautiful outfit (or handbag, or coat, or pair of shoes) in your local department store window and feel a bubble of excitement, until you look at the price tag and realise you can't afford it. Yet, we all know that, in most cases, quality beats quantity every time, and if you pay more for a high quality, timeless item, it could last you forever.
The advantage of an investment buy is just that – it's long-lasting. It won't be a one-season piece that needs to be thrown out in a few months; it will be able to live in your wardrobe for as long as you want it to, and when you do feel like you've had your wear out of it, you should be able to sell it on with a favourable resale value. Designer names and good quality items, such as UGG boots, will hold their value and, if in good condition, will be able to be re-sold with ease.
Of course, the issue with investment buys is finding the money to purchase them in the first place, which is where finance options, such as credit cards, store cards and catalogues, can come in handy. Before you apply for credit though, do take a look at your credit report – you can get a credit report online easily - to see what your chances of acceptance will be. As long as you pay the debt off as soon as possible and don't let your shopping habit get out of hand, this can be a great way of grabbing that piece of investment clothing that you've always wanted. Chanel handbag, anyone?
On the other hand, picking up cheap, seasonal buys is a common way of refreshing your wardrobe for the new season without breaking the bank. With several value stores on the high street nowadays, as well as supermarket fashion ranges, you don't have to go far to grab a bargain or two - but will they be worth parting with your cash?
While you may think that, at a few pounds, if the item falls apart after a couple of months wear, you've not really lost anything, but even cheap purchases add up. It may be tempting to blitz through the rails and pick up some great buys, but if they're going to lose their shape, fade or shrink after a couple of washes, it may be more worthwhile to buy something a little more expensive that is longer lasting.
The advantage of fast fashion is its affordability – you won't have to worry about where the money is coming from because it can be incorporated into your monthly budget. It also means that you can keep up with the quick changing fashion trends without breaking the bank.
Ideally, every wardrobe should have a mix of fast fashion and investment buys, if you can fund them sensibly. This will allow you to mix and match timeless classics with the latest looks, for a truly versatile style.