Investment Dressing

17th October, 2012
As a stylist and fashion blogger, I see a lot of clothes. They are all over my life, at the core of my livelihood and my most commonly used medium for creative expression. I see the high and the low and I spend a lot of time thinking about what combinations communicate certain moods or ideas, what tells a great story, what will be comfortable, what will have longevity, what is made well, what is not ~ and in the end, what is worth actually investing in.I have come to the unsurprising conclusion that, whenever possible, it’s worth ponying up for really good stuff. Of course, few of us can afford to spend serious dough on each passing trend, so it’s valuable to consider which pieces you’re really, really going to get a lot of use from, and will be excited to wear for many seasons to come. It’s something I’ve obviously put a lot of personal and professional consideration into, so I was inspired to team up with Zappos Couture to present to you my Top 5 Investment Items for Fall:#1: REALLY FABULOUS RAIN GEAR: I moved to New York immediately after graduating from design school, and it didn’t take long after that to realize that I needed to invest in wet weather accessories that would not only stand up to the elements, but also hold their own in a job interview. You see, important meetings don’t get cancelled just because it’s nasty outside (though I’ve often wished that they would!). So, as a grownup, it’s important to be stylistically prepared for the worst ~ that way you’ll always look your best. Next time it rains and you have a potentially career-changing meeting on the agenda (the two always seem to coincide, am I right?!), you’ll thank yourself for splurging on that chic pair of waterproof boots.Similarly, it only takes one upturned umbrella to not only ruin your day, but convince you that quality is key in this department; never cut corners where natural disasters are concerned. But it’s not just that. Style is equally important ~ your umbrella is part of your outfit! Buy one that’s gloriously well-made, has a bit of style to it (even better if it matches your jewelry!), AND folds up to fit in your handbag, and you’ll never once regret it.|LOOK 1| Alexander McQueen umbrellaCatbird beanieWestward\\Leaning sunniesZoe Chicco and Jennifer Zeuner necklacesTibi tank topY’s by Yohji Yamamoto skirtBurberry boots#2: A WEAR-ANYWHERE DRESS: Don’t be fooled, this sounds a lot easier to find than it actually is.A wear-anywhere dress is the holy grail of garments. Can you wear it to work? Out to dinner? To meet your boyfriend’s mother or your boss’s boss? A cocktail party or luncheon? And what if you were suddenly invited to tea at the White House? With a few stylistic tweaks (and a smart blazer thrown on top), could you make it work? If the answer is yes, then you buy that damn dress!|LOOK 2| Catbird beanieRachel Roy dressSalvatore Ferragamo beltAlexander McQueen clutchGiuseppe Zanotti boots#3: THE PERFECT BLACK PANTS: Much like the wear-anywhere dress, these are much harder to find than you might imagine. The goal is to find a pair that are as comfortable as sweatpants, as easy to wear as blue jeans, and yet structured and tailored and crisp and chic. That’s a lot to ask of one piece of clothing!That’s what makes this particular pair so magical: they are actually cut from a cotton knit, but built in a way that tricks everyone around you into thinking they must be far less comfy than they actually are. Their straight-cut leg is deceptively elegant.|LOOK 3| Westward\\Leaning sunniesCalvin Klein topAlexander McQueen clutchY-3 by Yohji Yamamoto pantsProenza Schouler shoes#4: A QUINTESSENTIALLY STYLISH COAT: This is another fashion lesson I learned in my early days as a new New Yorker. I’m originally from Texas, and had never experienced an East Coast winter before moving here. My mother, with the very sweetest intentions, had bought me a high-tech, truly warm but totally unstylish topper. It was a heating MACHINE, but I could never bring myself to wear it, no matter how miserable the cold.You see, from December through March, my coat is often the only thing anyone sees on me. So it’s got to look good. I expect to be kept warm, of course, but function isn’t everything. A good coat has to be able to stand alone as an outfit, for those days when you’ve got no other option. I don’t know about you, but nothing chills me to the bone quite like looking a mess. #fashiongirlproblems|LOOK 4| House of Harlow sunniesY’s by Yohji Yamamoto coatBurberry sneakers#5: A SUPER-YUMMY SWEATER: This is one of those items that most people (myself included!) would traditionally skimp on. For years I thought it was best to spend on the dressier stuff, and save on loungewear ~ just like I used to pinch on flats and splurge on heels. But lately, I’ve been realizing that it’s those everyday indulgences that really pay off.Indeed, it’s taken me a while to realize that a great sweater like this will earn its cost-per-wear value so much faster than a fancy cocktail frock. It’s the sort of thing you’re going to wear every single Saturday and Sunday for months on end. And if you upgrade to a really thoughtfully designed number, instead of some run-of-the-mill mass-produced drone, you’ll be able to dress it up with a chic skirt as easily as shrugging it on over your weekend jeans.Consider also, the fact that the yarns used to make higher quality knits are formed from longer fibers than their down-market counterparts, meaning they are far less likely to pill after the first couple wears. Nothing sours the thrill of a ‘good deal’ faster than watching your assumed-score fall apart after the second wear. Quality is crucial!|LOOK 5| Tiffany & Co. sunniesY-3 by Yohji Yamamoto sweaterJust Cavalli skirtLOVE Moschino flatsSo, what do you say? Do you agree with my list? Would you invest in these sorts of pieces, or do your most-needed indulgences look a little bit different? Tell me everything!|PHOTOS| by Mark Iantosca
  • Ami Schaheera

    amazing list Kelly! love reading your insights <3


  • Madeline Tolle

    I totally agree with this list, especially the sweater and the coats. I would definitely add in good cotton t-shirts. They aren’t as expensive as an investment coat, but if you really spend the right amount on good t-shirts, they can totally elevate your look, and keep you comfortable at the same time. Of course.. they’re a weekend staple as well.

    great feature!

  • DNA (designers+artists)

    I want everything, even the skull umbrella. Crazy for those metal tip booties!

  • Anonymous

    lovely photos! amazing first 2 looks! love them!

  • Guest

    great post! my favorite are moschino flats and McQueen umbrella!!

  • Anonymous

    The list is great…and your choices are impeccable. I also am eyeing your nail polish, what’s the brand?

  • CJAJ09 CJAJ09

    great tips indeed. And I’m all over the zanotti heels, so hawt!!

  • Arline

    Best post ever!! I like these insights.

  • Manita

    What a gorgeous set of outfits!!

    Love am all 🙂 You def. have some amazing staple pieces

  • So cute. And all great pieces!

  • Eva Wu

    i love this post. you are so beautiful! xoxo ewa

  • Oh my, I love every single one of the above mentioned pieces!! I really need to start saving up!! 🙂
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

  • Angela

    I love all your outfits, and I quite agree with your list!

  • Anonymous

    great tips! i am loving your Giuseppe Zanotti boots too!

  • Sensy~Style

    Bookmarked this post.

  • Zlati

    That’s a great post, but I would add comfortable flats, that go with your work-clothes. Even if you’ve mastered running on high heels and spending an 80 hour work week in them, the comfy designer (chanel) ballerinas are not something you will regret having.

  • Pauline T

    Those are all such fabulous choices; I totally agree on how this dress is perfect for pretty much any event depending on how you style it!

  • Eleanor Diekman

    thank you for justifying my recent hunter wellies purchase.

  • Gorgeous post darling ! I have enjoyed so much reading ! Totally in love with your second outfit !

    XX Luba

    Well Living Blog

    ::Michael Kors:: bag GIVEAWAY

  • Huyen

    Gorgeous post, you are model material!!

  • Thanks for this beautiful stylish lesson and ideas of worth spending stuff.
    And lovely pictures !!!!

  • dollcake

    real educational and inspiring! most of us cant even afford one piece of those but i absolutely agree on the everyday essentials.

  • Vicki C

    Love your style but passing on this knowledge makes you a true fashionista!

  • A great post! I absolutely agree with you. One thing I indulge in especially in fall and winter season is ‘cashmere’. I can’t resist good cashmere sweaters.

  • Candy

    You are definitely right about “a wear anywhere” dress. Mine was a Calvin Klein dress that I knew would be perfect for important office meetings and when I walked out the fitting room and my bf stunned me by saying “you have to wear that out on our next date”, I knew it was the dress I could wear anywhere!


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  • Stills

    Amazing post! Love that dress!

  • vittoria gallacci

    This post is really like the Bible! Btw, this summer I decided to trow away most of my sweater because I wanted to buy only cachemere (or almost wool+cachemere) sweater as an investment: I wear my mother’s ones which have more that 20 years and are still perfect and super chic!

  • Diana Pimentel

    Great post! I do agree we all your advices and tips. I tell the same to my clients (I’m a fashion adviser and personal shopper in Lisbon, Portugal) My favourite item is the fabulous coat!!! XO Diana P

  • love all of the photos!!! you look amazing!!!!

  • Your list is SPOT ON genius! If possible, yes, spend a little extra on quality than quantity. I couldn’t agree with you more on the black pants, coat, and anywhere dress!

  • Wow! She looks amazing.

  • amazing pictures!

  • I totally agree with your list but it is way much harder to find than it actually sounds.
    I’ve been experiencing that sour part of the thrill and I’m actually getting sick of it but, like you said, not everyone can afford to spend good money on high end (= high quality) pieces. I really wish I could!!
    Before investing in my wardrobe, I would definitely put all my money on a one-way trip to New York and that’s the part I envy you the most (not even mentioning the fact that you’re sooooo beautiful).
    As for the list, I’m not really sure about the sweater but I completely agree with the idea of a good pair of waterproof boots, a good pair of black pants and an exquisite coat. But for now…I just fell completel in love with your Burberry sneakers.

  • advocatescloset

    Amazing post. Really good advises, so helpful!

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, best post ever. I love every single outfit. Wow! The coat is my favorite.

  • Marián
  • Hannah Masters

    what about a knock-out, booty boosting pair of dark wash jeans? i wear mine almost every day and even dress them up to go out! to me, jeans are almost as important as a wear-anywhere dress. and they are always worth the splurge!

  • Style Tab

    Fantastic post and images! I completely agree with this list, especially when it comes to everyday pieces.
    Katherine |

  • KatWalkSF

    Love it!

  • mariposa fashion blog

    Yes!!! 100% Glamour! congrats… great for this post!
    xoxo from germany

  • Kim

    awesome post- photos look great- I need those pants!

  • Andrea

    wow i love all those looks! amazing post!

  • Carla Maia

    I’m totally agree with your list and I love all the looks.
    Thanks for share with us your thoughts.

  • Jennifer

    I adore that black dress!
    You have the most gorgeous eyes!

    xo Jennifer

  • Leeza

    God, i love u!
    What about a great leather jacket for a rainy day? Also, stacked heel boots, around 2″ heel? And let’s not forget a tote that holds you life?

  • Eda Petuqi

    You wear them better than anyone else in there… love the pieces… especially the rain gear and the everywear dress 😀 awesome

  • justine

    I love the last outfit the best, but I’m a comfort freak. I would wear those flats and sweater with anything, every day, everywhere if I could!!!

  • Bruna Marx

    Wow! love these pics! amazing looks.

  • Iren

    great post and pictures too;)
    xoxo Iren
    Visit my blog:
    Living In A Kitten’s World

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s really important when you splurge on a piece to think about how it’s going to work in the long run. Sure, maybe it’ll hold up because it’s well made, but will you still want to wear it two years down the road? I think you captured that well here.The only thing I’d add to your list is a great black or camel bag (probably black)! One that’s big enough to hold all your necessities, but not so big that it’s clunky!

  • This has been the best post ever. You look amazing in every single look and those booties on the 2nd look killed me. I am here drooling over them.


    Beautfiul Post

  • cleo


  • Alison

    This is the perfect post Kelly. It shows that you put a lot of thought into each piece! I will absolutely take your advice with what to invest in.

  • Freya – Fashionable People

    All stunning – I think the wide length trousers are my favourite, cute fur embellishments on those pumps.

  • Jennifer

    This is perfection. I love the attentions to details. Great Fall fashion post.

  • Julie D.

    Great post! I definitely agree with investing in good rain boots & coats for our crazy NYC weather. But with items like umbrellas or knits I like to stick with the mid-priced brands like Totes / Zara. So in case the umbrella gets lost, or a thread gets pulled you wont be too financially devastated.
    Also– one more thing I think is a good investment piece is a great pair of riding boots for those cold winter days.

    Hudson East

  • April

    Such a great post! I usually don’t realize that something will be a staple for me until I buy a cheap version and wear it to death…then I know that shelling over some hard-earned cash will pay off for me in the long run!

  • darcyf

    I would have to add foundation garments to the list. Not being being blessed with as a sleek figure as yours, I have discovered that a well-fitted bra is a must have. Nothing ruins a great outfit like having to continually tug and pull on your undies!

  • anonymous

    Agree with your investment pieces. I would add a good everyday bag to the list. Also, in one of your posts you had talked about a good black blazer as the one thing you had recommended to your sister. The Helmut Lang blazer that you recommended is the most versatile piece in my wardrobe. I had to save up for it, but I have already worn in dozens of times and always feel instantly more polished when I slip it on. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Anonymous

      I’m so happy to hear that the blazer has been working for you! It is one of my all-time best purchases, another great example of how spending smartly will ultimately pay off in more ways than you can imagine.


  • Caroline

    These are so great! Love the pictures. Thank-you.

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  • I think you are right on! Every single piece you pulled together is quality, versatile, and will last for season after season! I’m loving the sleek. almost 90’s minimalist look of so many of these outfits, and each and every Yohji piece! I’m definitely convinced to search for some of these quality pieces, especially good black pants and the perfect sweater.


  • I’ve never been a fan of gold, but you’ve changed my mind! That umbrella is amazing, and looks fantastic with your accessories!

  • that’s a great post (I love the concept and your selection is downright wonderful), but that amcq umbrella killed me. $660 for a fucking umbrella, seriously? maybe I wish I could spend that kind of money on an umbrella, but I’m not sure I would, I think I’d rather donate it to some poor family who can live on that for a month. (I’m not attacking anyone, just expressing an opinion)

  • Carelia

    Sometimes LESS IS MORE, and this post is a great representation of that. I love them all.

  • agreed – this is the best post ever. i just moved to NY from Cali and I have a $4 umbrella that already flipped inside out. so i predict i will own something on this list very soon.

  • you never cease to amaze!

  • Anonymous

    All looks is unusually!

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  • ArchitectBarbie

    The black and white fuzzy flats… I die. I must have them on my feet.
    Really great post. Thanks for the share!

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  • The best post ever in the story of blogging for me!!!

  • Sleepwalking Scarlet

    Absolutely love the umbrella and the boots. It almost always rains here in Manila.

  • denton

    Nice article, nice choices EXCEPT for that umbrella! $660! ‘Imported’ means made in China. The construction ‘appears’ to be standard for what you get on the street for $5 and the website that it’s listed on makes no attempt to state if there is anything special about the construction!

  • Denise Cornelius

    Just bought the black pants…Excited!!!

  • Luci

    I never thought I’d see the day when I would fall for an umbrella but the day has come. McQ is a genius! Great post 🙂

  • key pieces to wear until the end of our days. Great post!

  • Jordan

    While you & the outfits are lovely, & as cool looking as that umbrella is, that’s damn near offensive to spend that kind of money on an umbrella. There are plenty of chic looking umbrellas for a fraction of the cost. No, they may not have a skull handle, but let’s be real, your hand will be covering the skull anyways. Aside from that, I think the top five items you should invest in depend on where you live. Someone in sunny California probably doesn’t need to invest in rainboots or an umbrella. And if you live in Seattle as I do, where it rains almost everyday of the year minus our short summer, your more likely to invest in a rainproof coat rather than an umbrella. It’s nothing against your beautiful styling or your lovely photo’s, I just think across the globe we have different wardrobe items we have to invest in. And for the love of goodness put on a jacket in the rain! 😉

  • vanda


  • Karina Ibelis

    Agree with you! I love those pants… really perfect… is a versatile piece! I think is a good investment the trench, a classic black dress and sweaters… some pieces are timeless and is important a smart shopping! I love your selection.

    You look gorgeous in every pic.
    karina ibelis

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, especially the ones regarding the versatile dress, the outfit-worthy coat, the perfect-cut pants, and the high end casual wear (definitely a must for me since i live in austin and wear a ton of casual wear). As far as rain gear goes, i agree with stylish rain boots and I love a giant clear umbrella! My top 5 basics include a dressy legging (like leather or something with sheen), a well tailored blazer (I have the helmut lang knock-off by mango), my sheer white blouse (which i layer with everything or wear by itself), knee length boots (b/c they are crazy slimming and comfy), and a little black dress (that can be dressed up or down).

  • d

    You’re assuming a lot when you suggest people spend so much on clothing and accessories. Especially when you received them all for free.

  • Well said. Quality is something to invest in.

  • Kate

    Hi Kelly! I love these black pants and desperately need them in my line of work (I’m an attorney). Unfortunately the links are not working for me. Can you list the style name or link to an online site where I can purchase them? Thanks a million for all your lovely posts – you are perpetually classy and kind!

  • The point about the higher-quality knits versus lower-quality knits really got me thinking. Quality should be a priority and it makes sense to think about it on a cost-per-wear basis!

  • Hillary

    I really love this post! One thing I would add to the list, though, is a blazer. Not only is a great blazer a must for the office, but it can transition to evening AND pull together a casual look. I couldn’t live without my perfectly fit, chic blazer 🙂

    xo, Hillary

    • Lexi

      Yesss! A great blazer will take you from an interview, to work, to a night out seamlessly 😉

  • Such a great list!

    Kate xo

  • I absolutely love everything about this post. I totally agree that these pieces are so necessary along with, as you also mentioned in a previous post, a black blazer. This post is so reassuring because I am on my way already to accumulating these pieces based on the confines of my budget. For example, I invested in this Hunter Boot ( for rainy days. And, when my umbrella died recently, I thought to invest in a good quality stylish umbrella from Tory Burch, here:

  • I agree that all of your picks are worth investing in. As someone who lives on the West Coast of Canada (rain city) I know the value of good rain gear. A pair of boots are on my must buy list for Spring and I’ve been considering upgrading my umbrellas too. Honestly, a $600 umbrella feels really steep – but I’m going to do some shopping around and check out reviews online. The highest I’ve gone for a fold-up umbrella before was $90 and it fell apart after one season. If this Alexander McQueen would last for a good number of years I might consider it. Thanks for sharing your finds.

    Pink Chai Style

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  • Lou

    I love your eye make up in this post and the clothes might be out of my price range but I love them all the same.


  • Lexi

    I agree with everything except for the uber-pricey umbrella; I’d prefer to stick with a totes umbrella because their construction is awesome and they come in a bevy of sizes 😉

    Anywho, I loooooove this post! I wish every fashion blogger posted something this insightful; it’s nice to find some common ground between fashion bloggers, and the novice fashionistas such as myself that live vicariously through you. And who doesn’t love advice on smart splurges? 😀

  • Stephanie

    I totally agree with what you wrote in this post. I’m 25 and starting to earn a steady income. I love to dress up and am constantly working on the definition of my style. I keep most of my clothes and take good care of them. Just like the majority of people, and because of my financial means, I generally buy from all those fast fashion stores. However, now that I’m done with school and have a full-time job, I’ve been thinking much more lately about reducing the quantity of clothes I buy in order to invest in fewer, but better quality pieces that will last longer. I’d rather have less clothes with which I will have to be creative in order to outfit them in different ways, than keep on spending on pieces that don’t last long and look cheaper…

  • misscb

    How do the Moschino flats fit? I have been lusting after them ever since this post and am finally pulling the trigger just not sure if that brand is true to size… I love your blog!!!

    • Anonymous

      They run true to size. Enjoy!!

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  • Rachel Luoto

    Can you make another list like this for spring/summer?

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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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