Posted by: RoddyJones | September 11, 2008

The Seven Commandments of Investment Dressing for the Urban Professional

Have you heard of the concept of investment dressing?

When you purchase clothes that cost much higher than you’d normally pay for, when you pay for suits that cost a small fortune but lets you look much more capable than you really are, you are, in effect, performing investment dressing. Any executive who has been around the block knows that it’s not so much how capable you are, it’s how capable you look.

If you’re standing in a huge dressing room staring at an astronomical price tag and wondering if a jacket or a cardigan is worth all the added zeroes, ask yourself the following seven questions. These will determine if there really is a need for you to buy clothing the equivalent of a second-hand car.

1. Is it well-made?
Check the clothes. Look for puckered or wobbly seams, saggy linings, missing buttons, loose threads, mismatched lines, patterns that swing this way and that, and other unmistakable signs of poor workmanship.

2. Does it fit you like a dream?

Clothing that droops, gapes, or clings in wrong places will never get better even if you take it home and repair it. Then again, why should you? If there’s anything that astronomical price tag should guarantee, it’s that the clothes you’re getting are made perfectly.

3. Is the fabric of good quality?

Cheap fabric, such as synthetics and synthetic blends, will fade, sag, stretch, pill, and show their age quicker than cubicle creatures would. Do not pay top dollar for clothing made of those materials. Avoid flimsy fabrics like chiffon, too. No matter how beautifully designed or constructed, chiffon is just too delicate for reliable long-term use.

4. Can you deal with its upkeep?

Can the clothes be cleaned easily? Or is the material something you can only wear a certain number of times before it gives out on you? Is the color difficult to keep pristine? Does it need special ironing? Remember, while dry cleaning may be fine especially for dressier items such as gowns, coats, and jackets, there is nothing fine whatsoever about a piece that involves painstakingly removing buttons, embellishments, and trims before they can be cleaned.

5. Does it come in neutral colors?

Browns, beiges, grays, blacks, and whites are the building blocks of an urban professional’s wardrobe because these colors never go out of style. Avoid in-the-moment hues because they seldom last more than one season.

6. How does it make you look?

Does it make you feel dowdy or incredibly beautiful? A garment that fits like a dream and makes you look like a dream is worth every dollar you pay for it.

7. How does it make you feel?

Of all the questions, this is the most important of all. No matter how chic a garment is, this matters little if you don’t love what you’re wearing. If that shockingly high-priced suit makes you feel like you can do anything, then buy it, wear it, and reach incredible heights with it.

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