That is the Investment Piece Question

By: Kristopher Fraser

Manolo Blahnik pumps, the Chanel 2.55mm bag, the Burberry trench coat. What do all these things have in common, aside from designer labels and high price tags? They fall into the category of investment pieces. Iconic fashion pieces that are easily recognized, will always elevate your outfit, and are often times worth more than a month’s rent.


When most people think of investments, they think of purchasing real estate or taking out stock. Most people don’t view a designer purchase as an investment. Others have been making a list of dream investment pieces since they picked up their first fashion magazine.


What exactly qualifies as an investment piece? Truthfully, every piece should be an investment piece, you should be trying to get the most wear, from the best quality items possible. The criterion for an investment piece seems to be anything that is the equal or greater to your month’s rent or mortgage. What other title could you possibly give an apparel item at that price point, to justify the cost?


The problem with these so called investment pieces though is very few of them actually increase in value. A real investment such as a house, for example, increases in value, and the owner will eventually see a return on investment. Most designer items, however, will depreciate in value, as fabulous as some of them are. From the minute a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s hit the pavement, or that Burberry trench is taken to the dry cleaner’s, the value of your item has declined from its retail value.


The value of many designers items will be lost by the end of season sale at many high-end department stores (for those of you coveting that Burberry trench, a word of advice, wait until the Bloomingdale’s June/July clearance sale.) To gauge what actually qualifies as a good investment piece, a quick search on eBay will give you an accelerated course. Search for any designer piece, from Louis Vuitton bags to Chanel jackets, some of which were bought seasons or even decades ago. Some sell for 20% of – or even more than – their original retail value.


A surprisingly accessible investment piece would be almost anything from any designer collaboration (for example Lanvin for H&M or Prabal Gurung for Target) Another quick eBay search reveals that these items, because they are so rare and sell out so quickly, can sell for twice their original price. One of the best luxury items to invest in, by far, would be Chanel, as their products have proven to increase in value.


The iconic Chanel 2.55 quilted leather bag once retailed at $1,500, and this was as recent as the mid 2000s. Today, a standard Chanel 2.55 bag costs almost $4,000. It’s a piece that will always lift anything else you’re wearing, and can literally last the rest of your life. Iconic luxury items are always a safe bet in terms of selecting an investment piece. If you’re one of the few privileged and patient enough to get their hands on the elusive Hermés Birkin bag there is no need to ever worry about the value of it depreciating. Only in a fantasy world would a Birkin bag ever go on sale.


If you’re seeking to buy an investment piece, it’s best to stick with accessories, preferably iconic handbags, which will always be coveted. Not too many people are really seeking to buy last season’s Gucci shirt, which by now, is probably on the sale rack at Neiman Marcus or at Neiman Marcus Last Call. Every day, however, someone’s looking to buy the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag. So, be smart about your investment pieces. That Chanel 2.55 bag could be resold on eBay, to buy you a vacation to Paris one day. That Burberry trench coat, on the other hand, is less of an investment, more of a splurge that will keep you stylish on a nippy day.

Chanel 2.55 bag