Some additions to your wardrobe are picked in a momentary impulse. Sometimes they’re the perfect thing in that moment, and are never worn again. Sometimes they turn out to be the missing piece to an outfit you never knew you needed, and become a regular choice for you for the rest of the season.
At other times, you go out consciously looking for some pieces that will stand the test of time: foundational elements of your wardrobe that you can build different outfits around, that help you flip your work-formal clothes into a smart-casual, characterful evening outfit. It can be hard to find those vital perennial pieces that will earn their keep for years to come, but there are few ways you can narrow your search to only the most promising potential choices.
Check the Materials
A perennial piece for your wardrobe needs to be stylish but also relatively hardwearing – you’re expecting it to last for months if not years, after all. If you’re looking for a coat, wool, and more specifically tweed is insulating and hard wearing enough to keep you warm through plenty of winters, and it attracts designers working in different styles, from the consciously vintage to modern brands like Burberry.
Similarly cashmere sweaters are stylish and surprisingly hard wearing when treated with care. Designers are drawn to the classic material, and as long as you check it’s good cashmere before you buy you know you’ve added a piece to your wardrobe that will serve you well for many years. Stretch the material a little and check it springs back into shape easily – if it’s remains stretched and slack, it’s poor quality wool. Check it for softness too – that’s one of the most important things about cashmere. If it doesn’t have that signature softness it may have been overtreated, and be more liable pilling and wear.
Step Outside The Fashion of the Moment
If you’re looking to add some clothing to your collection that’s going to serve you for many years, then one that perfectly embodies the fashion of the moment might not be the best choice. Something current dates quickly, and you can’t be sure that any particular movement in fashion will be back in subsequent seasons.
Picking from pieces that already vintage makes them future proof – wearing last year’s fashions could be a serious faux-pas, but finding just the right piece from the last decade or before can help you create a look that’s immortal.