A.P.C

Investment Buys, Are They Worth It?

The key to creating a good foundation for your wardrobe is to invest in key items that you can always rely on and it's only really in the last 2 years that I've started to do such a thing myself. Too often I hear people bang on about 'investing' in your wardrobe, telling us how we should try parting with a little bit more cash (or a lot more in some cases) because it's better to have less, high quality and longer lasting items, than it is to cram your wardrobe full with cheap low-quality items, so much so it's almost becoming a cliche to write about it. But that's it...end of story! It's rare that I read more in-depth insights into this notion or honest reviews on investment purchases. (Maybe I'm just reading the wrong blogs and there's tons of reviews out there) We all know the benefits of a good leather bag or high-quality tee but honestly, are all 'investment purchases' worth it? I'm going to share my honest reviews of items I've splashed the cash on that have and haven't been worth the splurge. 

COMME DES GARCONS T-SHIRT / £59-£100

 

Spending close to £100 on what looks like an ordinary tee seems absurd right? I know what you’re thinking; it’s a logo thing. Well, that delightful little heart helps soften the blow but personally and more importantly, it’s the cut and fit of the CDG Play tee’s that keep me going back for more. As a petite 5’3” female shopping for the perfect fitting tee can be difficult especially with meticulous ‘t-shirt fitting’ requirements such as mine. I like my short sleeves tee's boxy but not oversized or baggy, more of a straight up and down square shape (that probably doesn’t make ANY sense), and I want my long sleeve tee’s slim on the arm but straight on the body and both with a high neckline. All of which CDG creates, at least for my body shape. Having spoken to others re the fit of these tees, they don’t work for everyone, due to the brands Asian roots sizing can be a little off in comparison to the UK sizing, more often than not you will have to size up.

The fabric also has people divided; I’ve mentioned several times on the blog I am a fan of thicker t-shirts, remember those fruit of the loom T’s you wore as a kid at school? Yeah, like that kind of tee! Made from 100% cotton the CDG tops are thick, opaque, chunky and completely up my street. Understandably this isn’t for everyone so bare that in mind if you favour something more delicate and slinky.

The navy striped version (pictured above) along with the five other variations I own have been true staples in my wardrobe over the past 19 months, taking general care of the garment and washing at a low temperature has assisted with keeping it as good as new. Being so painstakingly particular over the fit of my tee's hasn't been a smooth ride. Now I've found a brand that works I'm running with it (hence the quick accumulation) and for me when you discover something so perfect then it's worth the investment. 

Top Tips:

  •  What ever you do, do not tumble dry
  • Ladies sizes not working for you? Try a men’s small for a longer fit in the body.
  • Try before you buy. Lots of people ask me what size I’m wearing in my Instagram photos, but I don’t think this is the best way to gauge sizing. (FYI - I wear a ladies small)

Verdict: Worth it but only if the sizing and composition works for you.

 

 

Acne Canada Scarf / £110

The Acne Canada scarf was undoubtedly the most Instagram'd scarf of 2015. I would love to put the Insta fame of this 200cm x 70cm sheet of wool down to its softness and warmth giving qualities, but unfortunately, I think many people have been blindsided by hype and the soft peachy pink packaging. Don't get me wrong, it's a great scarf, the sheer size of it is fantastic but upon opening this scarf, last winter, I couldn't help feel a little underwhelmed. It looked slightly lacklustre and truthfully, I'd felt softer scarves in my time but hey! It was Acne, and I was so over the moon to own a piece by Acne Studios that I decided to keep it. That was 15 months ago and despite my initial hesitations with the scarf the wool is still going strong (no piling, defects or shrinkage in the rain) it's the only scarf I've worn since so regarding cost per wear this thing paid for itself yonks ago! The amount of wear is entirely down to the colour and size, the mélange grey slots into my wardrobe like it’s meant to be, I mean come on, what colour doesn’t go with grey?! There’s your versatility boxed ticked! At 2 metres long this thing can be tied in a knot (see here) and sits chunky on the neck enabling you to block out any pesky drafts. I’m a big fan of the bundled up look in winter, which this scarf excels at creating.

Before ordering the grey I very nearly succumbed to the Burgundy, in hindsight I'm so glad I didn’t because it turns out burgundy is not my colour! I would have kicked myself if a £110 scarf had been sitting in my wardrobe unworn for the past year so my advice to anyone considering the Acne Canada scarf would be, choose a colour you are guaranteed to wear regularly. This scarf will last you a lengthy amount of time so long as it works with your wardrobe. (I'm already being provoked by this, of the moment, pink edition, but alas, I must practice what I preach!)  

Top Tips:

  • Avoid getting the scarf soaked in a downpour. A lil’ bit of rain doesn't hurt the wool, but I’d hate to drench the thing.
  • Store neatly to avoid creasing. I regularly throw the scarf over a chair or on the sofa when I get in from work only to find creases in it the next morning; they will eventually fall out, but the neat freak in me detests the creases. 

Verdict: Kind of worth it. For it's longevity and versatility but cheaper softer alternatives are out there. 

A.P.C Half Moon Bag / £280-£320 

This bag is notoriously known for playing 'hard to get', it sells out quicker than it comes in so you have to watch website's that stock A.P.C like a hawk! I refreshed A.P.C's website every morning and every night for two weeks until I managed to call this beautiful bag my own. If you manage to get your hands on it then bravo, however, it breaks my heart to say this do not pay full price for this bag. There is no denying when brand new, it's a stunning piece of craftsmanship but it's an awkward shape, and it takes more care than I'd care to give to keep it looking this pristine.  

Shape - Some websites call it the half moon bag, others the demi-lune but you get the gist! I like to think on a day to day errand running trip I travel quite light; my bag typically consists of the usual: purse, keys, phone, small diary and pen, a lip product, compact mirror and a concealer, but that's pretty much all I'm getting in there comfortably. Should I choose to bring my Samsung NX3000 out with me that's when the trouble arises, the diary has to be left home (no hope in hell of fitting that AND the camera in there) and packing the bag turns into a precision military operation. Its half moon shape limits which way the camera can fit inside to one way only so all other items have to slot in around the camera, pulling the camera out to use it then creates the puzzle of repacking the bag all over again. Due to the position of the strap rivets the opening is also limiting and somewhat stiff so pulling larger items in and out of the bag can be tricky. Credit to A.P.C though they have inserted a small pocket inside the bag which is great for essentials, e.g., keys, travel card, phone. 

Leather - As beautiful as the freshly dyed leather is (and it smells divine!), before buying the bag I had read the colour can and probably will transfer onto lighter items, so I cleverly sprayed the bag with a protector spray before wearing it as to avoid this. Don't say I didn't warn you! Fellow demi-lune owners have asked me if mine has scratched a lot. Fortunately, it hasn't but this is only through taking ALOT of good care. I'm very conscious of knocking the bag against things, where I put it down and when not in the use the bag lives, stuffed with tissue paper, in the original dust bag. Storing items in dust bags and boxes to protect them is fine by me, practically all my bags and shoes live in some form of bag/box or other but I'd much rather be able to sling this bag over me without having to be so precarious with it. The argument here might be 'oh but it's meant to age over time and scratches are part of that process' which is true, it probably is, and I've seen the tan version age beautifully but black, on the other hand, not so much. Feedback from other owners also includes flaking of the leather, luckily I haven't experienced this, but it's another factor to consider.  

The funds for buying this bag came from reselling a Mulberry bag I no longer used so it almost felt like a straight swap. If I were saving up for the demi-lune now knowing what I know, I would probably reconsider my decision and alternatively, save up for the Celine Trio in black. The only reason I still have this bag and wear it so regularly is down to the fact, it's the only small black everyday bag I own right now (and it is an attractive bag). The idea of selling the bag to fund something more practical and hard wearing has crossed my mind but, for now, I'm sticking with the half-moon bag.  

Top Tips:

  • Spray with a leather protector before use.
  • Try not over fill the bag as this can warp the shape of the bag.
  • Store with tissue stuffed inside to retain the rigid form. 

Verdict: Not worth it at full price. 

Acne Jensen Boots / £370 - £400 

These boots have been on my wishlist for what feels like an eternity so last month, on a works trip to London I set aside some time to visit the Pelham Street Acne Store to examine these boots in the flesh. On the day of my visit however I had forgotten it was also payday so as you can imagine, it was all downhill from there really. As soon as I slipped the buttery soft leather on my feet, I was besotted. I couldn't bring myself to leave the store without them. These are, without a doubt, the most I've ever splurged on a pair of shoes but let me tell you, the Jensen boot could be my best investment purchase yet. There are a lot of near or exact copies of this boot on the market, both Whistles and & Other Stories have created purse friendly ankle boot's of similar nature but with nearly every high-end purchase the devil is in the detail. The metal tip, the sharp squared off pointed toe, the grainy leather and the short block heel. You can't find that level of detail and finish on the high street. 

Being short brings with it a lot of ankle boot troubles! More often than not boots of this nature will be too high, completely cut my legs off making me look even shorter and stumpy. Something that ultimately sold the Jensen boot to me was the height on the ankle; it seems to be fractionally lower than your average ankle boot and that fraction makes a whole world of difference for me. I can wear these with jeans and cigarette pants without the worry of my jeans overhanging the boots, they are also fabulous with culottes!  The fit around the ankle is also marginally looser than a classic tight fitting boot so it's really easy to get on and off. Heel height is also spot on, the day after I purchased these boots I was stomping around London (rather smugly, that new shoe feeling is so good) all day in complete comfort which is ideal for a girl like me who wants some extra height but can't walk in heels. These boots have been in my possession for a total of two weeks now, so admittedly they are still in their probation period but I can securely say these are worth the splurge. 

Top Tips:

  • Spray with a leather protector.
  • Wear with a thin pop sock, when worn with a regular sock the 37 was too tight and 38 too big but replaced with a thinner sock the 37 was perfect. 
  • Stuff, the toe with tissue, to retain shape. 

Verdict: Worth it, especially if you are looking for a shorter ankle boot with a comfortable heel height.

 

 

The 'Not So Worth It' Investment Buys

Mulberry Alexa in Oak - £1,100 (price has increased severely since I purchased it) The Alexa was one of my very first investment purchases and my first step into the world of designer bags. The buzz around this bag, upon its release, was phenomenal, and I fell hard for it. I did the unthinkable and used my student loan to fund this bag! I got excellent wear out of the bag but unfortunately as my style changed the bag felt dated quickly, and all the hardware seemed too 'blingy' for me. It was also a pain in the butt to get in and out of!  

Acne Adrianna in Silver / £280 - £320 - When acquiring these trainers I liked the idea of them, but in reality they didn't work for me or my style. I thought I could make metallic silver trainers with a giant emoji face staring up at me work but it turns out I couldn't and honestly, I felt stupid wearing them. It might have been a different story had I chosen the white version and removed the silly face but every time I left the house in the shoes I didn't feel confident or comfortable in myself; I could feel they weren't right for me, and I think others could when they saw me in them. (Not that I care what others think but you know when you see someone in something and straight off you can tell they aren't comfortable in something? I was that person!) They will also rip your heels to shreds, I was on the verge of taking them off and walking home barefoot one night, they were that bad! These shoes had no longevity in my wardrobe; they felt too 'of the moment' and I could tell straight off the bat I was going to get fed up with them. 

Mulberry Alexa Burgundy / The burgundy Alexa was purchased in the sale so I can't remember the price, but evidently I had all the same problems that I'd had with its oak sibling but now with the added problem of colour. Don't get me wrong burgundy is a pleasing colour, I don't dislike it, I just don't like it on me. Buying this bag was a prime example of how brainwashing the word 'SALE' can be. 

 

Celine Trio Burgundy / £520 via Vestiaire Collective - I LOVED this bag! It's practical and the leather is beautiful I just picked the wrong colour, I saw a good deal on Vestiaire Collective and went for it. In the space of 14 months this bag was lucky enough to be worn 10 times (if that!) the rest of it's time was spent, feeling sorry for itself, in the dust bag. Lesson learnt: Do not buy discounted seasonal colours! Aside from the colour the Celine Trio is a worthy investment, I still pine for the black version and will consider re purchasing in the future.

Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats / £365- £395 - The velvet cat faced adorned flats speak for themselves really, utterly impractical and uncomfortable. Never have I had to be so precarious about where and when I wear a pair of shoes. Another pair of shoes that look great on your computer screen or sitting pretty on your floor but, in reality, they aren't so great, and if not given the utmost care they begin to look tired and shabby quickly not what you want from a £400 pair of shoes. 

So there you have it, my honest reviews of the items I've splurged on. All opinions are my own, and while I understand things that worked for me might not work for you and vice versa, I hope this assists anyone considering investing in any of the above items. I would love to hear other peoples experiences with these items or other investment purchases made that may or may not have worked for you. 

 

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