Fall Investment Pieces

One of our favorite fellowsÂ--Benjamin Franklin (we kid you not)Â--once said that an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. Though he probably intended those words to make the case for enriching oneÂ's education, we see a different sort of significance in his statement. Specifically, weÂ've taken his wisdom to mean the following: if we thoroughly research potential purchases and invest in thoughtfully considered pieces, we will get great satisfaction (and wear) from these new additions. Fortunately, itÂ's not hard to be careful these days, especially since we donÂ't have the money or constitution for buyerÂ's remorse! Instead of racking up random things on our credit cards, weÂ're carefully making mental lists of splurge-worthy pieces and always have an eye out for the sort of hard-working (but still fashion-forward, of course) items that can add so much to our outfit repertoires. Though there are some admittedly pricey pieces in todayÂ's collection, youÂ'll get so much use out of each article that their cost-per-wear will end up quite low. Just think of these selections as the foundation of your fashionable wardrobe and know that Mr. Franklin would undoubtedly approve!

1. Quilted Bag
When it comes to handbags, sometimes we turn into lotharios, but who could blame us? There are so many new styles to loveÂ--Proenza SchoulerÂ's insane PS1 collection, Alexander WangÂ's Leather Backpack, AlaiaÂ's Weekender BagÂ--but at the end of the day, the quilted bag is one we always come back to after flirting around. Of course, the key version worth waiting for is ChanelÂ's Medium Classic Bag ($2625), as itÂ's one of the few purses you could carry for your entire life. Of course, you could always just win a free one instead of saving up by entering our amazing giveaway! DonÂ't forget to sign up today (and send to your friends for more chances to win)...

2. Bandage Dress
Some people buy art, others covet cars, but if we were collectors, our passion would be Hervé Léger Bandage dresses. As countless celebrities have shown us time and time again, thereÂ's nothing quite like the tightly wrapped look of a Léger dress. It squeezes you in all the right places and is a showstopper in any style. We picked the Ombre Bandage Dress ($1590) as our fall investment piece because its stunning shades of gray are simply so cool. You could wear it with a blazer and opaques for a wonderful work look (at least in the creative industries) or with nothing more than a killer pair of heels for night. (Though definitely different, we also like the Bodycon Dress ($110) by Alice McCall for Topshop, as it has some shared style sensibilities with the beloved bandage dress, but is a fraction of the price.) If the gradation is a bit too memorable for you, start with a basic black Tank Style Dress ($730) or try the ABS Bandage Tank Dressicon ($250) for a similar, simple, less expensive version.

3. Tuxedo Jacket
No matter if you wear it with skinny trousers for a slim take on Le Smoking or throw it on over a pretty party dress, one outerwear option that works with just about anything is the tuxedo jacket. ItÂ's the perfect antidote to a fussy evening wrap and looks equally cool with a tank and jeans, so why not buy a really beautiful one like the McQ Alexander McQueen Black Tuxedo Jacket ($480)? It will add a dash of French sophistication to any outfit!

4. Cocktail Ring
Statement jewelry comes and goes but cocktail rings are forever in style. While our favorite ones are usually vintage, this Yves Saint Laurent Arty Dots Ringicon ($195) is one of the most interesting modern versions weÂ've seen in ages. Buy it slightly big and wear it on your pointer finger and youÂ'll feel chic even on your frumpiest days.

5. Tailored Trouser
Menswear-inspired pieces are a huge trend this season, but theyÂ're also completely classic, so itÂ's worth searching for a perfectly tailored pair of trousers. This darling tweedy pair reminds us of something Hepburn would have worn (the high waist and wide, cuffed leg) in the seventies (the sailor-style front pockets). LuellaÂ's Ike Wide-Leg Trouser ($425) are made from a wool/silk blend and are lined in silk, so theyÂ're sure to keep you warm this winter and hopefully many more to come.

6. Black Skirt
We fear what would happen if we didnÂ't have a few great black skirts to depend on; weÂ'd probably end up going bottomless and would no doubt get arrested for public nudityÂ--a bad scene all around. Fortunately weÂ've got a few savvy styles keeping us from the clink, like TopshopÂ's Flannel Lantern Skirt ($70). The black flannel mini has a slightly belled shape (very flattering for most figures), can easily be dressed up or down, and is machine washable, so no dry cleaning bills! It reminds us a bit of the Elizabeth and James Bell Skirt ($365), which is also another excellent variation of this attractive cut. All this said, we donÂ't want to discriminate, as we love black skirts of every shape and size. A few of our other favorites include: French ConnectionÂ's Cosmic Wonder Skirt ($168), Jenni KayneÂ's Pleated Leather Miniskirt ($650), deliaÂ's Rebecca Skirt ($38.50), Vanessa BrunoÂ's Silk Mini Skirt ($425), and American ApparelÂ's Interlock High-Waisted Skirt ($34).

7. White Dress Shirt
We know that weÂ've been talking about different white shirts quite a bit lately, but we canÂ't help ourselves! This fall there have been so many tempting options, but the version weÂ're investing in is a simple, collared, button-down in the style of PradaÂ's White Cotton Shirt ($340) from the runway. One stellar take on the traditional business shirt comes from K Karl Lagerfeld, specifically the Hermine Cotton Shirt ($220) seen above. The perfectly proper collar will frame your face nicely while the smartly blended material (cotton with a touch of elastane) will keep skim your shape perfectly.

8. Deep Red Lipstick
Closing out our round of seasonal must-buys is the deep red lipstick. Instead of buying a new version of your old-Hollywood-glam red, we think you should update your makeup case with a rich wine color instead, like Giorgio Armani BeautyÂ's new Lip Wax ($26) in 6/Deep Chianti. Wear it with a basically nude face (check out the beauty look at Chloe Fall 08 for examples) and a few coats of mascara for a strong, unfussy, sexy style.

EXPLORE: WWW Picks, Alexander Wang, Herve Leger, Proenza Schouler


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