Investment Portfolio: The Top Designer Pieces Worth Buying This Season
Whether you’re considering a new investment bag or have your eye on a pair of designer shoes, we’ve officially reached prime time to make new-season purchases as fresh brand drops are hitting the market. Which pieces are actually worth purchasing this spring and summer? Curious to get to the bottom of the key items of the season, we consulted the top buyers at luxury retailers, the most in-demand global product sourcers, and shopping-savvy fashion editors to weigh in about the top designer items to add to your wardrobe.
Overall, we’re seeing a shift in the designer-fashion landscape. “This season, more than ever, both brands and shoppers are putting an emphasis on wearable luxury,” explains Who What Wear editor-at-large Nicole Eshaghpour. “In the past, flashier pieces have been the way to make a statement, but now, it’s all about the quality, the fit, and just looking put-together and elegant—without the frills and gimmicks.” This movement toward quiet-luxury pieces and away from the logomania of seasons past is leading to more thoughtful designer purchases with longevity, which is translating to what we’re seeing across the fashion market. Saks Fashion Director Roopal Patel echos this. “Overall, we’re seeing a return to everyday essentials and versatility for the spring/summer season,” she tells Who What Wear, explaining that the most in-demand pieces include “timeless styles that can transition you from spring to summer and even into early fall.”
Shoppers have seasonality as well as the top trends from the spring/summer 2023 runways in mind, though. “Summer is all about effortless, practical style that embraces the sunlit season, and the ’90s minimalist aesthetic plays into that,” Nordstrom Fashion Director Rickie De Sole shares. “It’s also a time for weddings, events, and celebrations, so a few fanciful pieces will lift your mood—like a standout party dress, conversation-starting jewelry, and shoes that can work with gowns or jeans.” Fwrd Vice President April Koza is also seeing that key events during the spring/summer season are impacting shopping patterns. “Everything from beach vacations to outdoor soirées provides a sense of freedom and excitement,” she shares, emphasizing how this is connected to the growing theme of wearable fashion. “Color, crochet, and wearable silhouettes are the focus for spring/summer, and this season, brands are giving us fashion that fits in our everyday lives.”
So how does this translate to luxury shopping this season? Ahead, shop the best spring/summer 2023 designer shopping pieces to add to your wardrobe, according to top fashion experts.
Photo:Net-a-Porter; Moda Operandi; Chanel; Fwrd; Nordstrom; Hermès; Saks Fifth Avenue
Designer shoes span the range from sleek and pared back to fun and eye-catching. “The ’90s minimalist ‘barely-there’ style continues to trend along with the return of the wedge heel—just in time for summer events,” De Sole shares. “Both strappy styles pair with nearly anything, including jeans, shorts, and formal attire.”
On the other side of the spectrum? Colorful statement shoes. “Chanel slingbacks are consistently a most-requested style. This year in particular, we’ve seen an influx of requests since Sofia Richie Grainge prominently featured the style throughout her wedding festivities,” shares global fashion sourcer Gab Waller about the cotton candy–pink sequined Chanel slingbacks Richie wore during her wedding weekend.
Photo:Celine; Toteme; Net-a-Porter; Saks; Fwrd; Moda Operandi; Dior; Fashionphile; Miu Miu
Summer has yet to kick off, but fashion experts are aligned on the major bag-shopping themes to have on your radar: XXL totes, raffia, and updated takes on timeless shapes. “Oversize bags are in again, and summer is the season to get on board because larger is not only stylish—it's practical,” De Sole shares. Look to styles such as the Bottega Veneta Andiamo and The Row Allie bags for cool takes on big totes.
If you’re after something more classic, look for bags such as the Hermès Picotin, Toteme T-Lock, and Dior Lady D-Joy that take on timeless designs with reimagined details and silhouettes. “While I don’t own it *yet*, the black Small Lady D-Joy bag is at the top of my list in terms of my next investment piece. I love the oblong shape because it feels a little different. It’s still something that’s timeless, and it is a great size for wearing day or night,” Eshaghpour explains.
For a bag that feels primed for summer holidays, raffia styles are already one of the biggest bag trends of the season with versions from practically every designer. The most in-demand piece? “Currently, the number one bag I’m seeing demand for is the Celine raffia shoulder bag,” Waller shares. “It’s the perfect size and can be carried over the shoulder, in the nook of the arm, or by hand. This is already set to be the bag of the season.” Patel also emphasizes the prevalence of raffia bags for summer, naming a style from Loewe as a key buy. “This Loewe raffia tote bag goes with everything,” Patel tells Who What Wear. “Who doesn’t love the versatility and ease of a carryall tote that can be worn to the office, to the beach, and everywhere in between?”
Photo:Nordstrom; Fwrd; Moda Operandi; Tiffany & Co.; Bulgari; Orchard Mile; Cartier; Mytheresa
Shoes and bags for spring/summer 2023 are decidedly skewing toward wearability and longevity. The same can be said for many jewelry pieces. “Traveling to Dior’s Gateway to India in Mumbai earlier this March and witnessing the extraordinary craftsmanship and viewing the esoteric elegance at the Met Gala, the current mood embraces individualistic glamour that is not too shouty, not too trendy,” Luminaire co-founders Harriet Quick and Sukeena Rao explain. This is showing up with the rise of investment jewelry pieces such as Cartier Tank and Bulgari Serpenti watches.
Other jewelry pieces, however, are infused with vibrant personality. “While there’s a lot of conversation around minimalism right now, one thing I can’t get enough of is lustrous, colorful cocktail jewelry—it happens to complement basics very well,” De Sole shares. “Adding interest by way of colorful jewelry elevates your outfit and can be a great conversation starter for summer events. It’s also fun to invest and build a jewelry collection because pieces will always come in and out of style, and your collection will last forever.” A cool brand to know for standout jewelry? Jia Jia. The brand’s colorful beaded pieces are especially eye-catching. Designs from the rising label are “the perfect summer addition to your everyday necklace stack,” shares April Hennig, Moda Operandi’s chief merchandising officer.
We’re even seeing this play out with new takes on cult jewelry pieces such as the Bottega Veneta Drop Earrings. “For summer, I love the colorful take on the gold Drop earring that is so hard to find! We see customers continuing to search for statement pieces for weddings and events, and these are sure to stand out,” explains Tiffany Hsu, Mytheresa’s vice president of fashion buying.
Photo:Net-a-Porter; Celine; One Kings Lane; Mytheresa; MatchesFashion; Saks Fifth Avenue; Hermès; Prada
Accessories, too, are striking an interesting balance of timeless and wearable as well as fun and trendy. Among more classic pieces are belts. “The Row has a number of both timeless and more experimental belt styles that will play well with any closet. My team continues to field sourcing requests for these wardrobe staples, particularly the classic belt,” Waller shares. Another belt that keeps selling out, according to Luminaire? The Hermès Kelly belt finished with the fashion house’s signature locking metal hardware.
For sunglasses, vintage-inspired silhouettes, such as standout pieces from Loewe and the buzzy Khaite x Oliver Peoples collaboration, are winning out. “Retro frames in shades of brown, cognac, and tortoise are the ultimate summer sunglasses,” notes Patel. Other key accessories to have on your radar, according to fashion insiders are designer hair clips from Celine and Simone Rocha and logo-embellished cowboy hats from Miu Miu.
Photo:Celine; Net-a-Porter; Mytheresa; Moda Operandi; Italist; Nordstrom; MatchesFashion
Clothing is the category that translates most closely to this specific season in fashion, as insiders are shopping for events such as upcoming weddings and vacations. They’re adding everything from printed dresses to denim to pieces from the most in-demand designers to their wardrobes.
“This season, denim is reinvented—a denim maxi skirt should be on everyone’s list, and this elevated and chic Valentino version is a favorite,” shares Hennig. Beyond denim maxi skirts, we’re seeing a rise in designs that feel like a departure from your average denim, including pieces such as Celine jeans with a built-in chain at the waistband and denim skorts from Loewe. “Nothing makes more sense to me than a skort these days—especially when I’m out with my kids,” Eshaghpour says. “That’s why this Loewe piece instantly got my attention.”
For events, colorful personality pieces are winning out. “An ethereal dress that has just the right sway makes getting dressed for that upcoming wedding or big event feel both special and effortless at the same time,” De Sole shares. Standout pieces include designs from buzzy designers such as Khaite, Puppets and Puppets, and Taller Marmo.
As far as the cult designers to know? Waller is placing bets on Magda Butrym and Christopher Esber. “For summer, we are lusting after anything and everything Magda Butrym. Clients and celebs alike are loving Magda at the moment, and it’s easy to see why. Her feminine yet recognizable designs make for an instant hit,” Waller shares, emphasizing that Christopher Esber is equally in demand. “Christopher Esber immediately comes to mind when I think of summer dressing. Esber has perfected a timeless, effortless aesthetic that is perfect for chic summer happenings.”