"Another year older, another year wiser" is a quote you've likely heard on many birthdays. Whether you believe this notion or not, your personal fashion sense does indeed get better as you age. Over time, you learn what styles you'll actually wear and which silhouettes make you feel amazing. Oftentimes these pieces are ones that will stay in your closet for years and years. As a matter of fact, there are a number of simple fashion items that women in their 40s invest in. While fashion insiders might have their own taste in style, they have similar rules when it comes to deciding which pieces are worth splurging on (and which aren't).
When Karla Welch, a celebrity stylist who works with Tracee Ellis Ross and Justin Bieber, is looking to invest in an item, she asks herself one important question: Is this a forever piece? That's all the stylist is really interested in. At this point, Welch says she knows what shapes make her feel great. "And of course, there will be collections of the moment that I must have, but I'll never go for the trendy piece," she tells TZR. "If I do, I will literally put it away for two years, then wear it." This season, she's buying a couple looks from the Prada collection, because she knows she'll 100% be wearing them immediately — and for years to come.
Kim Mitchell, creative director of Quay Australia, thinks about pieces from a financial standpoint. "It can seem daunting to spend money upfront, but if you consider cost per wear and your lifestyle, those pieces will last you many years," she tells TZR. For instance, she says her AGOLDE jeans fit like a glove, and she reaches for them once a week. And while when you're in your 20s and 30s, on-trend items might be at the top of your must-buy list, Mitchell prefers spending money on classic pieces that will pair well with trendy items that she already owns.
So whether you're in your 40s or looking for advice from women who are experts on personal style, find all the investment pieces fashionable women have in their closets.
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Sherri McMullen, founder of McMullen boutique in Oakland, CA, always invests in knitwear. "Especially because we live in the Bay Area, we wear knitwear year-round," she tells TZR. "I also just think it's what women are coveting right now. Everyone wants to look and feel good, but we also want these cozy, timeless pieces in our closets." McMullen says cardigans are knits that are great to own, as they are perfect for layering. Plus, they can become a jacket for Californians. Brand wise, the founder is loving comfy tops from Khaite, Aisling Camps, and Proenza Schouler.
For Caroline Maguire, fashion director at Shopbop, good quality denim is an important purchase. "Denim is one of those items you want to feel good and be comfortable in, so it’s always better to invest in a pair that’ll last forever," she tells TZR. Her two must-have jeans are R13's Staley Cross Over Jeans and Khaite's Layla Jeans.
"When you’re running around the city it’s hard to wear heels, so I invest in boots," jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher tells TZR. "I’m also a sneakerhead so I have an extensive sneaker collection. These days, it's totally acceptable to wear sneakers pretty much anywhere. It also makes your life much easier!" Especially if you're constantly on the go with kids, non-painful shoes are essential. And if a shoe isn't comfortable, Welch won't be wearing it. The stylist often leans on silhouettes like kitten heels or creepers.
A Great Topper
"Being a New Yorker, coats are key," Fisher says. The jewelry designer splurges on brands like Celine, Max Mara, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Sacai. "I have a well-rounded selection of investment coats that are timeless," she says. Likewise, McMullen says it's really important to invest in a great topper at the beginning of every season. And, she says her shop has been buying Japanese Brand Akira Naka for about a year straight. "It's really timeless pieces, but they always have an interesting shape to them, whether it's a sculpted sleeve or a fun little detail."
According to Fisher, when you're in your 30s and into your 40s, it's the perfect time to start investing in fine jewelry, whether that be simple chains or classic gold hoops. "Pieces that will last forever and stand the test of time," she adds. Maguire has been wearing lots of earrings and rings lately, especially statement pieces that she never wants to take off. "Rainbow huggies from The Last Line are my current obsession," she tells TZR. They add a bright pop of color and the perfect amount of sparkle to complete any look!"
Tailored, Sharp Blazer
McMullen loves having a tailored, sharp blazer in her arsenal while working from home. "I'm wearing a lot of blazers right now, especially with just wanting to feel sort of pulled together with going to work every day," she says. "I've been wearing them with high-waisted wide-leg denim."
Soft Silk Dresses
Fashion influencer Tennille Murphy says she enjoys second-hand shopping for luxe silk dresses. A slip dress is the perfect work from home uniform — all you need is a blazer and gold hoops and you're set. For after work, a slip dress can transition to date nights at home. "I have a couple sublime silk dresses that are worth every penny," she tells TZR. "Something about the soft silk fabric makes me feel damn beautiful, perhaps even more so because I know they're vintage." But of course, you can also opt for new silk dresses from beloved brands like Tove Studio, Ganni, and Refine.
For Welch, a designer bag (or a few) is a non-negotiable. Her favorite brands include Chanel, The Row, Prada, and Celine. And lately, McMullen says she's been pulling out her first ever Chanel bag. (See, these pieces will still remain a go-to years later!) When she's heading into the office, she carries her laptop in a bag from Ree Projects.
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