How to Tell If A Garment Will Stand the Test of Time

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In this post I’m wearing a 7-year-old blazer, my eldest piece in the wardrobe, hands down. 7 years, really? You might ask, and in complete contrary to the 7-year-itch in marriages, I still love it as much as I did back when I was only 19.

Come to think of it, I have moved 6 times since, across provinces and cities, each and every time I threw away / donated something that I didn’t need any more, but this blazer always stays close to my heart, establishing itself as a trustworthy and timeless go-to piece in my closet.

Therefore this has inspired me to write something on how to recognize a keeper garment from a sea of clothes racks so that you will not regret not having bought it afterwards.

So here are the 4 signs that this garment will stand the test of time:

  1. It fits you (check the shoulder, waist, sleeve, rise, length, etc) just right, without being lock-tight or too loose (note that even oversized garments are named loose FIT). If you can adjust the look of it by buttoning/unbuttoning or zipping/unzipping, even better, as this will leave enough room for your future body change.
  1. It has a classic neutral color i.e. black, grey, khaki, beige, navy blue, camel, oxblood, etc. No matter what Pentone Color Institute forecasts for the next year, the above are the perpetual colors you should beware. I did not accidentally leave out white – chances are white often demands high maintenance and may not be the original color after several seasons of wearing/dry-cleaning.
  1. It has a timeless structure without too much ornament or trendy add-ons. Examples: blazers, trenches, tailored-trousers, pea coats, wrap coats, etc. Negative examples: lace edges, obvious bow-ties, excessive fringes, you get it. I’d also like to point out that even though certain types of garments are classic and timeless, they apply best to certain age brackets, for instance, I would advise against putting a considerable amount of dollars into a duffle coat if you are under limited budget. Not that sophisticated women don’t look good in them, it’s just that it should not be on top of your investment list unless you are still in your early 20s.
  1. Its fabric consists of considerable amount of natural material i.e. wool, cashmere, alpaca, silk, genuine leather, cotton, etc. The best basics that can stay in your wardrobe for years and so on are mostly made from 100% natural material, yet some pieces can be wallet-unfriendly enough i.e. an 100% cashmere coat for us to turn to blended material, which is also worth investing so long as the natural material accounts for a major proportion. I am no expert in textiles but I do know that natural fabrics can breathe and have life in its own right, so they are definitely worth your pennies (they last longer and are indisputably more comfortable than polyester), start from blouses and knitwear if you want to hold on before spending a fortune in a Maxmara cashmere coat or an Acne leather jacket.

Here they are, my ultimate savoir-faire in choosing a staple piece that will stand the test of time. If you follow these rules, I guarantee that whatever you buy will not collect dust as some other clothes of yours probably do, and that it will eventually become part of your go-to outfits, bringing out the best of you!

这件小西装已经在我衣橱里有七年之久了,大学、研究生、直到工作、再换工作,它都陪在我身边,搬了六次家,换过几个不同的城市,有同样经验的人一定懂,很多浮于表面的衣物和人事都会在这个过程中慢慢消褪,但它没有。七年是个什么概念呢,婚了的都可以开始痒了吧?而我对它的爱却一如既往,十九岁第一次得到它时的惊喜仍然历历在目,甚至对我这样一个念旧的人来说,经过时间的沉淀之后而愈发对其生出感激爱怜之情。

它也是我写这篇博客的灵感:如今各种品牌充斥眼前,购物途径多种多样,怎样从茫茫衣山衣海中找到那件可以陪伴你多年的忠实好伙伴?我在这里分享四个规则,可以助你一臂之力,也可以减少因为一念之差而与爱物擦肩而过的后悔之情:

  1. 它很合身,很合你的身。记得检查肩、领、腰、袖、裤长等等。合身不等于紧身或是贴身,你穿上它之后应该有足够的余量活动身体各部位,然而又没有多余的布料让你看上去像是穿错了别人的衣服。就算是oversize款,它有个别名也叫loose FIT,不同号码间一定有分别。如果有纽扣或拉链可以改变造型的话,就更好了,这样可以保证在未来的几年内,只要你的身体尺寸变化不太大,都可以继续穿著这件衣物。
  1. 它的颜色是经典的中性色,如黑、灰、卡其、米色、海军蓝、驼色、深红色,等等。这点无需多解释,各大权威机构每年都会发布流行色彩,但上述这些经典色才是真正的永恒,尤其是对于那些刚刚开始系统建设衣橱的同学来说,值得注意。我不是漏写了白色,慎重考虑过后还是把它剔除,因为我们这里讨论的是可以保存多年的经典衣装,纯白色衣物需要的呵护更多,而且通常在穿/洗了几季后,颜色难以恢复至最初。
  1. 它款式简洁经典,没有过多装饰与当季流行细节。正面例子:小西装、风衣、西裤、双排扣大衣、丝质衬衫、浴袍式大衣;反面例子:繁复的蕾丝边、过多的流苏、硕大的蝴蝶结,你懂的。我还想指出的一点是,虽然有一些单品十分经典,但最适合的是某一年龄段。比方说,如果你预算有限,而且正在建设好质感基本款的初级阶段,那我不会建议你买牛角扣大衣,除非你是二十刚出头的年纪。不是不可以买,但它不应该占据你愿望清单的前几位。
  1. 它面料中天然成分所占比重较大,比如羊毛、羊绒、羊驼毛、真丝、真皮、纯棉等等。衣橱中那些使用频率最高、最百搭的基础品一般都是100%天然原料制成的,但是有一些单品如100%羊绒大衣等对钱包不友善度极高,这个时候是可以选混纺面料的,只要天然成分所占比重较大就好。我并不是纺织面料专家,但是天然的面料是会呼吸、有自己的生命的,无论从穿着体验还是寿命上都大大胜过涤纶与晴纶等人造面料。你可以从真丝衬衫、羊绒内搭开始买起,有了正面体验后再买Acne皮衣或是Maxmara羊绒大衣这种投资品,完全不迟。

好啦,这些就是我挑选可以陪伴自己多年的经典单品时会遵守的四个规则了。如果你能在每次掏出钱包前想一想面前的物品是否符合这四条,我保证你买回家去的东西不会挂在衣橱一角既占空间又等着落灰,而且随时间推移,你会意识到它逐渐成为了你衣橱的中流砥柱、每次想不到穿什么时的救星、总是能够带出你最好状态的神助攻!

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camel blazer: Ochirly (similar here)

white t-shirt

belt: Levi’s (similar here)

pants: Mark & Spencer

heels: Gioia dell’ aqua (could not find it online but here is a similar model)

Want to tell me what you think? Leave a comment!