20 Investment Pieces That Every Man Should Consider
In January, we put together a list of essentials for the year to come. Think new-world necessities for 2021, such as blankets, face masks and sweats, along with elevated bits and pieces to upgrade your basics collections.
Now, we’re offering you a high-level spin on this list: 20 luxurious investment pieces, which, thanks to craftsmanship and quality, absolutely deserve an honoured placed in your wardrobes. These are items that, if you care for them properly, will last for years and years and won’t go out of style in the meantime. We’ve included some heirloom-worthy pieces in the mix as well – leather goods and classic outerwear – which you can purchase knowing that they will make ideal hand-me-downs, that is, if you can bear to part with them.
Read on for our list of pieces worth investing in this year.
The classic trench coat
To be perfectly honest, even if you only buy a trench coat to pop the collar and practice saying “here’s looking at you, kid” in the mirror, it’s a worthy investment in our humble opinion. But it’ll also come in handy in wet, spring weather, we hear. Classic beige and double-breasted, such as SAINT LAURENT’s iteration, is the way to go and is easily dressed up, down or somewhere in-between.
The black belt
A belt is a many splendid thing. Aside from fulfilling its obvious practical purpose, it’s an effortless way to look like you’ve gone to the trouble of thoughtfully accessorising, without, well, the effort and trouble. As for choosing one that will not date, our advice is to opt for black leather and silver metal, and don’t shy away from classic woven styles like Bottega Veneta’s – it feels altogether more refined and looks equally at home with suits as well as off-duty outfits.
The penny loafers
Ever wondered how penny loafers got their name? Us, too. So we saved you a Google and discovered that back in the 1930s, when they were adopted by preppies on US campuses, students used the style’s signature slots to store spare change for phone booths. Is that pertinent information when you’re in the market for a pair? Not really. But it does give you some indication of how little the silhouette has changed over the last 100 years. And, if that’s not the definition of an “investment piece”, we don’t know what is.
The understated sneakers
Don’t get us wrong. We know very well that, based on resell value alone, hype sneakers are a sound investment. But as for a pair you can actually wear out of the house, with just about everything in your wardrobe? Yeah, Yeezy’s probably aren’t what you’re looking for. Enter the luxe sneaker, such as this white leather pair from the crafty Italian brand Brunello Cucinelli. The biggest give-away that these are a different class of trainer? Those stealthily-sophisticated taupe heel tabs, for sure.
The traditional Derby shoes
It used to be that Derby shoes were strictly a country shoe. But then we also used to wear tuxedos to eat at home and deny women the vote. Just like the times, style evolves, more often than not, for the better. Now that Derbies are more than acceptable footwear for town, traditional cordwainer George Cleverley, have updated their classic Archie pair with modern Dainite soles so they’re even sturdier than their old-fashioned counterparts.
There’s something about Thom Browne’s tri-colour grosgrain ribbon that makes even the simplest items feel more luxurious and intentional. And this is truly the simplest item you could find in the small leather goods category. A black cardholder is exactly what you need in this soon-to-be cashless world, and this elegant piece – handcrafted in Italy – will slide effortlessly into any pocket. Even though it’s small, it’s worth spending a little more on leather that won’t warp and stretch and will therefore last for years and years.
The casual shirt
Charvet has the distinction of being the world’s first shirt shop. Therefore, it is safe to assume that this Parisian brand known how to make a quality shirt. And even when you are purchasing an off-day button-down, like this checked cotton shirt, it pays to have one that’s been pieced by master tailors. We like that this one straddles the line between smart and casual, making it perfect for work-from-home zooming, a drink with a friend or even a date.
Selvedge is sort of the champagne of denim. No, it doesn’t come from a specific region in France, but it’s the epitome of “premium” in the denim world. These RRL jeans eschew the classic rawness of many selvedge pairs and come pre-faded for a worn-in in look inspired by the American West. Anyone who has invested in a pair of considerately designed and tailored jeans can attest: once you find a pair that fits properly, buy in bulk. Will these be the one? Only one way to find out.
The chukka boots
Chukka boots were originally worn by British soldiers fighting in the desert in WWII, but we wouldn’t recommend these handmade in England Edward Green’s for such an endeavour. No, these are a much more refined version of the rugged outdoor classic and they’ll pair perfectly with jeans or smarter trousers. The soles are crafted from Dainite rubber which looks like a hard sole but has all the hardiness of a rubber sole meaning these will last you through several wet seasons intact. Just what you should be looking for in an investment piece.
Excellent, timeless luggage will literally never go out of style – who’s ever heard of a trendy suitcase? But if you invest in a Globe-Trotter, you’re investing in perhaps the most timeless bag on the market. They look like something out of Casablanca (although this one was designed in honour of the next instalment the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die) only they’re much lighter and more durable than a 1940s era suitcase, and come with the requisite wheels, etc for easy travel. Now all you need is a place to go and you’re all set for the trip of a lifetime.
Is it a coat? Is it a dressing gown? Well, it’s a coat. We know, because we made it (well, our in-house brand Mr P. did). But this is no ordinary coat. For starters, it looks much like a fine, sophisticated gown a duke might loaf around in while swilling a glass of brandy in a BBC period drama. But, like we said, it’s not a dressing gown, OK? – it is a belted and brushed virgin wool alpaca-blend overcoat, tailored in Italy no less. So, if do you feel like an unemployed member of the landed gentry when you put it on – no wonder.
A blue sweater is a blue sweater, whichever way you slice it. Right? Wrong. All blue sweaters are equal, but some are more equal than others. Especially when they’ve been made by Loro Piana which, founded in 1924, is known for its luxury fabrics (especially cashmere). Ribbed, cashmere, silk – mere words and a picture cannot do justice to this Very Special Sweater.
If you’re anything like us, you are itching to get into smart clothing again. Anything to feel alive. Never again will we bemoan a formal dress code stipulated by an obsessive pal. Whenever we have the opportunity it’s going to be three-piece suits in the gym, fedoras in the pub and black Oxfords at the cinema. Which is why we’re investing in these sophisticated checked suit trousers made from wool sourced from Scotland’s famed Lovat mill.
The white T-shirt
Much like the logic that goes into spending big on a bed – if you’re going to be wearing something a lot, something like a white tee, why not make it the finest, most comfortable version you can possibly find? Sunspel have been making T-shirts in England for more than 100 years so they may know a thing or two about this matter.
The unstructured blazer
If you think Mr Wes Anderson achieves that effortless air of bookishness by chance, think again. To achieve such results, you must invest time and money, and do so in pieces such as this slim-fit cotton velvet blazer by Brescia-based brand Boglioli. There are finer details to note – it’s garment-dyed, and has a partial lining and double vent for breathability. But you don’t need to mention that.
The leather jacket
Leather jackets, like fine wines, are known to improve with age. And that’s a good thing, because, like fine wines, they aren’t cheap. Not proper ones, anyway. This jacket from Dunhill is cut from supple, midnight-blue calf leather that’ll soften beautifully with time, while the simple, understated design ensures that it’ll remain immune from the ebb and flow of seasonal trends.
Sunglasses are the sort of thing that can easily become a trademark of your personal style – that’s bound to happen when you wear them on your face – so it’s important that you choose well. These frames from Oliver Peoples are modelled after the ones worn by the effortlessly dapper Mr Cary Grant in North By Northwest, a movie released in 1959, so their longevity is assured.
Here at MR PORTER, we often make the case for expensive items of clothing by citing their “cost per wear” – that is, the price divided by the number of times you’re likely to wear it. Take these cashmere sweatpants from The Row. Yes, they’re a big investment. But when you take into account the fact that you’ll wear them almost every day – and trust us, you will – they become much easier to justify.
The trucker jacket
The trucker jacket is an enduring icon of American style, remaining as popular now as it was half a century ago. And, despite its blue-collar origins, it works especially well when rendered in high-grade materials. Here, the inimitable Mr Tom Ford – an American style icon in his own right – puts his own elevated spin on it, using shearling and butter-soft suede.
The weekend bag
Suitable for everything from trips to the gym to long weekends away, the holdall is perhaps the most versatile piece of luggage a man can own. In the hands of the Italian leather goods specialist Valextra, it’s also an item of unmatched luxury and sophistication, and an essential for anyone who enjoys travelling in style.