10 Apr 2017 45 comments

How I Started Buying Key Pieces.


Sometime early last year, I was filling up yet another bag for the charity shop with an assortment of floral dresses I’d worn once, and looking at another Missguided order I couldn’t be bothered to return, and I realised I was doing it all wrong.

My fickle fashion habit was becoming impossible, and I knew I wanted to be one of those people that had less. I wanted every item I owned to spark joy (thanks Marie K), so I made a few changes.
This is how I got in to buying key pieces I love, and culled my big ol’ ASOS habit in the process…

No more wasteful purchases.

Although of course I still do 90% of my shopping on the high street, I’m no longer wasteful when it comes to my buys. This means no more panic orders, no more overly wacky items (okay, so the odd one slips through the net) and no more buying one-wear pieces for holidays and trips away.
I return everything I don’t love that same week, and I try to buy pieces that I know I’ll really, truly love. Less is absolutely more when it comes to my wardrobe – outfit planning and getting ready has become so much easier, and I can honestly say that I love everything I own!

Knowing where to spend money.

At one point, I would buy a random selection of seasonal trendy clothes on ASOS or whatever, for no particular reason. It was pretty pointless and I usually had no real attachment to them so they were soon shipped off to the charity shop.
These days, I much prefer to pick up a top from Whistles I know I’ll love for a few seasons, than a one-time buy from somewhere cheaper that just won’t last.
I’ve had to work on finding my style for this to really work, but I reckon it’s saved me a lot of money, and I feel better for it.

Research every big buy.

This is a big one for me, because I really don’t want to drop a few hundred (or more!) on something that won’t get a lot of use. I try and always do a bit of research before I buy something, no matter what the price.
Handbags are a good example of this – will it last or will I be over it in a few weeks? I put off buying the Chloe Faye bag for this reason, but after lusting over it for over a year, it had to be mine. As soon as I got it, I knew it was going to last me well.

I also try to think about cost per wear when it comes to pricey pieces too. The other day I gave away a ~£40 Topshop bag that I had used just once, meaning the cost per wear was £40.
On the other hand, I bought a Gucci Soho Disco bag for around £450 and I’ve used it probably three times a week since I bought it in January, so cost per wear (£450 / 50) is £9… and I expect I’ll keep this up for the rest of the year, meaning the CPW will only lower.
I used to buy a high street handbag a few times a month, but now I’ve got a few key designer bags, I never feel the need anymore.

Key fashion finds.

I’ve been working on building up a sort of capsule wardrobe of staple items – so a white tshirt that fits perfectly, a couple of pairs of jeans that never sag (before I would purchase Topshop Joni jeans on what felt like a weekly basis!), ankle boots that go with everything, a coat that won’t bobble after a day’s wear.
I’m having to really think about what I like, what cuts and materials suit my shape, and what brands are the best quality. It’s a bit of a lengthly process, but it means Hurricane Kate doesn’t appear every morning, waiting to tear through my wardrobe to find an outfit.

It’s a bit of a learning curve, but I’m getting there! I feel happier with my outfits, I feel confident in my purchases and my wardrobe is looking wonderful.

Are you thinking about investing in key pieces?

  • I seriously would love to do this but finances are my issue here. What I am doing instead though is finding the key pieces I want (e.g. The classic Burberry mac) and buying a cheaper alternative. I’m having great effects with that, and hey, I’ll be able to afford that Chanel Boy Bag one day!


  • I’ve started to switch out certain bits of my wardrobe for more investment, timeless pieces. Bags are a great place to start as you use them so much! x


  • I completely agree with you, but I think that does come with age! x

    Tiffany Tales | Beauty & Lifestyle


    Loved this & great tips! Better to invest in high-quality pieces!


    Love, http://herrendezvous.com/

  • Pauline Gareau (paulydays)

    I agree 100% ! But it’s hard with a small budget… As Tiffany Tales said, that does come with age AND money i guess haha ! Love your pictures btw 🙂



  • Rebecca Jenkins

    I definitely have started to do this when buying things. Even though I do still buy slightly cheaper handbags (although I have one that I have used & abused for over a year and it was $30 so I’m pretty happy with that)

  • Helen

    Yes I love this!! I’ve been thinking the same thing lately I’ve always been intrigued by the Parisian’s way of building a capsule wardrobe – I’d love to see more posts/videos on your thoughts in this! I definitely agree it would be so much more cost effective buying better quality key pieces you can wear season after season there’s so many influencers doing Primark hauls etc that I feel is encouraging a somewhat wasteful lifestyle!

  • Great post! I am doing the same lately, thinking about my purchases and I love the Parisian way of clothing and having an wardrobe!

  • This is such a great post. I’m doing my best with makeup and clothes to think about CPW!

    Beekeyper – Latest – Lancôme Matte Shaker in Kiss Me Cherie

  • Chelsea

    What jeans have you started purchasing rather than the Topshop ones?

  • Maggie

    I love this idea! I am slowly trying to do the same. I just want pieces that are classic and can always work. Sometimes the most trendy things are just not worth buying. What jeans are you currently loving?


  • Lovely post … Love it! 🙂
    Merci for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

    ?LA BIJOUX BELLA? | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Juliana Paz

    This is such a great post. I’ve been becoming very minimalist with my wardrobe and just about everything else. It’s such a great feeling having a smaller wardrobe that is filled of everything you absolutely love. The book, The Curated Closet is a great one for this topic.


  • I love the concept of having less but really loving the key pieces you have. But I do sometimes find it difficult to do myself.

    Vanessa x | http://www.springlilies.com

  • I love this perspective – so interesting! I always find myself throwing out clothes that I haven’t used for a long time. These are great rules to live by!


  • emily

    This is what I do too. I recently bought a pair of madewell jeans after researching for…awhile. They were the most expensive pants I’d ever bought, but I absolutely love them and the quality is way beyond any of the bargain brand jeans I’m used to…it’s less work overall, I think, owning less stuff since there is less to wash, less to put away.

  • This is a great post, I need to buckle down so I can have that amazing bag collection!

    Samantha | http://www.thebeautyinit.com

  • Vaidehi Deo

    Thanks ! I need to do this ? I need to stop shooping loads just because I was feeling bad!
    – Vaidehi

  • These are all great tips! I’m really evolving to a quality over quantity frame of mind and enjoy researching investment pieces before taking the plunge. Knowing something is made to last – and will hold up through the seasons – is fantastic. If it’s something super trendy, I think high street knock-offs are great. When it’s timeless, spending more for better quality pays off.

    xoxo – Kelly

  • Kay Nguyen

    Such a beautiful bag collection you have there! Love the Chloe bag <3


  • Your Chloe is GORGEOUS!

    Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE


  • Thank you so much for these great tips! Buying and splurging on key pieces really help to save money in the long run! 🙂 Really happy that you wrote this post because I think it’s a super helpful topic that a lot of bloggers overlook! <3 Loving all of the photos, by the way!

    XO, Elizabeth

  • Lizzie

    I definitely need to start doing this, I lust after more expensive pieces thinking I can’t afford them and then probably spend the same amount on tat that will last one wear!


  • Elsa

    How did you get your disco bag so cheap?
    I really want one, but I think my boyfriend would kill me for splashing out £700 for a small bag when we’re saving for a house! x

  • i love investing in key pieces and want to get better at it too. i feel like my closet is too cluttered and i just want to love everything i own.


  • This is exactly what I plan to start doing, and it makes so much sense. I have recently lost a fair amount of weight, and so I need to buy a whole new wardrobe, but I’m trying to take it slow and put a lot more thought into the pieces I buy xx

  • I was going to buy the Gucci Soho bag but it’s a bit pricey.. I found that Marc Jacobs has a similar one for about half the price.. so I’ve been debating that. I do want to start a luxury collection, but I’m also torn between saving more money for a property purchase or ‘treat yourself’ hahah


  • CutieandherBeauty

    You know, I’ve kind of always been intimidated about buying investment pieces. Whether they would be clothes, jewelry, or bags especially. This post does explain a lot though, so maybe, I just might really roll up my sleeves and research some pieces I’ve had my eye on.(:

    Yolanda| http://www.cutieandherbeauty.com

  • After having a clear out of my wardrobe I got rid of so many clothes that have sat unworn in my wardrobe for so long. This is exactly what I plan to start doing from now on. Great post! xx

    Laura // http://www.laura-alexandra.co.uk

  • Lea H

    Thanks for sharing your tips. I totally agree with you. If you want a pricy/designer bag etc. have a long think about it. Before I bought my Mulberry Bag I thought about it for about 2 years and it was worth it. I’m still using it after getting it like 2 1/2 years ago, it’s my fave bag ever!
    Lea, xx

  • Really great tips – I really want to start spending more on key pieces, I just need to learn to stop spending so frivolously!

    Lucy | Forever September

  • elisha mae

    Nothing better than a curated closet full of things you love! Really enjoyed reading your little style journey Kate – plus that bag collection!

    Elisha-Maé | http://www.elisha-mae.co.uk

  • This is such good advice as I’m always getting bored of my clothes and throwing loads away. Definitely need to start doing this myself!

    Gemma Louise

  • These points are so important! I’m currently drowning in my own consumerism so I’m trying to really declutter, and take hold of my spending habits. I think the older we get, the more we want key, quality pieces, and less fad clothing so that helps.

    Nida | Caked To The Nines

  • When I was about 16, my dad told me to purchase good quality classics and build my wardrobe around that. It’s taken me YEARS to heed his timeless advice, and I’m finally coming around to it much like you have. To be fair, I don’t think most teens really have established their personal style sense, but now that I know mine, I am much better at choosing what really suits my body and style and making those purchases count. Good advice 🙂 by the way, I really love those hangers in your closet – they look so pretty!

  • Natalie Redman

    I love those rose gold hangers. Where did you get them from?


  • Such a lovely post with excellent advice! I sometimes find myself in similar situations but am trying to reduce the amount of compulsive purchases to few (or none!) and invest in timeless and good quality pieces that I know I’ll love forever (well, a long time!) 🙂 xox

  • Really enjoyed this post 🙂 very informative xx

  • I really want to get started investing in key pieces for my wardrobe but it’s so overwhelming to think about! This post really clears the path a lot for me, thanks!



  • Such great advice, Kate! I’ve been on a year-long quest to build a quality, sustainable wardrobe, one that (as you say) doesn’t require weekly trips to the charity shop. However, I’ve found that since revving up the style-side of my fashion blog, it’s really hard to balance the want for fewer, quality pieces with also showing new, interesting things on the blog. How do you manage this? I still don’t think I’ve found the balance (particularly when travelling — I’m the WORST at the last-second ASOS haul for some blog photo shoots on the trip, and never wearing them again). Would love to hear your thoughts on how you manage this!

    Eire | Wolf & Stag

  • This is fantastic advice. I actually started implementing this in the last month or so. Also, I am obsessed with your rose gold hangers. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get them from?

    Genevieve | http://www.blueaugustine.com

  • I’m so picky with spending now, it has to really do through some testing! I did buy some cashmere a year ago and have definitely worn some more than others, just cba to return them which is mad!! Now I’m trying to wear and justify but really needed to think more about the purchase.

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • Diana Cano

    I love this post so much! Would love to know where the hangers are from and all other pieces lol

  • Sepideh

    I love this because it’s exactly what I’ve been doing and I love it so much more then buying endless amount of stuff and cluttering my closet!! I’m thinking (and saving) for a designer purse but I haven’t taken the plunge yet! I want the Givenchy Antigona as a treat to myself maybe at the end of the year (if I reach a few of my goals)

  • jmk06

    This is amazing and just the motivation I need to do the same. thank you.
    insta: @jmk06