On buying investment pieces

There are a few pieces of clothing that I arguably “need” for my wardrobe. I’ve heard about “investing” in certain items of clothing – the idea being that you spend more on certain items that will never go out of style and to ensure quality. And while I agree with the sentiment, I’m torn because:

  1.  I don’t believe cost to be a reliable indicator of quality;
  2. It’s hard for me to decide if “this is the one” item of clothing I’m going to want to pay handsomely for and wear for the next 10 years;
  3. I don’t own any clothing that cost more than $150 (the most expensive items are coats), and it’s surprisingly difficult for me to pull the trigger on things more expensive than that.

So that was what happened yesterday as I was contemplating a jacket for wearing when I ride my bike in the winter. I would like something brightly colored so I can be seen, rainproof, windproof and attractive (because why not?). There was a nice jacket I tried on that seemed a bit warmer than I needed, but it’s hard to tell my future needs when it’s unseasonably warm in October right now. The kicker was that the jacket was $180, on sale. It was a nice jacket – I don’t know if it’s nice enough to be the most expensive thing in my closet.

The rational way to think about this situation would be, I need a jacket and this one fits my needs. It costs $180 and I have $180.

The way I’m thinking about it is pretty irrational and based more on philosophy than fact. This jacket doesn’t know it’s the most expensive piece in my wardrobe and neither will anyone else. There’s nothing wrong with having a jacket be the most expensive piece of clothing in my wardrobe. It’s not some sort of moral failing, some total lack of priorities to have an expensive jacket when all my financial obligations are being met. And yet I find myself making excuses not to buy it. I tell myself that a $180 jacket should have more features, more zippers or chains and decorations. I tell myself that this jacket will change how I view myself, how I view my purchases and my morality if it’s somehow not worth it.

But it’s just a jacket.

And I don’t want to be cold and wet on my bike this winter. I think if I sit and think about it, I will probably just get used to the idea of an expensive jacket. The shock will wear off and I’ll have something to wear this winter.

Would you buy the jacket?

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