A well-rounded wardrobe is the fashion equivalent of a financial portfolio: There's a few “blue chip investments"—pricier designs you can count on and wear for the long haul—and less expensive seasonal updates.
So where should you be putting the most money? I'd start with a tailored blazer, a classic coat, and everyday bag made from luxe materials. Unlike other essential items, such as LBDs, white shirts, and pencil skirts, these are long-lasting pieces that, when made from high quality material, will stay in your closet for years. Although buying these sorts of heavier styles might feel counterintuitive right now, when heat and humidity are through the roof, this is actually an ideal time to look; with new pre-fall and fall merchandise tricking into stores, you'll get the very best selection.
Below, a break down of what to look for—and some foolproof picks to jumpstart your shopping.
The blazer: A single-breasted, precisely cut wool blazer in black can be worn for day or evening, and works with everything from a slim pant, to a cocktail dress, to jeans. Slightly-padded shoulders provide structure and streamline your entire silhouette—totally worth the extra cash.
The coat: Although the exact fabric weight depends on where you live and like to travel, a cashmere or wool bathrobe style is the best option in terms of comfort, versatility, and timelessness. Keep it knee-length or longer (so that you can wear it over all your daywear), and stick to a neutral color. Black is a no-brainer, of course, but camel, ivory, charcoal, navy, and blush are solid alternatives.
The bag: There's nothing wrong with buying a statement bag every so often, but first you need one medium-sized leather satchel that goes with everything. Opt for something subtle (aka, minimal hardware and few fancy details) in a neutral shade; it should be big enough to hold your wallet, eyewear, phone, and a small makeup kit, but not oversized. This in-the-middle proportion makes it suitable for almost any occasion.