Made to last a lifetime, these high-fashion designer classics never go out of style. That’s why they make worthy investments—at any price.
Burberry’s London Trench Coat
I keep fallin’ in and out of love—with the trench coat. That’s just what happens when an iconic piece of clothing rolls back into fashion every few years. Last year was huge for the once-and-still-utilitarian raincoat invented for British soldiers by Aquascutum during WWI. I’ve owned inexpensive versions over the years but been understandably reluctant to pony up $1,300 for a Burberry’s London line long, double-breasted cotton trench with epaulettes, gun flap, belt with metallic D-rings and leather buckle, and a Burberry check under the collar—the coat by which all other trench coats are weighed, measured and found wanting. The great thing about the London trench is that really can be worn over everything from a business suit to nothing but stilettos, if you’re Ellen Barkin seducing Al Pacino in the movie Sea of Love.
It’s almost impossible to find Burberry’s London line trench coat on sale—believe me I’ve tried. Now I’m thinking I’ll buy one next fall at Nordstrom in sales-tax-free Portland, Oregon, when the traditional knee-length Burberrys will be back on the racks. If I do, this sturdy-built piece should take me to the end of my days. I’m not sure the same could be said of the decent Burberry-style trench at Banana Republic, which was on sale yesterday (for one day only) for $144, down from $240 (it was $198 online). BR has sales almost daily, so the deal will likely come around again.
The Village Bag By Roots
If there were such a thing as an International Handbag Hall Of Fame, the highly coveted Baguette by Fendi, Birkin by Hermès, Speedy by Louis Vuitton and 2.55 by Chanel would be among the first bags inducted. It’s a tribute to their iconic good looks that their European manufacturers re-spin these stratospherically priced luxury items year after year and that they continue to maintain a “must-have” status.
Of course, it wasn’t hard to come up with this quartet of hypothetical inductees; the selection is so beyond question Anna Wintour will be rolling her eyes when she reads the list. But we do have one more, less-obvious submission some students of fashion insist belongs with this group. It’s a Canadian entry: the Village Bag by Roots. So why do they think this $128 to $188 everyday handbag (which is an additional 25 percent off till May 1st) deserves the same recognition as these pocketbook giants? (CLICK HERE for links and our original story)
Christian Louboutin’s Simple Pump
Every year Christian Louboutin does new versions of his iconic and much- knocked-off “Simple” high-heeled patent pump with signature red sole. For the past three years at least, it has been a lovely shoe: low cut (for a little toe cleavage) with a slightly rounded toe box (for a very comfortable fit) and a three-inch heel (an extremely wearable height). Last spring the Simple 85, which comes in a rich shade of lavender patent leather—was selling at Holt Renfrew for $645 a pair.
Much as I loved those shoes, there was no way I was going to pay upwards of $700 for the privilege of owning a pair. I did find the Simple 85 in lavender on a Louboutin knock-off website (CLICK HERE for particulars) for $163. Maybe they are actual leftovers, but couldn’t bring myself to order them.
Last spring we wrote about our favourite Louboutin knock-off, the Cristina patent leather pump, at The Bay. We love them still and were thrilled to learn they are actually cheaper than they were last year, $79 down from $99 a pair. (CLICK HERE for links and our original story)
Brooks Brothers’ Classic White Shirt
When the fashion media everywhere was reporting that “a great white shirt” was a must-have item last fall, we rolled our eyes. A great white shirt is a fashion basic that always belongs in every woman’s wardrobe. It’s a constant (like a perfect pair of pumps), a fashion equalizer that does not reflect a particular age or generation. And while it may go in and out of fashion, a great white shirt is definitely not a trend item but a staple.
This explains why beautiful menswear-inspired white shirts are a perennial with Ralph Lauren, a designer who does not follow trends. In his current collection, Lauren’s elegant black label white shirt Antonia is priced at around $400 (U.S.); his Curt boyfriend shirt, part of the Lauren line, is around $70 (U.S.).
“I have a Ralph Lauren Black Label white shirt in my closet,” says my fashionable friend Amelia, “but I won’t buy another one. These shirts are fabulous, but they’re an unnecessary extravagance when you can have a of shirt of black label quality—a Brooks Brothers white shirt—for a quarter of the price.” (CLICK HERE for links and our original story) —Annabel Lee
Photos, top to bottom: courtesy Trendsetter, Roots, Louboutin, Brooks Brothers