By Charmaine Li
While the concept of an ‘investment piece’ is by no means groundbreaking, I think it is an idea worth reiterating. Call me bland and boring but when your $4 blue cotton t-shirt from Forever 21 looks less like a piece of clothing and more like a raggedy, linty cloth (which may or may not be from personal experience) you might thank me for emphasizing the benefits of choosing quality over quantity.

However, deciphering the line between choosing royal quality and choosing to be royally ripped off can be a difficult feat. An example of the latter? This 100% cotton Balmain t-shirt with ‘distressed hole detail’ at $1625. Unless you have money spewing out of your ears on a regular basis, there is no sane rationalization for purchasing the tee.

Though the meaning of ‘good quality’ is highly subjective, the main thing to keep in mind when ‘investment shopping’ is: think before you buy. Yes, it sounds like another redundant shopping tip but I can say with assurance that I am not the only one to fall victim to the cheap and thoughtless impulse buy (that is worn once and then forever forgotten).

The idea of “conscientious consumption” really resonates with me. So – think about whether you will wear the piece in five years (or at least past this season!). Think about the versatility of the piece. Think about the silhouette. Think about the materials. Think about whether or not it stays true to your personal style. Think about your purchase with care.

After throwing around all this ‘investing’ brouhaha, the bottom line is: A piece that is well-designed, well-constructed, well-tailored and valued by you will last longer than a slinky sale item (that you bought because it was inexpensive and tolerable). I won’t list certain item(s) one should invest in because I believe that it will vary from person to person but I will list some boutiques that are worth checking out when you embark on your search for a timeless piece:

Jonathan & Olivia
The Ossington boutique recently incorporated an in-store TOPSHOP boutique and launched its online shop. You’ll find a variety of innovative international designers including two personal favourites: Acne and Whyred. (My last ‘investment’ purchase was a black, draped Whyred dress from here!)

Corbo Boutique
Claims to be Canada’s “ultimate women’s specialty store” and houses top-notch European collections including Martin Margiela, Haider Ackermann, Stella McCartney and Dries Van Noten. If a black Rick Owens-designed, semi-sheer, back-less, floor-length dress that delicately (yet crudely) ties around the neck tickles your fancy – you will thoroughly enjoy Corbo.

Speccio Shoes
Located in Yorkville, it offers a fine array of high-end fashion-forward designer shoes – Costume National, Marni, and Vivienne Westwood. I spotted a Margiela calfskin lace-up shoe and was on the verge of crying (and dying). Crying because it was so close… yet so far (far because the price: $850).

Chasse Gardee
The Queen and Dovercourt boutique carries a meticulously curated selection of shoes, accessories and bags. Notable mention: the Marais USA footwear line (“clean, fashionable and damn affordable”).