When I started working in the fashion industry, as an intern at a magazine over ten years ago, the definition of luxury was crystal clear in my mind. Luxury looked something like this:
A woman with her nails and makeup perfectly done.
A woman with not a hair out of place.
A woman who is able to walk in five-inch heels.
A woman who has an endless closet of designer clothes.
A woman who never is photographed in the same thing twice.
Such was the life I imagined those I worked for living: perfect and manicured. Luxurious.
The harsh reality of working in fashion hit me when I signed my first offer letter, which stuck me with a salary a couple of thousand dollars under what it would cost me to pay the annual rent on my 450-square foot studio apartment. How did anyone afford to look that good on such little money? How would I ever fit in?
And then there was the moral issue: did I really want to spend my money keeping up with the Jones’; in this case, the Jones’ being my peers working at magazines, fashion brands, and PR firms. Wouldn’t I rather invest in a few key pieces that would last me a decade, or more!
There are some truths about the fashion set that I learned quite quickly. One of the biggest is that the chicest, most respected women in the industry are barefaced and dress in uniform everyday. They are not weighed down by extensions and fake eyelashes (although, at times, both are very fun to experiment with). Nor do they have a different outfit on every single day. Rather, they find something they love and wear it all the time. Sometimes even daily.
The best-dressed women are confident, unfussy, and know what looks good on them. And they don’t wear anything else. They are uniform dressers.
The true definition of luxury: something that makes your life easier. For me, it’s an oversized hand knit black sweater by The Row. I wear it with sweatpants, I wear it with jeans, I wear it with dress pants, and I wear it with a skirt. I even wear it over dresses. And to be clear: I wear it about five times a week.
I have worn it to almost every big meeting or event since I’ve owned it, treating it as a sort of talisman. I love its versatility: that one minute I can wear it like an elevated sweatshirt, and the next I can throw it over a Nili Lotan floor length silk slip dress.
It’s the most luxurious thing I own because it’s a piece that serves me. It doesn’t wear me and it doesn’t leave me with marks. I’m not afraid of it tearing or snagging because I know the quality is that good. I don’t have to worry about how I look in it because I trust that it’s flattering. It truly makes my life easier.
I’m frequently asked what to buy with one’s tax return, or big Christmas bonus. “I need a new boot,” or, “Should I use this money to buy a dress for that wedding I have to go to?”
My advice? Find something you love, buy three of them, and never let it go.
Originally published at medium.com