Helen Barlow Of Larchmont’s O2 @ Outerluxe Hoards Her Clothes—But Only The Best
Confessions of a fashionista, from smart buying to investing in “keep-forever” items.
I have to be honest: I’m a fashion hoarder when it comes to pricier purchases. I believe in buying less and buying better, and I’ve bought that way since my very first job out of school.
I was working at CBS on Writers Guild wages, and I saw the most spectacular thing in the New York Times fashion section: a Gianfranco Ferré "it" belt at Bergdorf Goodman’s. It was a black leather, double-wrap belt with a large chalk-colored linen pick-stitch along its length, and brass-toned hardware. It was the coolest belt I’d ever seen, and I had to have it.
The cost was around $250 in 1982—exceptionally expensive in those days. At any rate, it was truly an investment piece; I still have it and, on occasion, I still take pleasure in wearing it.
Same with my Patrick Kelly riding coat circa 1988—it’s a keep-forever piece. Of late, I’ve been wearing it with more recent acquisitions: Mother skinny crop jeans, a fabulous fitted Jordan Louis blouse, and my Roberto Del Carlo black ankle booties. I accessorize it with my 25-year-old gold chain Chanel belt, which picks up on the bold gold buttons of the Kelly jacket and makes for a well-turned-out look that’s forward, but unique.
With each new season, some of my “keepers” that don’t seem as relevant for the existing trends move to the back of the closet (until it’s time to pull them out again and re-merchandise them with current items for an entirely fresh look). I examine what I’ve got, make note of what I need or want, invest in some of my favorite pieces, and then build on the framework of my relevant keepers.