It’s no secret that curating the perfect wardrobe can be an expensive affair. But those who choose to fill theirs with quality garments rather than ticking off boxes as inexpensively as possible are likely to spend less in the long run.

Are we saying everything from your T-shirt to your socks should be spun from silken threads and cost a month’s salary? No, of course not. But there are some items it’s well worth splashing out on in order to reap the rewards for decades to come. We like to call these investment pieces.

Investment pieces are those big-ticket garments that can be called upon season after season, years after year. They’re trend-proof, they’re well built and there’s every chance they’ll outlast you and take up residence with your children and even your children’s children after them.

But exactly which items fall under this banner? To address that question, we’ve pulled together a carefully curated edit of key pieces it’s worth splashing out on. From a timeless timepiece to future-proof outerwear, these are Ape’s essential investment pieces.

A Leather Jacket

Good leather doesn’t come cheap and cheap leather doesn’t come good. A leather jacket is something that should be hanging proudly in every style-savvy man’s wardrobe, but it won’t be hanging there long if it’s scrimped on.

What To Look For

A high-end leather jacket should be soft and supple to the touch and feature the bare minimum of stitching. It’s cheaper for manufacturers to use smaller cuts of hide stitched together, so looking for solid construction that uses large panels of material is usually an effective way to determine quality.

Traditionalists should opt for something like a classic motorcycle or field jacket style, while those seeking a contemporary edge may want to consider a minimalist leather bomber.

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Quality Denim Jeans

To some men, jeans are nothing more than a sartorial afterthought; something to be picked up from a high-street shop out of sheer necessity. To others, they’re the single most important garment on the face of the planet. We’re going to assume you fall somewhere in the middle, which means you should really be putting some money into quality denim.

What To Look For

In terms of legwear, your jeans are likely to see more daily action than anything else in your wardrobe. That’s why quality is so important. Generally speaking, high-end denim will be thick and built to last.

Hallmarks of well-made jeans include a neatly-finished selvedge line running down the inside of the outseam and a reassuring weight. If they’re pre-faded, it should look authentic and natural, and the cut should be flattering and classic (slim or straight) for maximum wearability.

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Proper Shoes

We’re not suggesting that all other shoes are somehow improper, but it’s definitely a good idea to have at least one pair that is the real deal. You know the type; Northamptonshire-made, buttery high-grade leather, more versatile than a Swiss Army knife and as timeless as they come. Your go-to footwear for anytime the occasion calls for something a little more refined.

What To Look For

Perhaps the most important feature to prioritise is Goodyear-welted construction. This refers to the way the shoe’s upper is attached to the sole unit and as well as offering increased durability over other joining methods, it also allows for easy resoling, ensuring longevity and value for money.

It’s always best to pick a classic silhouette, too. A simple leather Derby with an almond-shaped toe will always be a safe bet as far as we’re concerned.

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An Everyday Automatic

The temptation to sink all of your money into a beautifully made dress watch is real, but it’s really your day-to-day timepiece that deserves the most attention. Chances are, this is something that’s going to get more wear over the course of its life than everything in your wardrobe combined, so it should be invested in accordingly.

What To Look For

The best candidate is going to be something that’s versatile, rugged, easy on the eye and put together by a heritage watchmaker. Something like a classic diver with a bracelet strap ticks all of those boxes and solid options can be found to suit every budget. It’s also advisable to opt for an automatic movement, but it’s imperative that you get it serviced regularly.

Look after this one and it’s something that your kids (and theirs) will remember you by long after you’re gone.

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Cashmere Knitwear

It may be expensive relative to regular wool, but once you’ve experienced the luxurious feeling of pulling a cashmere sweater on you’ll understand why. Cashmere is soft, almost silky, to the touch and doesn’t suffer from the itchy quality of cheaper knitted fabrics. It’s a great insulator too, making it a perfect addition to your winter layering arsenal.

What To Look For

To appreciate the full benefit of this super-soft material, it’s best to look for garments with 100% cashmere as opposed to a blend. This will ensure you’re getting the lightest and most comfortable garment for your hard-earned cash. Prioritise two-ply yarn rather than single-ply as this results in a stronger garment that is less prone to pilling.

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A Sturdy Overnight Bag

It’s no good investing in all these luxury pieces only to stuff them into a tattered old gym bag anytime you need to leave home for more than a day. What you need is a worthy receptacle. One that can stand up to the rigours of long journeys over the course of decades and look the part whilst doing it. That’s why a good holdall is such a worthy investment, and something well worth getting right.

What To Look For

The main point to consider is material. Leather is the classic choice as it offers an unrivalled balance of durability, timelessness and good looks. However, that all comes at a price, with a quality leather weekender likely to set you back anywhere between £500 and £2,000. Not everyone has that sort of budget for luggage, which is why canvas is a suitable alternative. It’s just as strong, it won’t go out of style and when done well can look every bit as sharp as an all-leather option.

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Bespoke Tailoring

Call us overenthusiastic but we’d say getting your first tailor-made suit is like opening your eyes for the first time. Yes, it’s expensive, but in menswear fit is everything and nothing will ever fit like a suit that has been crafted to your exact specifications. Take the plunge and you’ll never look back.

What To Look For

First and foremost find a good tailor. Somewhere with rave reviews and a long history of bespoke suit making. If you live in the UK, Savile Row would be the obvious place to start. Then it’s a case of selecting your fabrics and details like lapels, buttons, pleats, leg length, lining and all the rest of it.

Of course, this is all down to personal preference but if this is going to be your one and only tailor-made suit it’s worth making it as versatile as possible. To achieve this, go for a slim-cut, single-breasted, notch-lapel suit in either navy or grey. If in doubt, ask the tailor. That’s what they’re there for.

Steven Hitchcock