TFM Fashion

5 Tips for Choosing an Investment Dress

This post was written by Tamika Auwai from my friends over at Hip Urban Girl. I always stress the importance of spending a little extra money on certain pieces, and one go-to dress that you can wear to multiple occasions is one of them.

While it’s quite easy to waltz into your favourite chain store and pick up a cute dress on the cheap, I believe that every hip urban girl should own at least one really fabulous frock that looks rich, fits like a glove, feels like a dream and is appropriate regardless of season or occasion.

Here are 5 tips to help you get the most return on your investment frock:

Colour Block Tiff Dress, Kate Spade

Tip #1: Skip the black

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t we ALL need a little black dress? Yes, we do; but, black can come off as formal or professional so while it’s great for cocktail parties or days at the office, your LBD might be too austere for weddings or afternoon brunch. Try another neutral or your favourite colour instead. Though it feels a little plain, opt for as solid colour unless you truly fall in love with a print. You don’t want to purchase only to get tired of it a short time later. Ditto for trendy silhouettes (I’m talking to you peplum).

Tip #2: Hit just above the knee

Going with a hem that’s just a few inches above the knee is highly recommended. You’ll still show off great calves,  won’t have to worry about any Britney Spears inspired wardrobe malfunctions and you can pair with flats without looking frumpy.

Tip #3: Consider going sleeveless

Helmut Lang EXCLUSIVE Pixel Paneled Linen Dress
Helmut Lang Pixie Panel Dress via Intermix

Choosing a sleeveless dress (not to be confused with strapless or spaghetti strapped style) means you can actually layer a blouse or a crisp button down shirt underneath to give you additional styling options.  That being said, if you’re not comfortable baring your arms don’t!  Go for a cap sleeve or 3/4 style. Feeling confident is key.

Tip #4: Have it tailored

Typically more expensive pieces have a better fit but unless you’re a perfect sample size a few nips and tucks by a good tailor can make a dress appear to be made just for you. If you choose a silhouette that’s already complementary to your figure, It’s often just a few darts in the bust area or adjustments to the neck and arms that are required.

Tip #5: Opt for low maintenance

Choose fabrics that feel great and are seasonless like crepe, jersey or cotton blends, but also opt for those you can hand wash, rather than dry clean and avoid styles with hard to iron details like pleats to make your life just a little easier. If your dress requires tons of work before or after wearing, you’re guaranteed to wear it less often.

Shopping notes: This particular mission requires a budget of at least $200 and is best saved for high end department stores like Bloomingdales and Saks or local boutiques. Don’t forget to bring your shape wear and a pair of pumps so you can be confident of your choices in the fitting room.  Shopping online can offer really great deals on designer styles so that’s always an option, but be sure the return policy is generous and check all measurements given so you’re not stuck with a pricey dress you can’t wear.

— Tamika Auwai is our resident Style Editor, Shopping Enthusiast and Wardrobe Expert for 



  1. While I love a new dress, I do not believe there is such thing as an investment dress. But I do like your tips. Shying away from black can really help you come out of your fashion shell.

  2. These are great tips! If you don’t have quite that high of a budget, the sale rack at Lord and Taylor is a great place to look. Look for colors and patterns that will carry you into the next season. I had a lot of black tie events last year and ended up finding a dress for $70 originally priced at $300. I’ve worn it 5 times. Tailoring is also key, you can end up with a custom fit dress for less than the original price.

  3. Love these tips! I found my navy DVF Bentley dress on The Outnet for $130 (instead of over $300!). Such a great investment :)

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