Forget faddish looks and binge bargain hunting, timeless classics and couture inspired statement pieces make for wise investing.

While a carefully considered capsule collection lays the groundwork for effortless dressing to carry you through the seasons, it's the striking statement pieces that define an all-important personal style.

While trawling the January sales may offer a strange sense of pleasure that can only be likened to retail SM, savvy style mavens avoid the pressure and false economies of binge buying by investing in rare pieces that fly below the radar of mainstream ready-to-wear. Issey Miyake and Azzedine Alaïa reign as kings of structure, creating sartorial artistry that rarely makes a sale rack, but are already proving to be highly prized names on the flourishing high-end vintage market. While Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta can always be counted on for everyday wardrobe staples, the smart money this season is on architecturally informed coats as strong, timeless additions you'll wear time-and-time again.

Black has long been exalted as the failsafe for all occasions, but when times are hard, color is the best medicine to lift spirits. This was the psychology that designers applied to this season's collections as the little black evening dress has been replaced by a sexy red successor. Tommy Hillfiger's floor length evening dress proves that even a classic silhouette, usually reserved for the somber monotone, takes on an exciting new lease of life, thanks to an injection of scarlet, or DKNY's comfortable chic silk wrap that oozes laid-back sexiness.

Style is undoubtedly the underpinning of class. As Yves Saint Laurent famously opined "Fashions fade, style is eternal."

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