New Fashion Trend: Spending More, Buying Less

Fashion industry experts say more consumers are buying a few high-end pieces instead of lots of cheaper clothing.
6:10 | 09/17/14

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Transcript for New Fashion Trend: Spending More, Buying Less
Often, there is a huge disconnect between what you see models wearing on the runway, and what actual human becomes wear in real life. But the gap is now closing, as more Americans choose to buy fewer, but more expensive items of clothing. It's called affordable luxury. So, how do you pull this off? Tonight, a professional closet makeover, and here's ABC's Paula Faris. These are other purchases. Everything is a fast purchase. You need it for that moment. Reporter: Channel is overwhelmed. Not with work, rather, her wardrobe. She wants to clean out the clutter in her closet, replacing some of her forever 21 and H and M clothes with high quality staples. This is probably, like, $18. You know. This is forever 21. Reporter: As the fashion goddess cocoa channel used to say, less is more. And these days, it's never been more true. Chic, couture. It's not just fashionistas that are seeking high end fashion. Consumers are, too, spending more money on high quality clothes than ever before. When fast fashion first started, there was a movement of people just buying and consuming as much as they can. As people begin to see the quality suffer, the pendulum is swinging the other way now. Reporter: Americans are spending an average of $900 annually on high end clothclothing. And vesting into what the fashion industry calls accessible luxury. We sort of think of ourselves as in the accessible luxury price point, where you are buying something that feels more valuable than it is, but you're not hemorrhaging the cash. Reporter: A new crop of designers like Rebecca minkof are catering to those looking to upgrade their closecloset. $300 is a significant amount of money, but you are buying into something that is accessible luxury. Reporter: Making luxury items that once seemed out of reach more affordable, with less focus on couture and more emphasis on the every day woman. It doesn't have to break the bank. We focus on the cut and the fit a little bit more than someone who is just churning out massive amounts of units. Reporter: The editor of Yahoo! Fashion is one of the top celebrity stylists, dressing lady gaga and beyonce. In a way, that's really about investment pieces. Spending a little bit more, but having a little bit less. Reporter: When you are thinking about overhauling your wardrobe and really ininteresting into these slow fashion pieces what are we talking about? Oh, wow. I think when you talk about investment people, a great jacket, a great coat, line the trench coat. You know, a great denim piece and a great fitting pair of jeans or Jean jacket, a great blouse, a little black dress, black pumps. Maybe a simple necklace. Bull there are really core pieces. And a suit. Reporter: He says these staple items will streamline your closet. People think they can throw open their close et, say, there's nothing to wear. They actually have too much. Reporter: Chanel knows this problem too well. Describe the feeling when you walk into your wardrobe. When I walk into my wardrobe, I feel anxiety. Reporter: Whether the purchase was made in a pinch. Boom. This is a resort, you know, feel. I love this, actually. This is a quality forever 21. Reporter: Or out of impulse. Chanel needs a closet makeover. This dress is a little old. You can see the fabric, I mean, it's cheap. I had to pin this, because it wasn't even fitting right. And there is like a little hole right there. And the belt is a thrift store belt. My goal is to have more quality pieces in my closet that match my lifestyle. Hi! How are you? Nice to meet you! Reporter: Joe Z meets up with her at blooming dales. The mission? Upgrade her closet with the eight staple items every woman needs. First staple item, the black dress. You look great. Thank you. Reporter: How is this for an upgrade? What I love about this look is that it's very versatile. Look at this. Reporter: Oh, pretty. Doing her day job with the jacket on. Now she can go to an event and this is really carrying you to anything, from a cocktail event to dinner, a date. Reporter: Next, fitted jeans, a blouse and a trench coat. When a woman asks me, what is the one thing I have to have in my closet. Doesn't matter what you are, I always say a trench coat. Because it's classic. Reporter: Now, the cashmere sweater. Ready for the weekend. Next item, the pencil skirt. And it is instantly a whole new outfit. All we did was add the skirt. Feels professional. Feels feminine but it feels strong. Reporter: You look amazing. A big upgrade from Chanel's aqua version. And finally, a suit. The trouser and blazer counts as two staples. Out of eight pieces of clothing, we were able to make eight completely different outfits, given Chanel and entire wardrobe at just $225 an outfit. And for the trendy H and M clothes you can't let go, Joe says, 70% of your wardrobe should be anchor pieces and the other 30% can be trendy. How do you stay trendy if you are investing all this money into these pieces that are supposed to last for five, ten years. I think the investment pieces will last forever. Those are the things that never change. As long as I've been in fashion, two decades plus, it's all the little bits and pieces that change. If you have a little black dress you always loved, this is the season to put on a neon belt and next season, you wear heavy gold jewelry. Reporter: Did you say neon belt? Neon belt. Reporter: This year? This year. Reporter: I'm not ready for that. For Chanel, she's got the confidence to go with her new wardrobe. I think this is a very strong look. I think it's very classic. And I feel really beautiful. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm mraul farpaula Faris in New York.

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