Like the name suggests, an investment piece is worth breaking your budget for. It’s something so classic and so versatile—like comfortable-for-miles black booties that match nine-tenths of your closet or a don’t-think-about-it pullover you’ll reach for first thing every morning—that the time you wear it will eventually cancel out the lofty price. You shouldn’t look at buying one as dropping $1,000 on a single item, but as a $1 fee for each of the 1,000 times you’ll wear it.
Then again, not all great basics cost more than than you spend on groceries per month. For every splurgeworthy staple floating around the shopping universe, there’s a least one lower-priced version out there—if not several. The key to building a great wardrobe without going broke is to purchase an even balance of both. With that in mind, we’ve filled the slideshow above with the best winter essentials out there, each with an accompanying low-, medium-, and high-priced option. Click through to shop this season’s must-haves at a price you can afford.