Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Vivienne Westwood’s oft-repeated quote is no less true for all the repeating. And in an economic downturn when new purchases might have to wait, it’s brilliant to have well-made, reliable clothing at hand. The same applies to quality house goods, like appliances, furniture, linens, and dish-ware.
Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody’s buying far too many clothes.
It’s better to have a stable of good stuff we can rely on than a pile of so-so belongings. Take fast fashion for example – it’s not truly affordable over time. The upfront tab may be attractive – tee shirts for $5! – but what about cost-per-wear, and the cost to the environment?
The “buy less, choose well” philosophy is gaining traction in the general marketplace, I think. As I get older, a thoughtfully chosen wardrobe made of good quality pieces, makes me feel more pulled-together than a huge closet full of random “on sale” bargains. Those “bargains” often end up getting donated after just a few wears, and then where do they go?
My shopping goals include skipping fast-fashion trends and choosing more well-made styles as my core pieces. I’m also paying attention to a brand’s ethical and environmental credentials.
With Dame Vivienne in mind (love her buzz cut), here are a few guidelines I’ve adapted when adding pieces to my closet:
- Number one, the most obvious, is that I shop secondhand. You can find top-quality handbags, for example, for $50 at the consignment or thrift store. Pick up designer clothes at a fraction of the retail price at Poshmark, eBay and ThredUp.
- I buy mostly neutrals for my basic pieces – jeans, skirts, tees and dresses. The neutrals I find most flattering are black, gray, navy and ivory. They can all play together.
- I choose quality pieces in my “go-to” style (that is: casual, clean, modern). I love jeans that are cropped and ragged at the hem, so I own two pairs of them. I avoid other styles for the moment because I’m happy with what I’ve got. If you love floral print dresses, invest in a few great ones that suit your style and wear them a lot.
- Mix and match everything. I love to discover new ways to wear simple pieces, and new combinations. A graphic Keith Haring tee over a tank dress, love that.
- I look for pieces that can be made more casual or formal. This well-made Everlane jumpsuit is cute (if I must say so) layered over an octopus tee , or dressed up with a necklace, red lipstick, and pointy-toe flats.
“Quality is like buying oats. If you want nice fresh oats you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been thru the horse, that comes a little cheaper.”
What are your guidelines for buying quality? As always, no wrong answers. Stay fabulous and safe, wash and wash and wash, xo
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