If you read fashion magazines and books, you’ll often come across this advice: choose quality over quantity. I sometimes think this is a tease to get us to spring more $$$ for everyday stuff. On the other hand, there are some wardrobe pieces I buy for which quality does matter. And I don’t need to add much quantity; at age 60 most of what I’d like to add to my life can’t be bought or sold. (Time, good health, good friends and great wine – oh wait, you can buy that.)
Here are some style categories for which I think quality, and possibly a higher price, are important. These pieces can last a long time with good care. I often shop at the thrifts and consignment stores to find them at lower prices than Bloomingdale’s, but I have been known to go retail. Your mileage may vary and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
1. Shoes. Yeah, my old feet are getting fussy, and that means no cheapie shoes or boots for me. They don’t have to be brand new but they have to fit well, feel great all day and have a little personality. Favorite brands include Clarks, Calvin Klein, Dansko, Born, Naturalizer, and Naot. These Born booties check all the boxes:
2. Handbags. Most of mine have been thrifted over the years but I do have high-end taste : > My latest thrift score was a barely-used Eric Javits bag for $30; retail price over $200. I used to buy a succession of cheap bags but they always aged/ripped quickly and had to be replaced. Now I have three purses total: my new Eric J. and two Coach bags I bought at their outlet store, including this adorable cross-body bag:
3. Luggage. Another item where quality does make a difference. Cheap suitcases fall apart after a few traumatic trips in the airplane’s hold. Have you seen how luggage handlers assault your bags?
And some things in my world that can always be found at a bargain:
1. Underwear. I am a Fruit of the Loom woman; their poly-spandex high-cuts last forever and are super-affordable. Some of the colors are garish, but that’s just my little secret.
2. Skirts. I wear skirts a lot, and they don’t have to be designer or precious for me to enjoy them. I love a full midi skirt and am always combing the thrifts for them. This little treasure is only about $30 on Etsy:
3. Costume jewelry. I have several pieces of “good” stuff: my wedding ring, a few gold earrings and bracelets. Costume jewelry is a fun, fast purchase at the thrift or even at the Macy’s sale counter, and you may come upon the most unusual, lovely pieces. Don’t pay too much though. Love this pendant, for example, at $40:
4. Makeup. I’ll spring for a great foundation, up to $50, then I forget to wear it most days. Drugstore mascara and lipstick are fabulous and have you tried e.l.f. cosmetics? Most are $1 – $4 and are so much fun to play with.
I do follow the one-in, one-out policy for clothes, shoes, and household goods. If we get new sheets, e.g., one set goes to the Cat Thrift. At chez Not Dead Yet we are in the opposite of accumulation mode, so a lot of “stuff” is not attractive to us at all. Our next apartment will likely be smaller than the 1,400 square feet we currently enjoy. And my closet might get even smaller, and less truly becomes more. So you gotta love what you bring in the house!
In what areas is quality-over-quantity important to you?
Browse the looks:
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