17 October 2012

Clothes used to be more sturdy

I'm feeling a little "get offa my lawn" today about clothing. It seems to me that clothes were made a lot more sturdy when I was growing up, when shoes were shoes, sneakers were for gym class, and girls weren't allowed to wear trousers to school. As if manufacturers knew that older siblings would hand their clothes down to younger siblings, seams were taped, sweaters were fully fashioned, and dresses were always lined.

Via my lawyering colleague Leo, an article in the NYT recently discussed why you should buy better, and buy less often.

I'm working on a post for later this week about how to change out the household's wardrobes and linens for the change of season. (I had to bring out a wool blanket for my bed last week.) One task is mending -- and I really think I have more mending to do with new clothes than with older ones.


karona said...

From the article:
"It's tempting to tell ourselves this little story about being frugal as we buy garbage from WalMart instead of the quality stuff that we want. Stuff that lasts. Stuff that we can own for a long time."

I wholeheartedly agree. I only just in the last number of years have had this realization, coming from a family where generic was king. Unfortunately, now I am forced to pay as little as possible for clothes, so I find myself wondering:

"Where can I find quality long-lasting clothes at deep discount? Used but in good condition would be fine."

If you have written about this in the past, or are interested in blogging about this in the future, I'd love to know what you come up with!

Michele Grant said...

I should write a full post about using thrift stores to your best advantage. Long story short, though, you have to (1) hit them regularly; (2) know what stores are good for what types of items; and (3) know your measurements in inches.

Go regularly: See if you can designate one day per month to hit your local thrift stores. Either a monthly epic trip to all the stores, or, say, Tuesdays, where you go to store A on First Tuesday, store B and C on Second Tuesday, and so on. You'll get used to their stock, their promotions, and their rate of turnover. Within 6 months, if not less, you'll know which stores to give up on and which stores you should go to more frequently.

Here in Philly, Circle Thrift up on Frankford Ave is no good for canning jars because the hipsters snap them up for projects. And it's no good for clothes -- professional clothes, or clothes that are new or have been only gently used -- because the local "feeder" area for donations is not upscale. Philly AIDS Thrift down in my neighborhood is excellent for professional clothes (I've gotten two Brooks Brothers shirts there in practically new condition in the past 6 months). But it's also not too good for canning jars, because everyone snaps them up from there, too.

Know your measurements in inches, write them down and bring them with you, and bring a tape measure to the stores. Also know which brands and cuts fit and flatter you best.

karona said...

This is EXCELLENT advice!Thank you!

I am the type who would probably make a day of hitting a bunch at once with a friend. I'd been off thrift stores since the early 90's grunge era. ;p

As for this: "the local "feeder" area for donations" That is golden advice. I already know the areas to focus on.

Thank you! I'm not a clothes horse but I do like to have the basics covered and I am lacking in durable pieces. And I LOVE bargain hunting!