It's true these days that most of the clothes that we buy are not built to last for more than a season (or two). We all love a good bargain and love to show off a great bargain. But some things we buy simply aren't bargains -- they don't last long enough to make it worth the expense, or worse yet, they look like a bargain (in Peg's words, they look "cheap").
Wouldn't you like some general tips about what type of clothing items you can save money on and still look good, and what you should save your pennies to buy? In this final part of the I Hate to Housekeep series I'll share some of Peg's advice about your wardrobe that I believe has stood the test of time.
|Doesn't the little girl in this Hillary Knight illustration look a lot like Eloise?|
First a little advice from me: if you know the item is going to wear out quickly, I suggest buying it from the clearance rack, or even better, at a consignment or thrift store.
A personal example of this are cotton knit t-shirts because they are a basic wardrobe staple that I frequently wear with jeans. Over time they become stained, or the color washes out, or the cotton simply wears so thin that the fabric starts to look cheap. I'm not the type to spend upwards of $20 on a t-shirt so I know that it is best to buy low priced items that can head to the rag bag when they get ratty.
And here is Peg's advice about clothes you can cheat on -- in her words, "buy cheap" -- and get away with it, and those clothing items you should buy to last. Keep in mind that this is 1960s advice, apply it in terms of your wardrobe and lifestyle. Some of us attend cocktail parties; some of us don't.
What You Can Cheat On
- Summer shoes. (You'll have probably worn things like flip-flops and espadrilles out by the end of summer if you wear them frequently).
- Summer cottons or synthetic dresses. Peg says, "Dispose of them at the end of the season because at that point the cheap ones have lost their bounce. If you don't dispose of them, you'll continue to wear them and they'll look their price."
- Cocktail dresses, especially bright ones. Peg says, "It takes a trained eye to discern the difference between a flame-colored $22.95 number and a flame-colored $98.95 number, particularly after a couple of Gibsons."
- Jewelry, if you chose carefully. (You know that you can get some fabulous-looking vintage costume jewelry at thrift stores, right?)
- Handbags, ditto.
- Underwear, depending on your audience, if any. (Ha ha ha! Perhaps no one is looking?)
- Girdles and bras. (You've seen countless articles in women's magazines about being fitted for the correct size bra. And the more you spend on your Spanx-like undergarments, the better they will smooth you out and hold you in and the longer they will last.)
- Shoes. Peg says, "The trouble with cheap ones is that they lose their spurious good looks very rapidly but they won't quite fall apart so you go on wearing them." (You put a lot of pressure and weight on your feet every day. Whatever the size, shape, and height of the shoe, buy the best-fitting shoe that you can afford in order to problems like corns that occur because of ill-fitting shoes.)
- Tailored suits, coats, dresses.
- Nylon stockings. Peg says, "Finding the right brand, size, gauge, and denier can take some doing; but once done, they look much better than the grocery type or factory seconds." (If you do wear stockings or tights to work, as part of costume events, or for formal events this tip is very true. Cheap stockings look just that -- cheap.)
- Gloves, except for short white cottons. (Consider this especially if you live in colder climates and wear gloves frequently in fall and winter).