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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Things About Shopping in Stores I Can't Really Afford

Last weekend my Sweetheart and I went shopping in Yorkville and at Holt Renfrew and I saw lots of beautiful, wearable clothes. And at Holt's, at least, fitting alterations are included (which I think adds a lot of value and is much more common at men's stores). The clothes are expensive and it got me thinking about whether or not a budget is a good thing.

Can we talk for a minute about the 'budget'? I've been talking about my budget like it's actually a budget, which I really hadn't intended when I decided to track my spending this year.

Really I just want to be more aware of how much I was spending on clothes. In a way, I feel like a budget could be counter productive to what I'm trying to do with clothes.

Because good clothes are expensive.

What do you think? Do budgets work against you in the long run? How do you decide what you should spend on clothing or shoes? Or even what you should spend on a single garment? I think it's important to be mindful of what you can spend but at what point does that start working against you?

I think that if you're using a budget so you don't overspend, that's one thing. But it shouldn't be the only criterion for smart clothes shopping.

I read somewhere "Only rich people can afford to buy good shoes," and the disposability of most modern shoes was a subject that Elizabeth Banks wrote about, too. And I've seen this myself. A few years ago I bought my first pair of leather boots as a treat to myself when I finished paying off my student loans. I went all over and a particular pair kept catching my eye. They were about $400. I bought them anyway.

Let me tell you, I've gotten my money's worth! I'm careful not to wear them in bad weather (I have rain boots and winter boots), I keep them polished and conditioned, I bought shoe trees and I get them re-soled when then need it. I've been wearing them for years and they're still just as gorgeous, stylish and comfortable as the day I bought them. They're like an ace up my sleeve.

$400 for one pair of boots is a lot for me but the value of what I got far outweighed the cost. Would I have rather spent the same amount on 5 cheap pairs of boots? No, and not just because I think most cheap boots are ugly.

Maybe you should stretch your budget to buy clothes. I find I'm most happy with my clothes when I buy fewer pieces but spend significantly more for each garment. I feel like a strict budget might encourage me to buy less expensive and therefore lower quality clothes. Which is not what I want.

Also, check out this amazing Helmut Lang jacket that I spotted while I was shopping and have become obsessed with!

I mean really. How rad is that? Too bad I can't justify paying $800 for it, though. I tried but I can't.

Another thing that struck me while we were in these stores was that there's so much polyester! What gives?

The men's sections are mostly natural fibers but the women's sections still have so. much. polyester.

I can't understand why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for a dress that feels terrible. But there was so much polyester available that I started to think maybe people want to buy synthetic fibers? Do you prefer polyester to natural fibers? Is it because it's easier to care for? I don't get it! Part of why I learned to sew was so that I was having trouble finding clothes I liked in natural fibers.


  1. Dana, I hate the feel of polyester on me.. and wouldn't wear if I got it free. Must be something to do with sensory processing.

    However there are lot of people who feel comfy in it, which is beyond my comprehension. :( A colleague of mine prefers polyester because it always looks new. who knew!! And it never needs ironing.

    I can understand low end stores carrying polyester.. but Holt??? I don't get it.

    But then, here's a recent article on Wall street Journal on - Polyester is hot(!)

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing this article. Now I really don't understand. If the 'new' type of polyester is so delicate, than why not just use silk or something? This is so confusing.

  2. not so recent article apparently.. it was published in 2008..