Fewer, but better clothes


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I’m just trying to cover my naked husk.

I just buy not very much cheap clothing.


Yeah, seasonal clothing.

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I’ve been moving away from purchasing lots of cheap clothing to buying more investment pieces. There are a few issues, though, with this approach. One is that my size doesn’t tend to be real stable, so I’m hoping the clothes I’m purchasing now while my weight is up can be taken in when it inevitable trends down. But I’m not sure about all of the things I’ve bought; it’s a lot of money for things that may not really be worn that long. The other is that this is expensive to do. The only reason I’ve been able to buy nicer things this year is that my mom gave me some money this year and I had the luxury of a little more money in the bank, and so the $150 pair of shoes I should be able to wear for the next ten years is bought but I know that years ago when I was buying from Old Navy and Payless that buying things here and there for $10, $15 though it wasn’t really an investment strategy, it was what I could afford to spend at any one time and got me something that worked well enough for a short period of time when I needed it.


I take the minimalist approach since I don’t have much disposable cash and hate shopping. I know H&M is mentioned in the article, but price of clothing does not always equal higher quality. Some of the stores use the same manufacturing countries, but they add cost for prestige store names as well as the designer’s. Most of the clothing, in general, seems to be made in China.


Yes. I only buy what I need now, which means I’m running down my enormous pile of Ts. When I buy, I go looking for a combo of quality and decent looking stuff. And not too many shops. In fact, one. I can’t stand clothes shopping. And I also usually only buy on sale. And I don’t like promoting labels unless they’re paying me - which has been a vanishingly rare event. Well, never.

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You don’t have to quit a decent paying job (like they did) to do this. You just have to alter your social programming. For women it’s harder because people really do notice and make comments if you wear the same few things over and over, so you have to come up with a theme, such as all-black with one accessory that changes the look from day to day. It’s also harder to find truly classic pieces that will withstand the insane seasonal fashion merry-go-round…at least at an affordable price. In some ways, though, that can work to your advantage: cheap, fashionable pieces will fall apart after a season of heavy wear anyway. Your closet becomes mostly new a couple times a year.

When I moved to Belgium for work many years ago, one of the first things I noticed was that the women there didn’t change their shoes and purses every day to match what they were wearing. That’s right: one purse, one pair of shoes. Huh. Eye-opening, that.

A lot of what we think we know about how we have to live is culturally based. That perception can be changed.

Why isn’t “shopping at a thrift store” on here? I get at least half my clothes from thrift stores. Shirts, ties, especially.

I only buy things new that I can’t seem to find used, like cargo pants, which nobody ever gets rid of, apparently. Or shorts. No good khaki shorts out there either. Jorts seem to be the domain of thrift stores, and I am not going to wear jorts.


I’m currently hedging my wardrobe’s susceptibility to changing fashion trends by investing in skirt-pants – I think that I am now future-proofed.


I don’t know if London is counted as part of Europe (sometimes people are only referring to continental Europe when they say that) but I went shopping in a very expensive department store there and despite the prices, the clothing was almost all junk. So I’m skeptical of the article’s statement even though I agree with their premise: Fast fashion is junk. Plus, if you wear clothes that are in style, eventually they will be out of style. If you wear clothes that are timeless classics, they will look good forever.

I sure as hell don’t want to spend 12-14% of my income on clothes. 3% sounds like a lot. I hate shopping,shopping for clothes doubly so.

But this is the approach I’ve taken for some time. Although I still seem to have too many t-shirts.

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Lack of options for certain sizes is part of the problem, alas. Ever see how crappy most plus-size clothing is for women? It’s unreal. The options are ugly and made like shit mostly. I try to invest in good shoes–my interview shoes are hand-stitched things I got in Scandinavia 14 years ago and they look like new, and I’m wearing a new pair of Doc Martens as we speak.

Still, stuff like women’s underwear just disintegrates mostly, and most of the pants available are cheap/thin or just fugly.

And, even for “better” brands, staples like a plain white work blouse are semi-disposable these days–stain easily and either expensive to dry clean (if synthetic) or just thin/cheap/gross/wear out in a season (if cotton).

OTOH if I find a sturdy pair of pants or jeans in my size, I buy 3 pairs and hang on to them for dear life.


Almost all new clothing is made like shit. What do you expect?

As a late teen, I bought vintage clothing because I thought it was cool. I still sort of think it’s cool, but in the process I’ve accumulated a few items that have lasted TEN FUCKING YEARS and hundreds of wash cycles and still look brand new. They were already 20 years old when I bought them and are still going strong.

Meanwhile you buy a new item from uniqlo, h&m, american apparel on the cheap, or even a more expensive item and your fabric balls up and falls apart and fades very, very quickly.

New things suck. This is the economy we have. Lots of cheap shit.


Probably not much good if you’re concerned about your appearance, but a good way of stretching your clothes money is to go for ‘work’ wear. Anything designed for heavy use will last years without wearing through, or getting holes.

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“I believe in uniforms.” – Andy Warhol

The linked article recommends the following clothing purchase strategy,

The average American household has a median annual income of approximately $50,000. If it spends 3% of their income on clothing, they’ll have $1,500 a year, or $125 per month to spend. Instead of buying five fast-fashion, low-quality items costing $25 each, they could invest in one or two quality items at a higher price point ($125 or $63 respectively).

I’m not confident in my ability to determine if a $125 clothing item is really has 5x the quality as the $25 item. My suspicion is the $125 clothing item is maybe 2 or 3 times the quality of the $25 item.

My solution to the clothing problem was to find a decent black cotton t-shirt I liked (this one) and bought 30 of them back in 2009, which I pretty much wear for everything. Of the original 30, about 10 are no longer wearable. Not sure if that means they are high or low quality, or even how I would even begin to evaluate that (what is the average lifespan of a low vs. average vs. high quality cotton t-shirt??)

Avoiding “fashion” entirely is the simplest fix.

($1500/year for clothing? If I was spending that much, I’d be buying bespoke.)


THIS. I have trade-show shirts that I got for FREE 15 years ago, and have worn and washed at least a hundred times for realz, and they look better than some of my newer purchases from last summer.

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I feel your pain. As a female in a high-end architecture firm - where you’re expected to design yourself in addition to buildings - it’s a challenge.

But I’m working on it! For the past few years, I’ve been whittling my wardrobe down to black, white/ivory, grey, and olive-y greens. I’ve found specific brands of pants that fit me well and last. I’ve pared my necessary shoes down to 2-4 styles per season: 1 pair of black heels, 1 pair of neutral/buff heels, 1 pair of black flats or sandals (depending on season) and 1 pair of neutral/buff flats or sandals. I’ve also moved towards a “minimalist” style of dressing that doesn’t tend to get too dated (think Tilda Swinton).

Weekend wear is actually the most challenging, for me, particularly since I dislike dry-cleaning stuff that I don’t wear to work. Solution: jeans, solid t-shirts, fantastic jewelry, and red lipstick. Done.

It’s taken some conscious effort - and research to pin down how I wanted to look before I began weeding out the old and adding in the new - but it’s working, and I’m slowly getting there!