November 21, 2014

The Great Debate.

I'm just going to keep trucking along with the fashion/style/clothes stuff because I'm getting a lot of awesome questions and plus it's on my brain or something. Oh, and don't worry...I'll throw in a 4 month update of this peanut butter squishy face and shout from the rooftops that SHE'S ALMOST 5 MONTHS OLD. Because at 5 months bomb stuff happens in my book. But more on that later.

Little Miss helping me blog. Kind of.

Some things I hope to cover here: the quality vs. quantity debate; how to shop for season/state in life; best budget friendly stores that boast great quality AND the best consignment shops I've found (most of them are online and others will ship); how to discover your own personal style; and how to find your "uniform" - that one outfit you could wear over and over and feel just plain awesome.

Since this isn't a real fashion blog (don't worry, it won't turn into one) all this won't be super comprehensive - just hopefully helpful to hopefully help all us mamas get out of the blahs and feel good about ourselves no matter our body type, our budget, our state in life.

I have always loved shopping. Having two not-so-much-younger-than-me sisters and a mother who could totally pass for my older sister (got that one before, love you mom) we spent a lot of our time together growing up hanging out, perusing the racks. A lot of it was thrift store shopping (so many memories of rockin' out in the Value Village shopping cart, looking through the coveted "tags still attached" sections) and my mom could put together the most amazing outfits with her finds. Every evening gown was found amongst these racks and, despite the for dollars price tag, she was till always one of the best dressed.

My love for all things style continued when I got my first job at Nordstrom at just shy of 16. I was hired to be a stock girl for the annual Anniversary Sale however they were short a sales person and I was bumped up to sales for a couple days. I must've done good or something because I was kept on for the rest of the sale and subsequently 8 years after that - putting my way through college. (And lucky for me my sisters both joined the team for a few years too! Only downside? All the cattiness of the teenage somethings working in our department because man oh man I DO NOT DO DRAMA.)

So after all that it brings me to the great debate: Quality VS. Quantity.

Which is better? To have less - less "options," less items and pay more per item but have better quality OR to have more - more choices, more opportunities to buy things (because things are less expensive) but have these items last "less long" because the materials aren't as great.

For lots of reasons (many discovered through stupid trial and error and lots of wasted time) I conclude that quality trumps quantity every time.

First there's the argument that having less stuff overall (clothes, toys, household items, etc etc etc) is just better. There is less to take care of, therefore very little gets wasted and it all gets used up for it's purpose. There is no clutter to distract from the "real thing" and there is more contentment with having less.

Second, better quality items not only last longer but they hold up better through the rigors of day to day life. They can withstand the washings and the wearings over and over and, in a lot of cases, get better with time.

Third, better quality clothes fit better. They don't stretch out or pill up or (in the case of jeans) fall down. Because falling down jeans in the middle of Costco (while trying to load items in the bottom of the cart while wearing a baby) just sucks.

I first discovered this type of shopping while pregnant. I learned how to style the same black tank top 5,000 different ways and, while I was SO DONE with that tank top after I had Lola, it served it's purpose above and beyond. It lasted tons of washes, never faded or stretched out, and (best of all) I didn't have to think about it. I could change it up and still feel pulled together. Plus, not having as big a "wardrobe" while pregnant taught me how much less I can live with - that my style will change based on my season in life and I can't - I shouldn't - stockpile anything for "down the road" because who the heck knows what's down that road.

Yes, this is THE tank I wore 4 times a week. I had two of them and rotated. Believe it or not: TARGET.

Aaaaalllll that being said, I'll give a good example of what quality looks like in the day-to-day of being a mom. Let's take a common piece of clothing we all have for this time of the year:

The Sweater.

They come in all shapes, size, types, colors, and in every store in the universe. A sweater is a sweater right? That's what I thought, too. I was so confused as to why some sweaters cost $25 and others $250. $250 for a sweater?! What the eff. Or so I used to think.

You see, the $25 sweater seems like a better choice because, well, it's 25 bucks. PLUS I can buy TEN of them for the same price as that $250 one. A green one, a red one, a pink one. a striped get the idea. But the problem with those $25 sweaters is the second the baby rubs their face again it, it's pills up into little balls. Run it through the wash a few times? Faded. After two months, I'm better off wearing worn in sweats to the grocery store than a sweater that looks worse.

I remember the first sweater I actually invested in. It was 2 years ago (a Vince cashmere turtleneck on sale at Nordstrom) and I wore it all the time. I never wanted to take it off. I swear it even made me feel less nauseous when I wore it during my first trimester, pregnant with Lola. It is still going strong as a workhorse in my closet and it was a turning point in realizing that I pick quality over quantity.

Before I go on I will say that I'm not talking about PRICE here. I'm talking about QUALITY. I've seen many crappy sweaters for $100 and many awesome quality ones for $50. Budget and price point are super important (especially when you're ahem saving for four kids for college...yikes) but in the end the better quality item is not only going to wear better but also save money because it lasts longer.

OK OK, now I'm rambling and this post is getting long and I have crap to do and the kids are going nuts. So let me cut to the chase and give some bullet point to sum it up:

-check the material: natural fibers breathe better, last longer and won't make you stink

-know your brands. Even if you don't plan to buy, go to Nordstrom and try stuff on and look at the materials label and do the squat test (for pants) and then, once you know what to look for, check out consignment shops and the sales when then happen

-embrace the "less is more." Invest in one or two beautiful, good quality things that make you feel good and wear them 3, 4 (5?) times a week! No one cares if you wear the same thing over and over (actually no one will notice, I bet). Throw it in the laundry at night; wake up to fresh goodness.

I'll be posting some of my favorite brands to look out for/places to find them but since I'm apparently stuck on the sweater thing here is one that's on sale and has lasted me for a couple years now. It comes in regular and petite, a thousand colors, and is on sale baby.


Sweater - Halogen. Also available in V-neck here. (size reference, I'm wearing a petite small)

Pants - Citizens of Humanity (posted about last week)

Shoes - Dansko, super old. Tons of colors on sale. These are my favs.

Cashmere. Honestly I think it's the best (winter) mom material. The sweater above has been spit up on, snuggled against, and POOPED ON. You think I'd freak given what it is but I simply threw it in the wash (hand wash cycle on cold) and laid it flat to dry and I swear it was softer than before. I don't worry about needing to wash it a thousand times because I know that it'll only get better with time.

Plus, I think Lola just likes snuggling with me a wee bit better when I wear it...

And now, a shameless disclaimer. This is in no way a comprehensive post so.....Quality VS Quantity. What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

Jen Y said...

Now that I'm working (from home) and making some spending money I'm all about the quality vs quantity. I know it's not the typical "American Way", but most of the fashionable ladies in Europe have a handful of go to items that last them years. They wear the same items, accessorized differently, multiple times a week. I want a few items that make me feel like a million dollars (not willing to spend that much on them though...hello sales and 2nd hand!) than lot's of options and still not have anything I want to put on. Just ordered the sweater BTW...V Neck! Thank you for that tip and letting us know it's on sale!!! I make good use of Nordstroms Dressing Rooms/sales associates. I'm always up front about if I'm planning on purchasing vs just trying things on so that I know what size and wash works for me when sale time comes around. They are just as helpful either way and makes me a knowledgeable shopper! Actually going this afternoon for a little jean research.