Monday, 7 December 2009

Thought for the week - quality v quantity part 3

The main concern I have with fashion editors and magazines et al bestowing great virtue on quality style purchases, is this is determined by your available income.

I've read up and digest all the differing views on this matter and it basically distills down to one fundamental point - your disposable income. The problem is you have to choose what you buy very carefully if you have very little or no disposable income.

Think about planning your wardrobe as a map - a map of activities. If you are a stay at home mum for example then you need more casual clothes than going out items. I would recommend you buy more items but at lower prices for things around the home, a couple of easy but fashiony school run items and save up to buy a gorgeous dress and bag for going out. Make the dress a stylish designer number and the same with the bag. You have a special item to pull on for dinner dates, drinks with girl friends and an item you can keep. The idea is whether you are working, young carefree or burdened down by responsibility or mortgages, then plan your basics and build the fabulous stuff in year by year.

I think the less is more approach allows you to have goals and these goals mean carefully selected items that you will keep. TK Maxx and thrifting at charity shops and car boot sales are a great way of getting individual well made items by great designers.

As a rule of thumb I always keep any designer item I've bought and I include certain high quality retailers like Joseph in this category. But I do not buy overtly high fashion items from designers otherwise their glitz fades. And this is always a hard one to qualify or agree on but sometimes certain garments are of a moment and unless you've got money to burn be careful.

I bought a silver maxi skirt from Kate Moss's first Topshop collection which I was always keep and I have a New Look leather jacket which is a winner as it is very 70s and always comes in handy - but these are exceptions. I tend to wear out and never keep most of my high st buys in the long run. Although I don't buy expensive white tee shirts and I've had a Gap one for years.

Choosing style and slow fashion over the immediacy of trends and a jam packed wardrobe is quite hard but with planning, wardrobe mapping and a bit of patience fabulous pieces that work year in year out can be yours.


  1. Do you think that this advice is best suited to women who have already established their core styles? I feel like I'm changing so much, even now, that committing to a small stable of investment pieces would be really confining. I don't condone spending tons of dough on fast fashion, but feel much happier thrifting for quantity than I would saving for quality. I don't think I know exactly what I want to look like yet, and plunking down big money for a few pieces that might not end up being "me" is frightening!

  2. A great post - yet again. Sadly I have sold some really expensive things in the past and have lived to regret it.

  3. Sal - the next post will define some top ten quality buys as identified by readers of the blog. The suggestion here would be to not buy garments but maybe a lovely watch or a bag leaving you to experiment like crazy. Also I don't have a specific style but I do know and understand key pieces which can be used accordingly. I need a new LBD so I'm selling my old unused ones on ebay to buy one which is more than I'd usually pay but will last a few years without drawing down on my money again and it is by a designer so I'll not be getting rid of it. I'll do a twirl and post when it arrives and if it fits!

    Mrs Fab - yes don't sell expensive items you have daughters!! They need to quote 'wearing one of mama's vintage numbers' in an interview at some point!

  4. I follow the same rule about keeping designer duds...


  5. Hi there-a post after my own heart, great advice and styling tips as usual. For someone like me who does really have to thrift due to a low income, it is possible to have that designer wardrobe if you search hard enough-I too love and cherish my thrifted designer pieces and keep and discard thrifted high street pieces as they get worn out or disliked!

  6. You are absolutely right. I plan my seasonal wardrobe as carefully as I plan my monthly budgeting.

  7. def quality over quantity. quantity usually end up in donation pile.

  8. I also think remixing can take a wardrobe very far. So many lovely bloggers are experts on making the same item look completely different by styling it differently each day.

  9. You also have to remember that just because you don't have much disposable income doesn't mean you can't get quality clothing.

    Clothes swaps, eBay and Charity Shops are always worthing checking for classic good quality items.


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