Today’s post is from my awesome staff writer Jordann. Enjoy!
Like lots of people, I love clothing. I’m not a clothes horse per say, after all, I tend to have a minimalist wardrobe, but I definitely appreciate a piece of well crafted clothing that fits properly, is well made, and priced right.
I’m pretty careful about what I buy these days. Back when I was a starving student I would only buy the cheapest clothing. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend and I just couldn’t justify dropping a huge portion of my piddly clothing budget on a single expensive piece of clothing with a credit card. The downside of this strategy was that my clothes didn’t last long before they shrunk, got holes, or were otherwise compromised.
Since I didn’t have much money to spend on clothing, I was usually very sad when something I bought only before fell apart, even if it WAS only $5.
Then, after I graduated from university and got my first real job, I found the wonderful world of brand name clothing. I did a complete 180 on my clothing philosophy. I still wasn’t buying much for clothing, since I had a ton of debt to pay down, but now I was only buying expensive clothes that I thought were much higher quality and much more suited to a recent graduate. Of course, once I fully grasped the magnitude of how much debt I was in, that spending habit stopped.
So, is buying expensive clothing worth it? I’ve had the chance to buy both bottom of the barrel clothing and reasonably high quality clothing, and the two are very different.
The verdict? Sometimes.
Not the definitive answer you were looking for right? Unfortunately, that’s the truth. Sometimes it’s worth it to spend the extra money on well made clothing, and sometimes it’s just not. Here are my top instances where buying expensive clothing is worth it, and when it’s not:
I’m running a half marathon this Spring. To prepare for this, I’ve been running a lot. In fact, some of my runs are over two hours in duration. For these situations, I need high quality performance gear. I’ve run in the expensive lululemon gear and the cheaper alternatives, and the expensive gear performs better every time. While this might not make a huge difference for the weekend runner, for me it’s the difference between making it through a run unscathed or making it through with blisters the size of quarters.
No, your Uggs don’t count. I’m not talking flash in the pan fashions that’ll be gone in a few years, I’m talking a simple grey winter coat that’ll stay in style and last for years. I’m talking about black dress pants or a suit. These things will still be perfectly acceptable to wear in several years, so paying for a quality item that won’t fall apart is worth it.
Personally, I don’t spend a ton of money on accessories. My reasoning for this is that I can easily update my wardrobe by purchasing a few accessories every year that are in style. Since those styles are apt to change in a few years, spending a huge wad of cash on those items wouldn’t really be worth it.
Rarely Worn Items
I’ve definitely spent more than a few minutes drooling over a party dress or bathing suit. The truth is though, when it comes to clothing I’m rarely going to wear, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on it. My $15 bathing suit is three years old and looks brand new because I wear it about three times a year. An expensive one wouldn’t look much better at this point. The same goes for that party dress, which, since I’m so frugal, wouldn’t be worn any more often than the bathing suit. For clothing that I don’t often wear, I tend to go for the more economical purchases.
When it comes to buying clothing, everyone is different. Some people might think I’m crazy to even be considering buying expensive clothes, while others are drawn to brand names like a magpie. I try to balance spending as little as possible with buying enough quality items that I don’t have to head back to the store every month to replace clothing that’s no longer wearable. To me, that’s a good balance between frugality and fashion.
Do you swear by brand name items or do you shop exclusively at thrift stores?