With all the choices for clothing nowadays, it can be confusing to understanding what makes good clothes and what doesn't. The thing to remember is that cheaper is not always better. That second-hand robes shop in Diagon Alley might seem like the ticket. But when your robes fall apart before Christmas, you will be wishing you had saved enough to buy robes at Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions.
Sales for good clothes can make good-quality items much less expensive, but poorly made clothing is often cheap in every way. Good clothing is an investment that will last a long, long time, if you’re careful.
So, which pieces should you be willing to spend galleons on? Keep reading.
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Cheap Is Actually Expensive
Isn't that an oxymoron? Take a look in your closet. Be sure to look specifically at any clothing that is not a well-known, well-made brand, which you bought on the spur of the moment because it was cheap.
After you wear these items and clean them, they don’t look the same. I have several geeky t-shirts I bought on the cheap from an unknown online store or street vendor that shrank with the letters peeling off almost immediately. This makes cheap clothing quite expensive, because you end up tossing it out and buying another new one. It’s like you're renting an outfit rather than buying an outfit you can wear repeatedly over the years.
Your Best Dress
If you really want to look good, it’s worth spending money on a very well made, high-end dress that fits well. Not only that, it’s also worth the money to get it altered if it's close but not perfect. The money you spend has to do with the type of fabric as well as the construction. The higher the quality of both, the more use you'll get out of it.
You can recognize a good deal by checking the construction. Loose buttons, loose threads, nearly transparent fabric and other construction issues are a sign that this is not a “best dress.”
A good dress should last you a good ten years, if not longer. I have a few high-end, plus size designer dresses that are about 15 years-old!
Your Winter Coat
Coats are a great item to spend money on. You only need one or two in the winter; one for dress-up and one for casual. Coat styles rarely change, so a good-quality coat will last you a lifetime, if you buy the right one and then take care of it properly.
Think of a wool pea coat or wool overcoat for dressing up. A well-made down jacket will serve you well for casual times. (Although, I have a hole in my favorite down jacket and the feathers are flying out like you wouldn't believe.) When you consider how long a good coat should last — decades — you can justify spending a lot more on it, because it’s an investment.
Jeans and Other Denim Items
Everyone likes wearing jeans or other denim, and it’s been around forever. Expensive jeans will have a high stitch count and be thicker material. That makes them feel more luxurious and more durable. Pay close attention to a pair of jeans' construction and fabric to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck.
Also, the cut is important. You want to like how the jeans look on your body. Try on a few pairs around your size to find the right fit (ignore that dratted number because it's meaningless). Pay attention to how they’re made, the material and how they fit.
Also, try to stick with the real colors of denim which are black, indigo, faded and white. Don't go for trendy washes or colors. You'll be spending money on something that looks dated in a year or two. And with any jeans, darker always looks more fashionable.
Cheap shoes are everywhere. (My favorite cheap shoe store du jour is Old Navy.) They are poorly made, bad for your feet and back, and not comfortable to walk in. What’s the point of having a cute pair of shoes if you can’t walk in them, no matter how cheap they are? And the older you get, the longer the effects last, sometimes doing irreparable damage.
Spend the extra money on good, solidly-made shoes that are made from natural fibers that will last, if you care for them. A good pump (pointy or rounded) or slingback never goes out of style. Classic flats are also a good investment.
While It's true that clothing isn’t an investment that compares to a 401(k) or real estate, by buying clothes that last, you're really putting money in the bank. If you think of your clothing as an investment that will last you for at least a decade, then you can see that spending money on the important, non-trendy parts of your wardrobe does save money. And saving money is almost as good as earning money.
What's your smart shopping tip? Tell us in the comments!