From Good to Rags

My father told me he knew I was a clothes hound when he and my mother took me to my grandmotherís house, and I, as a three year old, kicked out my leg to show off my new shoes.

"You loved your new shoes. That was a real treat for you," my mother said when repeating the story.

In high school, my mother gave me a budget for my back-to-school clothes, and I would try dozens of outfits on, then make a final decision, dragging my mother along in crisscross patterns through the mall.

In college and after, I retained my love of clothing, but could not spend, spend, spend. Though I could shop and select out a few pieces, I was not of the Saks income, more like that of coupons, bargains and sales, which I use to my full advantage to select out a few pieces to add to my wardrobe each year.

But the recession has made shopping dreary. Why? The clothes I used to buy from department stores and small retailers, all mid-grade, are of a lesser quality. They last a season. They shrink or they stretch. They lose their shape. They fall apart. And some of them get those little nubbies that should be the domain of sweaters only.

This reduction in quality is a way for stores to cut back on their costs, but it is putting a damper on my love of shopping. Now, Iím wary. I check if the material has spandex. I look for small, even stitching and tight, straight seams. I look at the thickness of material. I look for the bias and cut.

In the past, I did not have to be so careful. Now, Iím a wary consumer in a depressed economy who wants the shopping to be an experience and pleasure, not another chore to replace the clothes that fell apart the last season.

2 Responses to “From Good to Rags”

  1. cheryl courtney says:

    Hey, good ideas, and advice. The truth is quality has to be searched for; Americans are blinded by sales tags and department store rhetoric. I stick with the tried and true brands, save up and buy the best. Of course, I look unfashionable...but at least my clothes and shoes aren't falling apart.

  2. Helen Colella says:

    An observation and truth everyone should be mindful of when shopping.

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