Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two in one day!?

I was just thinking about something I needed to rant about. When I say that I don't buy my clothes (except trouser socks) at Wal-Mart, it's not because I am a snob. Firstly, the selection at my local Wal-Marts (yes, with an 'S', there are three within a short distance) all have the worst selection. They are mostly basics, which is fine, but these basics are just really, really terrible quality. Some of the things they have, like the items with more flair are still, low quality and ill fitting. One time I tried on a pair of pants in my usual size, an 18 in the Women's plus section. For some reason, these pants were disturbingly tight on me (which sends me into a panic thinking "when did I gain weight?!?"). I try on the 18 in the missy's section - the "regular" clothes. It's fine. It fits. So, where is the consistency? I pulled out of my closet a skirt from their "George" line in green, black and white with a lovely small print that reminds me of interior decorative arts in the middle east. It's a quite lovely skirt, and beautifully constructed with no loose threads. The fabric is a durable cotton/polyester blend (mostly cotton, poly to keep wrinkles out) and is light enough for spring and summer. I compare this to the skirts they have now. It might be the styles, but they all seem to have these shoddy prints, and on this terrible clingy polyester/rayon/spandex material that looks good on - well, no one who shops at Wal-Mart.

I bought most of my Wal-Mart items about 2 years ago, and since then the quality, selection has gone down drastically. The button down shirts feel like they are made of the broadcloth that I make Halloween and Ren Faire costumes out of. Even details that should not be over looked, no matter where you shop are getting over looked. I noticed on a white button down shirt the bottom button was completely different from the rest and was sewn on with purple thread. This isn't just bad quality control this is just poor workmanship. And it's pretty disappointing. The last item I bought was a plain black shirt that I had to double check for issues and cut 4 loose threads from. It was thin and of course shrunk when I washed it. This was really the last straw.

I decided to stop wasting my money, and hence my ban on Wal-Mart clothing items. It seems very logical to come to this, but I had always been under the impression that Wal-Mart clothes were quality. I decided to buy good, quality pieces, with good construction and tailoring. Clothes that fit. Of course, finding these clothes on the cheap and affordable is another story. And finding them to fit is also another story.

So, where do I find my deals for quality? Mainly, I do shop at Target for my staples - tee shirts, cardigans, and the odd pair of work pants. I love their new Pure Energy plus collection for the fun stuff, and Merona for the nicer work pieces. Target doesn't always have the best quality in everything, but I have better luck finding fit and good construction. With the exception of the knitwear, I still own many of my Target items from two to three years ago. For awesome sweaters and well constructed pieces I go to Torrid. I find my fancier stuff there and the clothes stand up to the test of time with one exception - a really beautiful open knit cowl neck sweater I had in a pinky orange 3 years ago. I washed it in hot water and accidentally dried. My fault. I love Torrid the fashion forward stuff that I will always have. Now, for the foundations of my wardrobe I go to Lane Bryant. Yes, some of the clothes are dowdy and do nothing but make non model-esque women (plus size or otherwise) look chunkier. But for the long lasting stuff - a long boyfriend button down shirt, tailored white pants, a black jacket, and lovely knit wear that LASTS through many many washings - I go there. Pricey, yes but I have never had to throw anything away from Lane Bryant because it ripped, broke, or faded or whatever. I shop clearance, especially when the ICON stuff goes. Hell, I got a black sleeveless jacket that was originally upwards of 90 bucks for...12. Yeah, awesome. I digress.

It doesn't matter how much you spend, but quality is better. I get my foundations (black pants, button downs, knits) from the pricier stores, and the trendier (sparkly tops, leggings, plaid shirt) from cheaper places or on the clearance rack at the expensive. I also load up on trendy accessories at the cheap stores (like Forever 21, Icing). Paired with your basics, you CAN make the statement, know you didn't blow a lot of money on something that probably won't last (I am looking at YOU poncho craze of the mid 00's). Just my philosophy. As the great Tim Gunn says "Make it Work". For you.

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