How Long Do You Expect Your Clothes to Last?

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about: how long do you expect your clothes to last these days? I know I’ve seen a lot of comment threads lately about how people feel like clothes 10-15 years ago were made with better lining, better fabrics, and so forth — but in today’s environment (particularly where the trends seem to change so much more quickly than they did a few years ago), how long do you expect things to last? What fabrics and brands make the best “investment” pieces that wear like iron and have classic shapes and styles? And which fabrics and brands do you avoid?

For my $.02, I’ve been pretty disappointed in some of the nicer pieces I’ve bought recently — one $100+ sweater got a hole in it after a few wearings (not as big a hole as the stock photo, but still!), and a pair of $160 pants started pilling after two wears. They’re both still wearable… but it’s annoying because I had bought both pieces hoping they’d last several seasons.

A few more questions to ponder as we discuss how long clothes should last:

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Tool of the Trade: When to Trust Online Reviews (Fakespot Review)

when to trust online reviewsI sometimes wonder, “What would I do without online reviews?” because I rely on them so much (for example, as a very frequent Amazon Prime user). When I’m looking for a new bra or shoes or a flash drive or a book (ha, remember when Amazon was about books?), I note the average rating and often read a few of the reviews. At Amazon, I’ll often use “4 stars & up” as a search filter. Recently, I was looking for something for undereye circles, and besides the usual suspects, my search turned up a bunch of products from brands I’ve never heard of — and they had thousands of positive reviews. (Some of the products appeared to be the same ones as others sold under different names, which seemed like a red flag). Around the same time, I came across a site called Fakespot, which proposes to solve the problem of how to spot fake reviews on Amazon and other sites. It quickly analyzes online reviews for Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor (especially relevant after its recent controversy), and Apple’s App Store, and grades each one from A–F. A indicates 90%+ reliable reviews and reviewers. After it takes into the account the real vs. questionable reviews for a particular product you enter, Fakespot gives you an “adjusted rating.”

I tested out Fakespot for a few of those eye serums I saw and got some interesting results regarding when to trust online reviews for beauty products:

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A Review of Amazon Prime Wardrobe

review of Amazon Prime WardrobeCurious about Amazon Prime Wardrobe, their new try-before-you-buy shopping option? Kate just tried it, so I asked her to write about her shopping experience for us… – Kat

Now that Amazon is expanding its try-before-you-buy feature to more customers, we thought it’d be a great time to share a review of Amazon Prime Wardrobe. Last summer, when Amazon originally announced Prime Wardrobe (presumably created to compete with Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and so on), it wasn’t available to all Prime members — and it still isn’t.  Currently, the FAQ says, “Prime Wardrobe is currently available by invitation to Prime members. Prime members can request an invitation at amazon.com/pw-learnmore.” I never requested it, so I guess I just got lucky (although it could be because I’m a very frequent Prime user).

Psst: Regarding online shopping in general, we’ve also talked about how to get your money back on returned online purchases, the best online shopping apps for deals and more, and had a great discussion with readers on their favorite online shopping destinations.

Here’s my review of Amazon Prime Wardrobe:

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What to Put On Your Wedding Registry (And: How to Deal When Your Wedding Registry is Public)

Today we have a great question from reader K, who wants an open thread about what to put on your wedding registry — and makes the interesting point that her wedding registry will be public. Here’s her question:

Would LOVE it if you would consider doing a “wedding registry” advice/crowdsourcing post! I am registering now, and am a senior lawyer & manager in-house in big tech, living w fiance but wanting to upgrade our dishes etc. I’m sensitive to the fact that whatever I register for will be visible on the internet to opposing counsel, my reports and clients, and even regulators etc. that I deal with on a regular basis (who I KNOW google me). What do we need? And what do we need to know?

Such a good question, K! For my $.02, I really suggest you think about the kind of life you and your partner want — not just what you think you want. You go to Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s and you suddenly feel like, well, of COURSE we need $5000+ worth of crystal and china… but do you feel like washing it by hand or chancing it in the dishwasher? How many of your friends do you actually trust with an $80 wine glass — particularly after he or she has had a few? We registered for a lot of stuff that was, I think, overly fancy for us and our shared lives (those links go to my patterns) — and that was before the kids came. These days we’re down to a few unbreakable martini and wine glasses and eating off unbreakable Corelle plates I’ve had since college. You could say, “ah, but the kids will grow up!” — but by that point my mother may have tried to downsize her fancy plates and barware to my possession, to say nothing of the fancy crystal and china she inherited from her mother or MIL.

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How to Buy a Bra

2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to buy a bra, but you may also want to check out most recent roundup of the best lingerie to buy at Nordstrom.

Sizing for women’s clothing can be incredibly frustrating in general (meaningless numbers! vanity sizing! different sizing among brands!), but figuring out how to buy a bra that fits can be even worse. It’s pretty easy to tell if, say, a shirt fits you, but so many of us are wearing the wrong size of bra every day (which we’ve been told ad nauseum). Maybe you’ve lost or gained weight without buying a new one, maybe you feel like your bra fits well enough because you don’t realize you’ve never worn the appropriate size, or maybe you’ve simply given up on buying a size that feels just right.

We haven’t specifically talked about how to buy a bra before, although we recently had an open thread about readers’ favorite lingerie for office looks, we’ve discussed bra care (including washing, rotating, etc.), and a couple of years ago we specifically gave workwear style tips for busty women.

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Here are some tips on how to buy a bra that fits well, feels comfortable, and makes you look even better in your clothes:

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How to Make Sure You Get Your Money Back on Returned Online Purchases

how to make sure you get your money back on returned online purchasesMy own refund-tracking system needs a little work, so today I’m asking a question for advice as much as discussion: how do you make sure you’re getting your money back on returned online purchases? Have you found any good apps or systems for tracking refunds?

If you’re like me, odds are you do a lot of online shopping these days, and part of the appeal is easy returns by mail. But keeping track of whether I’ve actually gotten the refund or credit is becoming more and more difficult. For example, sometimes when I’m returning items bought online  I have absolutely no idea how much I’m going to be getting back — for example, I remember returning stuff to Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy once where I had purchased the items using their “super cash” and possibly had gotten an additional “buy $X and get 40% off” tiered deal — so I had no idea how returning some items from the order would affect the equation.  Other times, the store tells you clearly how much to expect back when you print out your return slips — but then returns trickle in on your credit card in smaller amounts, at different times.

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