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:

  • What does your fashion math look like these days? Do you still expect to get more than one season out of clothes (or several years’ worth of wear)? What price do you put on cost-per-wear? (Here’s another super old post for you: our 2009 discussion of how much do you spend on clothes, which is a bit more cost-per-item focused than our last discussion on annual clothes budgets)
  • What is the average age of the items in your work wardrobe? What is the oldest piece of work clothing you still wear?
  • How much do you feel like laundry/dry cleaning matters in terms of extending the cost-per-wear for these items?
  • For those of you who have a capsule wardrobe for work, how often do you replace pieces? I know some women try to keep a minimal wardrobe and limit it to 30 pieces… Are you satisfied when a piece you’ve worn to death needs to be retired, or sad?
  • When your clothes fail you and get rips, pills, holes, etc — do you have any wardrobe hacks that help you make the clothes last longer, either to maintain your dignity for the day of or to keep it in your wardrobe rotation in general? The woman in the stock photo has a scarf on, to hide the rip one presumes (fun fact: I bought this photo for another story and then was annoyed to discover the huge rip because it makes no sense in the context of the photo!) — but if this were actually my sweater I might try to stitch it up and then wear a brooch over it, or a longer scarf to cover the stitch. (Readers with great solutions for fallen hems, please share!)

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, ladies — how long do you expect your clothes to last these days? What are your favorite brands and stores for great, long-lasting clothes? What are your best wardrobe hacks to make your clothes last longer? 

Pictured: Shutterstock / Alena Ozerova.

 

Comments

  1. Apply for promotion? :

    A role opened at my office a step above me. It’s about 30% immediate in my friend of expertise, and 70% in adjacent fields I also already work on. Many of my colleagues, but no one in management, have encouraged me to apply. I’m torn because to some degree I am already doing this work with a track record of success, but it’s not the next move I really want to think I could/should make – I would prefer something directly in line with my expertise. But I’m worried someone with equal experience to me will be hired and I’ll miss out on a chance for promotion. Several people at my level who have been with the organization longer than me have not been promoted, but I came in with more outside work experience. What would you consider in this situation?

    • Thistledown :

      I also lean towards apply. Even if you don’t get the position, it will put on the radar as somebody who’s looking to move up and take on more challenges. But I supposed you have to decide if it’s more important to you to stay in your field of expertise or get a promotion. Having worked in several specialties is often a plus if your ultimate goal is a leadership position. But if your goals or your field are more focused on deep experience, it doesn’t seem worth it to start over in a new specialty for the sake of a promotion.

  2. Ginger in Tech Support :

    I have different levels of expectations on my clothes. I invest more in dresses, pants, blazers, and shoes than I do in tops. I expect tops to last one season, at most. My dresses are mostly year round type dresses, so I hope that they will last 1-2 years. My shoes last 6-7 years. The rest I expect to replace every year or so, except blazers, which seem to last forever.

    My oldest work piece is a pair of Clark’s black pumps that are 15 years old. I have taken them to the cobbler to have the heel tip replaced, and I am taking them in next week to finally get the sole replaced. They are well worth what I spent. I take all my shoes in at least once a year to get them cleaned and deep polished. It costs me about $30 per pair. I then polish them myself every 5-6 wears to keep them in good shape. I also use a water repellent spray on my suede shoes and bags.

    As far as wardrobe malfunctions – I always have fashion tape and safety pins in my desk and purse. They cover a multitude of sins. If something rips on a seam, I can repair it fairly easily on my sewing machine. If something rips not on a seam, I try to repair it but it’s not always successful. I learned at a young age how to sew, and I also learned how to repair knit items, though I usually only do that for NICE sweaters. I want my clothes to last as long as possible, which is why I try not to buy too much “fast fashion” unless it’s tops or something like tank tops to wear under stuff.

    • I agree with Ginger, to a point. I expect all of my clotheing to last AT least through the season that I buy it in, and if it goes into the next season, great! I find that since I buy good stuff, it should last through at least the season I buy it in and 1 more, but if I buy something that is winter orientated in May, it MUST still be in fashion through the next winter, or I will just donate it to NY Cares or Good Will. This way, I am assured of ALWAYS haveing the most recent fashions b/c being fashioneable is VERY important to our Firm! YAY!!!!

  3. Piggybacking off of this mornings discussion about budgets for groceries, any tips/sugggestions for cooking for one? I try to buy food to make lunch at home or make dinners but then half my food goes bad or I’m stuck eating the same thing 4 days in a row. I can’t buy things in smaller portions. Things don’t come in sizes for one person. I end up eating out all the time and spending way too much! Any help?

    • This is where the freezer is your friend. If you don’t want to eat something four days in a row, immediately freeze half of it. Then you have a ready to eat meal later on, but can have more variety during the week. I don’t care that much about variety so I make two meals a week and just rotate them. There’s no magic to frozen meals—if you see it frozen in the store you can do it too. Soups, grains, beans, meats, cooked veggies, and many sauces all freeze really well.

      As far as things not coming in smaller portions, you can divide it up and freeze it. Go ahead and buy the family pack of chicken. Take it home and divide and freeze. But a whole chicken and roast it then freeze the leftovers cooked chicken, which you can add to multiple things.

    • Are you near a Trader Joes? They typically have food portioned out in smaller sizes than traditional grocery stores. I like how they have individually wrapped chicken breasts (so easy to freeze) and most vegetables and frozen dishes are no more than 3 servings per package.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m single and cook for myself. I freeze leftovers of everything I make in individual portions. Then I’ll take a container out of the freezer the night before when I pack my lunch for work.

    • Anonymous :

      What do you like to cook?

    • I use an ingredient delivery service (like Blue Apron but mine is local to my city). They send you the recipe and the ingredients necessary to make it, in the proper proportions (meaning that there’s nothing left over after making the meal). The minimum order is for 2 meals of your choice with 2 servings each. There’s usually 8 different meals to choose from. I find that I can actually make 3 servings out of each meal. So I cook it up, and freeze what I don’t eat, and generally I pick something that will freeze well.

      It’s quite ideal because I never have left over produce that goes to waste. Before I was constantly feeling guilty about produce going bad before I had the chance to eat it. I have two other friends who are doing the same thing.

    • Anonymous :

      Learn to not mind eating the same thing 4 days in a row. When I was single I batch cooked two meals on the weekends and ate one for lunch every day that week and the other for dinner. I still do this with lunch, because my SO makes his own lunch. We have to cook dinner more often when we cook for two, but still generally have enough leftovers for 2-3 days of the same thing. I genuinely do not get why people mind this.

      • because it’s boring and makes me sad. I genuinely do not get how you don’t mind it but if it makes you happy then I don’t have to get it.

        • Anonymous :

          +1

          I agree.

          For me, food is one of life’s wonderful, simple pleasures. I can literally look forward to dinner all day, and sometimes it keeps me going through long work hours when I know I still have some delicious indian food to heat up when I get home. If I ate the same thing every day at lunch and every day at dinner every work day …..I think I would want to slit my throat. Seriously.

        • Ditto– I literally can’t eat the same thing four days in a row. If I try I will skip meals rather than do it. But to each their own!

    • My husband is military so I am an expert at feeding myself. Get yourself like 30 single portion glass Tupperware. I make like 5 mini lasagnas bake one that night, put the other 4 in the freezer, same with rice and curry, soup, stew or chili. If I’m feeling lazy I’ll just cook a frozen burger in a frying pan and steam some broccoli and call it a day too. I have a rotation of about 15 meals so I dont eat the same food a lot. I will also jazz up instant ramen with frozen veggies and tofu.

      • givemyregards :

        Tangentially related, but I’m a big fan of stir frying ramen noodles and veggies with one egg in the pan. The egg coats the noodles and makes them really delicious.

    • anon a mouse :

      Sheet pan dinners are your friend! You can do them on a quarter-sheet pan for a smaller amount. Go to the meat case: buy a single chicken breast or a single steak. (or pork chop, or whatever). Toss with a marinade and veggies on pan. Bake. Enjoy!

      • Try using the same ingredients, but differently. You can cook a batch of chicken, rice, and veggies and then season them differently. That helps with using all the ingredients but not getting super bored. A stir fry with ginger and soy sauce is totally different from a Mexican-inspired enchilada, even if they all use the same base ingredients.

    • I’ve recently started using the Cook Smarts menu plan service. You can set the meals to be just for one, if you want, or cook for 2 and do leftovers for the next evening or for lunch. I’ve found it to be a great resource and worth the price: https://www.cooksmarts.com/weekly-meal-planner/friends-family/?utm_source=Cook+Smarts+Kitchen+Heroes&utm_campaign=b2fcd542ec-mp-nurture-friendsfamily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c14c6c81-b2fcd542ec-77113617&goal=0_29c14c6c81-b2fcd542ec-77113617&mc_cid=b2fcd542ec&mc_eid=3f7c731957

  4. I expect most of my work clothes to last 5-10 years. I dry clean my suits when they really need it, which ends up being about twice a year. I don’t hand wash anything but wash most of my clothes on the delicate cycle and lay flat to dry. Bras last one year and I rotate through three everyday bras. T-shirts last about a year.

    I must be harder on shoes than other people because I expect to replace them about every other year. The leather gets too scuffed to look good even with polish and the soles wear. Lower quality shoes only last one season.

    • Anonymous :

      I tend to buy shoes in the $100-200 range and often (esp. for skinny heels) replace annually. It’s not that they aren’t wearable, but I saw Silence of the Lambs and imprinted on how Hannibal zeroes in on Clarice’s shoes. No room in the closet for B-/C+ work sorry shoes.

  5. I

  6. Christmas in NYC :

    I booked a trip to NYC at Christmas time this year, with my hubs and two daughters ages 15 and 13. Staying in Manhattan. What are must see/must do with kids this age? And, any must go to restaurant suggestions are welcome as well (this is more for hubs and me). TIA!

    • I think your teens would probably enjoy going to Williamsburg and just walking around and going in and out of shops.

      • I do not agree. The kids want Manhattan, and Soho, not Williamsburg. That is a place for mileanials, not 13 year old kids. Rosa’s oldest is now 10, and she always talks about “the village” and “soho” so that is what your kids will like. While your there, you can visit the Statute of Liberty too! YAY!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      I’d do a show/ballet, a museum, view the department store window displays, Rockefeller tree/skating, Rolf’s (restaurant/bar) has impressive Christmas decor, I think there’s a Christmas village in Bryant park, take them shopping of course, and maybe to whatever restaurant has trendy instagrammable food at that time. There are so many good restaurants, it’s hard to go wrong.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s the age when I first went to NYC and honestly I just loved seeing all the things I recognized from movies – Statue of Liberty, Rockerfeller tree, Fifth Avenue, Central Park.

    • The Rockettes are a classic, plus the Metropolitan Museum of Art does lovely decorations that time of year. I also have mad love for The Strand bookstore (if they like books) and thought that hanging out in Caffe Reggio in the Village and then hitting the vintage clothing stores downtown was cool at that age. Maybe Evan Hanson tickets if they are gettable?

      • Mean Girls has lots of tickets available for Christmas time right now (I’m thinking of buying some myself). That might change after it wins lots of Tony’s next week and gets sold out for the next year.

    • The Rockefeller Xmas Spectacular (Rockettes) or the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center are both classic shows to see. I’d go Nutcracker over Rock Center but to each her own. You can have a nice dinner beforehand at the Smith or Bar Baloud if you go to Lincoln Center.

      Other:
      -ice skating in Bryant Park, behind the NYPL (better than Rockefeller Center)
      -there’s also a nice outdoor holiday market there
      -two other good holiday markets in Union Square and Grand Central (you don’t need to do all three, as they tend to overlap as far as the type of stuff but FYI the GC one is indoors so if the weather is very cold…)
      -the Met museum has a great Xmas tree and if your daughters are into fashion check for what they have going on at the Costume Institute there
      -I would highly recommend going for dim sum in Chinatown (or just go for soup dumpling, which is the greatest winter meal ever)
      – walk along 5th Avenue to see all the holiday windows. Start at Barney’s and work your way down past Bergdorf’s all the way to Lord & Taylor or Macy’s.

      If you post where you’re staying, I’d be happy to share some specific restaurant recommendations.

  7. Anonymous :

    I get tired of my clothes after a year or so, plus my budget means I mostly shop at places like Banana or J Crew so they don’t last very long. I keep shoes, bags, and jewelry for years and years though.

  8. The hive always has such good suggestions, so thought I would try: Does anyone have recommendations for a good, clean, and reasonably priced place to get a pedicure in Manhattan (midtown east or upper east side)?

  9. I’m so frustrated with how quickly my clothes wear out. I wore a new wool sweater from Banana Republic twice (never washed) and then found a big hole in it. That’s the second or third time that’s happened to me in the last few years. My office is freezing so I wear a lot of cardigans, but it’s impossible to find ones that last.

    • I should add that part of my problem is definitely that I wear a lot of knits and those just don’t last as well as some other types of clothes, but work much better for my body shape. Any tips on mending holes in knits? They eventually pill too, but if I could at least fix the holes, it would help.

      • The key to mending a knit is getting to it asap.

        Pendleton sweaters will last. If a sweater pills quickly or quickly gets a hole without cause, then don’t buy the brand again.

      • Ginger in Tech Support :

        Look up “Darning Sweaters” on Youtube. Lots of great tutorials.

    • You must buy quality stuff, like me, if you want it to last through the season. You do NOT save money by throwing out stuff after 2 washes. FOOEY!

  10. Relatedly: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-44252655

    I am reconsidering my annual habit of donating used clothing that’s still wearable to Goodwill. My efforts to google how to responsibly recycle textiles in my area have not proved fruitful. Thoughts?

    • I’ve been bringing my textile recycling to H&M. They have a bin in some stores and you get 15% off your next purchase as a bonus.

      • Anonymous :

        Thanks for the H&M tip. My oldest’s middle school also has a collection bin that supports the school, so I use that for all clothes as it’s even more local than Goodwill and it benefits the school in addition to being a tax deduction. Several churches and faith communities have a similar set-up. If it’s career wear, I want to say Junior Achievement? or something that sounds like it, has options for re-use, or re-sale to fund people who are either new or returning to the workforce.

        But yes, fabric recycling is real and we keep 99% of ours out of the landfill. Our landfill has a bin for clothes.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        I’m not sure H&M’s practices are any better than Goodwill’s here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/clothes-recycling-marketplace-1.4493490

        At least at Goodwill, your donating clothing stands a chance at being sold and re-worn.

    • Ginger in Tech Support :

      http://weardonaterecycle.org/ has links for where to recycle clothing

      • Unfortunately, in may area this only shows me a list of Goodwill locations. I’m trying to avoid taking my clothes there.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Check out Terracycle. Depending on your area, they might have a recycling program near you or you can order a box for textiles to be shipped to you. You can fill it up and mail it back and they’ll handle it. The boxes can be expensive, so it might be worth teaming up with another person.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Here are my two cents:
      Goodwill and thrift stores will likely bin a lot of clothes that get donated, because people donate crappy old t-shirts and pilly sweaters that absolutely nobody will buy. If you have clothes that truly are re-wearable *and* somebody would pay a couple of dollars for it, I think it’s worth donating (or consigning, if it’s worthwhile). Beyond that, your clothes can either get shipped overseas where they flood markets and undermine local textile industries, or they might get recycled and will get downgraded (probably into rags for industrial use, not into more clothing!).

      The “reduce, reuse, recycle” hierarchy is your best bet here if your focus is sustainability and/or being an ethical consumer (as much as you can be “ethical” within consumerism…). Focus on reducing how much you buy, and/or buy used (I like Poshmark for used), then reuse (downgrade your work shirts into weekend wear, then into lounge/PJs and even into rags to use in place of paper towels whenever possible), and only once you’ve exhausted those options should you recycle. Recycling and donations are a very imperfect. I only donate what I can’t downgrade, and only anything that’s both not in nice condition and that can’t be downgraded gets sent to be recycled.

      This article goes into many of the problems of textile recycling (like H&Ms program): http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/clothes-recycling-marketplace-1.4493490

      Basically, there’s no free lunch when it comes to consumption.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        … and I’ll add that the clothes that are being offloaded in Africa are the ones that aren’t saleable in the US. They aren’t sending a barely-worn J.Crew sweater from two years ago over, they’re sending old t-shirts and out-of-date items nobody wants in the US. If it’s truly wearable, it’s not worth shipping overseas.

      • +1 to downgrading/ wearing things down ( all the way down to rags for the kitchen).

  11. I expect 3 years for ‘play clothes’ and 5 years for work clothes and the 1-2 nicer dresses for fancier occasions (weddings, holidays, etc).

    I buy brands that meet those expectations, but it’s getting harder and harder. Some of my items are approaching 10 years because I can’t replace them with similar quality.

  12. The engineered obsolescence of everything we buy is endlessly disturbing to me. There’s just not enough space on this planet for all the people and the trash we generate.

    • Agreed. It’s very disturbing to me.

      I’m old enough to know/remember that jeans can last more than a year and an electronic gadget can last more than three. I grimace when I see reviews like “first t-shirt that lasted more than 2 months!”, because the reviewer sadly doesn’t know that a properly made t-shirt should last far, far longer then they’ve evidently been trained to expect.

      It’s not entirely age – two middle-aged coworkers recently passed on the travel tip of throwing away your underwear while vacationing so that you don’t have to use the space in your bag for dirty underwear! Half the table thought this was brilliant. :/

      • That travel/underwear tip has been going around for decades (or longer — I heard about it 20 years ago). It’s gross & wasteful, IMO.

        • And does it really save that much space? How much suitcase space can a few pairs of underwear take up??

          • You do it with ratty old t-shirts (wear as pajamas) as well. I’ve done it on international business trips for years – wear and toss old underwear, t-shirts, even shoes that were worn enough that they can’t be re-used.

      • Ann Marie :

        Sorry, but I agree with the tip about the underwear. I have done it for long vacations. I don’t throw out good underwear or clothing. Just underwear or clothing that is past its prime and that I was going to get rid of anyway. I have also done that with shoes while traveling. It may not add too much room in your suitcase but depending on how much you have, it does add some and as a bonus, there is less to wash when you get back from your trip.

    • I’m so glad to see someone else comment on this. As much as we talk about sustainable fashion, it doesn’t seem to be having any impact yet.

      My almost 4 year old son has been watching Wall-E nonstop so I’m hoping this is a discussion we can have soon.

  13. Pale Girl Snorkeling :

    High quality shoes I expect to last several years and I expect to pay at least $100 for the right ones. The fashion sneakers I got got $15 last week I will be happy with if they last the summer.

    For most of my work clothes (business casual) I go through Gwynnie Bee, I get new stuff every few weeks thats on trend and I never dry clean anything. I also buy a few items from them that I’ve worn and know are great fits and I will wear many times. And I can usually get them at a deep discount. Those items I expect to get 2-3 years out of before they wear out/I get tired of them/they go out of style. This helped me trim down what stays in my closet year round and keeps my clothes budget pretty predictable from month to month.

    I buy fast fashion summer tops and often long sleeve shirts for underneath dresses in winter and I don’t expect these to last more than a season or two. Even when I’ve spent more money on these they still wear out and need regular replacing

  14. My fashion math these days is to try to not spend too much on anything because how much it costs is not a reliable predictor of how well it will wear. This mostly translates to buying more expensive things on sale vs. just buying things that are cheap.

    The average age of my work clothes really varies because the stuff I bought 7 or 8 years ago has sometimes held up better than stuff I got last year. Laundry probably plays a role in how things hold up but I have a hard time with that because I live in an apartment building that doesn’t allow individual washer/dryers so my laundry either gets done in the commercial, communal machines in our basement or gets sent out, which I suspect is even worse for the clothes.

    Tricks for extending the life of clothes I have used: fabric shaver for fuzzy sweaters, shortening frayed linings(way cheaper than replacing); repurposing older blouses that don’t work on their own to wear under sweaters or dresses (particularly good with a couple that I shrunk in the laundry because I could wear them more unbuttoned than I would without a sweater as cover and the collar/sleeves still looked nice).

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I always shop clearance for this reason. Though in my case, it’s user error rather than a defect of the clothing – I spill, I snag, I get sweaty and launder more often, and we have hard water. I’m hard on my things.

      I try to always keep a Tide pen handy, and I only wear my nicer work shoes indoors.

  15. Lucky for me :

    I am one of those lucky weirdos that doesn’t have body odor. So I can get away with laundering a lot less frequently than most people. I have many work dresses that are going on 10 years.

  16. Why is it gross and wasteful? It’s not fit for Goodwill and it’s just going to go in the trash anyway – what diff does it make if the trashcan is in a hotel room vs at home?

    • Anonymous :

      Wasteful: because FFS, you carried it there, carry it home and wash it! There is no reason to wear a pair of underwear on a trip and then throw it out because you can’t be bothered to put a pair of dirty underwear in a separate bag in your luggage to take home.

      • Anonymous :

        When I’ve heard this tip, it’s always been that you do this with underwear that are on their last wear anyway. Meaning, this trip is their last hurrah and then they are trash.

      • I think you’ve completely missed the point of this life hack. No one is saying to take your good underwear and dump it in the hotel versus carrying it home and washing it. You’re taking your underwear that is hole-y, saggy, whatever, not fit to donate because poor people have dignity too — and you’re getting a few final wearings out of it before you trash it. It’s stuff you would trash anyway at home.

  17. I don’t get what’s the big deal of eating a few meals of the same thing. Why does everything we eat have to be some amazing thing? It’s food, it’s fuel, if it’s chicken and veggies on Tuesday I have no idea why I wouldn’t be perfectly happy with that for Wed and Thurs. Do you reject restaurant leftovers?

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I find it interesting when people don’t *do* leftovers. Our abundance and variety of food in the modern world is astounding, and most of history (and even today, much of the world) never had the option to turn down leftovers. I get not wanting the same meal for lunch and dinner four days in a row, however– but that can be easily managed with better prep and storage options like the freezer.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t mind it in concept (I don’t mind eating the same food for days in a row), but leftovers usually make me feel a little sick.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      I’ll bite. I typically always take the food I haven’t eaten at a restaurant home, but rarely do I eat it. I like freshly made food. *shrugs*

  18. I’ve also been super disappointed with the quality of professional clothes lately, especially at Ann Taylor. I remember buying suits in law school and when I was a new attorney that were lined, made of a nice sturdy wool blend fabrics, with properly attached buttons and details and elbows that didn’t wear out in one year. Now it seems like all of my trousers are unlined, the buttons on my jackets fall off more often, and I’m lucky if I can even FIND a wool blends – everything is polyester or acetate.

    Do any of yall know of stores with comparable prices to Ann Taylor that also carry three-piece suit sets (skirt, trousers, jacket)? I’ve gotten lucky with Nordstrom once, and with Banana Republic another time, but their sizes are unreliable.

    Blouses and tops, though… what? Who the heck wears out a t-shirt in two months? I have tops that I’ve been wearing since literally high school. And the new ones I buy, I launder very gently so they don’t fall apart or become pilled. Sheesh.

    • Brooks Brothers has excellent work clothing and you can often get it on sale for great prices. Their quality almost always trumps J.Crew, BR, and Ann Taylor. Red Fleece is a bit on the cheaper side, but their regular clothing is top notch. I got hooked a couple of years ago, and now I can’t go back to the mediocre Ann Taylor/BR quality.

    • Talbots for suits. Have not dabbled too much in other stuff but it looks like decent quality.

  19. I complain all the time about poor quality clothing even for more expensive brands. It makes no sense to me to pay Ann Taylor prices for shirts that are completely see-through and don’t even last one season. And don’t get me started on the unlined and poorly-constructed skirts, dresses and pants. I’m willing to pay more for higher quality but for the most part can’t find it, at least in traditional stores. I’ve had better luck with online boutiques such as M.M.LaFleur. I also look for local boutiques – the buyers tend to be choosier with what they put in the store.

  20. I launder everything on the permanent press setting. Everything goes into the dryer for 10 minutes or so to get the wrinkles out and then hung to air dry, whether it’s on hangers or a drying rack. Many fabrics have man-made fibers and the heat of the dryers damages the garment IMO.

  21. Calibrachoa :

    The oldest wardrobe pieces I still wear (that I did not thrift and therefore do not know the exact age of) are a 18 year old skirt and a 15 year old button-up shirt. I have had to replace the elastic on the skirt and the buttons on the button-up, but both are still in excellent shape and see regular wear, although the button-up is more likely to be worn unbuttoned on top of a shell due to my bust having increased markedly since I was 17.

    If I could get like, six of that shirt again I would be the happiest bunny, but the store I purchased it from no longer carries anything even remotely similar :(

  22. Anonymous :

    Brands that last: Brooks Brothers, Elie Tahari, Lafayette 148, Magashoni, Trina Turk, Tommy Bahama, Tory Burch.
    Brands that disappoint: Ann Taylor, Talbots.

    Shoes that last: Stuart Weitzman, DVF, Kate Spade, Tory Burch
    Shoes that don’t: Cole Haan, Donald Pliner

    • Montreal bagel :

      Thank you for this list. I would also add that Banana Republic is such a disappointment: the quality of their shirts and tops is no longer what it used to be. I still like their Sloan pants but that is about it.
      I would also add that the quality of the clothes at Club Monaco is so irregular – I bought a 250$ cashmere shirt and I wore it 3 times and watch it carefully on a washing bag, gentle cycle, it is now pilling like crazy, so frustrating

    • Anonymous :

      Huh. I have never had issues with Talbots.

  23. I have a lot of professional casual clothes from Eileen Fisher. They last and last – I believe I have things that still look good from 10 or more years ago. And if a sweater gets a hole, it is from moths. And they will generally fix it for free. I have one skirt that I must wear 1-2 times a week, 9 months a year, that I have had for more than 5 years and it still looks good – so good that just in case it ever wears out, I bought a second one. They aren’t that fashionable – but so classic that most will never go out of style. I am more likely to replace because I have spilled on something or tired of it than because it has worn out. And it is usually available on sale.
    As to my professional shoes, now that I wear walking does to drive or walk to the office, they last 10 or more years. When I wore them during my commute, it would be more like 1-3, and I would generally have to redo the heels.

  24. Anonymous :

    Completely agree that Brooks Brothers has good quality and good prices when on sale. Another poster asked about cardigans—BB Saxxon wool cardigans are fantastic—I own about six.

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