Moving From Fast Fashion to a Few Quality Pieces

According to Quartz, we spend about 3 percent of our annual income on clothes (I expected it to be a little higher!). We also have five times the amount of clothes as we did in the first half of the 20th century, and it’s mostly due to the fact that overseas production has made clothes cheap to produce (low-cost fast fashion). But wages of workers overseas are slowly rising, and more consumers are considering the ethical dilemmas that come with cheap clothing. How will this affect the way we buy clothes in the future?

One option is to reconsider our approach to clothing by taking a cue from Europeans who have historically been more more focused on quality rather than quantity. Much of the cheap clothing we consume in droves is like our fast food diets—high in calories (quantity) but low in nutrition (quality). We are a culture that buys a lot of junk. Think about your own wardrobe—consider how many items of clothing you own and how often you wear each of those items. My guess is that most of us wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. That is a lot of wasted space and wasted money.

In the past few years, I’ve changed the way I buy and wear clothes by going the uniform route, though I also like this European approach of buying classic, quality pieces that last a long time. One item that comes to mind is my peacoat—I’ve worn it every winter for the past 14 years or so.

Photo: Maegan Tintari

Purchases Made in Hope of Self-Improvement

Stuff I bought that I love.

Questions to Ask Yourself While Shopping

Youth Radio took on the question of: How do you know if you have a shopping problem?

What Product Is Currently Stalking You?

You know that great Motown song by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas? “Nowhere to Run?”

That’s me — but it’s not heartbreak I’m running from-it’s a pair of beige patent leather sling backs, size 9. Wherever I go on line, there they are, like an old boyfriend begging for a second chance. The same pair of shoes has been dogging me for more than seven months.

At Marketplace, Beth Teitell writes about being stalked by a pair of shoes she looked at once online, which has been following her around in ads targeted to her on various websites she visits.

Back in September, Times financial columnist and CNBC co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote an ode to his undershirt, which I read somewhat with amusement and somewhat interested in what kind of undershirt would receive such attention from Sorkin. That undershirt is my current stalker.

Photo Benedict Benedict

’90s Cool Kids Clothing Not Selling Well Today

It's Fashion Week in NYC, and New York magazine issue is all about the things we wear and the businesses that sell them. One particularly interesting piece comes from Matthew Shaer, who reports about Abercrombie and Fitch's struggle to keep up in today's market where "fast fashion" sells.

Supermarket Tricks

Reader's Digest put together a list of supermarket tricks we all fall for (here is a link that will save you from having to click through a 50-slide slideshow), and a lot of it is interesting! I did not know the thing about the cakes, for example, and I've definitely bought cakes straight out of the display case many times. I have never ditched anything at the checkout lane though.

Daddy Bought a Gift for You

McSweeney's had a dark humor piece titled "Merry Christmas, Son. I Trampled A Man To Death To Buy You This Leappad Ultra Tablet," which spoke to me because I've been inundated in the last few days with PR emails about "Super Saturday Sales" and one-time deals, and I just can't wait until this shopping season is over.

They See You When You’re Shopping, They Know When You’re in Line to Pay

There's something creepy about knowing that you can walk into a store and that this store can track everything you do including where you spend most of your time, and how long you wait in line just by latching onto a frequency on your cell phone. But would you be okay with that if the tradeoff is that the store uses that information to figure out what kind of deals you'd be into? Smithonsonian magazine examines this question.

The Tricks Shoppers Pull

Reporters at the Los Angeles Times look at various tricks shoppers pull at department stores, and how retailers are addressing them.

How Much Am I Willing to Pay for Convenience?

After I got back from the holidays, I noticed that the park across the street had put up two ice rinks. Yay, free ice skating! And then I remembered that I don’t have skates that fit anymore. Here’s a timeline of my attempt to get used skates.

I Deserve It

I am built to think that I deserve things.

I Cracked Black Friday

The week before Thanksgiving, a friend posted on Twitter that the Kate Spade store in the Pentagon City mall in Arlington, Virginia needed extra hands on Black Friday. The mall opened at midnight on Thanksgiving and didn't close until 10 p.m. on Friday night. Thinking this would be a fun adventure that would lead to a (possibly awesome) store discount, I went in for an interview. There was one interview question: what do you bring to this position? Brand knowledge and energy. I was hired immediately.