One of the core principles of minimalism is to value quality over quantity. By the very definition of minimalist, we try to have less stuff. Often that means getting rid of all the “spares.” You know… those backup items you have hanging around just in case. For me it was spare tools and spare clothes. I addressed the tools a while back during our garage purge.
On the clothing front, I made a good start by getting rid of all my junky t-shirts. I had a habit of wearing the junky ones so that I didn’t get the nice ones dirty and stained. That was a good start. I started wearing my nice t-shirts more often and bought a few nicer pairs of jeans.
Buying higher quality often means buying items that will last longer. This is the case for tools. Higher quality tools are better made and last longer. Sometimes buying higher quality means buying items that work or fit better. Clothing sometimes falls into both categories, but I think more often it falls into the latter.
Recently I decided to make some upgrades to my wardrobe. With my recent forays into rethinking fitness, I have lots a bit of weight and dropped a few pant sizes. The large shirts that I needed to cover my jolly tummy are now too big. The pants baggy pants that I needed before are now way too baggy. I used to wear baggy clothes because they were more comfortable. Honestly though, they were more comfortable because I was out of shape and had to buy the next size up so they didn’t squeeze my belly.
Over the Christmas holidays I was walking around the mall and I wandered into Express. I needed a new jacket and I wanted something a little more stylish than my ugly old windbreaker style. I had purchased a jacket for Dream there a while back because I liked the way they fit on her petite frame. I thought maybe they have some nice men’s jackets also.
They had a sale where everything in the store was 40% off and I ended up buying a nice wool jacket. While I was there I noticed their suits. I have always had a hard time finding a suit that fit right. I always felt like a little boy wearing my father’s suit. Here I found a suit that fit great and didn’t even need to be tailored. I don’t wear suits often, but I do have a need a few times a year. So, I bought the suit to replace an ill-fitting one that I already owned.
I liked the fit of everything I bought so much, that about a month later I decided to go back and look at some of their other clothes. I needed a dress shirt to go with my suit. I also needed some jeans that fit better since I had gone down two pants sizes from exercising and eating better. I tried on several different items, and I ended up choosing two medium slim fit button down shirts and two slim fit jeans in 32 waist.
It’s kind of funny, it made me feel like a little boy again. I was always a skinny child and had to always buy the slim fit stuff. That went away as my weight went up and now I’ve come full circle back into the slim fit clothes.
I also bought two medium fitted polo shirts to wear to work. Work attire is business casual, so it’s usually a polo shirt and khaki pants for me. The medium shirts replaced the larges I had previously. I’m wearing my new shirt today, and the fit is amazing. I always had a hard time with the shirt coming partially untucked, causing an excess of fabric bunching at my belt line. It looked sloppy. Now with my new fitted shirt, it doesn’t really come untucked much, and even if it does it still looks good.
I’ve discovered two things recently. 1) Express is my new favorite store. It’s a bit expensive compared to Target, Wal-Mart, or Kohl’s where I usually buy my clothes, but the fit is so much better that it’s worth paying a little more. 2) Clothes that fit well are worth paying more for.
All that shopping was hard for me. I hate paying a lot for clothes, but I’m starting to overcome that feeling when the quality and fit is far superior to the cheap stuff. I’ve also managed to catch the sales which helps take some of the sting out of the higher prices.
Also, with the exception of the jacket, all the new items I purchased have replaced existing items in my closet. For every new item I bought I took a like item out of my closet and dropped it off at Goodwill. In the case of the button downs, the two mediums fit so much better that I donated all five of my large shirts. I rarely wear the button downs, so it made sense to clean out while I was replacing some.
What is your experience with buying quality items? Are there items that you pay more for due to the higher quality?