Coffee heat rising


So my friend KJG and I made a run on our favorite clothing and kitsch boutique, tucked away in touristy downtown Glendale. Their clothes are awesome, and many of them are made in the USA, miracle of miracles. To tell you how much we love this place, KJG has to drive 40 minutes to get there.

I’ve been needing some  new shirts to wear with my uniform — blue jeans. And I wanted some that would come down far enough to cover my tush if I chose instead to wear a pair of stretchy yoga pants, which are much more comfortable for choir practice because they don’t bind when you try to breathe.

Woo HOO! I found not one, not two, not three, but FIVE tops, each one cuter than the other. These are casual shirts with a mildly countercultural look to them, the kind of thing no one expects an old lady to wear (yet not so much so that people wonder what you’re trying to prove). They’re the sort of tops that elicit compliments from other women, about the be-all and end-all of ego gratification.

Lately they’ve started carrying shirts by Jess & Jane. The proprietor says they fly off the racks — she can’t keep them in house very long. and they are perfect for the purpose. (And yes, you can buy them on Amazon, in limited size choices…but I prefer to try on clothing before spending. And given a choice, I’ll always buy local.)

This spending spree set me back $280.


But before too much hyperventilation sets in, consider: I may go out to this place once or twice a year.  And these clothing items last. Each of these tops will stay in the active wardrobe for at least three years.

When I buy clothes in other stores, they often fall apart after a few wearings. Or they just start looking shabby. That gets old, real fast. IMHO, the new fashion of buying cheaply made clothes engineered to last about three months comes under the heading of “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

If I replace a $40 shirt in three years, then the privilege of wearing it has cost me $13.33 a year, or a little over a dollar a month.

If I replace a $10 shirt in three months, that shirt — which may fall apart in even less than three months — will cost me $3 a month.

That’s three times the cost of a better made and prettier piece of clothing!

So…in reality, I didn’t spend money. I saved money.





Nope…not a paid ad!


6 thoughts on “Stylish SPENDING!”

  1. I know what you mean. Simply finding flattering clothing that fits is hard at the lower cost stores. I really need a black skirt for work, but had no luck looking at the Nordstrom Rack store I happened to be near this weekend. I was struck by how much of the merchandise was cheap and limited fashion rather than classic pieces. Maybe if I wasn’t looking for something appropriate for work I would have had better luck. But nothing in the store tempted me in the least. (I don’t get into the current fashion of distressed/ripped pants. Ugh.)

    On the other hand, I splurged in February and bought the most amazing linen tunic (with pockets!!). It was over $100 just for this one piece of clothing that I happened to see at a knitting convention, of all places. But I know I’m going to live in that top for most of the year. It’s so comfy and practical, and linen wears like iron, but gets softer wash after wash. I wish I could wear it to work, but it’s a bit too much on the casual side.

    And I’m still left trying to figure out where to get a decent skirt for work now. It shouldn’t be this hard to find a black pencil or a-line skirt.

    • Do you have a Saks within reasonable driving distance? Watch for their semi-annual sales. A couple of times a year, Saks will put Eileen Fisher (among other brands) on mega-sale, bringing their outrageous priciness almost within reach. Occasionally Eileen Fisher will have skirts that fit and look fairly classic.

      I’ve had the same luck with Nordstrom’s Rack lately: almost all junky, or else some wacko style that you’ll wear twice before you get sick of it and before your friends start wondering if that’s the only thing you own. Also — hang onto your wallet! — Brooks Brothers carries very nice classic clothing for women that looks like its indestructible. The cost, however, will render you…destroyed. Nevertheless, they _do_ have sales. If what you’re looking for is one pair of slacks or one classic black skirt that actually FITS and will last for several years, ponying up the extra cash may be worth it. Back in the day when I habituated the City, there was a Brooks Brothers on Union Square — don’t know if they have any stores in the East Bay. Also if you make a trip into SF, take a look at Gump’s. They also cater to the Richerati, but they also have sales…hmmm…as a matter of fact, as we scribble they’re peddling a classic A-line black skirt for a mere $65:

  2. In the “vane of smart spending”….why are there no studies on how long a garment, pair of shoes or coat last? That is …how many “wearings” do we get out of an item before they are disposed of…like a pair of socks….a pair of pants….shirt….sweater? I would think this would help us make smarter decisions. True story …. “back in the day”… I received 2 pairs of “Levi Socks” (From the Levi Store-remember those?) as a gift. These were tube socks and came about knee high, were very thick, comfortable AND a bit on the “pricey side”. However I wore these socks for at least ten years. When they became worn DW (who is a genius) turn them inside out and cut the bad toe area out and sew a new seam….FIXED. Eventually these socks morphed into “ankle socks” and then became “oil changing rags”. BUT …280 Dollas’ for clothes?….I feel faint! LOL…. Hope all is well.

    • Ah, the Levis store…{sigh}…

      If you can darn (which isn’t very hard: it’s just weaving with a needle and thread), even a crude job will fill in a hole on the bottom of a sock. This can add months or even a year or so to a sock’s wear.

      Granted, I wear my socks as slippers and schlep around tile flooring and sometimes out onto the concrete patio — which is sorta like walking on sandpaper — but that notwithstanding, I have the sense that socks wear out one helluva lot faster than they used to.

      It seems like EVERYTHING is now designed to wear out ASAP — presumably a Chinese plot. 😀

      Seriously, a year or so ago I read an article that went on and on about the glories of “Fast Fashion.” Designers deliberately produce the cheapest of all possible junk, and then they play on that as a freaking MARKETING PLOY! The idea being to persuade people that buying something, using it just a few times, and then throwing it away is a GOOD thing: you stay in the vanguard of fashion because the junk is so cheap you can afford to replace it instantly. And oboyoboy it’s so much FUN to run to the store to buy more throw-away clothes every time you turn around .

      As it develops, “fast fashion” is not only bad for the suckers, it’s bad for the economy and bad for the environment:

      I’ve seriously thought of trying to find a seamstress (I can’t afford someone who bills him- or herself as a “tailor”) to make simple items such as straight or A-line skirts and fairly unconstructed dresses. Anyone who really knows how to sew can whip up clothing that’s better than about 80% of what you can buy in stores these days.

  3. I’ve hated the ripped jeans look ever since I first saw it back in the late 80’s. Can’t believe it’s still around. Seriously, I’ve never seen a homeless person in ripped jeans, why do grown women want to wear that crap?!? SMH Okay, enough on that subject. ;o)
    And don’t get me started on reasonably priced, well-made, built-to-last clothing. Such as, where the hell is it? Decades ago, I bought 90% of my clothes at JCPenney. That ended back in the nineties. Can we please stop importing all that cheap, disposable Chinese-made crap?
    The last few times I bought jeans, I got them at SAVERS thrift store. It’s called Value Village in other areas of the country. A couple of weeks ago, I found a pair of like new Faded Glory jeans for $3.99! A friend of mine who’s a clotheshorse scored some nice stuff at a Goodwill back in February. I will have to shop there next time.

    • I’m afraid the cheap Chinese-made crap isn’t gonna go away. China has people who work for slave wages — and actual slaves, in the form of prison inmates — making the cheap crap, and so American manufacturers have shipped all their production offshore. They can get someone to make a month’s worth of clothing (at least!) for what it would cost to have American workers on the payroll for a day.

      That’s what happened to our jobs.

      Years and years ago…I think back in the 80s…I had a friend who manufactured and sold boutiquey clothing. He had a nice business going until one day he realized he simply couldn’t compete, price-wise. He fired all his workers and shipped production to China. He said(!) he really didn’t WANT to do that, but that if he was going to stay in business, he didn’t have any choice.

      No doubt if he were in business today, he not only would be making everything in China, he’d be selling the stuff online, thereby getting rid of the retail sales staff and replacing the customer service with customer (dis)service, also situated overseas.

      When you think about the repercussions of this stuff, you quickly realize why people voted for that clown Trump. Lie to me, baby, tell me a fairy story, and I’ll give ya my vote.

      America used to be a middle-class country. Now, the rich hold around 90% of our wealth (;, and the former middle-class are now working (or unemployed) poor. Today, if you get in your car and drive from city limit to city limit across a sprawl like Phoenix, you see that well over 2/3 of the housing has taken on a Third-World look. VAST neighborhoods are run-down; houses are unpainted, roofs are peeling, lawns are dead; strip malls can no longer support supermarkets and better stores, roads are pot-holed, and even White Flight suburbs are run-down…it’s a freaking mess. And that’s not just a section or two: that’s MOST OF THE CITY. Here, the rich live in small enclaves like Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and North Central…but otherwise, north, south, west (and west, and west, and west, and west!), and much of the east side are infused with the whiff of poverty.

      Go into what were traditionally the red-lined slums, and there you’ll find what looks like real Third-World districts. The area down around the airport and points south looks like Haiti. You’ll see these threadbare structures–you can’t believe someone’s living in them, but they ARE. They’re someone’s homes! Holy shit.

      There used to be poor folks when I was a kid in the 50s and 60s. We used to see poverty. My best friend lived in a black ghetto, and yes, it was run-down. You could see poverty in San Francisco and Oakland and Long Beach and Los Angeles…but NOTHING like what you can see right now, today, in west and south Phoenix.

      Those cheap-junk Chinese clothes? They’re a big part of the problem.

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