Ladylike Style

I have been neglecting my wardrobe. I love cute, feminine clothes, but it seems like all of the dresses I’ve purchased lately have been of the $25 polyester/spandex variety. Likewise, I’ve been buying cheap, low-quality shoes. Cute enough and certainly affordable, but hardly luxe.

Time to remedy that.

I figured I’d approach this the same way I do a room, hence the little mockup. Making ME lovely, I suppose.

Ladylike Fashion for Spring 2008

I already own the “Deco” shoes (the exception to my cheap shoes of late) and the gold bracelet, so that’s a good start.

The purse I’ve had on my wishlist went on sale (35% off!), so I went ahead and bought it. I also needed to buy a new wallet because mine was starting to fall apart. My driver’s license and debit card would just go flying out whenever I opened it. My friend Genie and I went shopping yesterday, and I found THE ONE. It’s gorgeous, truly. The inside is my favorite shade of lilac/pink, and the billfolds and change compartment are lined with adorable stripes! The only problem: it was quite a bit more that I was planning to spend. The wallet will last for years and years though, so yes – I bought that too.

Now, I’ve been upgrading my accessories, but I haven’t to gotten to any actual items of clothing yet… I’d love to have Banana Republic’s Cap-sleeve Silk Dress (now on my wishlist), or J. Crew’s Chambray Oxford Dress (also added to the wishlist), but I went with the Spotty Tea Dress from Boden . That little dress is just perfect. I love the style, the scale of the polka dots, and the color (pink!). Oh, and good news for many: the dress sizes at Boden go up to the equivalent of a US size 18.

Quality vs. Quantity

In theory, I believe you should opt for fewer high-quality items than many inferior goods. I just haven’t been very good about putting that into practice. It’s not about price as much as it is about waiting for something with style (instead of buying another basic piece). I’m good at mixing high and low in my home, but not in my closet. I see a purse that’s $350 and shy away, but I’ll end up with five $70 purses without thinking twice (and I’ll give half of them away to friends or goodwill a year later).

I don’t even buy things that often, so what’s my excuse for not waiting for quality? I hereby pledge to do better! I’d rather have one beautiful shirt than five plain tees. I’d rather have one nice pair of shoes than a closet full of cheap plastic ones. If a dress is only so-so, it’s a no-no (sorry, that was cheesy). I’m not swearing off Target or H&M, but I do NOT need another black jersey dress – even if it is only $25.

What about you? Do you go for quality or quanity? An equal mix of the two?

41 Responses to “Ladylike Style”

  1. LeeAnn March 2, 2008 at 6:47 pm #

    I just put that beautiful dress on my wish list. Thanks for pointing it out! I’m going to go twirl around now and pretend. :)

  2. Aimee March 2, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    Always quality first in our home. It’s one mantra we have been very good about sticking with, and one that absolutely saves money and resources. :) Plus, the quality stuff just looks and feels so much nicer, which is great for the psyche as well.

  3. Jules March 2, 2008 at 7:19 pm #

    I used to be strictly quality thanks to my mom. She is a phenomenal dresser. A mix between Jackie O. and Annie Hall. All of her stuff is expensive but some things in her closet are almost 20 years old and still in mint condition! When I got married I adopted my husband’s bad habit of frugality, which he learned from his mom. No more. You’ve inspired me to go back to my roots. :)

  4. Jules March 2, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    Hmmm. By bad I don’t mean frugality is bad, per se. More like the concept that you don’t deserve something nice, or that too wear something nice or expensive is snobbery. In some cases that may be so (no one needs a $1500 purse), but I don’t think that’s what were talking about.

  5. April March 2, 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    I think as I get older I’m getting better. Before it was me me me and what I want now, so I’d opt for lesser quality so that I could get more for the same budget. Now I hold off and purchase those thing I really truly want. Then I have to think longer about whether or not I’ll actually wear them. I also try and return things if I have not worn them within three weeks of purchasing.

  6. Laura March 2, 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    I think a blend of both is good. Until I get an amazing amount of disposable income, I will still have to buy cheap things that I know I’ll want to replace when they look a little scruffy, like t-shirts or socks. Definitely quality with things like shoes and wallets though. Which reminds me to go take a look at Remix shoes. Those are beautiful!

  7. angeline March 2, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    Wow the CH purse is beautiful! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Great haul.

    My rule of thumb when fashion shopping is “cost per wear”. Cost of the item divided by the number of wear.

    If it is a trendy item, I would go for Target and H&M. For suits, classic jackets and denim, I tend to buy BR and Jcrew because IMO they retain their shape better after many many washes. Even if they are more expensive, I tend to get more wear out of them, and thus lowering the cost per wear.

  8. BettyBetty March 2, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    I always go for quality. I would rather wear to death one pair of trousers that fit well and are nicely made rather than have a closet-full of inexpensive but ill-fitting pairs. Same goes for shoes, purses etc. etc. Who needs 25 pairs of cheap black pants? Target has some cute things but I find they usually don’t launder well or fit right— good for short-term summer stuff that you can use for dust rags come winter.

  9. Marilyn March 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    I’ve finally come around to quality, at least always trying to wait for the quality when it comes to the big things – coats, bags, shoes – the things that take the heavy use. I agree on t-shirts, etc staying cheap.

    You’ve put together the most lovely Lucky-like assortment of spring! I almost ordered the Boden dress recently and I’ve been wavering on that dreamy C-H bag. How’d you find my wish list?

  10. Lili March 2, 2008 at 8:42 pm #

    I try to do a mixture of both as well. I recently cleaned out my closet and donated about $100 of shoes I purchased at payless, and never wore. Great.

    I tend to spend a lot on shoes and not as much on clothing, but part of that has to do with me wanting to lose weight before I invest in more expensive clothing.

    As for handbags, $70 can buy a really gorgeous handmade handbag ;)

  11. paola March 2, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    Wow! I didn’t know Boden had come to the US… that’s made my day, thanks!

  12. Marilyn March 2, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    Forgot to mention that on the plus side for “quantity,” I recently bought a fantastic dress at Target for a mere $29.99 that goes with everything and will most likely last a long time. You never know what you’ll find!

  13. star March 2, 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    ditto..i definitely mix a little bit of both depending on the item.
    and thanks so much for pointing me to remix! i am loving those shoes!

  14. Kath March 2, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    I go for comfort first, quality second.

    Have one pair of black dress heels, one pair of black ballet flats…and 9 pair of Merrell’s.

  15. Jane March 3, 2008 at 5:36 am #

    I always go for quality, though I am discerning what I define as quality. It’s not always about the label as much as the stitching, quality of materials etc. I won’t buy a nylon purse just because it has a brand name and a few zeros beside it!

    Sometimes the quest for quality leaves glaring holes in my wardrobe or interior, so I compromise to fill those, but it’s usually a “in the meantime” solution that I mean to remedy later.

    The one great thing about cheaper purchases is I feel more encouraged to customize them, be it painting that IKEA table or unstringing that cheap necklace. So, hopefully, the overall look has something people can’t quite put their finger on, while looking high-end overall.

  16. Nicole March 3, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    This post was so perfect – I have been thinking about the same things lately! Definately time to upgrade the wardrobe and invest in the quality pieces that will last.

    I tend to be a bargain hunter, but I know that it isn’t always smart- the cashmere sweater I ‘saved’ on from Filene’s Basement is done after this winter- I should have bought a nice one and then I wouldnt need to replace it next year!

    I’m excited to see what you come up with… it will inspire me to stay on track too! :)

  17. Janelle March 3, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    I try to buy lasting clothes- not just in quality, because that can get expensive, but also in the lack of “trendiness”. I save the “trendiness” for my accessories.

  18. Sommer March 3, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    When it comes to buying stuff, I’m far more quality over quantity. When it comes to clothes and accessories, I’m more on the quantity/whatever I can afford and is available. I’m getting a little better, with some pieces that I’ve gone quality in, but I’m sort of a staple person- I wear the same accessories every day and they have meaning rather than value. Like my grandma’s necklaces, or bracelets my husband has bought me. I’ve tried to break away from my thrifty clothing habits, but it just doesn’t excite me as much as buying quality things for my home. But I really love that dress you put up there!

  19. jamie March 3, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    i’ve been purging my house lately, and i’ve found that its all the poor quality stuff that i’m getting rid of. forever, i would buy anything at target, old navy, whereever. but you take so much pride in the nicer things. and you don’t end up amassing piles of crap if you go for quality.

  20. pve design March 3, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Quality. Just splurged on computer chairs, the Aeron Chair and am so glad that I held out and saved for the best. I prefer to do without and save for the best.
    Budgeting allows for wise investments.

  21. Kay* March 3, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    I go for quality – but at the same time how I feel about an item. That goes for decorating and my closet. For example – even if it’s only a $15 shirt from H&M I MUST LOVE IT or else I wont buy it. I buy what I love – regardless of price. Like you said if it’s a so-so it’s a no-no.

  22. anonymous tsk tsk March 3, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    I feel it doesn’t really matter how much one individual spends on clothing and shoes or where they shop, etc. If YOU feel comfortable and happy, that’s all that counts.

    But, also IMO, opening up your new $200 Coach wallet to show all your receipts is tacky.

  23. Anna March 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    What a great dress!

    I try to go for quality, but I’m not that good at sticking with it either. I can’t even tell you how many blah t-shirts I have stuffed in drawers!

  24. Michelle March 3, 2008 at 4:08 pm #

    Your mockup is quite lovely!
    I love your wallet! It’s just as nice to freshen up your wardrobe as it is your home and it lifts the spirits, too.

    I tend to get the staples in a higher quality and with the trendy or summer things I tend to go a little cheapie. When it comes to handbags & shoes, I get quality but shop less often because of it.

  25. Deborah March 3, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    I mix.
    #1But I have a limit on what I spend.
    So even my high quality items are from a sale or clearance section most of the time.I just watch them until they get there and hope my size is still there if I love it THAT much!(most often deep clearance because thats whats in my budget)
    Shoes are first.
    Handbags.I make my own ( :) no plug intended)
    jewelry I usualy buy from independent designers but sometimes I throw in a trendy chepie from Target or the like.
    Jeans:I buy what fits great.But again see #1.
    I also do like the above and do the cost per wear assesment.

  26. Elissa March 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Oh, that purse is gorgeous! Unfortunately I really can’t bring myself to spend lots on a purse because I’m way to fickle. But THAT purse is just too amazingly cute and perfect. I think I might try to make something similar if I can find the right fabric.

  27. Candice March 4, 2008 at 8:39 am #

    I know what you mean, I buy a $10 shirt at Forever 21 and then get upset when it falls apart after 2 washes! I believe that you should spend money to buy quality pieces but if something is super trendy and will probably be out of style next season I try not to spend a lot of money on it.

  28. Caitlin March 5, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    Lovely! (well duh, it’s on this blog, after all!)

    I tend to not buy clothing very often at all. I don’t buy the dress that’s really adorable and fits perfectly unless I really need it for a function. Originally because of frugality, but now also because I’m trying to reduce the number of things I bring into my home.

    Unfortunately, my clothing style reflects this; I only have a handful of cheap t-shirts and jeans, so that’s what I wear on a daily basis. I only have one pair of running shoes, so I wear them every day.
    Occasionally I’ll go all out and buy a lovely blouse, but one item of nice clothing in a wardrobe of t-shirts with funny pictures on them looks really out of place.
    I’ll fix than when I win the lottery! ^_~

  29. amy purple March 5, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    That dress will look quite stunning on you, Nicole!

  30. Erica March 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

    I tend to mix. I love to get classic, quality items so I can wear them for years & years. I will add trendy accessories & little tops from H&M or places like that. I still have to watch my budget so I tend to stick to sales at better department stores or stores like TJ Maxx that sell the name brands at a discount. But I agree with others who have said plastering a “name” is not the goal, but finding well made, well fitting clothing shoule be the goal. Nicole this blog is so fun! Love the new clothes!

  31. Goody March 7, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    i tend to mix it up…i have way more than my share of jersey dresses from target, etc..but i have that coach wallet, albeit in black and although i carry way too many necessities to be able to close it most times, i love it…i also have the matching allie bag…but i will rock a bag from baghaus and payless is my go to in a crunch, mainly because they carry my size in a variety of styles…but especially since my style changes all the time..

    but i am working on a weight release and the pieces that i desire are definitely taking on a more feminine edge…although i do own a piece from tiffany’s, it was from the upstairs shop and not the highly guarded main floor..i have been buying most of my jewelry from etsy lately..

    and since its been negative 10 in chicago for months now, i have been bundled up in layers and hats, so this is refreshing to see…a reminder that its time to spring forward in more ways than one!

  32. Genie March 11, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    I just saw the Boden dress. I love how they describe polka dotted things as “spotty.” I asked the English boyfriend what Boden was like in England, and I guess it’s targeted at hot women in their 30s, or “yummy mummies.”

    That’s a great dress!

  33. Audrey March 19, 2008 at 4:34 am #

    I see a purse that’s $350 and shy away, but I’ll end up with five $70 purses without thinking twice (and I’ll give half of them away to friends or goodwill a year later).

    —hahahaha, i hear you, same here. i try to get the best deals, sometimes it jsut not too practical either.

    blog hopping here…

    warm regards.

  34. courtney March 27, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Well, I guess I am somewhere in the middle. I tend to shop sales/clerance. If I can only afford to pay $20 for a dress, then I will get it at Macy’s, Gap, or another Mid priced store when it is on sale. I don’t want it to fall apart no matter how much it costs. For things like basic white/black tank tops (which I buy at least one a year because they get stained/fade) I will go to target.

  35. Susan March 29, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    Thanks for posting the Boden dress. I’m in love with it. I have a really hard time paying more then target prices for clothes. Mostly its because I can’t justify it.

  36. michelle April 30, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    it sounds like we’re on the exact same wavelength with our shopping styles. i definitely do not need another $17 dress from forever 21. my problem right now is that my funds are low so i feel guilty buying more expensive cloths so instead i load up on the cheap (i’ll be it cute) stuff. i think i need some retail therapy.

  37. Cindy June 26, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    I keep telling myself I will do the same thing and buy only good quality, pricier things. But no….I am stuck in a rut and buy tons of cheap clothes that look awful once they’re washed. This is my public declaration to change my ways!!! :)

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