Quality over quantity has always been a big struggle of mine. It dates all the way back to being a teenager when having $40 felt like you owned the world. When I would go shopping with friends, before I even had my own bank account, whatever cash I had was all I could spend. There were the stores I would go to with my mom – Gap, J. Crew, Bloomingdale’s – and then there were the stores I would go to with my friends – H&M, Forever 21, Wet Seal when it was still a thing. If I only had $40, why would I spend it all one 1 shirt when I could buy at least 3 shirts from one of the cheaper stores?
This habit definitely stuck with me through college. When going through my closet this weekend though, I came to realize the habit is still pretty strong. I also realized the clothes I put in the bag for charity are, for the most part, from those cheaper stores, or something I got on super sale. Some of the pieces I liked initially, but after I washed them they either shrunk or just didn’t wash well. Surprise, it’s because they are cheaper fabrics! Others were a style I wanted to try but quickly realized it didn’t work for me. But it was only $20, or it was on sale so how could I say no?
I started shopping in the cheaper stores because that’s all I could afford. But as an adult, I now have more than $40 with me when I go shopping. I can’t afford designer clothes, but there’s a middle ground. In the past year I have fallen in love with stores like Topshop, Zara, and ASOS. The prices may vary, but overall they are great, and I would say the quality is much higher. Yet I catch myself thinking, “That sweater is so cute, but $80? That’s a lot.” Yes, $80 is a lot more compared to the $25 sweaters at those cheaper stores. But what I’m finally starting to realize is that the $25 sweater might last me for 1 season or 1 year. The $80 one will most likely last me for 5, 6 years or more.
I don’t want to say, never buy from stores with lower prices, because I have found some great things from them that I still love and wear. For example, the sweater in these photos I found at H&M on sale for $7. I have dresses from there that I’ve had for years. And honestly, I get compliments on clothes and shoes from Target all the time. That said, I think it’s time for me to be more conscious of the purchases I make.
So, here’s how I’m going to try to improve.
- Stop impulse buying. Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you have to have it. Ask yourself, when will you wear it? What do you already have that it will go with? If you have a lot of answers, go for it. If you don’t have any, or only 1 answer, then pass. If you’re still thinking about it next week, then go back.
- Shop online more. Related to impulse buying, I’ve realized if I shop online, I’m more likely to take my time and not rush into a purchase. I’ll bookmark whatever I find, especially if I’m on the fence about it. The next time I’m scrolling on the website, or when I find something I’m in love with, then I’ll go back to my bookmarks and decide – do I still want this? If yes, I can add it to my cart, if no, then the bookmark gets deleted.
- Spend more on the classic pieces, and less on trends. Simple sweaters, jeans, a timeless dress, these are the pieces I need to start buying with a higher quality. They are the items that will never go out of style that I can wear again and again, so they should be able to last. I’m not the biggest trend follower, but some do pop up that I love. However, the cheaper stores will make their own versions and that’s when it will be a good time to save. If I end up wearing the trend over and over, then it’ll be time to think about investing in better quality, but only after I know my love for it will last.
- Discover new brands. I would love to discover more sustainable, ethical brands and try shopping at the ones I already know of. For example, I have eyed clothing from Reformation for a couple of years, but it always felt too expensive to me. Yes, it is more expensive than what I’ve been paying, but some items aren’t that bad. Plus they pride themselves on using sustainable practices to manufacture their clothing so whatever I find, I’ll know it has been made well and consciously.
- Think and wait. This has been a part of each tip, but it’s time to start thinking before buying. And not just think, does this look good, but the bigger questions. Will it last? How much wear will you get out of it? What can you wear it to? What can you wear it with? And when in any doubt, wait. It will still be there next week if you’re still thinking about it, and if it’s not, then it wasn’t meant to be.
In this post, I’ve stuck with quality over quantity in terms of clothing, but this can relate to household items, food, makeup, bath products, furniture, and even relationships. I’m proud to say I figured out quality over quantity with my friendships very easily, so here’s to hoping I can improve in other areas.
What are your thoughts on quality over quantity? Let me know in the comments below!