My eyes tend to glaze over whenever I see "How to" columns, because 50% of the time, the advice is yawningly predictable or irrelevant and 50% of the time, I disagree.
But one miserable afternoon when I was in dear need of cheering up, I started reading some of the "How to" stuff on the Times Online's fashion section, and I found myself going, "she's right".
Because with all the crappy tips being published these days about smart shopping in a recession etc etc (you should always shop smart, dammit, recession or otherwise), here was stuff that was actually useful to keep in mind the next time I pop to the shops.
This one I like is written by Lisa Armstrong and titled "How to buy clothes that last". Despite the obvious and un-thrilling title, it summed up nicely all the little suggestions people make over the years into a handy list -
1) Hang it casually on the peg. Then let it fall on the floor. Retrieve. Examine.
2) Put it on. Take it off. Put it on. Marks out of ten for ease and state of garment at end.
3) With trousers, skirts or dresses, sit down, stand up, sit down. Is it creased and disorderly? Are you? Is your underwear on show to the world when you’re seated?
4) If white, look carefully at the care label.
5) If fluffy, feather or furry, try it on with something dark. If it leaves traces, put it back.
6) This isn’t vandalism, but if you’re worried about creasing, scrumple a tiny corner in your hand and see what happens. Julia Dee recommends tugging at the seams gently to see whether they bag. That’s not vandalism either. It’s canny shopping.Also -
“If buying for warmth and durability, look for a minimum 60 per cent wool content, with perhaps 20 per cent silk and 20 per cent man-made. If the ratios are reversed, it’s less likely to retain its shape. Anything between two and ten per cent Lycra means there’ll be some give in the fabric and will help fibres regain shape. Some quality wools are woven to give naturally. Look for good linings as they help prevent bagging. Scotchgard before any dirt gets engrained. Factor in the cost of a top dry-cleaner if you’re buying something delicate.” - Julia Dees, Wardrobe Alterations
This is stuff I know (I worked as a boutique assistant and you pick up these things) and nothing groundbreaking but how nice that there are people out there still trying to stress durability in an era of fast fashion.
It's much easier said than done for the average working person like me since even some of price tags at say, Zara makes me think twice, and I'm not fiscally able to buy100% cashmere and pure silk cotton blends. It also enrages me when I walk into Topshop and find them charging ridiculous amounts for a pieces of brightly-coloured parachute material crudely sewn together.
This article reaffirms my desire not to settle for crap.
Image from vogue france