My New Coat + I'm So Over Buying Expensive Clothes

photo credit: Stephen Small

Over the past couple of years I have searched high and low for a wool coat that could be dressed up or down. I was thinking Boden or J.Crew. But in the end, I picked up this super affordable pea coat from Old Navy. I bought it during a SALE for about $35. And my mom actually paid for it!

It's a polyester wool blend. I'm thrilled with it.

Over and over, I have debated...do I buy nicer, more expensive clothes or do I stick with Old Navy and Gap?

I'm coming out of a phase when I thought buying more expensive clothes might be the way to go. My thought was they would be higher quality and last longer. I was thinking with cost per wear I'd come out better, financially....and I'd like my clothes more.

But in my recent experience, even the nicer, more costly clothing I've bought has left me totally disappointed. This past summer, I splurged on some shirts from Anthropolgie and they held up pitifully. I was even careful to wash them exactly according to directions.

I also had a bad experience with a pair of Paige Jeans. They were fabulous when I bought them. I went as long as I could without washing, but eventually had to. I washed and dried them exactly as directed. They puckered in several places and stretched out. They are dead to me now. Y'all, they did not hold up for even three months!

What I've discovered is just because I'm paying more it does not guarantee higher quality. So, I'm trying to become a student of quality regardless of price or brand.

I'm back to (mostly) shopping at Old Navy, Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, and Target. In a way, I'm relieved that I have come full circle and can shop at these less expensive stores without feeling like I'm missing out on all these amazing high quality clothes that will last a decade.

I've decided that if I'm going to put a lot of money towards something, I say spend it on shoes! Shoes tend to fair better when it comes to getting what you paid for and they can really pull an outfit together.


For almost a year I have adopted the "ten" item wardrobe concept, having fewer clothes that I love and wearing them over and over and over. One of my favorite blogs is Jennifer Scott's, The Daily Connoisseur. She has a great video series about about creating a ten item wardrobe.

I particularly enjoyed this video about how she takes care of her clothes.


Another one of my favorite finds this season, also from Old Navy, this cream colored open cardigan.


What about you? Do you find it worth it to by expensive clothes? Or do you do just as well with Old Navy, Gap, and Loft?


  1. I have gone back and forth on this over the years. I have a few pairs of corduroys from Old Navy that I've had for about 8 years. I wash and dry them, and they are like brand new. Lately though, I have found that Old Navy stuff just doesn't hold up for me as well anymore. For the last two years, I've bought all my clothes from the J Crew factory store. The prices are high for me, but the clothes all go together and can be mixed and matched in many combinations. I think spending more on quality shoes is a wonderful idea!

  2. Great photo of you and a cool coat! I'm going to check out your links. I wish Small Notebook was still blogging - she had such excellent, sensible clothes tips.

    I buy trendier things from the cheap brands/stores, and the classic things from the long-lasting brands without big advertising budgets (in my opinion, some expensive brands are all name and prestige and no quality). Land's End is a consistent winner for me for long-lasting quality. Old Navy clothes really fall apart for me, but I love the fit of their jeans, and I HATE jeans shopping, so I just buy them there.

    All my coats are old!!! I've had my Land's End pale blue wool coat for probably 10 years now. I guess it's getting a little gray around the edges even though I've cleaned it very carefully. I've had my vintage orange leather coat longer than that, my Eddie Bauer denim jacket for 13 years, and my LL Bean everyday coat ($40 on sale!!) for probably 8 years.

    I've found that thrift shopping is one way to get quality brands on the cheap. I buy most of my husband's shirts this way - Polo shirts have lasted beautifully and he wears his clothes hard. I don't bother buying quality clothes for my kids because they grow so quickly or stain things so quickly.

  3. Darling coat, SB! And interesting blog - lots of food for thought.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! I'm 100% with you. It took me a while to figure this out. I absolutely love Old Navy and Gap for my kids, also. Recently, I put $200 on my Gap Card (I had Gap bucks/coupons to use), and I fully stocked my kids' closets for the Fall/winter. OH and amen on shoes, too. I'd rather spend $50 on shoes and $10 on tops any day. The one splurge that seems worth the $$ is Sikes and Kohns. I do love their shoes and JAG jeans.

  5. I find fabulous clothes at Goodwill. If you're willing to go several times and not give up, you can really reap the benefits. I've found some items with the tags still on them. After paying $3-4 for a pair of pants or a cute top, it's really difficult to spend more on something new that is similar. I do buy a few new things here and there, but always check Goodwill first. I recently found a Columbia jacket and a Merrill jacket for my boys.

  6. Yes! I just used Boden's 365-day return policy for the first time to return some things from the fall that held up pitifully. Gap, Old Navy, and J. Crew over here. And now that J. Crew is going down the tubes they're finally more promotional!


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