Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shopping for essentials: items that fall in the "money is no object" philosophy

In an ideal situation money and that ugly word budget would never come into play when deciding what to buy. Our wardrobes would boast nothing but the finest suits made of super 140s wool, alpaca sweaters and Camel Hair coats. Real life and financial limitations force us to be realistic.
When forced to cut back, I am most likely to compromise on everything except three things: underwear, footwear and outerwear. Without exception my wardrobe holds nothing but the best I could afford in these three categories.
Okay, except two pairs of flip flops bought for peanuts. I really have no intention of shelling out 100 € on a pair of plastic thongs from (insert a high end brand here) ______. Other than the logo, the level of comfort is probably equal to that of a pair of drug store flip flops. Not to mention they're both made in  China anyway.

Missoni flip flops

Moving on.

Underwear is the most obvious choice. It comes into closest contact with our skin so it's paramount it be made of comfortable preferably natural material, allowing the skin to breathe. You won't find any lacy culottes in my underwear drawer!
Anything that requires hand washing has been expunged from my closet as well. Yes, it's saucy and sexy, but I prefer an infection and eczema free groin area.

Vegetarian sneakers

Footwear is next. And it's become quite customary, even expected for women to covet, own and spend an obscene amount of money on shoes. Owning quality footwear doesn't equal a mortgage down payment tied up in a closet full of Manolos and Louboutins!
Our feet need proper support since they carry our weight around and high heel shoes don't cut it.

And finally: outerwear. Unless you live in a moderate climate that doesn't require coats and parkas you are no doubt well acquainted with the nuisance that accompanies bad weather. The cold, the snow and the chilling damp air.
Outerwear must be able to protect us from all this. It must also be light, durable and comfortable. Quality outerwear is probably the most expensive purchase of all. But if you take good care of your coat, it can last a decade.

Sportmax F/W 2011 runway

As you can see my list of essentials is pretty short. Minute actually. I'm not saying that other items are irrelevant and paying good money on say pants or a handbag is money wasted. I'm merely scaling the list to absolute, bare essentials in the sudden death style of either or.
As always, I'm very interested in your opinion. Do you agree with my list or not? And if so, why?

Versace parka
And for the record I like to wear my sneakers with my coat and my wedge boots with my parka. To mix it up a bit :-)


  1. Yep, I'm totally agreeing with your list here. For me a decent coat is the best thing to own. If you're having a bad clothes day the great coat will make you feel so much better!

  2. I love that parka! But since the weather only dips just below freezing a few days a year where I live, I don't really need such severe outerwear. And as for the underwear, I definitely believe in good bras, but panties - eh, whatever fits, is cute, and is on sale. Shoes though, I'm 100% with you. But it took me a long time to get here. I've got bad feet though; it's a rare heel I can wear, and on special occasions only. Otherwise, it's quality & arch support all the way. Cheap? No. But necessary for the rest of my life? You bet!

    I don't know who would buy Missoni flip flops! I felt like my Missoni for Target dress was a splurge at $54.99!

  3. If only three categories are allowed, I am with you.
    Underwear- quality, perfect sizing, esthetically pleasing.
    Footwear- quality,perfect size, suitable for use and climate, nice looking.
    Outerwear- climate rules, easy to wear, good looking.

  4. I like your list, though I must admit that I didn't splurge on underwear until this year. A kind sewing blogger, Kristin of K-Line, suggested that my previous bras weren't doing anything for me :). I took myself to a local French lingerie shop and bought myself some beautiful bras and panties. Now I wouldn't dream of wearing anything else!

  5. bead addict: Putting on a coat is always a ritual for me. Much like some women find joy in applying make-up I get the same from sliding into my coat and buttoning it up. As I proceed to that my whole attitude shifts, I'm ready to face the world in my coat.

    Heidi: The parka is totally drool worthy :-) When it comes to footwear I think most people arrive to the same conclusion via the painful way.

  6. Heidi: As for the Missoni flip flops, I believe they are bought by people who believe that money can substitute personality. (being a bit evil here, I confess!)

  7. Mette: Three is just an arbitrary number. If I lived in a more moderate climate, I could forgo the outerwear, but footwear and underwear are essential in any climate. Unless I relocate to the nudy island in the Pacific ;-)

    Susan: I remember she also made her own bras, one very talented lady! And yes a good bra is one of the fastest way to look slimmer and youthful. Not to mention what a relief it is to your shoulders and back.

  8. As to essentials, I admit to undergarments from Paris. Not only beautiful - but built to endure! (Worth every centime.)

  9. Oh, I love your posts! Having high arches and narrow feet most of my life, shoes have always been important. Undergarments are of extreme importance. I learned the bra lesson as a young adult, and have had personal fittings several times to make sure I get what fits best at that time of life. I don't have heavy outerwear now, due to the climate here on the coast, but I have a love affair with coats. The rest of my family does not. Sad. I will also spend more funds for a purse, but not for the name; for the durability. (I'm very rough on them)

  10. I have such a long list of "if only I had a gillion dollars" imaginary purchases!
    It's fun to daydream!

  11. BigLittleWolf: The French have a way with underwear! Unfortunately the stuff we get is so overpriced and quite disappointing quality-wise, I've resorted to German brands. Great fit, very durable but lacking that certain appeal. Italian underwear is always cute but poorly constructed unless you go all the way and get some Cotton Club. But credit cards do need counseling afterward ;-)

  12. Shirley: I can truly sympathise on the high arches situation. Mr. C has got them too, along with wide and long feet. Buying shoes for him used to be a nightmare. Luckily we've found a couple of reliable brands (ahem, not cheap!) but their shoes are extremely comfortable and durable. As for bags, I prefer sturdy nylon bags with lots of metal rivets and clasps and hooks. Those last for ages too.

    Vanessa: Now that's quite another list. And I could happily write a whole separate blog on that :-)