Save Money by Buying and Fixing Quality Apparel

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Fast Fashion sprang to life shortly after the 2009 financial crisis. In the years prior, we were paying hundreds of dollars for designer tee shirts and jeans, and now, the vast majority of consumers (regardless of their financial standing) are purchasing most items for under twenty dollar, including their shoes.

I have a love-hate relationship with the trend.

Firstly, let’s admit that much of the clothing sold at an egregious markup is the same shitty quality as most of the clothing sold for 20 bucks. And there are times, when we are very lucky, when we find quality goods at a bargain price, but it is very rare that we find quality goods, made by the brands we love, for a price that doesn’t insult our intelligence.

And that’s the thing about insane markups –– for some people, it’s not about being able to pay for an item, but about the feeling that someone think’s their stupid enough to pay $200 for a tee shirt that cost 50¢ to make!

People with elevated emotional intelligence don’t like feeling as if that intelligence is being underestimated.

How to Buy Shoes

As a young girl, I was taught to never buy cheap shoes. I was taught that all my shoes should have leather uppers –– the part of the shoe that cover your foot. Also, the insole and lining of the shoe should be leather and/or cotton, allowing the foot to breathe. When your foot is allowed to breathe, this keeps it from sweating, which cuts down on foot odor and blistering. To that end, you also want to be sure to buy the right size shoe, for comfort and to avoid blistering and corns.

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Look for the Signs

In order to know what your shoes are made of before buying, all you have to do it flip them over! This six-square has all the information you need to know. Now, obviously, when you see this sticker on the bottom of your shoes, they won’t have words on them, so all you have to do is be able to recognize what each picture means.

  • The insignia for leather looks like an animal skin

  • The insignia for textile (cloth) looks like fabric

  • The insignia for other material is a random diamond shape

By following the rules I mentioned above, you can be sure you’re purchasing a shoe made of quality, repairable materials, as long as your upper is leather. Naturally, some shoes (like sneakers) have textile uppers, and that’s perfectly fine. Just no man-made (diamond) uppers! Sometimes, depending on the shoe, your lining can be leather or textile, and that’s perfectly okay. Just no man-made (diamond) linings! Some brands (like Louis Vuitton) tend to use leather on their soles, and that’s just fine. Just be prepared to have your soles replaced sooner than is they were a man-made material, like rubber.


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Repair, Don’t Replace

By purchasing better quality shoes, you will find yourself a lot less willing to just toss them when they begin to fall apart, even if you didn’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on them. But, for the sake of this post, let’s take a look at the sneakers pictured above.

I purchased these Burberry sneakers sometime around 2007, and didn’t wear them until 2013. I wore them often for about 2 years before they began to fall apart. They cost about $325, but like most luxury items, are not worth anywhere near that much. Still, I wanted them, so I got them. I put them away in 2015 and haven’t worn them since. I can live without them. I kept telling myself to take them to be fixed, but kept forgetting…

Until my favorite Ugg boots starting falling apart.

Well, I can’t have my favorite boots coming apart at the seams, so I packed them up (along with the sneakers) and headed to The Shoe Doctor. The total cost to have the sneakers repaired was $65, which included a shampoo and complete resoling. I bought new cotton shoe laces after throwing out the filthy originals, and it felt as if I had a brand new pair of shoes.

Investment, Not Fashion

When purchasing shoes, handbags, belts, wallets, and other leather goods, I choose to look at them as investments and not fashion. There are certain items I have purchased over a decade ago, that I would never give or throw away. I love them. I worked hard to be able to afford them. They are classics, and some of them are rare finds. So, I have them cleaned and repaired when its time. This is not something you can or would do with cheap, plastic items, and by throwing away your fast fashion, you put stress on the environment, as well as on your wallet by having to buy and replace, buy and replace.

Invest in your wardrobe. Purchase quality, well-made items, and fix them instead of tossing them when they become worn. Not only will you look “richer,” but you will be saving money in the long run…and doing your part to save the environment!