Monday, 24 September 2018

You Get What You Pay For?

I spent five dollars on a sweater. That sweater is now in the garbage can. But it's not what you think.

I am far from a fashionista. Especially since becoming a parent without a day job. Jeans, jogging pants, t-shirts, and hoodies (mostly neutral solid colours) make up the majority of my wardrobe. Shopping can be fun, but it’s far from my go-to activity when I’ve got some me time. I don’t get any pleasure from having high-priced items in my closet–I can almost see the inevitable slop of spaghetti sauce before I even get out of the store.

I have, however, learned over the years that paying up a little for the right thing, and buying it once, is better than buying the somewhat cheaper version five times because it shrinks or falls apart so fast. I learned this lesson with jogging pants and pajama bottoms (like I said, not a fashionista). Neither of these items seem worth paying a lot for. Most of the people who see me in them are either at the gym or in my house. Ok, the people at the park see them a lot these days too. (The jogging pants, not the pajama bottoms. But I make no promises.)

 After having pair after pair of jogging pants shrink three inches after a few washes (seriously jogging pants that can’t go in the dryer should not exist), I received a pair of nice Roots jogging pants as a gift. They lasted for years.

Now all my jogging pants come from Roots. They cost easily twice what I used to spend, but they still fit months, even years, later and have no holes. I don’t need that many pairs, so I can handle paying a little (ok a lot) extra. Shortly after my jogging pants conversion, Roots came out with some really nice pajama bottoms. I bought them. I may never buy another brand of pajama bottom again.

Before you start to think Roots sponsored this post, I’ll point out my favourite hoodie is from Walmart. It fits, didn’t shrink, and I ended up buying the same one in four colours. (My mother would be proud if I weren’t talking about hoodies, or Walmart.) The only jeans I have found since 2007 that are the right cut, fit, and don’t stretch out of shape are from Old Navy. It's not always necessary to pay up for the right thing.

But it usually is. And it's still better to pay more for the right thing rather than less for the almost-but-not-quite-right thing. Also, I doubt my Walmart sweaters will outlast my Roots pajamas. Then again, you never know…

Back to the sweater in the garbage can:

A few weeks after I learned I was pregnant, I was out running errands with a friend. She wanted to go into Giant Tiger for socks, or leggings, or something. I came along. I wasn’t really looking for anything, but in the back of my mind was the vague awareness I would soon need some clothes to accommodate my growing midsection.

My friend came across a hooded sweater on clearance. (This was before my Walmart hoodie discovery.) Clearance at Giant Tiger = less than five dollars. I grabbed one, a size larger than usual to make sure there was plenty of room to grow. I had no expectation this sweater would last, but it was early January and I only needed it to get me through Winter and Spring. I figured the sleeves would be three-quarter length after a trip or two through the dryer, but what the hell? How many times have I spent five bucks on a latte?

Well let me just say, kudos to Giant Tiger. Not only did the sleeves not shrink, the sweater was soft, cozy, and stretched to fit throughout my pregnancy. I wore it all…the…time. And then it bounced back to its original size! I continued to wear it regularly after Kiddo was born. Few items in my closet have worked as hard as this sweater that I bought almost four years ago.

Alas, a few days ago, the sweater came out of the dryer with the zipper clasp missing. Yes, I could replace it. But, really? I’d spend as much, or more, on a new zipper as I spent on the sweater. Sadly, I threw it out. But that was certainly five dollars well spent. 

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