Fashion & Beauty

What Price for a Clothing Update?

LAST WEEK we asked what you’d spend for a winter wardrobe pick-me-up. Was your sweet spot $300, $400? More? Less? And what items what would you be willing to shell out money for? As to be expected, most of you wanted a good deal, a few of you had black pants on their to-buy radar, and a couple of you thought that getting what they wanted was more important than the price tag. Thank you all for your feedback.

World traveler Bonnie Schloss: My price is low. Clothing is better when it’s on sale and shopping for a bargain is my therapy. Just spent $160 at Desigual‘s (my favorite store/brand), where I scored 70% off two sweaters, one dress and three long-sleeve shirts. That way I have money left to spend on crafts when I travel to Colombia.

Philanthropy consultant Christine O’Neill Singer: What price comfort and I don’t mean the elastic waistband kind. I mean soft, unstructured, probably gray, well-made (unlike a brand we all want to love but that comes apart at the seams all the time—cutting corners on seams is the mark of a cheap manufacturing chain)—clothing that goes on with no fuss, looks stylish enough for any lunch in NY (sorry DC) but relaxed enough for a walk through Central Park with your lunch companion afterwards. $500-$1,000 for the outfit, acquired over a bit of time. And lasts five years at least.

PR executive Jodie Klein: My big coup this season was a pair of TopShop embroidered booties for $69. Every time I wear them I get compliments, and they add a freshness to every outfit.

DMV realtor Bonnie Casper: A cashmere sweater or sweater dress. Between $200 and $300 on sale.

Pittsburgh interior designer Candy Johnston: I don’t buy anything much in the fall. Instead I wait for the post-holiday sales. Neiman Marcus was selling things up to 75 percent off and I got three dresses and a few pairs of Stuart Weitzman boots.

Philadelphia lawyer Nancy Gold: I spend much too much on clothes and shoes, bags and makeup. The biggest thing I spend money on is black pants, in all iterations, though generally on sale. There’s a great boutique (Erdon) near me that stocks wonderful European under-the-radar designers (Sarah Pacini, Ivan Grundahl, Trippen, e.g.) and I wait for their 70% off sale. I have tons of black pants, and I love and wear all of them. I can spend anywhere from $100 to $300, depending on how much I like them.  I try not to buy anything I don’t love anymore. That goes for shoes, too. I’m buying fewer, and they’re more expensive than I used to spend, but I love them!

Little Bird Stephanie CavanaughClothes Encounters on Capitol Hill is my haunt. Latest coup: $25 for a $750 Johnstons of Elgin Scottish cashmere turtleneck. Also, black pants. Eileen Fisher, and not just because I wear them in a small, which is a laugh. They actually make me look like I wear a small. These I’ve paid full price ($175) for. They wear like iron. Washer/dryer safe. Probably could throw them in the dishwasher and they’d hold up. Miracle pants.

Expert shopper Dasha Karelina:  Having surveyed my fall/winter wardrobe options recently only to discover that they are 99 percent black or in the same two shades of gray, I turned to Etsy for a splash of color.  First, I ordered a poppy red linen blouse with lavish embroidery on the sleeves from a seamstress in Ukraine.  It took a month to arrive but it was worth the wait: gorgeous, beautifully cut from heavy-weight linen and it goes with all of my black pants, jeans and can be paired with shorts in the summer.  My second purchase was a colorful traditional Pavlovo Posad wool shawl from Russia, to complement all those black coats and sweaters in my closet. It will easily work with spring and summer outfits as well.

D.C. writer: I splurged on a pair of L.K.Bennett boots with silver studs because I had to have them. Also, they were a little bit on sale.

Met Museum of Art docent Linda Kastan: I don’t think about shopping like everyone else does—well, most everyone else. First, no midwinter perking up for my wardrobe. I dress mainly in black, it will always be black and winter is the best time for that non-color color. I already have enough contrasting color pieces in my closet, be they white, blue, beige or even fuchsia and chartreuse (I love chartreuse!). My shopping in winter slows down. Sales are perfect places not for picking up something I know I am going to wear, but rather something out of my comfort zone or just plain fun. I can stroll down Madison Avenue and check out stores for sales items that meet those criteria (also including something I fall in love with), but a bright color doesn’t play a part. I buy makeup in winter and summer, and if I am going to bring color into my winter look, it will generally be through a change in makeup.

MyLittleBird Managing Editor Nancy McKeon:  I have my eye on this kind of weird-colored, army-green crocodile cross-body bag from Nancy Gonzalez. Not sure why but since a trip to Brazil in 1968, I try to have something croc all the time, sometimes a wallet, sometimes moccasins (though they’ve become too pricey), sometimes yet one more handbag. This particular bag is from a species of crocodile that’s not endangered, so if I decide to splurge on it, I could buy it with a relatively clear conscience. I’m tired of black bags (one casual and one dressy are enough), and this one is not so dressy I can’t wear it to the dog park. It’ll be just another cross-body bag with poop bags in it.

—Janet Kelly



2 thoughts on “What Price for a Clothing Update?

  1. I want to know more about buying stuff on Etsy, Daria! Your finds sound so cool – but weren’t you a little nervous about them being mistakes?

  2. Nancy says:

    I love Jodie’s boots!

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