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Author Topic: That perfect piece of clothing.
Orincoro
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Have you ever stocked up on some different items of general purpose clothing, gotten everything home, wore everything out for a few weeks, and then realized that maybe 30% of what you bought *really* works for you? Maybe this happens to me a lot because I only shop very occasionally, and when I do I tend to buy a lot of new clothing, usually from REI. Sometimes I'll have a few articles- a light sweater, a pair of pants, and just wish that I had had the kind of foresight to just buck up and buy three pairs, maybe in different colors, because they fit so well and look so good- or are just otherwise perfect for how I use them.

When I left for Europe, I stocked up on 4 new pairs of high quality pants from REI. One of them was pretty much destroyed when I put them in an unfamiliar washer at 90 degrees celcius, and they turned purple, and the artificial fabric sort of stiffened... totally my fault. But then there's this great pair I bought with a kind of webbing-button that alleviates a common problem for me- I carelessly destroy the buttons and zippers of all my pants.

So now, I just want 3 pairs of THOSE pants. And I have this great Northface shirt that is kind of a heavy long sleeve pullover that insulates under a jacket. It's perfect. I want 3 of those. But of course, I'm stuck with my dumb moves, so I have a closet in which half the clothing is not on my preferred list of wearables. I'm the kind of guy who would wear the same thing almost every day if such a thing were possible, but you can NEVER seem to tell what that item might be when you're actually in the store. It's very frustrating.

So how do you pick that perfect piece of clothing, and if you can, how do you avoid the duds that only *seem* like a good idea off the rack?

I realize the most basic advice is: don't try and do all your shopping once every 18 months in the span of 45 minutes in one store, but aside from that, what tips do people have?

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ketchupqueen
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May seem like a dumb question, but some folks don't: Do you try everything on before buying it?

I've found that when I don't take the time to try things on I don't notice problems in the way they fit me or basic function that I'm going to regret. As impatient a shopper as I am, I have to try stuff on first, because if I walk a few feet in it I'm apt to notice things I either really hate or really like about it.

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Noemon
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I like to take someone with me that knows me well, who has a good eye for what does and doesn't look good on me, and who either has a sense of style that is compatible with my own or who has a good idea of the sort of stuff I'm going to feel at home in, and respects that. Getting feedback from someone who isn't going to be making a commission on the clothing I'm buying is a huge help.
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The Rabbit
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I have this wonderful short sleeved button front shirt that is a cotton/hemp weave. Its just excellent in the hot weather we have hear in T&T plus its got some sort of natural sizing so that it looks crisp and fresh when its line dried. I really wish I had three or four more like it in different colors but I bought it on a trip to Australia several years ago and have no idea where to find another one. I've even looked online to no avail.
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I really wish I had three or four more like it in different colors but I bought it on a trip to Australia several years ago and have no idea where to find another one. I've even looked online to no avail.

Something that I loved when I was in Thailand was being able to take a shirt and an appropriately sized swath of fabric down to the street where all of the seamstresses had booths and having them make me dupliates of clothing that I knew I liked. As long as I did a good job of picking out the fabric I was never disappointed with the result.
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scifibum
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I'm wearing an oxford shirt right now that I'd love to have in a couple more colors. It's almost wrinkleproof, resists clinging without being stiff, and is a nice neutral shade of green (actually it's a 50/50 split of dark green and white threads in the weave) that goes with all of my pants (I no longer own any green pants). This kind of shirt is not exactly stylish but what it lacks in style it gains in enduring acceptability.

Problem is, it probably cost over $20. And I have a hard time paying that much for a shirt (not to mention the price range of nicer department stores). I really should buy more like this, though. Not having to iron it is great, and this shirt will last a lot longer before laundering frays or fades it to uselessness than some of my $6-$9 shirts from Wal-mart. And the buttons seem a lot more securely attached (though it's not necessarily a big deal to reattach buttons).

(Aside: why do so many white dress shirts feature approximately the same degree of opacity as wax paper? I try not to buy them, but I'd guess that 9 out of 10 white dress shirts I see on men wearing them reveal what's underneath in uncalled-for detail. Even if all I'm seeing is a white undershirt, why do I need to know exactly where the sleeves and collar of that undershirt terminate? And if those shirts get wet...*shudder*)

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Itsame
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My problem is that I have a long torso. Not unusually long, given my height, but long nonetheless. As a result shirts tend to either be too short or too large; oftentimes both.

It's hard to find medium tall shirts that look nice and aren't too expensive.

It's really frustrating, because I just inherited some nice Armani jackets, but they're 42R and I'm 42L. First time I ever wished I was shorter.

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breyerchic04
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They're Armani, it's worth changing your height for them.
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advice for robots
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The only way I've found to be satisfied with my clothes is to know the look I'm going for beforehand; that usually helps me hone in on what I really want. Doing it the other way around--finding an item I like even though it's not really my style--works only infrequently.

Also, if I'm prepared to get the clothes I want instead of getting the low price I want, I'm invariably more satisfied. One shirt that costs more but fits just right brings a ton more satisfaction than three cheaper, cruddier shirts, for example.

My wife and I decided to make allowance for clothing in our budget. That's worked wonders. I know I have a certain amount I can spend every month on clothes, even if it isn't a whole lot. I can generally settle for one nice item of clothing a month, knowing I'll be able to get something else next month. My wardrobe has improved by leaps and bounds.

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Kwea
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As far as white shirts go, there are two reasons thaqt they are made so thin, First.....thicker means heavier and hotter. Second, it also means more experience.

BTW, the color/white thread you commented on is the ONLY actual Oxford material, it's part of the definition of what makes an Oxford shit along wiht a button down collar. Lots of people, and some companies, call other things Oxford, but knowing what you want AND knowing what it is called is very important.

And $20 is not a lot for that type of shirt, not if you want it to last. JCPenney makes a great wrinkle free Oxford in multiple colors, and they are usually about that price....sometimes cheaper. Ask where the clearance rack is, you can find some GREAT deals (3-9 dollars) fro time to time...and retailers are hurting.

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Artemisia Tridentata
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At least for shirts, I have found, after more years experience than the average poster here has wearing shirts, that this one is the tops. It is comfortable enough to sleep in, (I mean in bed like pajamas, not napping at the desk) It looks new for years, and it's still only $19.50. I believe that price has held for about 15 years now. It is about as close to that perfect piece of clothing as I can imagine.
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ketchupqueen
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Yep. And if they DON'T last 15 years you can send them back and they'll send you a new one on their "lifetime guarantee." I watch for sales and occasionally find them for half price in my husband's size in a decent color (meaning, not the pink that is usually left over in Land's End shirts [Wink] ) and buy them then. My dad just passed down a bunch of them to my husband (along with a few other kinds of Land's End shirts) and they look like new after a few years of wearing and washing (the only reason they are being passed along is my dad gained some weight and they don't fit right any more. He and my husband happen to have the same build in the torso and sleeve length so they are my husband's size exactly. [Smile] )
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scifibum
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"Second, it also means more experience."

I don't understand what this means.

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Artemisia Tridentata
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I have three tight ones in the closet right now that are destine to "move" to my son in Denver, I hope the sleeves are long enough.
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ketchupqueen
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If not, he can get a pretty penny for them on eBay. [Wink] We sold a lot of 5 of my dad's that were in colors we didn't like for almost $30. A steal for them, great for us. (Would have got more but really, they were not great colors.)
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
May seem like a dumb question, but some folks don't: Do you try everything on before buying it?
Fit isn't everything. A couple of summers ago I went on a spree of looking for linen shirts that fit me. I tried everything on, and some shirts didn't make the cut because it didn't fit or just looked wrong.

Then I got the ones I bought home and discovered that none of them have breast pockets. So although I like the shirts, I use them rarely.

JonHecht: I'll take the 42L.

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Itsame
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Glenn, I wear 42L. They are 42R.
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Darth_Mauve
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The difference between me and you, Orincoro, is that I make everything I wear look goooooooooood.
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scifibum
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By comparison? [Taunt]
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Glenn Arnold
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Oh. Hatrack trivia: Glenn and Jon are the same size. (I guess I just skimmed your post)
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Itsame
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What's your height and weight?

I'm 185 lb and a hair below 6'2", so I usually have my jackets fitted.

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Flaming Toad on a Stick
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I wear pretty much anything, even if it doesn't fit.
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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
The only way I've found to be satisfied with my clothes is to know the look I'm going for beforehand; that usually helps me hone in on what I really want. Doing it the other way around--finding an item I like even though it's not really my style--works only infrequently.

Also, if I'm prepared to get the clothes I want instead of getting the low price I want, I'm invariably more satisfied. One shirt that costs more but fits just right brings a ton more satisfaction than three cheaper, cruddier shirts, for example.

My wife and I decided to make allowance for clothing in our budget. That's worked wonders. I know I have a certain amount I can spend every month on clothes, even if it isn't a whole lot. I can generally settle for one nice item of clothing a month, knowing I'll be able to get something else next month. My wardrobe has improved by leaps and bounds.

afr is wise; his advice is not just for robots anymore!
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Tatiana
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But it works for robots too! Those ill-fitting clothes made for humans just don't look as good, you know?
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advice for robots
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[Smile]

One must straddle the line on occasion when one lives in two worlds.

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MyrddinFyre
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Stupid men's sizes and their "##L" shirts. *bitter*

It's pretty hard to be a long-torsoed female. Woe woe woe!

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rivka
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Too bad the Tall Catalog has been gone for 15+ years.
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MyrddinFyre
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Yeah, I don't think I quite needed it at age 9 yet [Wink]
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rivka
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The various Roaman's/Lane Bryant/Jessica London/etc. catalogs (from the same parent company as the defunt Tall Catalog) have some Talls, but not very many. And just women's (i.e., plus) sizes.
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MyrddinFyre
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Ohh, I've owned a few pairs of Lane Bryant pants - they have some nice stuff [Smile] . I'll have to keep an eye out on that site for tall tops! (edit: Wheee! They have my shoe size!)

[/thread derail]

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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by MyrddinFyre:
Stupid men's sizes and their "##L" shirts. *bitter*

It's pretty hard to be a long-torsoed female. Woe woe woe!

Especially when you're talking one-piece bathing suits. Grrr....
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Trent Destian
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
What's your height and weight?

I'm 185 lb and a hair below 6'2", so I usually have my jackets fitted.

Attention JohnHecht: We are clones...that is all.
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lobo
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I prefer the Brooks Brothers no iron dress shirts, but I also like the Lands End ones. You can get really good deals at outlet stores.
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by Traceria:
quote:
Originally posted by MyrddinFyre:
Stupid men's sizes and their "##L" shirts. *bitter*

It's pretty hard to be a long-torsoed female. Woe woe woe!

Especially when you're talking one-piece bathing suits. Grrr....
Land's End makes long-torso one-pieces.
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MyrddinFyre
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"Long" size bathing suits still cut the circulation in both shoulders and legs. Just not long enough. It's really annoying.
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ketchupqueen
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They make custom ones too.
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MyrddinFyre
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No way! That's pretty awesome... I had no idea anyone did that [Smile]
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ketchupqueen
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Right now they're 60% off.

I've never tried their custom stuff but my almost-step-mom has one.

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rivka
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I'd call those more semi-custom than custom. But yeah, if those parameters work for you, that's a good deal.
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ketchupqueen
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Yeah, I haven't looked at them. Their shirts are based on your measurements, I don't know what you do with the swimsuits.
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rivka
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Not measurements. You pick a cup size and a suit size.
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ketchupqueen
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Ah. Well, that would help somewhat, I suppose.
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MyrddinFyre
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Sure thing - maybe the extra length needed wouldn't be an issue with the correct cup size (I usually only ever own the speedo racing type with no such structure). Intriguing.
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ketchupqueen
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What I was thinking was, since it's stretchy material, you could size up one size if needed, based on torso measurement and their chart, since you can then downsize your cup size so it wouldn't be gaping at the neckline.
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katharina
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I have a long torso, and I gave up on one-pieces a long time ago. The tankini is one of the greatest inventions ever.
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JennaDean
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Amen, hallelujah.
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dkw
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I got pants and shoes from Land's End for Christmas. I went to their after Christmas sale and got three more pairs of pants and the same shoes in another color.

I only buy duplicates after I've worn an item a few times and know I love it.

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ketchupqueen
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I love the tankinis I have. I do however have a one-piece for when I'm doing serious swimming. (Like laps and stuff.) Even with a Land's End tankini there's too much riding up when I try to do "exercise" swimming (as opposed to pleasure swimming) for my tastes.
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aspectre
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1109168/Shopaholic-spinster-dead-3ft-unopened-goods.html?ITO=1490
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Traceria
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Right now they're 60% off.

I've never tried their custom stuff but my almost-step-mom has one.

Oh yeah, that IS awesome. Thanks for the info!
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