My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

Over the years, I’ve written many times about the problems that can occur when we accumulate too many clothes. An overly full closet can become overwhelming, and having more garments to choose from doesn’t always mean that we’re well-dressed. In fact, it can sometimes have the opposite effect when decision fatigue sets in. Last month, I posted about having too many plain black tee shirts, the reasons why that happened, and how I plan to address the issue. Today, I’m going to highlight a different type of over-duplication in my closet and how it has impacted my wardrobe at large.

same shirt in many different colors

Do you have a tendency to buy “multiples” of certain wardrobe items? 

First, A Quick Aside…

A quick aside before I get started… I know that a lot of the topics I write about here can be considered first-world problems, especially in light of the many horrible things that are going on in the world today. I realize that I’m fortunate to even be pondering things like having too many of a certain type of garment, but I also know that such issues can be frustrating for me and many others, even if they’re not of earthshattering importance.

I’ll leave the meatier world problems to those who are more qualified than I am to write about them, and I’ll stay in my lane. Please know, though, that I care deeply about so much more than clothing, style, and shopping – and I hope and pray for a better tomorrow.

It Seemed Like a Good Deal – and a Good Idea…

Sometimes when we find a particular style that we like, we think it’s a good idea to buy that piece in multiple colors and/or patterns. This propensity is even more likely when the item in question is either sold for a low price or on sale. Sometimes buying multiples ends up working well for us, but it can be a risky proposition, especially with the quality issues that are rampant with clothing today. While it’s a definite bummer to have one item fall apart after only a handful of wears, the disappointment and frustration can be intensified when we have purchased two or more such pieces, as has been the case for me with a particular type of t-shirt.

The Nordstrom brand Caslon offers what they call a “rounded V-neck t-shirt.” These tops are regularly priced at nineteen dollars, but they’re often discounted, including during Nordstrom’s yearly anniversary sale. The tops are very comfortable and are available in many solid colors, as well as various types of stripes and other fun patterns. They’re perfect for my casual lifestyle, or so I thought…

Because “the price was right” and the tees seemed to be well-suited for wearing at home or for low-key outings, it wasn’t long before I accumulated a sizeable collection of Caslon rounded V-neck t-shirts. Here’s a look at the ones that I currently own, total of fourteen (eek!):

caslon tee collection

This is my large collection of Caslon rounded V-neck tees. 

It’s a good assortment of colors and patterns, right? I was happy with the tees at first, as they were cozy and lightweight. However, I soon discovered that their quality and durability was questionable at best. Although they already run large and I needed to size down, I also found that they stretched out and grew larger with wear and after being laundered multiple times. They didn’t hold their shape well at all, and I needed to wash and reshape them frequently (even after only wearing them for a few hours) to try to regain the fit I had liked when I purchased them.

The tees are made of 60% cotton and 40% modal, which is a form of rayon created from beech tree pulp. Although modal is considered to be more durable and flexible than standard rayon fibers, I haven’t found the Caslon tees to be durable at all. In fact, I’m been extremely disappointed in the durability and longevity of these tops. Although I no longer count wears, I seriously doubt that I will reach the thirty-wear benchmark for many of my Caslon tees, if any, at least not in a condition that I’d feel proud to be seen in.

Fourteen Tees Wasn’t a Good Idea at All!

If I had only purchased one or two of the Caslon tees, I would still be disappointed in their sub-standard quality, especially because I used to rely on Nordstrom for clothing that would stand the test of time. However, since I amassed fourteen such tops, I’m all the more frustrated that the tees stretch out, “bell out” at the bottom, and just plain look shabby after not that many wears. I’m frustrated with Nordstrom for selling a shoddy product, but I’m also frustrated with myself for falling prey to the allure of the multiple.

Yes, the colors and patterns look lovely at first glance, and the price of the tees was low enough for me to jump of the “multiple bandwagon” without breaking the bank. But I didn’t really get a “deal” on the tees now, did I? What I have now are a bunch of t-shirts that I only really feel comfortable wearing around the house. While I had originally designated many of these tops as “crossover items” that could be worn both at home and when out and about, they just don’t look good enough to wear for the latter purpose. Some of the necklines are now too low-cut because they’ve become too stretched out, and the hemlines on the tees often don’t stay in place well, either. These tops are fine worn with joggers at home, but they don’t exactly live up to my “polished” style guidepost. And come to think of it, don’t I want to look polished at home, too?

It seems as if the tees all started looking “worse for wear” around the same time, which can be a hazard of both buying multiples and having a larger wardrobe. When someone dresses from a smaller capsule, they’ll typically be able to identify quality issues much sooner because all of their closet pieces are being worn more frequently. But for someone like me who owns well over a hundred garments, it’s taken longer for me to wear and wash the tops enough times to identify the quality issues. And in the interim, I accumulated more Caslon tees because I thought they were a good staple item for my lifestyle. But now that I’ve gradually gotten around to wearing most of the tees ten to twenty times (as a rough estimate), they’re like dominoes falling down in terms of their becoming “shabby.”

An Expensive and Embarrassing Lesson

This is an expensive lesson for me to learn, and an embarrassing one, too, because I’m revealing it on the Internet. Even though each tee only cost an average of fourteen dollars (because I got many of them on sale), I have wasted over two-hundred dollars on these shoddy Caslon tees in total. I suspect that most of the tees won’t even make it to the end of the year, even as at-home wear. But as I mentioned earlier, I still want to feel good about the way I look at home, and misshapen tops don’t exactly increase a person’s self-confidence.

I decided to share my embarrassing multiple Caslon tee story to warn you of the potential hazards of buying too many of the same types of items. Not only might you run across quality snafus like what I wrote about above, you may also experience changes to your lifestyle or body size (like I shared about in my last post) that could potentially render a large swath of garments unwearable or impractical. When you only have one or two pieces that you can no longer wear for whatever reason, it’s unfortunate, but it’s not that big of a deal. However, when the number reaches the double digits, that can sting.

Now, if you’ve tested out a particular type of t-shirt (or pair of jeans or whatever) by wearing and washing it at least several times and found that it suits your needs and holds up well, it can make sense to purchase other colors or even “backups” of your favorite colors. I wish I would have done that with my favorite Old Navy V-Neck Performance Tees, which have sadly been discontinued. I’m still “babying” the few tops that I have left in that style, but I have yet to find a replacement that I like as much. Those tees cost even less than the Caslon tees, but they’ve held up much better and have only recently had pilling issues (after far more than thirty wears!). It would have made sense for me to buy more of those tees when I had a chance, but I didn’t know that Old Navy would decide to discontinue the V-necks in favor of other styles that didn’t work for me.

The bottom line is that we can’t always tell early on whether or not something will be a wardrobe “all-star” or a closet fail. I loved the way the Caslon tees fit and flattered me early on, but the tops I have now bear little resemblance to the way they looked at the beginning. Clearly, they weren’t built to last. I don’t necessarily believe that a nineteen-dollar top should last for years on end, but it definitely should make it to the thirty-wear benchmark in my opinion.

I have to wonder if all cotton/modal blends are the same, although I’ve also had issues with 100-percent cotton tees as well. The type of cotton can of course make a difference, but I’ve found that synthetic fibers or blends with a portion of synthetic fibers tend to hold up better. When spandex is included with cotton or cotton blends, that tends to help, too, especially when it pertains to pieces holding their shape.

Tees That Have Worked Well for Me

So, what tees have worked well for me? Here are a few of the brands/styles that have impressed me when it comes to casual and athletic tees (I’ve linked to those items that are still available for purchase – only the Amazon tops are affiliate links):

  • Athleta Momentum Tees – I like both the short-sleeved and long-sleeved versions, but I’m not as fond of the sleeveless options (I don’t like racerback styles). What’s great about these tops is that they have “grippers” at the bottom hem to keep them from riding up. The sizing is a bit inconsistent, with some styles running true-to-size and others running a size small (if you don’t like your tops to be super fitted). The printed styles look less “athletic” in my opinion and work well as crossover items.
  • Athleta Outbound Tees – I have only tried the short-sleeved version of this top, and I sized down in it for a more fitted look than on the model. These tops have a thicker band at the bottom to hold them in place, but I don’t like the way that looks on white and other light colors (I’m still in search of a good white tee that isn’t too sheer). I only have this top in the tawny rose color, but I would consider buying other darker colors that may come along (you know I don’t need more black tees!).
  • Mondetta Plain and Space-Dyed Tees – I found these tees at Costco and have been very happy with them. They come in packs of two with two different colors or prints. I needed to size down in these tops for a more fitted (but not tight) These tops stay in place well and can be worn for both exercise and casual out-and-about purposes. These tops are also available on Amazon (for a higher price and in limited sizes) if you’re not a Costco member.
  • Amazon Essentials V-Neck T-Shirts – Like the Mondetta tees, these also come in packs of two, and in a wide assortment of colors, as well as a few patterns. I haven’t had these tees long, so I can’t vouch for their durability, but I like the fit and the fact that they stay in place well (probably due to the 6% elastane in the mix). I feel like they’re pretty true to size, but if you like a looser fit, size up. They’re good for layering or on their own. I also like the crewneck version of these tees.
  • 32 Degrees Cool Fitted T-Shirt – If you like very fitted tees with a lot of stretch, you might give these a try. They’re very inexpensive (and on deep sale right now) and work well for exercise purposes or as layering pieces. I tried sizing up for a looser fit, but I didn’t like the way the larger size looked on me. So, I just stick with my standard size and wear the tees for working out. I like the space-dye versions and the darker colors, but I found the white to be too sheer (as is usually the case with white).

In the past, I’ve had good luck with tees from Kuhl, but the style that I own is no longer available (this style might be close). This brand is definitely pricier than most (but in the same range as Athleta), but my two Kuhl tees have held up very well for several years. Sometimes we get what we pay for, but I’ve also had tees from Target (Universal Thread brand – the style I liked is no longer offered) and Old Navy (their Performance Tees that are no longer available) stand the test of time. Unfortunately, it’s more about trial and error to see what works rather than relying on price points or brand names. This is all the more reason why we should hold off on buying multiples!

A Hard Lesson to Learn!

I learned a hard lesson with the Caslon rounded V-neck tees. I shouldn’t have purchased so many of them, and I should have held off on buying multiples at all until I had a better idea of how the tees would hold up. I’ve also learned that I prefer for my t-shirts to include some percentage of spandex, as that helps them to stay in place and hold their shape better. However, spandex also tends to make things more fitted, and sometimes I like my tops to be looser-fitting, especially with certain pants. In those instances, I’ve found that cotton blends work better for me than 100% cotton, but I’m not a fan of cotton/modal fabrications without a bit of spandex in the mix.

I miss my “tried-and-true” Old Navy tops, which were synthetic but moisture-wicking, as they had a more streamlined and less snug fit. I’m wearing one of my few remaining such tops as I type this, and I will be sad when they’re all gone. I’m still looking for a good alternative, as it seems like Old Navy isn’t going to bring back their V-Neck Performance Tees. I’ve held out hope for at least a year and a half now, but no such luck!

I’m happy that I have found some good tees that are working well for me in the other styles that I mentioned above. However, I don’t plan to buy too many of any one style, as I don’t want a repeat of my Caslon tee disaster. I may take a while to learn my lesson sometimes, but I eventually do!

In Closing – Mo’s Great Tip

In closing, I’ll share a tip that I recently remembered. It’s from Mo, who sometimes comments here and who used to write a great blog that’s still online with lots of timeless advice. She published a post back in 2014 called “Avoiding Oversaturation,” in which she recommended a “rule of three” to help us avoid having too many similar pieces in our closets.

Mo suggested that we purchase just three items (at the most) of any new trend or silhouette:

  • One Dark Neutral
  • One Light Neutral
  • One Color or Pattern.

There’s a lot of wisdom there! Of course, if you don’t wear either dark or light neutrals, you can modify the advice to suit your needs. For me, I’d probably change the guideline to one dark neutral, one color, and one pattern, and that would work quite well for me. Now I just need to do it!

Your Thoughts?

Now I’d like to hear from you… Below are a few questions to help spark your thoughts, but feel free to share whatever thoughts you have about what I covered in today’s post (but please remember to be kind – I’ve already been hard enough on myself about my Caslon tee disaster!).

  • Have you had any bad experiences with buying multiples? What were they?
  • What types of items have you tended to buy too many of and why?
  • When do you think it’s okay to purchase an item in multiple colors or patterns?
  • Have you put any “rules” in place for yourself in order to avoid oversaturation in any wardrobe category?
  • What brands and styles of t-shirts have worked well for you?
  • Have you found a brand of white t-shirt that isn’t too sheer?

Okay, the last two questions are things that I’d like to know, but I’m sure others would also like to become aware of t-shirt brands and styles to potentially try. We’re all different in terms of what we do and don’t like, so if you can share WHY you like the items you mention, that would be helpful, too.

Thanks in advance for your feedback, and I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back soon with another post, including a new essay on the four-by-four wardrobe (my warm weather version – see my cool weather capsule HERE) and a check-in on what I have and haven’t worn in my closet this year to date.

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30 thoughts on “A Dark Side of Buying “Multiples”

  1. Gail says:

    I don’t wear tees except to the gym and under things to keep wrm, so the cheap Walmart ones are good enough and seem to last a few years. More important: your disclaimer re 1st world problems is understood; I wanted to add that amidst our crazy times, it is a distraction, a relief and a pleasant stress-reducer to read your posts. Anyone who reads your writing can tell you are sensitive and caring. Keep on writing!
    I do not buy enough to have huge losses, but I don’t have a lot of money, so I try used clothes first and sometimes last. Do you have a branch of Uptown Cheapskate where you live? My favorite store now.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Maybe I should check out the Walmart tees if they last a few years for you, Gail. I had never heard of Uptown Cheapskate, but I Googled it and the closest one is about 45 minutes away. Perhaps I’ll check it out when I’m next in that area. I’m glad you’re liking the distraction for the country’s/world’s crazy problems here. I appreciate such distractions, too.

  2. Murphy says:

    Thanks for sharing about the Caslon tees, Debbie. I can relate- a few years ago I bought six identical navy tees from Target so I would have backups. Finally, I saw a picture of myself wearing one of them: they were totally unflattering and didn’t even fit properly. Why I couldn’t figure that out before I bought 6 of them is a mystery, but at least they weren’t super expensive!

    However, sometimes a couple of duplicates works for me- I bought several pairs of jeans in the same cut but different colors and they are a staple of my wardrobe. For me, the key has been to wear and wash the first item a few times to see if it really is indispensable. If it is, I try to add another one or two and then pause again. I like the idea of the rule of 3, but I can never figure out the categories: is it 3 tees or 3 short sleeve tees or 3 plain color tees? This is the kind of thing that gets me obsessing 😜. So instead I’m trying to add things slowly in different categories to see how they work out. For example, last summer I bought two patterned sleeveless blouses. I wore them constantly! So this year I bought two more and all 4 are in constant rotation. I also got a linen tee this year and I love it so I may buy one or two more.

    Also, thank you for talking about “first world problems.” I’m depressed after reading the news every day so it’s nice to have something fun to think about!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad your Target t-shirt multiple fail wasn’t an expensive one, Murphy. Sometimes it takes seeing a picture to understand that certain items aren’t the most flattering. Maybe I need a picture of me in one of the Caslon tees and then I’d get rid of the lot! I agree with you that duplicates work well in certain types of items, particularly those that are hard to find or hard to fit. As for “the rule of three,” I get what you’re saying about how to figure out the categories. I think it would likely be different for different people. If one is more of a minimalist, they might say just three tees, but others might break things down more. For me, I might do it by neckline and sleeve length (i.e., for short-sleeved tees, maybe three crewnecks, three scoop-necks, and three V-necks?). I’m glad your patterned sleeveless blouses are serving you well! You approached the situation nicely with just getting two such tops last year and then adding two more this year after you knew the style was a winner for you. Nicely done!

      1. Murphy says:

        Thanks for the compliment, Debbie! I have definitely made progress the past few years towards sanely managing and enjoying my wardrobe. All started by following your wonderful blogs, I might add!

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I’m very happy that my blog posts have helped you in your wardrobe journey, Murphy!

  3. Katrina B says:

    Yes we are certainly privileged to be concerning ourselves with our closets, but for me I have to walk a thin line between staying informed and sinking into despair. It’s good to take a break from the terrible news now and then.

    Your advice on multiples is excellent, and it’s a lesson I and probably many others have to keep learning. I like to get gray, navy and a bright color when I find a good shirt or pants. My biggest issue is even after I think I have done all my due diligence (fit, construction, durability, etc), when I try to buy multiples it often turns out that they are manufactured in different places, use different fabric, and fit differently.

    I have given up on white t shirts but would love to know if someone else has found a non-sheer one.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I am so with you on walking that thin line, Katrina! In recent months, I’ve been taking more and more breaks from terrible news and/or setting a firm limit on how much news I will consume. I already struggle with depression and anxiety, and the news only makes it worse!

      It’s so frustrating when items we think will be the same (only in different colors) turn out not to be such. That’s one reason why I do so much buying and returning to try to find things that will work (I do a lot of online shopping). I wish there could be more consistency, or at least transparency about what’s going on. I hope we get some white t-shirt advice here!

  4. Molly says:

    Hi! I have also fallen victim to both the lure of the Caslon tees and the desire to buy multiples when I find something that works for me. I agree that the Caslon tees are not the best quality, and I’ve also gotten rid of mine for the same reasons you mention. I like the Gap Modern t-shirts and buy my shirts in “tall” sizes when available (like at Gap and Athleta), so I know that some of my urge to buy multiples is because I’m worried that I won’t be able to find tall sizes if the company makes changes or if they sell out. PS – the Gap Modern style does have white ones that are pretty nice! I still tend to wear a white cami underneath, but that’s my preference and is not required by the material. I also like that they come in a short sleeve that is not a cap sleeve as well in a slightly longer sleeve that’s closer to the elbow.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I see myself getting rid of most of the Caslon t-shirts soon, too, Molly. Thanks for the tip on the Gap Modern t-shirts. I have seen those online but haven’t tried them. I tried their Vintage tee, but the fit was off on me, so maybe the Modern tee will work better. I don’t always buy shirts in tall sizes, as most of my height is in my limbs, but with the trend toward shorter tops, I like when the tall option is available for a bit more coverage. I get what you’re saying about worrying that tall sizes will be hard to find in the future. I have definitely bought multiples in pant styles that I’ve liked for that reason.

  5. Sue says:

    I definitely agree that we need diversions like this blog!

    About multiples, I have gone off them. I have decided that I prefer every item in my wardrobe to be unique. A few years back, I found a three-pack set of black underpants which I thought was very good value for money. Each time I shopped, I bought another set until my drawer was full. I always put the clean ones at the back to ensure I used them all equally. But they just depressed me after a while, especially on laundry day. At a certain point, none of them felt fresh any more. Eventually I started replacing them with coulourful, individual pairs, which are still from the same shop and a similar style to each other but I feel much happier because I can recognise how many times I’ve worn each pair and how long I’ve had them. And they are more fun to wear.

    For other clothes, I like each piece to be even more unique. Then I can greet each piece like an old friend and appreciate its company. If pieces are too similar, I find that I always have a favourite (slightly less worn, less stretched, softer, has better retained its colour), so why keep the others? Besides, I like to wear a variety of clothes so why would I need the same style and colour of t-shirt two days running? I have decided that I can keep my wardrobe much more under control if I know each piece individually. This way, I not only enjoy getting dressed more but also the thrill of bargain hunting for new and used unique additions.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I like what you wrote about wanting your clothes to be unique, Sue. I’m sure that helps with avoiding boredom when you get dressed. I think it’s great that you also like variety in your underwear. Why not, if the colorful pairs make you happy? I’d love to see your closet with all of the unique pieces! I have too much duplication in my wardrobe, but I’m okay with it in some categories (i.e., joggers and t-shirts in different colors for wearing at home). For my out-and-about clothing, I would like to cut back on multiples and take an approach more akin to yours.

      1. Sue says:

        I’m not sure my wardrobe is so exciting to see 😉. I love it and know all the pieces but I imagine my husband or son think I wear the same things every day. I have a tight winter palette which I love because everything suits me and goes together. Even my daughter, who can notice the differences, often remarks that all my clothes, shoes and jewellery are ‘Sue style’. I suspect others might not recognise my pieces as being quite so ‘unique’ as I do 😄.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I totally understand what you’re saying here, Sue. Sometimes the differences that seem subtle (or even unnoticeable) to others can make a big difference to us! The most important thing is that WE are happy with our wardrobe and our outfits. The fact that your daughter notices that all of your clothes, shoes, etc. are “Sue Style” is a good sign that you KNOW your style and are translating it well. Big thumbs up!

  6. Nigella Lawson says:

    Thank you for sharing! I just discovered your blog a month ago and really needed to know about what to do with my 20 year collection that no longer fits post baby. I read many of your posts and visited both blogs. Again, much appreciation for sharing. I am a shopaholic and not sure where to turn for help.

    Might I suggest trying the Gap performance V-Neck. I never tried the Old Navy performance V-Neck (I wear their racer backs) but I discovered the Gap performance V-Neck tee two years ago and they have held up well. They are not a boxy cut but closer to slim, yet not fitted. My other casual, less performance type tee (yet still performs) is the Athleta Breezy Scoop V, which I am sure you are familiar with. Cheers!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Nigella! I hope you’ve found my blog posts here and on Recovering Shopaholic helpful. I’m STILL a recovering shopaholic, although I’m not nearly as bad as I once was! Thanks for the suggestion of the Gap performance V-neck. I didn’t know that such a thing existed, but maybe it will work well for me. I have a few of the Athleta Breezy Scoop V, but those aren’t my favorite because of the curved hem and side slits (which I had sewn shut). I do love the fabric and quality of many Athleta tops, though.

  7. Rachel says:

    Knowing what my style is – what colors actually look good with gray hair, what colors I feel comfortable in – has really helped. It’s ok for me to wear a white t-shirt every single day, and honestly never gets boring when you love your clothes and switch up the bottoms and accessories…I definitely don’t need a dozen different department store patterns that send a confusing message about what my actual style is, don’t flatter the face as much as a solid, and risk coming off as basic. White, black, dark (but not heathered) gray, one or two shades of blue – that’s the full palette, with varying numbers of each. I also have two simple graphic Ts that incorporate that color scheme, just to mix it up.

    (Side note I’m sure you now know anyway: $14 feels like…kind of a lot for a t-shirt if you don’t know FOR SURE it’s long wear, or aren’t paying more for an ethical brand? I pay $4 for t-shirts that looks identical from the Target website – less than $3 when they’re on sale, which is often – and have noticed zero wear on them after dozens of washes, for what it’s worth. But I would always definitely wait at least a month or two before buying a second or third backup for a T – nobody stops selling or sells out of basic T-shirts in less than 6-8 weeks, and if they do – there’s always another option)

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      It sounds like you’re very in touch with your style and what you like to wear, Rachel, which is great. Having a smaller color palette definitely makes it easier to get dressed and maintain a wardrobe that doesn’t get overwhelming. That’s impressive that you find good t-shirts for $3 or $4. I’ve bought some pretty good tees at Target for $8 in the past, but the quality has been hit or miss. Of course, that’s also the case for tops that cost more, as I’ve learned with the Caslon tees. There are tees out there for $40 or more, but that doesn’t mean they will fit, flatter, and hold up well. Trial and error is really the only way we will find out what works for us, although recommendations from others can point us in the right direction. If you see this message and can state WHICH Target tees worked for you, I know that I and others would appreciate it.

  8. Vildy says:

    I don’t own any white tees and don’t believe I ever have. I’m not much of an ordinary tee shirt gal. I wouldn’t mind a black one in silk, rayon or silk rayon knit. I have a few heavier cotton tees that are stylized larger floral in a shaped longer length. Brands that work for me are Rafaella, Lands End, Jones New York. I have a couple medium thick multi-neutral stripe tees in silk, very Frenchy looking, City Silk. Since I thrift most everything, they may not be in business.

    What I can rarely find are white button shirts that are truly opaque. Brooks Brothers used to sell a beefy oxford cloth for men but I think even they have discontinued that.

    My worst experience with multiples is owing to a weight loss I sustained a couple years ago in experimenting with a diet change to rest my gut. In particular, I used to love Austin Reed blazers for their wonderful-feeling fit. I still have ’em but I’m down at least a size now and now they’re just blazers. 😀

    Where my downfall has often been is in thrifting an item for little money – if in a bag sale at a church thrift could come
    out to 18 cents apiece – and then liking it so much I will find another of the brand in a different color online. That one
    is no 18 cents. I am trying to train myself to adopt a One and Done attitude: consider that I already have the best one for me. 😀 I’ve been looking for a no-wire bra that actually gives some uplift and had been reading about certain camis. I found one from Express at a thrift and it seemed like a good idea when I tried it on. In fact, I bought a 2d
    color from Mercari. Only after I already bought it did I realize that I could get some uplift from this cami but it had
    strong wider elastic under the bust and pressed in on me so much that I felt nauseated. Reading further about such
    garments, I came across Duluth Trading having one with actual cups. Hmm. I didn’t order it though because I
    read the reviews and came to realize that this kind of garment is essentially shapewear and has to fit extremely snugly. Do I want such a thing? No.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I think it’s great that you do so well with thrifting, Vildy. Thanks for sharing a few of the brands that have worked well for you. I’d like to try silk or silk rayon knit tees, as they sound luxurious. I’m sorry the blazers that worked so well for you aren’t up to your standards any longer after some weight loss. A lot of my clothes are too baggy on me now, too, as I wrote about recently. It can be frustrating for sure…

      I’m very impressed by your super inexpensive finds at the church thrift sale! I can see the allure of trying to find multiples after that, too. I think having a “one and done” attitude can be a good way to go, but it certainly takes discipline to keep that going. Sue wrote about that above and her wardrobe sounds very nice, as does yours (from the various comments you both have made previously).

  9. Krissie says:

    Great post Debbie adressing this topic. And as someone else said here…we need topics like these for our wellbeing too, so no apology needed.

    Way back when, i decided that for the sake of simplicity i would adopt a uniform in clothing. At the time i didnt have a lot of money, but a lot of black t shirts, i decided they would form the basis of the uniform. So that led to buying multiples, which was ok, except that i would find, by the time i got to number six say of a clothing item it would look too dated or just didnt fit me or my style anymore. So found myself left with reduntant pieces and ended up giving them to charity. Nowdays i buy multiples in underwear if the fit is great or a fabric i love. Clothing now, usually no multiples, and have regretted that occassionaly when by sheer luck ive found something I’ve truly loved or been a great fit, but mostly glad not to invest in multiples.
    The one time i have been to US i went to Old Navy…absolutely LOVED the clothes in there, and the prices too. Been to nordstrom too…found it a tad pricey, but nice clothes.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with “multiples,” Krissie. It can be a balancing act for sure. I think I will continue to buy some multiples, but I need to dial it way back and use Mo’s “rule of three.” As you found out (and so have I), when we go overboard with multiples, it can become problematic. Often, things that seem like such a great idea end up not being so in actual practice.

      You’re right that Nordstrom can be pricey. There’s a pretty wide variation in how much things cost there. Old Navy is much more affordable, but I haven’t had as good of luck there recently as in the past. I’m glad they expanded their size ranges to include more women, but the cut and fit of many of their garments doesn’t work on me now. I hope that a lot of women are faring well there, now, especially those who don’t have access to as many offerings in the retail landscape.

  10. UGH short sleeved T-shirts, why are you so difficult? I have also been down that road where a SS T that was great when new quickly degraded. I’ve had more difficulty with t-shirts fading than getting stretched out but it has the same effect. I aim for 30 wears + cost per wear under $1 and SS Ts are very hit and miss on whether they will reach 30 wears in good condition. I don’t have a great solution, but I will share where I’ve landed in the last few years of being unable to predict how any given SS T is going to work out.

    I have basically given up on SS Ts maintaining their color/shape/size to reach 30 wears as day time wear. So like a couple other commenters, I just buy inexpensive SS Ts when they are on sale – I don’t have a strict limit but like to pay about $5 or so. Then when they start going wonky, I demote them to sleep wear and keep tracking the wears. I don’t track my few PJ bottoms or couple actual sleep tops, but I do track Ts that I wear to sleep, whether they are crossover day/sleep tops or tops demoted to sleep wear only. That way I can see the value I continue to get from those demoted Ts.

    It’s strange. I can buy 2 SS Ts at the same time of the same style and one starts fading quickly and the other remains pristine for dozens of washes (I wash in cold water and hang to dry). And price really doesn’t correlate with the longevity of Ts I buy at all. I have *thrifted* Target Ts that continue to look new after 20 washes while a T 10 times the price starts fading almost immediately. (Eddie Bauer, I’m looking at you with disappointment!) Since I can’t predict what’s going to happen with a SS T over time, I just choose inexpensive ones and follow a use cycle of day wear (or crossover) -> demoted to sleep wear -> onto the upcycle pile (there is so much you can do with an old t-shirt…but you need to know yourself well enough to determine if you’ll actually do anything with it or not; I do upcycle my Ts so this works for me). Of course one shouldn’t get too blase about over-purchasing!

    As for multiples, it’s definitely a crapshoot. But for anything other than a SS T, I haven’t had regrets about buying multiples (except when my size changed and suddenly all 6 of my favorite items in that category no longer fit well at the same time). But mostly I have had good luck with multiples. I definitely like the standardization of silhouette in my closet for mix-and-match reasons. I absolutely understand why others prize uniqueness, but for me, when talking about basic items (not statement pieces), the value of being able to put together top + bottom + topper pieces that have a predictable relationship to each other carries the day. But I am very happy in a limited number of simple silhouettes and use color, print, and accessories to add uniqueness rather than silhouette.

    In sum, I will continue to purchase multiples for basic foundation pieces when it makes sense, but I do appreciate the reminder to us all that this is not a risk-free proposition.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You articulated all too well the issues with short-sleeved tees, Sally! I’ve had issues with fading, too, but the stretching out issue is the biggest one for me. Maybe I just have a knack for picking ones that will do that! I’m sure a lot of my tees aren’t making it to the 30-wear benchmark in good condition, although some of them are likely well past that at this point (thankfully). The problem is that it can be hard to tell WHICH ones will make it and which won’t. I used to love Eddie Bauer tees years ago, but somewhere along the line, their quality took a nosedive and I experienced the same disappointment as you.

      I demote some of my tees to sleepwear, too, but I typically like the tops I wear for that purpose to be a bit looser (which can work for the stretched out tees, but sometimes they only get stretched out at the bottom and take on an unflattering bell shape!). I think you’re smart to not spend too much on tees anymore. That’s part of why I bought the Amazon and 32 Degrees tees, but I’ve also bought the pricier Athleta tops, too (so fingers crossed that those will hold up well).

      I like to have a few “formulas” for my outfits, too, and multiples work well there (with of course the quality caveats that I wrote about). I don’t have a whole lot of silhouettes and it can be challenging to integrate a new one into the mix because I’m extremely picky about fit and proportions. Like you, I prefer to use color, print, and accessories to inject variety. I can tell from your blog posts that you do very well in that regard!

      1. Vildy says:

        There’s something about the weave/knit of the fabric and how it’s cut. I was researching and trying to find tee shirts for my son that did not both shrink and stretch at the same time. I was reading a menswear forum and they had the same problem all the time – shrunk way up in length but stretched wide, too. At the time I was reading, they were discussing simple white tees or undershirts. The only one they could find that didn’t do this was a Penney’s Towncraft. My son had Gilden brand tees from a job and they performed well. But when he tried to buy plain tees from the Gilden website, they performed badly.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          You have something here, Vildy! I’ve noticed that my husband’s t-shirts tend to shrink in length but not in width. Some of them end of looking almost like crop tops on him! I haven’t heard of Penney’s Towncraft, but I’ll look into that for my husband. Too bad about the Gilden tees being inconsistent. It seems like that’s the case for so many brands these days. We think we’ve found “the holy grail” of a particular item, but no such luck. 😦

  11. RoseAG says:

    I agree with you about the pitfalls of multiples. If they aren’t basics you also run the risk of them going out of style all at once.
    If I find a bra I like, I have some unique fitting issues, I will buy multiples, but I wait until I’ve worn it a few times to see if I really like it.

    I have found a lot of clothing has gone to odd fabrics, I think it’s either a supply-chain thing, or manufactures going with less expensive materials. Last Fall I wondered if I’d ever see another all cotton sweater again. They are out there and I’ve become more willing to pay for quality.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I think buying multiples with bras can be a good idea, Rose. I basically just have two bra styles that I wear, but I have them in multiple colors. I definitely wait to make sure they work well, though, because who wants an uncomfortable bra? I agree with you about the odd fabrics. I have to look up many of the names because I don’t recognize them (I’m looking at you, Athleta!). I don’t see a whole lot of all cotton sweaters, either. I actually like having some spandex in my knitwear to hold the shape, but some of the other fabrics can be questionable. And yes, being willing to pay more for quality can help (once we discern that something actually IS high quality, which can be tricky sometimes).

  12. sewtypical says:

    I always enjoy your posts, Debbie, and I feel like you really try to help with issues we might be experiencing. I always learn a little something and sometimes have one of those AHA! moments that Oprah talks about. 🙂

    Personally, I’ve good luck with Lands End tees. They are a nice weight cotton, not sheer and hold up well. I should mention, though, that I buy the short sleeved men’s tees, because I’m tall and I prefer a loose, square cut. Also, their sleeves are nice and loose on me and cover my upper arms better than women’s tees.

    Thank you for mentioning how painful the world is right now. I can barely stand to read the news – feel like I’m just reeling every day!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m happy to give you “aha moments” from time to time! My sister-in-law likes the Lands’ End tees, too, but I tried a few styles and they didn’t work for me fit-wise 😦 They do seem to be of good quality, though. I think it’s good to note that trying men’s tees can be a good way to go for some women. It seems like men’s tees are often better quality than the ones made for women, so if the fit works, then it’s win!

      I feel the same was as you do about the news. I often have to stop reading after just a few minutes because it brings on a lot of anxiety. I really hope things will improve. I try to be optimistic, but that has been challenging lately…

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