Over time, I’ve come up with some pretty rigid standards that I go by when I’m buying clothes or selecting a paint color for the house—stuff like that.
There have been periods in my life when I considered what was in style, set by somebody way off somewhere whose opinion made a difference to me. No more. It takes a lot more than looks to convince me that I need to make a particular purchase.
Comfort is the first requirement in clothes: not too tight through the shoulders nor around the waist; fabric is not scratchy; winter garments are made of warm cloth and summer of cool, with a design sensible for the season—no low-cut necklines for winter. I remember in the 1960s or ’70s the utterly foolish popular style of sleeveless winter wool dresses was in vogue.
Easy to care for is a must for clothes. Nothing is prettier than a white suit, but I’ve never had one past the white linen suit that I wore in my wedding. I know that only one wearing would send it to the cleaners. I’d spill food on the skirt, mark on it with a ballpoint pen, or hold a friendly baby who would slobber on the shoulder of the jacket. Cleaning bills would soon surpass the original cost. Everything white must be washable.
In today’s world we are blessed with wash-and-wear fabric. I’ve learned not to fall in love with something hanging on the rack before I check the care label stitched to an inner seam.
Another criterion that I’m careful about is whether what I’m considering will mesh with what is already in the closet. It may be “the” newest color, but if it will not coordinate with my well established wardrobe, I might as well leave it in the store because I refuse to buy a whole new outfit to support one item.
I recently accidentally watched a brief style show that was part of a daytime TV program. As the model twisted and turned, the commentator described what she was wearing, piece by piece—phrases such as “Provides some ‘pop’”; “Does the talking for you”; “Adds a little welcome grunge to an otherwise sophisticated look.” None of the garments I have warrants a similar description of what it does for my looks—I don’t think.
As for my house, all walls are the same bland shade. Thus they won’t clash with the eclectic accumulation of furnishings. Floor coverings have a mingled pattern so they won’t show dirt. Everything purchased must be durable, as far as I can determine by examination, because I don’t want to go through the disturbances of house decorating until it is absolutely necessary.
Some years ago I heard that a person whom I knew gave away all of her towels because she had changed the dominant color in her bathroom and they no longer matched. Did she not realize that the old ones would still dry her off? But she wasn’t using my standards.