Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taking a tip from Harlow herself

A few weeks back a dear friend of mine sent me a clipping of Jean Harlow, which featured the following quote:

 "I'd rather have a few dresses of very fine material than a whole closetful of fussy, cheap-looking things... I find you don't tire of anything that is lovely in quality and line. It saves you money in the long run to get a good dress of which you're always proud and use it for two or three years." - Jean Harlow

(More on the Baby's view on quality pieces here)

This quote came as a strong reminder on how I've neglected this motto for the past few years... Not consciously but I suppose it just happened, little by little. See, ever since I went back to university, I've naturally been living on a student budget and hence able to buy very few extra things, including clothing. Whilst living in London, I discovered the high street shops and would buy various items from the likes of Primark and New Look to compliment my vintage dresses. Don't get me wrong, I see absolutely nothing wrong in mixing vintage with the modern, but I've come to the realisation that I've very likely lost money in the whole process. See, instead of investing in one good quality pair of shoes per season, for example, I've ended up buying a pair from Primark only to have them fall apart after a few months and then going back and buying another pair. Repeat the process a couple of times. Silly, I know, but I just kind of let it keep happening.

So I've now decided to follow Harlow's advice and stop buying items that I know are inferior in quality. Instead, I will invest in good quality pieces that I absolutely love and know I will continue to love and wear for several more years to come. It may mean far less clothing and ensembles where everything's matchy matchy - but it means far better quality. It means that every item in my wardrobe is an investment.

(Also, thankfully the Finnish high street shops are a whole lot more boring than the London ones, which will help the process a great deal...)

I have also decided to fully revamp my closet and part with anything and everything that does not fit me or that I no longer regularly use. I have many dresses that are now too big for me and also a few that are too small, which I've been hoarding for various reasons. Plus, I've outgrown the 1950s a long time ago so I've decided to part with most of my clothing from that era. If you're in Helsinki later this month, you can come and check out my items for sale over at Helsinki Vintage.


  1. Excellent advice and something that I think we all need to be reminded of every now and then. I don't tent to buy poor quality garments very often, but one thing I'm totally aware that I do do sometimes is to try and get as much for my budget as I can (for example, if I had $100 to spend, I'd often opt for four dresses at $25 each than one for $100). There's no necessarily anything wrong with this approach, especially if you're trying to build up a wardrobe or replace some worn out pieces, but I've already made a New Year's resolution for next year that I'll try and hold off on this approach sometimes and instead save up for a few really amazing, most expensive pieces from time-to-time.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. I've decided to get rid of everything that doesn't suit me, too. Buying vintage mostly from thrift shops means that I've bought practically everything 1950's I've seen for under 10 euros. The result: a pile of projects, that I might fit in if I let out all the seams etc. I'll never have time for all those projects!

  3. Jessica Cangiano - Your example of spending four dresses at $25 versus one for $100 is point on. I suppose one could get really lucky and find quality pieces for that money but obviously such instances are incredibly rare these days. But I'm just finding I'd rather invest on vintage or have something custom made for me, for example, than go and buy a twice cheaper dress on high street that will not last for more than a few months.

  4. Elina - When I first got into vintage, I would basically buy anything and everything mid-century vintage that I found at flea markets plus the occasional bargain online. I still have many of these pieces. But I feel my style has evolved quite a bit since those days and I'm picky with my vintage, which I am very happy about. It can be an expensive habit especially when you buy lots of stuff that you don't even wear, just for the sake of having it.

  5. I should definitely also take this motto in hand - it really is true, and I find you always feel better when you know you're wearing something of true quality too!

  6. Siobhan - Yes, completely! And there's nothing quite like knowing you'll be able to cherish that piece for many more years to come.