Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clothing - Make or Buy?

When I was in high school in the early 1970's, I made my own pants, skirts, and bathing suits. After college, in the late 1970's and early 80's, I made my own pants, skirts, coats, and I also made my own wedding dress. When my son was born in 1985, and until he was three, I made his overalls, and most of his coats. Part of why I did this was because it was cheaper than buying them, and part because I could make clothing that was unique.

When asked why I don't make my own clothes anymore, I explain that clothing prices are cheaper than they were back then. It was with great interest that I read an article about this topic in today's New York Times "Flexing Your Buying Power - Dress for Less and Less," by Eric Wilson. Mr. Wilson's article compares clothing prices from the 1990's to now, but from my observations, prices are cheaper than two or three decades ago, not only one.

These days, I prefer to buy clothing at my favorite discount clothing, or used clothing, stores. Then I may decide to decorate or adapt my purchase. It's almost impossible to make a shirt, skirt or pair of pants for less than $20 in fabric (not including the time spent), but it's easy to buy them for that price or less. Hence my recent blog posts like this and this. A little ribbon, ball fringe, netting, and/or thread, can go a long way to individualize purchased clothing, and it's very inexpensive and fun to do.