My dad always used to tell me, “You get what you pay for”.
I was thinking about that statement a few days ago, as I was ironing some shirts. One of those on the ironing pile was a shirt I bought in 1999. It is a ‘pullover’ style, with twin front pockets and a short zipped entrance for the neck. Made of strong cotton/canvas, I bought it in the chain store ‘Next’, for almost £40. Back then, £40 was a lot of money to pay for a shirt, believe me. You could buy a two-piece suit for that money, in a ‘cheap shop’.
But here I was over twenty years later, ironing a shirt that looked as good as the day I brought it home.
In the 2014 photo on my ‘About’ page, I am wearing a lightweight jacket with a Tintin logo. That was bought from a shop in London that used to sell official Tintin merchandise. It was an impulse buy, as it had been reduced from an eye-wateringly ridiculous £199, to just £90. But that was in 1990, when £90 was around the total disposable income we had in any given week after bills. Other than some fraying inside the pockets, that coat is also as good as new. I wore it out with Ollie recently, before the weather turned warm.
Thirty years old, and still going strong. It has cost me just £3 a year to own that jacket, and I am sure it will last for another ten years. If I live that long.
When I moved to Norfolk in 2012, I bought some items of clothing I had never previously owned. They included a pair of warm corduroy trousers purchased from Marks and Spencer. Not cheap even then, at £39.99, they are still like brand new, despite being worn and washed numerous times.
One of the benefits of getting older, and being male, is that you tend to care less about fashion. You don’t get rid of things just because trends change, or certain colours become supposedly unacceptable. Most of the styles in my wardrobe I would class as ‘timeless’. I no longer own any jackets with enormously wide lapels, trousers with substantial turn-ups, (cuffs) or shirts with collars as big as the wings on a light aircraft. Those things went the way of fashion trends, when I was still young and foolish enough to have bought them.
I also don’t own any ‘skinny’ ties anymore, or knitted ones, for that matter. You see sense, you buy conventional, and you no longer read magazine articles about what is ‘In’, or ‘Out’. If you are still falling victim to that, I understand why. And I feel sorry for you.
But one day, you will ‘get what you pay for’, and be very happy that you did.