Monday, October 18, 2010

Year of No Rubbish Purchases - Month 2

Not only is this year about not buying rubbish, it is also about buying things of quality which last and last.  So this post is about money.  Avert your eyes if you have to.

Step 1, I bought Pepper the cat a tray for his food and water bowl to replace the Ikea one I had.  Given I have to look at it every day I thought something pretty would be easier on the eye.   Do you like it? It's French and it makes me think of Missoni a bit.  Or Paul Smith.  

Step 2, I took the plunge and did something I have only ever done for my wedding. I had a piece of clothing tailored for me. And what better than a black pencil skirt?  As a lawyer, one's professional life is paved with black skirts.   I cannot count how many I have bought over the last 20 years.  Now, I want one which lasts more than a year or two.  

So these fantastic people came and sized me and produced a beautiful, classic, wonderfully fitting black skirt.   Barring massive weight gain or loss, I hope it will last many many years.  And it cost only a little bit more than a skirt from a shop.  

The fabric is by Dormeuil which was established by three French brothers of the same name in 1842. They hit on the idea of importing English fabric to France.  Jules Dormeuil had a truly global vision it seems.  He opened their first store in New York in 1880.  When the company celebrated 150 years in business in 1992 the lights of the Eiffel Tower were dimmed in their honour. 

Dormeuil manufactures amazing soft wool. They also say that they invented the 'Pashmina'.  They were and are the fabric of choice for many Savile Row tailors, and I can see why.  The fabric breathes and at the end of the day, any creases just fall out.  

They made some cracking ads in the 1970s.  Are you offended by this ad? I love it.   And her sunnies.  And his red shirt and tie combo.  And the light planes and Aston Martin in the background.   

And what about this one?   That's a snake on his lapel.  

I was going pretty well this month until the global economy interfered.  Here's the thing, when I was backpacking around Europe in the 1990's the exchange rate of the Aussie dollar was pretty forlorn.  I could get 1 British pound for 3 AUD.  And the US currency was not much better (1 AUD would buy US 0.60 cents).   This made travelling very expensive, and is one of the reasons I put off travelling to the US for so long.    Of course it also made travelling fun and challenging but many Australians can remember the power of the mighty US$ in Eastern Europe and what it could buy.   And how many Australian dollars we had to exchange to get that currency.

Today, things are different.  Over the weekend the Australian dollar hit parity with the US.   Now I know that this is bad for the farmers and other exporters.  And perhaps for local retailers because the stronger dollar has meant a huge boost in online overseas sales, and I have been one of the statistics.  An added bonus is the reversed seasons.  Shop online in the UK and US and you can pick up their summer season's clothes on sale just as we are going into summer ourselves.  

(Side note:  quality clothes in Australia are expensive. I do actually try to support Australian designers and manufacturing especially original good quality designers like Scanlon & Theodore.    Whilst I am a bit sad that the Internet is maybe making it harder for them to be competitive, I think there will always be room for great High street retailers.  But at the end of the day a top is a top, and $450 is too much Lisa Ho.  And don't start me on denim.  Why would I pay $400 for a pair of J Brand jeans from the shop up the road when I can buy the same jeans for half the price online?)  

I bought these summer sandals from Revolve (on sale and very cheap):

And this necklace (not sure where I will wear it) from J Crew (on sale and very cheap):

I used a shipper for the J Crew stuff.  They were pretty reliable and quick but their shipping charges are almost Cath Kidston-esque.

And I end on this note - compare prices always.  This beautiful J Crew shearling trimmed jacket:

Is  $380 AUD on the J Crew website (converted from 378) and $415 on Net a Porter (converted from 255 UK pounds).  The difference is simply that between the two currencies. 

Do you shop online? Surely I am not the only one?  


Anonymous said...

Parity rules! (Unless you are selling overseas- then it sucks) I'm all for online purchases and purchasing good quality long lasting items. Seems like it's a forgotten art nowdays.

rouge said...

Nope, you're not alone. Actually I bought a Cabbages and Roses striped jumper (in the sale I might add) as a direct result of a posting of yours. So thank you!

And I recently bought a carpet bag from the UK online because I'm from there originally, and I buy carpet bags serially because I'm addicted to them (or don't have the wit and imagination to try other sorts of bag).

I also try to support Australian manufacture and design where it's reasonable, but there are just some things you can't get here, or if you can, the prices are often silly.

Kristine said...

thanks for the reminder. Think I'll do a spot of online fabric shopping now.

Raina Cox said...

Love love everything you bought!

And if you ever need J.Crew items, let me know. I have two stores and an outlet within 20 minutes of my house.

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I went beserk on the weekend ordering fabric that I have designed which is being printed overseas... now I have $26 til payday on Thursday.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Hello Jane, I do shop online. I'm far too lazy to go to the shops (I've worked in retail for too long over the years and hate dealing with shop assistants). I love your buys and your motto of 'if it is used a lot it must look beautiful and be of good quality'. Have a lovely week. Enjoy your new purchases. xx

Rebecca said...

tell me more about getting someone to ship over your j.crew outfit!! i've had my eye on a dress for some time!

Jane said...

hi Bec
I use a shipper called My US you pay $ 20 to join and they give you an address in Florida for J Crew to ship to and then forward it on for you. Downsides are - shipping is expensive (I think anyway) and I had to call J Crew to get the order approved because they recognised the address was a shipper (or some such). There are heaps of shippers around I am not saying mine is the best I was pretty slack with my research. !!

Jenny said...

Good points. I just bought 48 yards of fabric to take back with me to Holland (from Texas) this weekend to make drapes for my house there. Everything is so expensive in Europe I'd rather pay the extra $50 for another suitcase to haul the stuff back with me. I am waiting on shipments from Zappos, Land's End and Easy Spirit and hope they arrive before I leave. Online shopping is easier for me. Good points you made.

Mise said...

A bespoke black pencil skirt is ever so classy! You've made me want to find a glovemaker and bring my hats in to be retrimmed. It's such a struggle to keep up...

Privet and Holly said...

I am sooo with
you about buying
quality. I took
a pledge {of my
own making} to
not buy goods made
in China for the
month of October.
It's been extremely
enlightening! Also
makes it hard to
buy on-line, as so
many products say
"imported" after the
description and you
have no idea where the
item comes from!
Love your J.Crew
necklace : ) !!
xx Suzanne

Kellie Collis said...

Ooh, the necklace is a beauty! Enjoy a lovely day, Kellie xx

Rebecca said...

thanks jane!!

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