This is the first installment of the Apt. 11D Gift Guide for 2021. Here’s the Intro. Part 1 is on investment clothing. Part 2 was about exercise and outdoor activity. Part 3 is about cooking.
When we were just starting out, clothes — even socks and underwear — were wrapped up under the tree. Clothes were a huge need, during this time when money was scarce. Boys grow, after all. And it took a while for Steve and I to accumulate a grown-up wardrobe, after years of graduate school rags. Now, everybody has reached their peak heights, and we have more disposable income, so nobody is going to get a sack of Hanes white t-shirts for Christmas.
Post-COVID, we need fewer types of outfits than before. I’m not traveling to writers’ conferences anymore. Steve’s work uniform – white, button-down shirt and jeans — is only used twice a week. We are either wearing work-from-home snuggly clothes, warm clothes for hiking or outdoor exercise, or nice restaurant outfits. With fewer needs, I’m upgrading whatever I use a lot. I want to look good and feel good, even if I spend my day typing out words on this screen.
A few months ago, I bagged up all my cheap Old Navy sweatshirts and sweaters that were in heavy rotation during the early days of the pandemic, when we rarely saw other people. I never want to see those shmattas again. I’m replacing those rags with investment clothes. As I’m shopping for myself and my family this Christmas, I’m looking for pieces that will last a long time, look great, and are a notch above my usual spending limits.
I like sweaters that make you think about long hikes through rural England and plush library arm chairs. Fair Isle sweaters, donegal sweaters, long sweaters, oversized turtle neck sweaters are all fabulous. Steve rakes up the fall leaves, while wearing an Irish knit sweater. I have a 30-year old Irish knit sweater that I still use on super cold afternoons.
I am upgrading all of our coats, too. I’m looking for coats that are roomy enough to cover those sweaters. The grown-ups need two coats — one for the sporty stuff, one for city stuff. Jonah and Ian need one coat that can work for all scenarios. I like J. Crew’s candy colored coats, but I would really like an oversized, long coat like the vintage coats that I used to wear in the 1990s. Steve and I wore our Barbour coats through the fall. I still get complements on that Amazon coat, which is about five years old now.
A huge soccer fan, Jonah likes clothes with a sporty flavor. He owns a dozen European soccer jerseys. And likes jackets and gear that can go from the field to the lecture hall.
5 thoughts on “Gift Guide 2021 #1 – Investment Clothes”
Laura wrote, “I like sweaters that make you think about long hikes through rural England and plush library arm chairs. Fair Isle sweaters, donegal sweaters, long sweaters, oversized turtle neck sweaters are all fabulous. Steve rakes up the fall leaves, while wearing an Irish knit sweater. I have a 30-year old Irish knit sweater that I still use on super cold afternoons.”
I know that chenille sweaters have some durability issues, but they feel like being hugged by an angel.
We’re basically in the same boat EXCEPT all the men/boys still get white undershirts in their Christmas stockings, along with underwear and socks. It’s a Christmas tradition that will probably never go away in our house. LOL.
We don’t do Christmas, but I am thinking there should be a holiday when all the underwear and socks get replaced.
Somebody always needs new flannel pj bottoms.
I do remember those early years – when money was tight – and the summer (Christmas is summer here) new clothes were wrapped under the tree.
Not socks and undies – but swimming togs, and t-shirts. As well as toys from second-hand shops – I scored some amazing bargains – and books (always books!)
As a small child, my son *adored* opening presents – the more he had the happier he was. It was definitely quantity over quality – he wasn’t too bothered by the contents. Now, of course, at 14 he is much more discerning – and there is one ‘good’ present – but still several ‘necessities’ and or fun presents under the tree.
However, I remember the horror that my approach was greeted by various acquaintances (also with small children). “But you have to buy *real* presents!”
[A side-effect of having a baby later in life, is that the majority of your peers with children the same age are at least a decade younger, and have a very different outlook on life]
I know, for a fact, that some of them were watching pennies almost as carefully as I was – but it was still important for them to splurge at Christmas – even though they’d by paying for it throughout January and February.
I often wondered who they were trying to impress.
With a 14-year-old – who prioritizes comfort over fashion – and is still growing like a weed – we’re certainly not investing in high-quality clothing for him, yet!
My most recent high-quality purchase has been a pair of Allbirds – Kiwi brand of sneakers – made from wool, and totally recyclable. Which is nice, but they are also the most comfortable pair of shoes that I’ve ever owned – 100x more comfortable for walking than the expensive running shoes. And, since I bought charcoal ones – they transition nicely from outdoors to indoor events without looking like sportshoes.
Expensive. But worth it.
Comments are closed.