Despite that mitigating factor, some purchases returned better value than others.
Stars: Worn and loved
1. Boots for moving through three seasons.
When I met reader Teresa for coffee last fall, she was wearing the same burgundy Blundstones, so we purred about how these sturdy, admittedly androgynous boots serve Canadian weather and walking women. Cost was about $CDN 220.
2. A cashmere/silk fitted v-neck
This style from Eric Bompard (shown in steel blue; my violet fluo colour was from last spring's palette), is one of their 30% silk/70% cashmere blends, which I find cozy and nicely washable. (Though Deja Pseu found hers pilled, mine have not.) Cost was around $180 but that's with the detaxe.
What no photo shows is the wrist, which is slit about two inches on the outside seam, for that extra little quelque chose.
3. New jewelry of the relaxed real persuasion
I wrote about this vintage necklace before, but, for under $100, it has returned so much pleasure. Found by chance in a consignment shop.
And from Montréal jeweler Gabrielle Desmarais, a pair of sterling double hoops. Girlfriend Susan bought the same pair, as might any number of women who asked me where I got them; price about $CDN 95.
Not a dog, but YGWYPF
In early December, on a sale/free ship deal, I bought a J. Crew lambswool Fair Isle sweater, a well-composed pattern with translucent sequins (on the body from shoulder to high chest) that look like a dusting of sunlit snow.
But it is not Brora's cashmere Fair Isle which, thank god, wasn't offered in the right colourway for me. However, unlike that Brora, I will not be wearing the J. Crew a decade from now, I can tell. I'm the kind who will hunt down extra matching sequins (the sweater came with four spares) but not one who will hand-sew every single one firmly to the knit.
The Brora version is £219, presently on sale. With shipping and duties, that's over four times the J. Crew.
The sole (pun intended) dog of 2015 were dressy sandals I had made to wear to the wedding; I have written about them here. Lesson: A cushioned sole is essential. Worn for two hours.
Value and venues
At large holiday craft show, I admired a handsome bus-pass holder, but the price for this 3x4-inch piece would have topped $CDN90 with tax.
Although I often pay a premium to support local artisans, I refused to fork over "show tax", the inevitable markup caused by hefty fees for show space and services. The craftspersons themselves have complained about these very steep costs; some no longer participate for that reason.
I found that on Etsy, for about $30 including shipping, I could find a handsome handmade case and still Buy Canadian from Ashlin Leather. In the heady show atmosphere, surrounded by appealing goods and avid consumers, it's easy to lose your ability to judge value.
Report card: A-, finally!
Just knowing that I will eventually write this post keeps me away from impulse buys; I also ask myself, "When I am wearing this, what's not being worn (that is already in my closet)?"
Maybe it was down to the dollar-diversion of that wedding—but what a sweet reason to award myself an A-. The minus, slender as those sandals straps, is just fine. I'm declaring victory.
Do you track your spending? Beginning with the 2008 recession, I began to write every single purchase in a notebook. In the last three years, I've dropped recording small things like coffee or bus tickets, but I'm still vitally interested in whether the wardrobe items I buy return value.