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Women's clothes... buy it for life? What are your favourites?

 
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I am a proud tshirt and jeans kind of gal. I love casual Friday, and weekends, and I LOATH shopping. I love buy it for life stuff as it keeps me from having to set foot in that hellhole known as the mall, saves me money, and keeps me from feeling guity over throwing things away. I am slowly trying to move my wardrobe towards all buy it for life kinds of stuff.

Anyone have any suggestions for good, durable fitted tshirts and jeans ? Preferably in a store in Canada?

I find with t-shirts they either get super holey, or the seam comes out on the bottom in less than a year. Jeans wear out in different places depending on the brand, but I have switched from my old trusty Levis to Walmart brand jeans after Levis changed their fabric and styling so they fit poorly and wore out sometimes in less than a month!!! Walmart jeans were a third the price and last 3-6 months depending on what I am up to, which is better than any of the expensive brands i have tried, but still not great durability. I usually own only 2-3 pairs of jeans.

I am hard on shoes. Highly recommend blundstones as worth the price. Super comfy, wide enough,full grain leather tops, I wear mine with sheepskin insoles year round, and mine have lasted 2 years and just need the insoles replaced. I like them so much I bought a second pair for "good" as mine are perfectly serviceable but too scuffed up to get away with wearing them to the office now! I also love my full grain leather roots purse. 2+ years old, looks brand new, while most of my coworkers go through a purse a season.

Anyone have favourite last-forever clothes brands made of real fabric (cotton, linen, wool, etc) rather than synthetics?  Favourite shoe brands that use full grain leather? Bonus points for stuff that is not made in a sweatshop.
 
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Duluth Trading Company has some pretty good stuff. I like their Longtail shirts so much that I'm slowly replacing all of my shirts with those. I even raided the $5 rack at their outlet store and got a bunch of Longtail Tees to make shorts out of.

I can't say how well the women's Fire Hose Pants work, because none of them fit me quite right. I buy the men's instead, and I can vouch for the fact that they hold up very well to thorns, gravel, and welding sparks.

Their flannel shirts are warmer than most, and they seem to stay buttoned better.

The underwear they make is really nice, but the manufacturer they work with sometimes has a glitch in their stitching, and the waistband on some of them will come loose. Last I heard, they were still trying to track down exactly which machine it was and why, but that was a few years ago. Its possible they fixed it, the last few I bought didn't come unstitched. But just something to be aware of. I liked the fit so well that I just restitched them myself when that happened, but they will let you return or exchange them.

I haven't tried their bras or their shoes yet. Their socks are very nice, though.

 
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I have been informed by my children that I must button and zip my pants/jeans in the laundry, because catching on the zipper is what is putting holes in my t-shirts. Can't say if it is or not, but I dutifully zip and button now.
 
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I like Duluth Trading Post.  I also like Lands End for clothes - they have many, many sales.  Their kids clothes are tough enough to last through multiple kiddos.

I see ads for t-shirts made of wool - expensive, but supposed to go for 100 days without needing to be washed.  I found this article:

https://merinowoolrocks.com/top-merino-tshirts-2019/
 
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I just did a mental inventory and realize that all my most durable clothes are either no longer made (hello old gap khaki pants, back in the 90s that wore like iron) or men`s clothes.
I have a pair of canvas carhartt carpenter pants that are at least 20 years old, and I wear them in the garden doing heavy-ish work. I`ve patched the knees but I think I could get at least another 10 years out of them. They are strong enough to actually allow repairs, which is refreshing.
As for the t-shirts that actually last and are made out of good material, I buy a lot of thrift store clothing and I`m finding that the last few t-shirts I`ve acquired and loved are all 100% cotton and made by Uniqlo. My body (tall, muscular woman with curves) is almost the antithesis of the look of this brand, but these are apparently men`s shirts and not only suit me fine but wear like champs.
 
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Women's jeans suck. Sure, they may 'hug your curves' - at least, in the beginning, until they sag - but, they are usually now made of thinner fabric than tshirts, with tiny (or no) pockets. I buy men's jeans, from the resale shops! They last forever, take all the abuse I can dish out (and then some), they don't stretch out of shape, and offer my skin much better protection, out in the blackberry patches.

My experience buying tshirts is pretty much a craps-shoot. While cheap is cheap, more expensive isn't necessarily better quality. So, I wash my tshirts with my underwear - never with my jeans, they don't go into the dryer, and as they begin to fall apart, they are relegated to 'work clothes', 'sloppy-sleeper/loungers', or 'household use' items. Sometimes, I'm very sad to see them die - especially concert Ts & souvenir Harley Ts, we've picked up, traveling (we call it cotton picking, lol). Some of those, I cut up for a combination of household use & 'future t-shirt-keepsake quilt '.

 
Catie George
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Thanks for the suggestions! Duluth and Lands end both look good.... maybe I need to renew my passport and go on a cross border shopping spree, as i am reluctant to deal with crossborder shipping without trying stuff on.

There seriously is a lack of quality stuff here. I used to frequent thrift stores, but now everything there is the same fast fashion or cheap walmart crap as in stores- but already worn out and stretched, and at $6-$8/ a shirt. I own two lovely wool blazers.... at least 30 years old but fit beautifully and quality construction. But nothing new really has that quality,

Spent 2 hrs in the small town mall yesterday. Good quality cotton tees? Hah! Try finding cotton tees at all. Rayon mostly, also modal, but not cotton. Ended up at Marks work warehouse, so now have enough t shirts to last me a year (I was down to only office wear that I was willing to wear in public) but I guarantee (as this is the usual brand I buy) the bottom hem will start coming loose in 3 wears. At least the cotton is heavy enough to hold its shape.

I wish I could wear men's jeans, but with a 14 inch hip waist differential, the gap is too big to close even with darts. Even men's jeans I am noticing moving to the same cheap fabric as womens jeans now.

Yes, my tees are kept in rotation far longer than they should be... hemless, holes, stains, etc, then eventually as rags. I wash heavy (jeans, towels) seperately from lighter weight stuff, and hang to dry.

Oh, as for wool shirts- I own a couple merino shirts which I use as baselayers for working outside in the arctic in the winter. They are much nicer than synthetic baselayers which STINK, but definitely not easy care. I wear 2-4 days then hand wash lay flat to dry, but the fabric is delicate and prone to getting pricked by things and tiny holes if your don't wear some thing over them.
 
Carla Burke
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Catie George wrote:
I wish I could wear men's jeans, but with a 14 inch hip waist differential, the gap is too big to close even with darts. Even men's jeans I am noticing moving to the same cheap fabric as womens jeans now.  



Wow! You're kicking some amazing, and undoubtedly lovely curves! I have some difficulty with the men's fitting right, too - apparently a 10inch difference in a span of 6.5inches isn't quite 'typical', so I 'feel ya'! So, they have to go over my hips, which means they're too wide in both the ankles & waist. The ankles matter to me, because I'm a biker, and the cuff snagging on my kickstand, when I shift gears, could prove fatal. I'm working on ways to snug up the waist, without them looking stupid - but, I also do carry (my firearm) concealed, inside the waistband, which actually helps take up some slack. I know that doesn't help you, though. So, my next question is do you sew, at all?
 
pollinator
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You might find that you come out better budget wise to buy cheap stuff at secondhand stores and yard sales, and just replace as needed.  Since it's secondhand, you're not "guilty" for driving the mill of consumption forward.  Some of the larger stores in big towns and cities have a big enough selection that you can be picky as to sizes and materials....and all cotton anything can be eventually composted anyway.
 
master steward
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Carla Burke wrote:

Catie George wrote:
I wish I could wear men's jeans, but with a 14 inch hip waist differential, the gap is too big to close even with darts. Even men's jeans I am noticing moving to the same cheap fabric as womens jeans now.  



Wow! You're kicking some amazing, and undoubtedly lovely curves! I have some difficulty with the men's fitting right, too - apparently a 10inch difference in a span of 6.5inches isn't quite 'typical', so I 'feel ya'! So, they have to go over my hips, which means they're too wide in both the ankles & waist. The ankles master to me, because I'm a biker, and the cuff snagging on my kickstand, when I shift gears, could prove fatal. I'm working on ways to snug up the waist, without them looking stupid - but, I also do carry (my firearm) concealed, inside the waistband, which actually helps take up some slack. I know that doesn't help you, though. So, my next question is do you sew, at all?



I always just look like a dork and tuck my pants into my socks. I do this when I walk around my property, because otherwise my pants wick up the water from the wet grass and I have soggy pants.

As for the waist, I just cinch it with a belt. I have to do this with most women's pants, anyway. Maybe I just hate really tight pants. Maybe other women want to have their legs plastered to thier pants? But when I find pants that fit my hips, they're really wide on my waist. Now, I've had two pregnancies, and my waist is a good 3 inches bigger than it used to be, and my hips aren't that wide (39 inches to my 31 waist), and I still need a belt to hold them up. It kind of worries me that the average pants have such wide waists--I thought I'd read something about too much stomach fat compared to  hip fat being an indicator for a bunch of health problems.  And, looking at the average hip to waist ratios back in the 50's, even at my thinnest waist, it still didn't match those ratios.

As for rants on pants, I HATE spandex and polyester in pants. Any pants that aren't 100% cotton, I can FEEL when I put them on and my legs instantly get clammy. And if I put them on in the winter, my legs instantly feel cold. So, I'm either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Am I the only one? Maybe it doesn't bother anyone else, just me? And, it's REALLY hard finding 100% cotton pants anymore. I accidentally bought men's cotton pants at the thrift store, and I'm LOVING their big pockets!

I wish I had knowledge of quality brands. I tend to by my cotton shirts online from companies like CheepestTs.com The shirts are affordable and you can get 100% cotton ones. The Bella Favorite shirts are nice and long and fitted (medium is "extra large" for a nice fit, as these are "Jr Sizes"). But, I haven't brought myself to buy any more shirts after realizing how little the people who make these shirts get paid, so I just wear my holey ones under my butten-up/flannel shirts.

And, I feel the pain in companies that used to make nice clothes, no longer doing so. Just two years ago, I could buy my kids nice 100% cotton sweat pants that looked like slacks. They were great and pretty durable. Now everything is polyester blend "joggers" (I accidentally bought a pair for my son, and then realized they were way too short, even though my son is short and I bought the next size up. I guess the style is for the pants to be above the ankles?). Every so often I run across nice pants at the thrift store, and look up their brand, only to discover that they no longer make them. So maddening!
 
Catie George
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Alder Burns wrote:You might find that you come out better budget wise to buy cheap stuff at secondhand stores and yard sales, and just replace as needed.  Since it's secondhand, you're not "guilty" for driving the mill of consumption forward.  Some of the larger stores in big towns and cities have a big enough selection that you can be picky as to sizes and materials....and all cotton anything can be eventually composted anyway.



I do this for some items, but it would really, really be nice to support a company that produces quality clothing, so I can move a bit further off the fast fashion bandwagon. When my grandmother was my age, clothes would last years, even decades, and you would buy one new outfit a year, maybe. My mom still wears a coat from the 80s regularly, and has purses and shoes from then as well.  I dont think its unreasonable to think we should be able to get something that wears similarly today, and buying one item, even at 3x the normal price, is still very worth it if it lasts 10x the normal time.  I grew up buying most of my clothes from thrift stores, but recently thrift store shopping has gotten fairly fashionable here (and mostly dominated by a for profit company)  so prices have risen and the women's clothing is very picked over/old and worn, though there is still some decent stuff in the men's sections.  My household goods  (dishes, pans, lamps, some small appliances, curtains, cutlery, furniture, etc) are all  pretty much second hand.

Carla Burke wrote:

Catie George wrote:
I wish I could wear men's jeans, but with a 14 inch hip waist differential, the gap is too big to close even with darts. Even men's jeans I am noticing moving to the same cheap fabric as womens jeans now.  



Wow! You're kicking some amazing, and undoubtedly lovely curves! I have some difficulty with the men's fitting right, too - apparently a 10inch difference in a span of 6.5inches isn't quite 'typical', so I 'feel ya'! So, they have to go over my hips, which means they're too wide in both the ankles & waist. The ankles master to me, because I'm a biker, and the cuff snagging on my kickstand, when I shift gears, could prove fatal. I'm working on ways to snug up the waist, without them looking stupid - but, I also do carry (my firearm) concealed, inside the waistband, which actually helps take up some slack. I know that doesn't help you, though. So, my next question is do you sew, at all?



Sigh.... speaking of looking stupid, you should see me in (bright orange and grease stained) men's coveralls, which I occasionally wear for work. To get them wide enough for my hips, they seem to be made for a 6'5 man rather than a 5'4 woman. I end up with them tight at the hips, baggy and trying to fall off my shoulders, with a good foot of material shoved up over the top of my boots. They are communal loaners, otherwise i would alter them!!! I have borrowed men's safety pants a few times. -suspenders are great. My boss walked by as i was trying on a pair of company owned mens snowpants one day. I was standing on the bottoms and, though wearing 3 layers underneath could still tuck my parka in, and they were too tight to walk properly. Straight faced, he told me to go buy a pair and charge them :).  I hear you on the ankle width though... I like bootcut pants, so always bike with pant legs tucked into socks, or occasionally with this elastic band thing (or stretched out hair elastic) to cinch them in.  

I sew a bit. Hem stuff a lot, and have tried darts in pants, which work ok for up to about 2" of slack removal, then get bunchy and uncomfortable. Belts just end up uncomfortable, with loops of waistband hanging down between the belt loops, and leather belt digging into my back. It would work better if I reworked the waistband, which is out of my skill level. I used to patch jeans a lot, but fabric is so thin now it only seems to buy me a few more washes.  I would have to redraft a pattern to sew from scratch, with is out of my skill level. I have sewn a few skirts, which are easier to adjust.

Nicole Alderman wrote:

As for the waist, I just cinch it with a belt. I have to do this with most women's pants, anyway. Maybe I just hate really tight pants. Maybe other women want to have their legs plastered to thier pants? But when I find pants that fit my hips, they're really wide on my waist. Now, I've had two pregnancies, and my waist is a good 3 inches bigger than it used to be, and my hips aren't that wide (39 inches to my 31 waist), and I still need a belt to hold them up. It kind of worries me that the average pants have such wide waists--I thought I'd read something about too much stomach fat compared to  hip fat being an indicator for a bunch of health problems.  And, looking at the average hip to waist ratios back in the 50's, even at my thinnest waist, it still didn't match those ratios.

As for rants on pants, I HATE spandex and polyester in pants. Any pants that aren't 100% cotton, I can FEEL when I put them on and my legs instantly get clammy. And if I put them on in the winter, my legs instantly feel cold. So, I'm either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Am I the only one? Maybe it doesn't bother anyone else, just me? And, it's REALLY hard finding 100% cotton pants anymore. I accidentally bought men's cotton pants at the thrift store, and I'm LOVING their big pockets!



Yes, the waist size thing concerns me too, I picked up a pair at the mall to look at and the pants were wider at the waist than the hips, which is just absurd! I see styles advertised as body hugger or "slim fit through the thighs and seat"(aka, leave now, those will not fit!), never loose fit, so I guess people like tight clothes you can't move in?

I don't understand the polyester obsession either. I somewhat like spandex, because it makes more pants fit better, but it also makes them slide down and contributes to them wearing out faster! All my dress pants are polyester, and they are gross, cold in winter, weird stick to skin in summer. My winter trick is a set of merino wool long johns under my pants (I ask for "wool clothing" every Christmas, and have gotten a new pair for the last 3 years- the Stanfields ones are my favourite and seem the most durable, though all are still in rotation). Super warm and toasty, all winter long, and not sweaty inside a warm building. Men's wool thrift store sweaters are my other winter go to.
 
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I think the waist:hip thing is due to most pants being designed to ride on the hips now rather than the waist. Problem is, the crotch is usually a little too long for you to actually be able to wear them on the hips!- for me anyway.

Karate pants are heavy duty and super comfortable. They've got this cool gusset sewn into the crotch and wide legs so you've got lots of movement. All the stitching is reinforced and they're 100% cotton. In the traditional designs you tie the waist to size and fold the fabric down over the string. It all stays in place really well.

There are those Thai fisherman pants that some people love, too.

I buy clothes at the thrift store and wear them to rags. My husband was just laughing at me this weekend. My pants had a huge hole in the crotch and my shirt was so thin it's see-through, full of holes, and the hems are all partially detached from the body. "Why even bother wearing clothes? It's not like they're hiding much." I told him I was doing a homesteader veil dance for him :D
 
Jan White
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Oh, my super stylish solution to pant bottoms wicking moisture from wet grass is to fold the hems tight around my ankles, then roll them up a couple times to hold the fold in place. Really ugly harem style pants;)  Keeps them from waving around and keeps them from dragging. Might not work as well with jeans or heavy duty fabrics. I hate bulky pants, so mine are all lightweight fabric.
 
Tereza Okava
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Jan White wrote:Oh, my super stylish solution to pant bottoms wicking moisture from wet grass is to fold the hems tight around my ankles, then roll them up a couple times to hold the fold in place.


Just sayin, in the 80s this was the height of fashion. (oh how embarrassing to admit that I have been there, done that)
 
Carla Burke
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Catie George wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:

Catie George wrote:
I wish I could wear men's jeans, but with a 14 inch hip waist differential, the gap is too big to close even with darts. Even men's jeans I am noticing moving to the same cheap fabric as womens jeans now.  



Wow! You're kicking some amazing, and undoubtedly lovely curves! I have some difficulty with the men's fitting right, too - apparently a 10inch difference in a span of 6.5inches isn't quite 'typical', so I 'feel ya'! So, they have to go over my hips, which means they're too wide in both the ankles & waist. The ankles master to me, because I'm a biker, and the cuff snagging on my kickstand, when I shift gears, could prove fatal. I'm working on ways to snug up the waist, without them looking stupid - but, I also do carry (my firearm) concealed, inside the waistband, which actually helps take up some slack. I know that doesn't help you, though. So, my next question is do you sew, at all?



Sigh.... speaking of looking stupid, you should see me in (bright orange and grease stained) men's coveralls, which I occasionally wear for work. To get them wide enough for my hips, they seem to be made for a 6'5 man rather than a 5'4 woman. I end up with them tight at the hips, baggy and trying to fall off my shoulders, with a good foot of material shoved up over the top of my boots. They are communal loaners, otherwise i would alter them!!! I have borrowed men's safety pants a few times. -suspenders are great. My boss walked by as i was trying on a pair of company owned mens snowpants one day. I was standing on the bottoms and, though wearing 3 layers underneath could still tuck my parka in, and they were too tight to walk properly. Straight faced, he told me to go buy a pair and charge them :).  I hear you on the ankle width though... I like bootcut pants, so always bike with pant legs tucked into socks, or occasionally with this elastic band thing (or stretched out hair elastic) to cinch them in.  

I sew a bit. Hem stuff a lot, and have tried darts in pants, which work ok for up to about 2" of slack removal, then get bunchy and uncomfortable. Belts just end up uncomfortable, with loops of waistband hanging down between the belt loops, and leather belt digging into my back. It would work better if I reworked the waistband, which is out of my skill level. I used to patch jeans a lot, but fabric is so thin now it only seems to buy me a few more washes.  I would have to redraft a pattern to sew from scratch, with is out of my skill level. I have sewn a few skirts, which are easier to adjust.



I should probably clarify, because on my bike, there is no way the cuffs would stay in my socks. I mean, I'm a motorcyclist. I ride a Harley Davidson. Cuffs aren't staying inside the socks at 75+mph. I've picked up some grommets, and I'm going to try putting them in the fabric, in an upside down V, then lacing some leather thong through, and tightening them, that way. Who knows - it might even look cute, lol.
I saw a tutorial, somewhere, on how to put elastic inside the back waist of jeans, to eliminate the gap. I was thinking that might at least help? You and I might need to bring it further around the sides, to pull in more - or just do it on the sides?  That's why I was asking about the sewing. I'll see if I can find that tutorial....
 
Carla Burke
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
As for the waist, I just cinch it with a belt. I have to do this with most women's pants, anyway. Maybe I just hate really tight pants. Maybe other women want to have their legs plastered to thier pants? But when I find pants that fit my hips, they're really wide on my waist. Now, I've had two pregnancies, and my waist is a good 3 inches bigger than it used to be, and my hips aren't that wide (39 inches to my 31 waist), and I still need a belt to hold them up. It kind of worries me that the average pants have such wide waists--I thought I'd read something about too much stomach fat compared to  hip fat being an indicator for a bunch of health problems.  And, looking at the average hip to waist ratios back in the 50's, even at my thinnest waist, it still didn't match those ratios.

As for rants on pants, I HATE spandex and polyester in pants. Any pants that aren't 100% cotton, I can FEEL when I put them on and my legs instantly get clammy. And if I put them on in the winter, my legs instantly feel cold. So, I'm either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Am I the only one? Maybe it doesn't bother anyone else, just me? And, it's REALLY hard finding 100% cotton pants anymore. I accidentally bought men's cotton pants at the thrift store, and I'm LOVING their big pockets!



So. Much. THIS!!! I don't know, sometimes, whether to laugh, cry, or throw a tantrum! I once wrote a rather scathing letter to Levi's, over it all. I will not buy their brand again. Ever. The last pair of women's 100% cotton jeans I found in a resale shop was Tommy Hilfiger, in 2005! They had 2pair, and I snapped them both up. They were awesome! Comfortable, durable, cute, and fit great! They were also in need of patches, which I happily added. Then, I had a wicked accident, on the job, & gained weight. I think I've now lost enough weight that, with great effort and loads of wriggling, I might. Maybe. Get them over one thigh. Maybe. I'm not taking bets.

Ralph Lauren is bringing back the 100%cotton, for women. I think they even have real, honest-to-God pockets, and sizes for real people with real hips, thighs, and tummies. I tried some on and fell in love - but, the price tag was a bit too rich, for my blood. That was last year. They were too good. I don't see them hitting the resale shops, for quite some time. But, the sales staff said they'd been told more were coming. I think I'm going to make requests of my family for Christmas money, that I can put toward some. Ha - but, (at that price)they'll probably be kept sacred, for a year, before they ever make it to the everyday wear rotation.
 
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L L Bean makes 100% cotton jeans that are better made than many other brands.  Look for "Double L Jeans", their other styles are not 100% cotton.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Carla Burke wrote:
Ralph Lauren is bringing back the 100%cotton, for women. I think they even have real, honest-to-God pockets, and sizes for real people with real hips, thighs, and tummies. I tried some on and fell in love - but, the price tag was a bit too rich, for my blood. That was last year. They were too good. I don't see them hitting the resale shops, for quite some time. But, the sales staff said they'd been told more were coming. I think I'm going to make requests of my family for Christmas money, that I can put toward some. Ha - but, (at that price)they'll probably be kept sacred, for a year, before they ever make it to the everyday wear rotation.



I just had to go look. Found these wide legged jeans 100% cotton for a "very affordable" $248.00.



And look at these lovely flare jeans.



They're a cotton/linen blend. That sounds absolutely cool and delightful. So roomy and comfortable looking! Of course, I don't have $270 to put toward them .

Pretty sure the highest amount I've ever paid for pants was $30, and that was for my interview pant+coat. I bought those new on sale for something like $60. Aside from that, I've never paid more than $15 for a pair of pants. And even that seemed like too much (I only shop at thrift stores for pants!). Those pants do look heavenly. I love long, wide-legged/flare pants. They're so much more roomy! They breath much nicer, too!

I was looking at the other styles and noticed that the style seems to be for pants to be "high water." Even the flare pants are largely "cropped"!


I guess it wasn't just my kids' pants that have the high water look. I've determined that I'm officially old, as I'm grumpy about current styles!
 
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What to wear? Slow fashion!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_fashion
And to achieve this, make your own. Home dressmaking need not be complicated or difficult. The net has plenty of advice on how to make slopers, from these you make tuilles, and then your clothes will fit perfectly. This is just one example...
https://youtu.be/Ck2EhdeheLk
Use sheets or blankets from the thrift stores (charity shops), or buy large sizes that you can take apart and use the fabric to make new garments. Put in the features that you want and need.
I am in the process of losing a huge amount of weight and as soon as I stabilize, I will be setting up my slopers so that I never have to buy cheap and nasty again.  I notice that all the clothes in our local markets say 'made in Italy'. I may sound sceptical but I don't believe that. I think manufacturers know there is a trend in opinion re clothes made in certain parts of the World and are trying to get around that. Believe me, no self respecting Italian would be wearing the stuff on sale here.
The other reason for making one's own slow fashion items is the pride one feels.  We should always be helping along our self-esteem!

 
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I hate shopping so I’m all in on this thread. I want my clothes to last as long as possible with normal wear and normal care. I also don’t want many clothes. I like to wear the same thing pretty much everyday. I used to work in NYC making NYC wages and unfortunately my favorite clothes are still ones from that time. I say unfortunately because they were also expensive. I bought two Eileen Fisher dresses that i will have forever and I have a pair of Imogene and Willie all cotton rigid Imogene jeans (they’re rarely in stock...don’t be fooled by the ones that have some spandex in them) that are dreamy. My butt has never looked so good in pants. But recently the crotch finally tore out 5 years and a lot of wear later so I’m in the market again with a lot less money! I currently have a pair of Patagonia jeans that I got during their annual sale and have been happy with them, but I’ve been tempted to try the arket rigid jeans. Much cheaper and 100% organic cotton. Arket’s a new brand from the h&m family...bah...but trying to be more sustainable. I’ve had good luck with 3 packs of Hanes v neck all cotton shirts (for men). Also I’ve been watching dovetail workwear for a sale. My carharts died a sad crotch and butt torn death and I’ve been making do for now because I really want a pair of the mavens. I tried them on in a local outdoor store and was sold. They’re not 100% cotton but they fit really well and move with you. Carharts were always hit or miss for me. I hated the women’s fits and the men’s are hard to make work.
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Brooke Bell wrote:I have a pair of Imogene and Willie all cotton rigid Imogene jeans (they’re rarely in stock...don’t be fooled by the ones that have some spandex in them) that are dreamy. My butt has never looked so good My carharts died a sad crotch and butt torn death.



There is a site that does does online classes that has one on reverse engineering your favourite jeans. P.m. me if you would like the link.
 
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I work in hot, humid Virginia and have found long-sleeved, moisture-wicking, SPF 50 Tshirts ('dive' or 'scuba' shirts) are life-savers.  It seems counter-intuitive to use long sleeves, but not having the sun beating directly on my skin helps a lot.  These shirts wear like iron, however they stain super easily, so I bought some fabric crayons to turn the stains into 'art'.   Secondly, I discovered nurses' scrubs at the thrift store.  These have drawstring waistbands, important because a) like many of you I can't buy anything that will fit my waist and hips, and b) cinch them up tight to keep ticks and stinging ants out.  They have wonderful deep pockets including cargo pockets,  so I don't have to wear a tool belt for smaller stuff like work gloves, pruners, screwdrivers, etc.  (having a drawstring waistband is also helpful if you load up your pockets with pounds of stuff.)  The fabric is medium-weight, so it is easy to stuff the legs into my socks (against ticks, stinging ants, chiggers, etc.) I've only been using the scrubs for about a year now, so cannot attest to longevity, but man are they comfortable!
 
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The Ralph Lauren jeans reminded me of these. Not 100% cotton, but just 2% spandex. I don't know if that's still too much. And $78 for new is far better, though of course not Walmart or thrift store pricing.

I have not tried clothes from this company, and I don't know about shipping to Canada, but I did buy some all rubber slip on low boots last fall that I like (have not really put those through a durability test yet). And they seem to be about some good values for their factories.

Everlane-womens-wideleg-jeans.png
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Everlane women
 
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Yes. Slow fashion!

Sewing is not nearly as daunting as what you may remember from home-ec class and can actually be pretty calming. I enjoy up cycling clothes I find from the  'by the pound' Goodwill clearance store and have found lots of heavy denims, wools, tons of pure linen and once an extra wide, nine yard piece of gorgeous hemp fabric. All for mere pennies since it's priced by the pound.

And while the following link is a mostly knitting site,    https://fringeassociation.com/tag/make-your-own-basics/    Karen Templer is committed to making easy, comfortable all natural clothes and she's very generous with her knowledge.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Purses were mentioned briefly. I think this purse qualifies as the. best. ever.

At least the best I've ever owned.

I can't remember when I bought it. My kids were young and they're 24 and 31 now. So...maybe around 20 years ago!

The strap is long enough for it to hang comfortably across my body (you know, over the head diagonally) at my hip for hands free wearing. This is hard to find for my height and size! Hanging a purse on one shoulder/one side without going over the head, especially my slouchy shoulders, is just stupid. They never stay that ON. I'd  buy this purse again just for the strap!

Also, the strap clips sturdily on to rings on the back for vertical or horizontal carry and could be worn as a fanny or tummy pack. Very lightweight.

It's been my main/go to bag for the last 20 years. Such good quality. My large smartphone fits in the outside pocket and the inside is basically a travel wallet. Though it has well-designed pockets inside for carrying more, too - even feminine products (though maybe not a moon cup).

Only recently, the zipper has shown some signs of becoming a bit sad and not always zipping smoothly. That might be due to a bit of fraying inside that I haven't trimmed (minor for the abuse I've put this through! nothing has frayed structurally). Though it seems to be holding up and I imagine it has years of life left.

Chapstick for scale since I was taking the photo with my phone.

Downside/upside:  synthetic not leather or natural, but SO durable!!

I don't know that a natural material (leather or not) would hold up to the abuse I have doled out to this friend of mine.

Maybe, since I haven't shopped for a purse in 20 years (!) there are better options these days, but man. This one is worth a mention.
Baggalini-20-years-or-so.jpg
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Baggalini purse / travel wallet
 
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Although not all of their material uses natural fibres I do love Patagonia's "Buy it for Life" concept. They try to design clothing so that you'll never have to buy another one and if for some reason you have to have the newest and greatest that will repair your old clothes and sell them again! I have a sweater that used to be my Dad's so it's about 25 years old.

I love my wool! I live in Canada and I coach ski racing. My favourite wool company is out of Bozeman Montana called Duckworth. They make amazing wool clothing. The wool is sourced in Montana, processed I believe in South Carolina, and it one of the few companies in the world that does not treat their wool with chlorine! Super soft, super durable! I where my sweater doing everything from skiing, white water kayaking, gardening, camping, you name it! Washes well just don't put it in a dryer :)

 
Tereza Okava
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote: I think this purse qualifies as the. best. ever.


I have a medium sized bag from the same brand that I bought used along with a whole bunch of stuff when a friend left the country. I use it for work events (it holds my small notebook computer, a clipboard, and all the things I need to bring for work stuff), it has a million pockets and wears like the dickens. Not sure how old it is, but I tell you, that brand is awesome. I'm looking at the site, I might have bridled at spending that much money had I bought the bag new, but knowing how long it would last, I think it's a good deal. (and you can CLEAN IT since it is maybe parachute fabric or whatever they're calling it nowadays).
 
Nicole Alderman
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Jocelyn Campbell wrote: I think this purse qualifies as the. best. ever.


I have a medium sized bag from the same brand that I bought used along with a whole bunch of stuff when a friend left the country. I use it for work events (it holds my small notebook computer, a clipboard, and all the things I need to bring for work stuff), it has a million pockets and wears like the dickens. Not sure how old it is, but I tell you, that brand is awesome. I'm looking at the site, I might have bridled at spending that much money had I bought the bag new, but knowing how long it would last, I think it's a good deal. (and you can CLEAN IT since it is maybe parachute fabric or whatever they're calling it nowadays).



I haven't had my "purse" as long as you two, but my maxpedition bag has lasted me 7 years and hasn't shown any wear. I put that thing through serious abuse--it's packed to the brim with stuff, and the stitching has held strong. I just weighed it, and I've crammed 5 pounds of stuff into this tiny bag! It does take a bit of getting used to, as you wear it around your waist (you can sling it over the shoulder, too, but it never feels very comfortable that way).



It's full of pockets and ways to organize your stuff. My husband also doesn't have any problem carrying it for me, as it doesn't look girly. I like that it doesn't look girly, too (seriously took me a LONG time to resort to buying a purse, because I was so opposed to the girlyness of the things. My first purse looked a lot like Jocelyn's).

I take mine hiking, shopping, whatever. It's got a few dirty spots, but I've never actually tried cleaning it. It's made out of man-made materials, but they're really sturdy and durable. You can see just how much I've crammed this thing full.
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Catie George
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Thanks for the sewing resources. My mom took professional pattern making and sewing classes, so at one time I planned to sew a lot of my clothes, as she did when she was my age.  If working part time, or no longer working, i could see it making sense, but not, personally, now.

My biggest issue is time! Sewing is not hard, but it is fiddly, and quite time consuming to do well (especially when taught by a perfectionist who does everything the '9right' way). It's also not a hobby I really love.

From my experience:
Buying fabric, pattern, notions, driving, etc  =1.5 hrs.
Cutting out pattern = 1 hr (read instructions, mark cutting lines, cut, iron pattern pieces).
alter pattern =0.5-2 hrs.
prewash + iron fabric = 1.5 hrs.
layout and cut pattern, transfer pattern markings, etc = 1-2 hrs.
Sew long seams and iron flat=1.5 hr.
Sew fiddly bits (plackets, waistband, press and sew darts, pleats, etc)=2 -4hrs.
Install notions,  buttons, clasps, zippers, etc, = 1-2 hrs.

So about  10 hrs to 15.5 hrs, plus more time for my screw ups, etc. About 5+ hrs of screwups on my last project- (button holer not working and 1 way directional fabric that you can only see in strong light, and a lot of seam ripping..)

My last project took about 5 days of my Christmas break. Project before that 10 hrs and never finished. One before that (easy circle skirt) 2 weekends + 5 evenings.  Yes, you can save time by reusing patterns and buying the fabric and notions for multiple at once, but it's still a lot! I don't have 15 extra hours in a month to use for sewing at this point in my life.  

As for elastic... tried it. Looks awful added post construction, works great when integrated into the waistband.

As for purses... my mom's briefcase which she uses now as a massive purse is 30+ years old. Dragged everywhere, thick full grain leather. It has been repaired/reinforced professionally twice at the handles to reinforce it (gotta be 30 lbs, she carries another purse, 2 waterbottles, lunch, sunglasses, notebooks, keys, makeup, OTC meds, etc inside of her purse), and still has years of life left. Our firewood carrier is leather, 25+ years old, and looks nearly brand new.
 
Carla Burke
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:The Ralph Lauren jeans reminded me of these. Not 100% cotton, but just 2% spandex. I don't know if that's still too much. And $78 for new is far better, though of course not Walmart or thrift store pricing.



Even just 1% ads stretch you wouldn't believe - but, they may still be more durable than most of the rest, out there. I don't know...
 
Carla Burke
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Nicole,  lol - I HAVE been told, on occasion, that I have a knack for understatement. "A bit too rich" probably should have been worded something more like, "If Ivanka Trump wore jeans, these might work, in her budget". Bwahahahaha!!!
 
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I buy clothes in thrift stores. Often they are men's clothes (so I have to wear the pants with a belt ... but why not?) And if I need something really nice (like a dress or skirt), I make it myself.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Nicole Alderman wrote:...
As for rants on pants, I HATE spandex and polyester in pants. Any pants that aren't 100% cotton, I can FEEL when I put them on and my legs instantly get clammy. And if I put them on in the winter, my legs instantly feel cold. So, I'm either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Am I the only one? Maybe it doesn't bother anyone else, just me? And, it's REALLY hard finding 100% cotton pants anymore. I accidentally bought men's cotton pants at the thrift store, and I'm LOVING their big pockets!
...


No, you aren't the only one, Nicole. I have that feeling too with anything synthetics. To me they feel cold in winter, hot and sweaty in summer, and always itchy!
Before buying something (second hand) I only have to feel it in my hand and then I know if it's a 100% natural material, or not.
 
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Someone has already mentioned L.L. Bean.  I've worn the same pair of denim shorts from them for a couple of decades.

How about Carhartt?  I was thrilled to pick up a pair of Canvas pants at the thrift store.  They were still brand new.  Men's size, but they do make women's sizes as well.  

They should last me the rest of my life in the brambles.

Daughter custom makes my nightgowns for me.  Over the years, I've discerned what makes the perfect nightgown, (cotton! ankle length, flare cut, scoop neck, no sleeve, no gew-gaws) and they are no longer to be found.  So we made a pattern from the last tattered one and cut the cloth from the softest bed sheets that come to hand.  She doesn't even have to consider what to give me for birthdays anymore.
 
Catie George
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Cheryl Gallagher wrote:L L Bean makes 100% cotton jeans that are better made than many other brands.  Look for "Double L Jeans", their other styles are not 100% cotton.



Omg... I just checked, in the last year, LL Bean has opened ONE Canadian store, it's first, and it happens to be 1.5 hrs from where I normally live. I will have to go next time I am in the city. The DOUBLE L jeans look perfect. They also apparently have stuff at some Hudson's Bay stores, so other Canadians looking maybe can try there, I will also keep an eye out for Carhardtt next time I am in the city.  Thank you!
 
Ruth Meyers
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I was at Rural King the other day and they are selling their brand of blue jeans with 100% cotton flannel lining for $20.  (I've lusted after flannel lined jeans forever)  I grabbed a men's 32x32.  That's the nice thing with men's sizing.  No surprises.  I put them on at home and luxuriated in the front pockets that go half-way down the thigh.

At work, I mostly wear khakis.  Women's styles change from season to season, but men's Dockers don't.  I browse the rack at the thrift store, and have built up a reasonable set.  When I retire next year, I'll save one or two for church, and the rest will be summer wear on the farm.
 
Tereza Okava
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Catie George wrote:Canada, Carhartt


Dr Google tells me that Tractor Supply operates in Canada -- the one I go to when I visit my mother in the US is pretty limited in terms of selection, but you might be able to get some size ideas trying on pants there.
The other place I have bought some of this brand is at Dick's sporting goods, which apparently also has stores in Canada.
 
Allazandrea Cottonwood
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Catie George wrote:Canada, Carhartt


Dr Google tells me that Tractor Supply operates in Canada -- the one I go to when I visit my mother in the US is pretty limited in terms of selection, but you might be able to get some size ideas trying on pants there.
The other place I have bought some of this brand is at Dick's sporting goods, which apparently also has stores in Canada.



They Carhartt in Canada in a lot of smaller outlets like 'Redhartt'.

In my opinion, or at least the stuff we get up here, that Carharrt's quality has gone down in recent years. The coveralls I purchased seem to have pretty cheesy buckles and buttons.

Honestly the best place to find Carharrt in Canada is urban centre thrifts stores in Alberta
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Catie George wrote:

and have tried darts in pants, which work ok for up to about 2" of slack removal, then get bunchy and uncomfortable.



To remove more than 2" from the waistline, I'd suggest attacking the side seams. Turn the jeans inside-out and put them on, pin them so they fit (heavy-duty safety pins work well for denim), then cut away the excess material and re-sew the seam. As long as you maintain a more-or-less smooth curve from the bottom of the waistband to the widest part of the hip, it should work. And because the extra material is cut away instead of folded in, it shouldn't cause the same kind of bunching that you get with too many darts.
 
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