In the imagination of many women, including me, the proper, well-bred lady always buys the finest things and chooses quality over quantity. Today’s post encompasses some of the reasons for this approach. It is important for a woman to always know why she does something, and she should not choose to buy fancy or expensive items simply out of a desire to imitate wealthy, wise, or well-bred women (terms that are all desirable but will not necessarily all apply to any given person simultaneously; if you had to pick one, go with the last). Around here such copycats who value pizzazz and expense are termed “yuppies.” The well-bred woman, however, may have a small home in an older neighborhood and drive a well-maintained car several years old, while recycling fashion pieces from year to year. But she may still have an abundance of high-quality, costly items; in fact, it might be a better long term choice for someone of lower economic status to invest so.
First of all, higher quality items last longer, are better made, are more beautiful or comely, and have better warranty or return options. They often come from companies who care as much about the customer as they do their bottom line, and better customer service is generally the standard for an item one must pay more for. Would a woman rather have twenty cheap shirts from the mall that fall apart in the washing machine after eleven washes or two tailored silk blouses that she has to either hand wash or dry clean, but will last many years with proper care?
Second, purchasing higher quality items often supports better business practices, such as local and home businesses run by individuals instead of corporations, and also fair trade practices. Having a high ethical standard herself, along with a devotion to the greater good of her community and the world, the well-bred woman is happy to choose higher quality items from businesses who deserve her patronage.
Third, purchasing higher quality items would often mean a women of limited means must purchase fewer items overall, which will bring about discernment and self-discipline. These admirable character traits are unfortunately lacking in the US today. A woman would spend money less often, saving it up and carefully weighing her decisions. Instead of running out and buying things regularly, she would learn to improvise and make do with what she has, as well as care for her possessions longer because it hurts more to replace or repair them.
Fourth, the well-bred woman spends her money on quality objects to signify her recognition of the work and sacrifice that either she or her husband or other provider put into earning that money. After her husband has worked many long hours a week, dealing with stress on all sides, a thoughtful woman would not hasten to spend his hard earned money on too many trivial or disposable items! By respecting her purchases, she respects the person or persons in the family who earn the money. By purchasing things of high intrinsic value, she demonstrates the value she places upon the work accomplished to earn the family’s income.
I have often wondered if lower middle class people in the US remain in the same socioeconomic position for years due to habitually paying “the lowest price” for everything. I wonder if they ever stop to notice how routinely they must replace things, how unhealthy and ultimately unsatisfying cheap foodstuffs are, or how many more things they are willing to buy since they spend so seemingly little on everything. But this blog is not the place to provide an in-depth analysis on my economic musings. Still, I wonder…