How to Spot Quality — and Our Engagement Story
This is one of those dresses that feels just magical when you put it on. Fully lined with silk, it hugs your body in just the right way and keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s the kind of quality you pay for, but it’s so worth it. I found it on a fantastic sale in the beautiful new flagship store of Ralph Lauren in New York City where the salespeople greet you with tea in fine china and linen napkins.
Here are a few things I keep in mind regarding quality when I’m weighing the value for price ratio of an item:
- Lining: what is the material of the lining? Is it a natural fiber – like silk – or is it synthetic? If it’s synthetic, the price point should reflect the lower quality of the fabric.
- Seams: check how well the stitching is done along the hemline of the item. This summer I had the stitching on one of my favorite dresses come undone and I was with a friend just starting the day when hers started to come undone as well. This should not happen with an investment piece.
- Does it have sleeves? Sleeves are difficult to construct. Even a cap sleeve represents a higher manufacturing investment than a regular tank shape.
What do you look for in terms of quality when purchasing a new item?
It’s a funny story about the shoot for this post. I was planning to do this shoot over a weekend with Crosby. The schedule worked out so that we’d be shooting on Saturday evening – right after I’d spent the day beautifying with his mother at my favorite place, Town and Country Village in Palo Alto. We got our makeup done at Space NK (both of us picked up some amazing By Terry products, including my new favorite Cellularose Micellar Water) and then went to get manicures at Le Belle Day Spa. Very nice afternoon, I’d say! The plan was for me to get changed and then Crosby was going to take me to dinner and we’d do our shoot.
Didn’t happen quite that way for two reasons.
First, I forgot the camera. Ooops! That’ll do it right there. And, since we were already at the restaurant, I figured we’d just fold on the shoot idea and I’d enjoy a nice dinner with Crosby at our favorite restaurant at the Stanford Park Hotel, Menlo Grill. And that leads to the second reason we didn’t figure out how to do the shoot later.
We enjoyed a beautiful dinner in the courtyard outside by the fire. Chit-chatting, sipping cocktails, having a generally good time. There was a live musician and he was playing softly in the background when… I heard Zac Brown Band’s “Loving you easy” come on. Wait – this is our song! – I thought in my head. And just then Crosby was getting down on his knee in front of me, saying all sorts of wonderful things and pulling out a ring box containing a beautiful engagement ring with an Aquamarine (our shared birthstone).
As I was still catching myself up on what had happened, I heard champagne bottles popping behind us and turned around to see a parade of friends and family coming out to celebrate with us. I was so surprised I immediately started shaking and crying – I was beyond happy.
Crosby and I have both been married before. I didn’t expect to find an amazing partner that would make me so enthusiastically want to get married again. I feel incredibly, overwhelmingly, lucky.
Bonus that I was wearing white! But really, having items in your wardrobe that make you feel so very special – be it when you are walking into a meeting or getting engaged! – is worth it.