More is more

In Shopping on November 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm

I hope Kate Middleton is taking her folic acid. She needs to get right on it, because once she’s done her I Do on April 29th she has only one purpose in life and that’s to procreate.

Her vocation is no longer to sell personalised party balloons on her parents’ website, but to produce at least two sons. The Heir and a Spare.

I love that phrase. It’s from the same school of posh British pragmatic wit as Hatch, Match and Despatch, meaning birth, marriage and death, the three main things upper middle class people are supposed to take seriously.

It goes like this. Hatch: being born the heir to something substantial, and then producing your own heir. Match: marrying first yourself and then them off appropriately. Despatch: inheriting the goods and property and then passing it on efficiently, rather than just as a horrendous tax bill.

It’s almost Sicilian in its efficiency of keeping it in the family. The last thing you want is some frightful mess with it all disappearing off to a dodgy distant third cousin who went to the wrong school, or a gold digger bride. So you need an Heir and a Spare for efficient Hatch, Match and Despatch. Shall we play sardines? Oh, do let’s.

Not coming from noble lineage or large amounts property myself, I have another take on it. I like to have a Wear and a Spare. Which means if I find a basic garment that I love, I buy two of them.

Or in the case of the Country Road pants of utter day-to-night segue perfectness I recently sourced, four. A Wear and a Spare in black and a Wear and a Spare in grey.

What a trouser finding that was. Having tried on every pair of pants in London prior to setting off on my Australian book tour and finding nothing that wasn’t either baggy on the rear or python tight at the ankle, or both, I’d given up on the whole genre. I packed eight dresses.

But then I saw a woman in Jersey Road, Paddington wearing the perfect pant. Mid-grey with a slight sheen, narrow of the leg, a casual crispness.

Some inner shopping instinct told me they were from Country Road, so I dashed into the first branch I saw and claimed them in grey, without even trying them on. When I did, they were perfect.

So, at my earliest opportunity I raced back in and tried the same style in black and khaki. The black were also terrific, the greens made me look like a park ranger. I bought two pairs of black and another of grey.

Does this seem profligate? Well, it isn’t. It’s not the same at all as Jackie Onassis buying the same thing in every colour. Buying the same thing in the same colour means you will get much more wear out of each of them. If one would have lasted six months of heavy use, two will last 18 months.

They won’t get clothing fatigue from overuse and overwashing which maddeningly condemns your most favourite items to having the shortest lifespan in your closet. You need to rest fabric between wearings, like shoes.

Having a Spare locked down also means I can actually wear my perfect trouser whenever I damn well please, knowing I still have the other for best. And to be moved over for general trousering operations when the Wear pair is relegated to low key round-the-house duties. At ease.

I know the system works because I’ve been doing it for years since the pain of wearing a perfect black Helmut Lang ribbed t shirt into a grey rag in a few months of daily use. Since then when I’ve found a perfect basic, I’ve bought two. At least two.

And that is the key word: basics. Don’t operate this system for witty little numbers, on-trend must-haves, and high-fashion statements. Wear and Spare is for the daily underpinnings of your wardrobe.

Which for Ms Middleton will soon be tiaras.

  1. Love it:) witty & yet sp practical. Well done 😉

  2. Yay Maggie….Saturday feels right…you make me smile x

  3. I think of the years i didnt live by this rule… So many favourites gone…tooo…..soon……

  4. I need to rest fabric between wears. I’d never thought of that. I’d like to try it with these great Joseph biker pants I’m wearing right now but damn it, I’m not feeling flush enough to buy two.

  5. Love the wear and a spare, but I cant help thinking of the spare tyre that makes it difficult to wear the tight pants you are talking about…what has that lovely Kate Middleton to worry about on the wear and spare…she will be cutting ribbons and going off to mine fields while the Hate Mail follow her and compare her to Princess Diana.It will be Wear Spare Compare

  6. Lovely to be reading you in bed before the Good Weekend has even been delivered…well done on continuing to spend Saturdays with Sydneysiders and your many fans! Hatches Matches and Despatches were vital reading for us during our years at Syd Uni residential colleges in that period when Sloane Rangers guidebook came out and we delusionally thought we were Oxbredgers under the Southern Stars:) blog happily Maggie

  7. A marvellous tip Maggie and a brilliantly observed column. I SO love your thinking. No need to be nervous. We will all smile and nod and cheer for you every step of the way. Xx

  8. Great stuff and wise advise all before the Smh hits the front lawn

  9. What a great idea! Love the Heir and a Spare concept!

  10. Country Road released the perfect cotton tunic a few years ago and I cried when it disintegrated last year after a number of years of solid use. This week in Trenery I found it again and, remembering Jacqui’s wisdom, bought one in each colour. Happy days.

  11. Congratulations on the inaugural post, loved it. My new Saturday morning ritual has arrived.

  12. What a delight to see your column pop up in my inbox first thing…now I never have to miss reading your insightful musings!

  13. I have hard-to-fit feet, so have been doing this with shoes for years. Buy two of anything that fits, makes you feel good and is a wardrobe staple. Some habits are hard to break… so glad I can still read Style Notes each Saturday with my first cup of tea!

  14. Oh I am so clever I posted a comment without writing anything. What a goose! First thanks for the blog you’ve made my saturday mornings more enjoyable and having just heard that we should all notice things which create joy and happiness every day when we wake up – you have contributed to me achieving this. And yes I will often just buy one pair but when I realise I have found the perfect piece of clothing I will run back and buy a spare. Recently bought a pair of black velvet leggings from Feathers and did that with them -much to my daughters disquiet who think I have far too much velvet anyway.

  15. So it’s raining outside and I didn’t have to get out of bed to read column. Amazing.

    I have 2 pairs of my perfect trousers. Except mine are also in different sizes! One size for social occasions, another for work!

    M xxx

  16. So happy to find you Maggie. I think I bought those pants at Country Road. And I nearly bought another pair too because I loved them so much. I should have. I’m going back. Only they’ll probably all be sold out now because of your column.
    Good on for you for keeping on keeping on. Good Weekend will rue the day!

  17. Brilliant idea. My husband’s suits always come with an extra pair of pants, why didn’t I ever think of this for myself? Although I have stocked up on my favourite lipstick, in case they ever discontinue it.

  18. As always, right on the money Maggie! I need to live this advice because honestly taking clothes to Asia to be copied just ain’t as good as the real thing.

  19. I have those exact same Country Road pants – bought them in Little Collins St only a couple of months ago. And did exactly the same thing. Bought two pairs. Thanks to your gentle persuasion, I’m off to get another two pairs!

  20. Thanks for not forgetting us on a Sat morning Maggie! Loved it 🙂

  21. A wonderful treat for a Saturday morning! Thank you 🙂

  22. Good morning Maggie! 9.16 on a sunny Sydney Saturday. Loved your first blog column and everything feels right in my world….as for the new look GW,not right at all!
    By the way, as I am writing this 16 year old daughter has appeared asking for money to buy new dress for party. She has a wardrobe overflowing not unlike her mother’s! When I protest that she really has enough her reply is “I can’t be an outfit repeater”! I think I have created a monster!

  23. You are so wise, I am to the CR website and buying another pair today, as I have worn the trousers I bought last weekend three times already!
    On another note, I am so pleased you have been so brave and kind to your fans and not made us suffer a Maggie-free Saturday, I am not a fan if those! To the lady who I still think if whenever I wash my woollens – you taught me how-congratulations on the new chapter and congrats on the new book, as always, devoured in bed in one sitting! X

  24. ..very silly but I couldn’t read your final smh column. Much too upsetting.
    So pleased to wake up and have my personal edition in my inbox. Lovely!

  25. Reading your blog first thing after a little sleep in (big Friday night!) and doing a little dance of joy on the inside. This is great!!

    I also like that you noted the green colour didn’t work so well. I’ve had the same type of experience where a pair of gorgeous caramel pants from Country Road were so well complimented I decided I must also have the black pair. Tried them on…disastrous, which, given black pants are one of my staples, was very unexpected. It’s good to remember you can never be too complacent.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for again starting mine off on the perfect note. (I think a trip to CR is in order before they sell out of all those pants!)

    • Update – Black pants x 2 purchased at lunchtime today. Thanks for both tips – that the pants were worth checking out, and to buy two.

      Priceless advice!

  26. Oh, I’m a huge fan of the spare {if not two}. As I’m now tracking down a dress maker to recreate my favourite holiday frock guess how much I’m wishing I’d bought two, three or even four at the time?

    Oh Maggie, I’m so happy to have you around on a Saturday x

  27. I know have a new Saturday ritual, thank you Maggie xxx

    Sage advice too, I am still searching for the perfect daks

  28. I spent the end of winter lamenting that I did not purchase a second pair of clog styled ankle boots at the beginning of the season. They were so wonderfully edgy and high! They cost me $40 from Rubi shoes and i wore them everywhere – girl’s night’s out, work, gigs, acting auditions, shopping…. They looked funky with a fifties styled dress, hot with skinny jeans, awesome poking out the bottom of bootleg jeans – *sigh*
    Of course, being so cheap they are now falling apart – I tried to glue the heel back onto the sole before going to see Neil Finn last week – *sadly I felt the glue separate as i was walking up the stairs of the Seymour centre 😦
    Oh why oh why did i not buy a pair to wear and a pair for spare????

  29. Welcome back and good on you for embracing this new adventure. I had just finished Shall We Dance after the trauma of the Good Weekend decision so am thrilled to have StyleNotes to ease the pain.

  30. Fabulous. I love that I can sit here at my computer and read your column & comment without any rigmarole. Perfect. Great post too. I definitely should be doing this. xx

  31. Maggie
    Thank you for making my Saturday morning a little more fun we live on a farm in country SA & so can’t get papers delivered (well they can but they usually arrive 2 days late)
    I love that I don’t have to miss out on your column now. Thank you so much

  32. Lovely to wake up and find your column in my inbox – read before I even got out of bed.
    Re ‘heir and spare’ – we have two sons and my husband sometimes uses this term as a joke. Recently I was in his office and the (much) younger office girls were commenting to me how funny he was with this term – they thought it was HIS own invention!

  33. Dear Maggie, Thank you for giving me permission to buy two!!!! Since menopause hit (grrrr) and I seem to have a stomach that, to steal one of my favourite lines of yours, resembles a bin liner filled with dhaal, I have only one pair of black trousers that fits me – and daily I kick myself for not having the foresight to buy two of these wonderful items…and the regular washing is taking its toll. Never again will I be caught. (Just googling closest Country Rd as we speak). Great to have you back. You have already added inspiration to my day! Jacqui

  34. A cup of tea, slice of apple cake and Style Notes and all is right with the world!

  35. (From Sydney): Faced my first Saturday morning without you in the Good Weekend – the paper is frankly not worth opening anymore…. Was so depressed I had to buy three pairs of shoes… and HERE YOU ARE..YAY YAY YAY.. Please don’t tell me you are seriously worrying about how the blog is going down – don’t you know we all LOVE you because you are FABULOUS… xxx

  36. Lovely to have you online – have added you to my phone’s homescreen so I can pop in whenever.

  37. Suddenly, Saturday feels right again. Bless you, Maggie, for keeping the columns coming.

  38. Love the column – witty, warm and wise, as always.

    The Publication That Shall Not Be Named (booooo) is just not the same anymore (fools). It’s lovely to know we can all still get our Maggie fix on Saturdays.

    Did a spot of shopping at CR just this arvo, as it happens…. Unfortunately it was before I read the column – otherwise I would have made sure I checked out the pants. xx

  39. Maggie with photos! Saturday just got better (but not for SMH….one less copy sold today)

  40. Wise words Ms Maggie! Took me ages to learn this. And I think I do have those same Country Road grey, slim leg, pocket pants with the slight sheen of polished cotton in black & yes I went back for the grey too!!

  41. Was quite depressed when I opened Good Weekend this morning & remembered that your column was no longer there. Finding your style notes online has just made my day. I also think that I have the same Country Road pants, they are fantastic.

  42. My weekend is now complete. I was left wondering how it would be not to read you in Good Weekend after last week’s farewell but at least now I can read your column where ever I am.

  43. Can’t thank you enough for this column via my email, Saturdays will still be the same from now on. Don’t need to buy The Age now!

  44. Aaaand … she’s back. Maggie, you’re a gem – you’ve made the transition from print to computer screen so smoothly. You are a true modern woman. I wish you a long and happy blogging career, endless inspiration for your posts and a huge following – you deserve it all!

  45. […] More is more [Maggie Alderson – Style Notes] Tagged:auclothingsaving moneywardrobe […]

  46. Thank goodness I found you!

    Can you help le with a question re Lulu Guinness bags? Are they as fabulous as they look?


  47. I feel like I’m living under a rock – I had no idea (not even after commenting on your tweets) that stylenotes would no longer be in the GW. Not until I sat down to read it this past Saturday (as is ritual) and flipped and flipped and couldn’t find it (alas, I was out of town last weekend for the final column 😦 ).

    Happily feel like my week can begin after reading this cracker though – as I tweeted, how does it always feel like you are in my wardrobe when I read your posts?
    I have been buying backups for years now, and I am certain I must’ve learned this from you (memories of the Gucci loafer and perfect ballet pump ordeals comes to mind) as I have been reading since a teen. You’d be proud to hear this habit of mine spans from Bally pumps to the perfect Splendid basics.

    P.S. Also reading Shall We Dance at this very moment, cannot put it down (except to read your blog!!)

    • So glad you found me – this is why I have to keep bleating on at everyone to tell their friends! Trying to get the word out there so I can get the numbers up. Mx ps hope you enjoy the book. A lot of people don’t like Theo at first, but she should grow on you…

  48. […] More is more « Maggie Alderson – Style Notes A marvellous tip Maggie and a brilliantly observed column. I SO love your thinking. No need to be nervous. We will all smile and nod and cheer for you every step of the way. Xx. Reply. Cat 26 November 2010 at 7pm. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . […]

  49. Which CR pants are they????? Having a desperate post natal moment and need the perfect pants. Have looked on the website but all black pants look the same.
    Love the blog Maggie, what a stupendously good idea, much better than the paper that shall remain nameless. Who needs ’em.

    • Hi Anne – and thanks for your comments on the other blog! It’s driving me mad that I can’t respond to them and I’m thinking to move that one over to WordPress as well. I don’t know the style number of hte pants – can you not match the pic? They have a seam sewn down the front, that’s the best clue I can give! Hope it helps… Maggie x

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