My Best Clothing Purchase Ever

When I was a sophomore in high school, I gave up JV soccer to row with my high school’s crew team.  This activity change warranted a wardrobe change; as loose shorts can easily get caught in the slides beneath the moving seat in the shell, most rowers wear spandex shorts or pants.  I bought several pairs of spandex shorts during high school to wear in practice, but one stands out – they have become my all-time favorite workout shorts.


They are navy blue Nike shorts.  They are elastic enough to be clingy, but designed to leave enough room at the leg opening to stand out from the legs so they don’t appear skintight.  Not only were they suitable for rowing, I do any other exercise I like in them without restriction (here’s a pic of me wearing them while hiking).  I can even securely store tennis balls up the legs when I play!  These shorts have fit me perfectly all the way up to 170 lbs and down to 130 lbs.


Nike shorts


I’d estimate that I’ve worn (and washed) these shorts at least 500 times over the past 12 years, and they haven’t gotten the least bit stretched out, frayed, or faded (except for the tag).  I wish I had bought five pairs back in high school instead of just the one.  I don’t know what we paid for these shorts, but the cost per wear must be crazy low and as far as I can tell there’s no stopping these shorts!


These shorts are the best clothing purchase I’ve ever made because of their longevity, frequency of use, fit, and versatility.  I have no idea how to replicate this purchase as they didn’t stand out to me from the start as such a high-quality item!


What was your best clothing purchase ever?  Do you have any clothes you’re still wearing after a decade?  How do you choose when to buy quality instead of by lowest cost?


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23 Responses to "My Best Clothing Purchase Ever"

  1. CashRebel says:

    Those shorts have made it through the trials and tribulations of natural selection! I have a pair of black Under Armour shorts that is at least 50% better than any other pair of shorts I’ve ever worn. They were expense way back when I bought them in high school, but the cost/wear must be approaching $0 now!
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    1. Emily says:

      Haha natural selection, that’s a good way to put it. I rather expect UnderArmour to last forever but I was a bit surprised by Nike! Good “investment” on your part.

  2. Matt Becker says:

    Great example of caring about value instead of price. I have a bunch of shorts that have held up really well over the years. I also have a decent number of t-shirts that I’ve had forever, though I’d say it’s debatable how well they’ve “help-up”, haha. They’re great for wearing around the house though.
    Matt Becker recently posted..With Investing, the Grass is Rarely Greener on the Other Side

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah, I have a bunch of other clothes from high school – plenty of T-shirts – but these shorts are just stand-out stellar! I think keeping ratty T-shirts around for home use is a “guy thing” – both Kyle and my dad do it but I do not. 🙂

  3. Mrs PoP says:

    I have a fair amount of clothing that I’ve had for 10+ years now, and still wear all the time. My oldest is a skirt from the limited that I bought when I was in the 8th grade with babysitting money – that was 16 years ago. Still wear it, though now I have hips and a butt so it fits a little different but still good since it’s a high quality fabric and good tailoring.

    Similar to your shorts, I have a rowing jacket that I spent too much money on at the time, but it is my go-to rain gear and I believe will last me decades as long as I’m okay walking around with the old boat club’s name embroidered on my back. I think clothes made for sports are often pricey, but many of them stand the test of time and last a long time as long as you’re not picky about wearing the latest season’s colors.
    Mrs PoP recently posted..Get To Know Mama PoP

    1. Emily says:

      Wow, that is crazy that you can still wear that skirt! Sounds like you had good taste even as an 8th grader.

      Actually my go-to rain gear and general cool-not-cold outerwear choice is also a jacket I bought for rowing! It’s not a crew jacket specifically but it does have the butt flap. 🙂 I think you are right about the quality of sport clothing generally.

  4. It’s pretty cool when you have some indestructible clothing. I’ve found the material is the determinant for me. Man made materials (polyester, nylon, etc.) seem to have the lasting power, while my t-shirts or jeans eventually start showing worse for wear. Though like Matt, I keep them for around the house.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Should I Buy Investment Property Locally?

    1. Emily says:

      I am crossing my fingers that these shorts are truly indestructible! I have no idea what these shorts are made of, though, since the tag was destructible. 🙁

  5. I have a lot of clothes that I’ve had since I was 15-16. My workout clothes are so old. Probably a decade old by now.
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    1. Emily says:

      That’s great! Are they still in good shape? I have others that I still wear and they are fine but they are not so versatile and comfortable as these shorts.

  6. I still have the bathrobe from when I was a freshman in college (it was community bath so I needed one). I bought it for $19.99 on sale at the now defunct Linens ‘n Things and I still use it daily

    1. Emily says:

      Sounds like a good buy! I would think bathrobes could last a while but I admit I don’t have one!

  7. Ha!

    I have a pair of shorts similar to these….and they are so comfortable. I’ve worn them at least once a week for years!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..It’s Friday: This Week’s Frugal Moves

    1. Emily says:

      Awesome! I’m glad you know the feeling!

  8. SarahN says:

    I have a jumper/pullover from when I was about 3, maybe 5, and I wore it, then both my brothers, then my cousin/goddaughter! With that sort of life, I’ve kept it – in my glory box. I’m not usually sentimental, but it’s stood the test of time. Nice work Espirit. The other thing I have had for a long time is a more adult sized pull over which still has my name in it from school – which is at least 11 years ago. It’s made by an Austrlaian brand, which makes me proud too. It is showing wear in the collar, but I figure the ‘gently worn’ look is in right now, do it’s a badge of honour! It’s great to have things last – especially seeing as I know these two items would have been pricey (my mother bought them)
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    1. Emily says:

      That is really great that that kiddie clothing item was able to get so much mileage! Do you still wear the pullover with regularity? And if you do, do you ever get “Hey I went there too” comments?

      1. SarahN says:

        Oh it’s an ‘unbranded’ pullover. One from a normal store, rather than from a school. But I have seen it around once or twice.

  9. I still have my dress shoesthat I got for the junior prom… in 1998! Granted I’ve only written them a couple dozen times. Generally speaking, I don’t buy expensive clothing, especially at work. My job is so tough on voting that extensive clothing doesn’t last much longer than cheap stuff. I know a guy who buys Carhartt brand w work pants for $80. He gets two seasons out of them. I spend $5 at the thrift store for used Wranglers and get about a season and a half.
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    1. Emily says:

      While it rarely happens, there is a constant low-level threat that I’ll stain or destroy my clothes with the chemicals I work with in the lab. So my whole wardrobe – because I wear the same clothes to work as I do everywhere else – is fairly cheap and replaceable. Wearing nice clothes doesn’t make sense to me either but I guess others want to look/feel nice despite the hazards to their clothing!

  10. I have a few clothes that are a decade old but none that I have worn that much. As I move to hotter countries, my winter clothing stays at my mum’s and vice versa for colder moves so I often find in her basement stuff I haven’t worn in years and wear again for a few years. Cheaper than going shopping for new things, and sometimes I find nice surprises I had forgotten about.
    Pauline @ Make Money Your Way recently posted..Mutual Funds and Index Funds

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah, these shorts are remarkable because they don’t seem to be wearing out, not just that they are not aging! I shopped my old closet in my parents’ house a few years ago, too, and resurrected a few old pieces! Definitely a nice surprise.

  11. […] @ Evolving Personal Finance writes My Best Clothing Purchase Ever – I have an amazing pair of workout shorts that have lasted over 10 years. What was your best […]

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