Hunting for high-quality *affordable* sheets. Cotton sateen by Eileen Fisher for Garnet Hill.
I'm a stickler for quality. If I'm investing in something new for our home, I like to spend a little time learning about quality. Whether I'm buying a furnace or a new set of sheets, I want to know what makes one item better than the other. What's the best possible version (and can I afford it and do I need it)?
It's always a fine balancing act, figuring out your wants, your needs, and what you're willing to pay for either. And each of us differs - we each measure our products against an internal set of finely-tuned and inexplicable standards. For some, quality means a beautiful-to-look at product or prestige (think a designer handbag). For others, it's purely about function (say, warm and cozy sheepskin slippers) or reliability (a Toyota). For some, the highest quality item is about craftsmanship, with a handmade item trumping a mass-produced one.
Quality can mean high-tech (the new Blackberry), but oftentimes it's good old-fashioned nostalgia (knitted wool socks).
I've been thinking about quality lately as I try to buy things for our home while spending the least amount of money possible. I really deplore junk and clutter, and I like to buy the best I can afford. But in this "Made in China" world, sometimes quality is hard to find, even if you look.
I suffer, too, from conflicting values. I want to possess exquisite, high-quality things that feel and look beautiful and last forever. But I'm also a bargain-hunter. I fully plan to retire early and don't intend to give evil retailers any more of my money than I can absolutely avoid. Which is why I like to buy the best thing possible - so I don't have to come back next year and buy a new one.
You might think from my posts that I'm quite a shopper. But in reality, I'm very careful with my money and apart from the odd splurge (a fancy Christmas gift, right Vee?), I don't lug a lot of junk through my door. Ok, so I get carried away and buy too many kinds of tea, but I keep my "wasted money" spending to a very small scale.
Which brings me to the subject of sheets. I love bedding and spend lots of time looking at it, but I rarely buy it and find myself in dire need of some.
Hemstitch flannel flat sheet, $52 for queen, from Garnet Hill
Most of my old sheets are becoming threadbare, at least the fitted ones (the flats are still going strong). So I'm in the market for a couple of new fitted sheets. Did you know you can easily spend over $100 on a nice fitted sheet? And I'm not even talking about fancy brand names here.
Eileen Fisher, flannel flat cotton-bamboo sheet, $80 for queen, from Garnet Hill
Besides a couple of good fitted sheets (preferably Egyptian cotton, preferably woven in Italy, preferably falling off a truck and hence free), I am also in the market for a nice flat flannel sheet. Who knew buying a flannel sheet was so complicated (I don't want the whole set, as we don't like the pillowcases and the fitted sheet is too hot for David)? Apparently, there are all sorts of things to consider: the weight of the flannel (in ounces or grams), the material (cotton is de rigeur and bamboo is trendy), whether the flannel is double-sided, and will it pill?
German-made flannel sheets: "Signature" collection, from Garnet Hill
Research suggests the Germans make the best (who knew?). I am now looking at paying $80 for a flannel sheet. Am I mad?
Oh, and I'm also in the market for a new blanket. I covet these pretty wool ones from Garnet Hill (below). Or is cotton micro-fleece a better choice? When we were in Paris, I discovered a cheery German company called Zoeppritz who make exquisite fleece in a million gorgeous colours - to match any decor! Seems fleece is the new wool. Choices!
Washable wool blanket from Garnet Hill, $150 for queen