Last week we made our quarterly pilgrimage to Maine's Patagonia outlet for their 40% off sale, that's 40% off prices that are already 30% marked down. Although we don't exclusively shop at Patagonia (we also like hand-me-downs, handmade, EMS, LL Bean, Campmor & Goodwill) we try to buy as much as we can from them.
Here's the top four reasons why:
1. They manufacture high-quality outdoor clothing
When we decided to pursue outdoor adventure and recreation we realized if we weren't warm and dry (or reasonably cool in summer) we wouldn't want to be outside. Our goal isn't to take the conveniences of home into the outdoors. But bodily comfort, especially for sissy wives, is a must for enjoying and maximizing your experience. Patagonia sells clothing made to work in these conditions. It insulates, breathes, wicks, protects - whatever its purpose is, it does it well.
2. Patagonia is the most earth and people friendly outdoor clothing manufacturer we know of
It's very rare that Damien and I will both read the same book, our reading tastes differ significantly. The one book, other than the Bible that we've both read (and I'm not comparing Patagonia to a religion but in our house it does come close) is Yvon Chouinard's Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. We both said after reading that book "this is a company we feel good supporting". There isn't many of those in this day and age of multinational/earth resource ravaging companies.
Just a couple things we love about Patagonia as a company: they recycle clothes, they fund conservation groups, they give back, and pay employees to pursue environmental internships. Hum.. I wonder if there's any openings at the Freeport store??
3. There is a Patagonia outlet 30 minutes from our house
I'll be honest, if we didn't live so close to this cheaper source of Patagonia clothing we'd be hard-pressed to justify the cost for our single income family. The clothes are expensive but to be fair the cost is on par with other outdoor gear manufacturers. If we didn't live close we'd be scouring Patagonia's online sales and on-line clearance sites like Sierra Trading Post (which Damien regularly checks for deals).
Quality clothing is going to cost you money. Quality anything will cost you something. But our strategy to afford it is to:
- Budget a bit more for clothing
- Shop sales - online and local
- Buy less clothes in general (see next point)
- Buy unisex wear whenever possible for the kiddos so they can grow into each other's clothes
4. Patagonia's clothing is fully functional for outdoor needs but also stylish
Now before you start to roll your eyes and think we want to be stylin' in the woods, let me explain. Because these clothes cost more and are so durable we've decided to make them our everyday clothes. Frankly, we don't have money to buy jeans and "casual" clothes after buying our outdoor-activity wear from Patagonia. The clothes we purchase need to do double duty, as so they should. Why have more clothes than you need?
Related to that idea is the "fashionable-ness" of Patagonia's clothes. To be clear, we're not fashion conscious, in fact I hate fashion. It changes every 10 minutes, how unsustainable it that? So when I spend good money to buy quality clothes I want to make sure they aren't going to look dated the next season.
We've had good success with Patagonia's clothing in this regard except of course for the "Star Trek" shirt Damien bought last season. Our family never could look at him without saying "Beam me up Scotty" so he sold it. But even that proves a point. Patagonia's clothes are high enough quality that you can sell them used.
Patagonia gear works for our family on many levels and we feel we're living our values when we make purchases from this company. You can't ask for much more in a clothing company.
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