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Frugal Fridays: The Concept of “Play Clothes”

October 12th, 2007 · 9 Comments


Once again, I have a frugal tip from my mother.
When we were little, she separated our clothes into two categories: “good,” and “play clothes.”

The “good” clothes were for school, church, and other social occasions. They were always kept clean, pressed, and as close as possible to new condition. As soon as we came home, we were to change into our “play clothes.”

The “play clothes” were clothes that my mom didn’t care if we messed up. While they were cleaned regularly, they didn’t get repaired if they were damaged. Often, the “play clothes” were made from old “good” clothes – such as cutting old slacks into shorts.

The purpose of these designations, my mother explained to me, was to make the “good clothes” last as long as possible.

Now that I’m an adult, I see the wisdom of her system. In fact, to some extent, I still use her system today (not only for my kids, but also for myself). I do have two sets of clothes: one for doing chores and another for social occasions. The practice does indeed make the “good” clothes last longer.

At home I typically wear an old tee shirt and old jeans or sweat pants. I have an old pair of tennis shoes that already have grass stains all over them – so they can be used to mow the lawn, walk in the mud, paint, or do any other messy chore that I might have. When I go out I either wear dress slacks and a nice top OR a newer pair of jeans with a newer tee shirt and newer tennis shoes.

Because I’m in the habit of changing out of my nice clothes to do chores, I find that the nice clothes (which tend to be more expensive) last longer and I don’t have to buy dress clothes as often.

Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved

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Tags: Frugal Fridays

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Melissa R. Garrett // Oct 12, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Or if your’re like my son, you have clothes and no clothes!!

    Yes, we have play clothes as well. With as wet and muddy as it can be here in Central NY, my children have to have clothes that they can get dirty. Parents who buy expensive boutique clothes for their children . . . I just don’t understand that.

  • 2 simply stork // Oct 12, 2007 at 11:02 am

    I remember play clothes… that was funny…I remember changing into my playclothes the min. we returned home from church and shcool…then it was off to the woods to play…(and getting filthy I might add…maybe my mom was on to something.

  • 3 BethanySue // Oct 12, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I like this concept too! I have found that I am more relaxed when I wear my play clothes to work around the house in. Also, I am not worried when pebbles wants to dump her spagetti bowl on her head and lap. Great post!

  • 4 Sherry // Oct 12, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    We always did this too. But I’ve been working on my DH for years about this! Most of the time he will change out of “good” clothes into more casual clothes at home, but he really drives me over the edge when he wants to wear work t-shirts out!

  • 5 homemom3 // Oct 14, 2007 at 8:32 am

    my kids wear their outside clothes once they get home, this can be pants with a hole in them or pants wtih HUGE holes in them.

  • 6 Loretta // Oct 15, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I do this out of habit. I have old beat up shirts for painting and chores and I keep clothes until they are falling apart for both me and the kids! LOL I guess I never thought about it being frugal, just one of those darn habits my grandmother burned in my brain when I was a kid.

  • 7 Monica // Oct 17, 2007 at 8:26 am

    I also use this system as an adult. As soon as I get home from work, I change my clothes. This keeps my work clothes in good condition.

  • 8 Best Frugality Posts from the Festival of Frugality #96 at Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money // Oct 20, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    […] Mom touts the idea of “play clothes” to extend the life of your wardrobe. I also have work clothes, dress clothes and social clothes. For my work clothes, I use old tees, […]

  • 9 Laura // Oct 20, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Hi All!

    I’m glad that so many others use this practice. It makes me feel less old-fashioned…

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