I tackled the quality vs. quantity debate very early in my pre-teen years. It started with back to school shopping when I was a girl growing up in San Antonio. My mother would take us kids downtown shopping, back when you could still shop downtown, and we each got to pick out just a few things but we could pick out the good stuff - Levi's, Jordache, Lacoste. No generic clothing for back to school. It was the one time we didn't have to worry about prices. Truly a great sacrifice for my mother. I could pick out 2 pairs of jeans, 3 shirts/tops, 1 pair of shoes, 1 package of socks; 2 sets of underclothes and a jacket (my brothers got 3 pairs of jeans but who's counting). I quickly turned my attention to the designer jeans....you know, the Jordache, the Gloria's, the Calvin's. I could have purchased 3-4 pairs of less expensive jeans for the same price as 2 pairs of the designer jeans but this was my only opportunity to get the jeans all the girls were wearing. So, 2 pairs it was, one Jordache and one Gloria Vanderbilt. I loved, loved, loved those jeans and the fact that they were designer made up for the fact that I only had two pairs. They also lasted a long time (much to my mother's relief) and they were dark blue denim so I felt no one knew that I wore the same two pair over and over (I think).
It may seem petty now, as I am admittedly a little designer obessed still today, but I tend to justify it to myself by arguing that you get what you pay for. If you've ever worn a pair of designer shoes, you know what I'm talking about. They just feel different. It's truly a very special relationship between your feet and those shoes. I would rather have one or two pair of beautiful designer shoes than 10 pairs of inexpensive ones. That's not to say inexpensive items don't have their place (and I do have plenty of nice, inexpensive shoes that serve their purpose) ...I'm just saying that everyone should have at least one pair of those special shoes (or that one dress/jacket/suit) that is worth every penny. Come on, splurge a little! And you don't have to pay full price, get it on sale. Now, that's a real compromise in the quality vs. quantity debate as you won't have to choose when you hit a great sale. A real rush, my friends.
My two pair of designer jeans helped me fit in so long ago so I could stand out later in life. It was a life lesson that taught me the value of sacrifice to get what you want. My mother sacrificed so we kids could get the good stuff, even if it was limited and only once a year, to fit in when it mattered most to us. Not exactly a Mother Theresa kinda of life lesson but one that shaped my view on when it's ok to go for quality over quantity. We were poor but my mother wasn't cheap was what she would say...more of a Loretta Lynn kinda of life lesson.
So, buy quality when you can, buy quantity when you must, but always buy what makes you feel like you're worth it.