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Patterns for everyday and china dinnerware

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Hi, my head is spinning from thinking about dinnerware. I never registered for dinnerware at our wedding, so am looking now and need perspective from people with more experience than me. I have read all the CH boards related to dinnerware and have made a list of all the recommended brands, from everyday (C&B, William Sonoma, etc.) to porcelain and bone china (Apilco, Pillyvut, C&B china, Mikasa, etc.). Now I don't know what to do. I just love the look of plain white, or plain white with a small detail. Is it crazy to have two sets of all white dinnerware, one for everyday and one in china/porcelain? Or should one be different, like a pattern or color or something? If so, which one - everyday or formal?

I know someone who will be in town this weekend that has a never-used set of the C&B china (I think staccato or white pearl) that she is willing to sell to me for half the cost of new. I'm wondering if I should jump on the chance, but the above thought process is confusing me about what I want. We are young, but we do like to entertain a lot, and I do a few smaller dinners at the table and a few larger dinners buffet style throughout the year. I only imagine that growing over the years, especially as our family grows! Any thoughts on what you would do?

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  1. Hi, Velvet:

    This is mostly a matter of personal choice. Like you, I tend to like plainer patterns in white or ivory because they go with most everything.

    My patterns are:

    Mikasa French Countryside (white)
    Williams-Sonoma Belvedere (by Eurosecla, ivory)
    Homer Laughlin china ovals (ivory)
    Lennox Lowell (ivory with gold border)

    I advise, unless you are wealthy, to focus away from the $$$ fine china, toward a good-quality all-around that will work for semi-formal entertaining and everyday and all table decor. Many people who *do* register for the fine stuff get only a few pieces, and then never accumulate more than a handful of placesettings. In my case, I have only enough of the Lennox to do a special dinner for two.

    Between the two C&B beaded patterns, I like the Staccato better. I think the beads on the White Pearl are too close to the center, and might look messy when fouled with food. If you want a beaded pattern look on your table, you might consider even plainer dinnerware paired with a beaded flatware pattern.

    Have fun, you'll know what's right when you see it.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    20 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Oh wow, that Lennox is beautiful! Thank you for the thoughts! A question to clarify... when you say a good-quality all-around, does that include china and/or porcelain? Or do you mean stoneware for the all-around set?

      1. re: velvetdc1

        Hi, Velvet:

        Yes, it includes china and porcelain, but it needn't be expensive. My Homer Laughlin, for example, has been classic dinnerware in diners for decades. It is certainly not delicate (the opposite--it's bulletproof), but it still is china.

        I guess what I'm recommending is (again, unless you're wealthy) is not drawing a distinction between "nicer" and "everyday". If you pick a classy, plainer pattern they can be one and the same--that way you can afford better, and more of it. That's the way I'd do it if I was starting all over again. Life's too short to not use your best.

        Also, I handwash everything. If you use a DWer a lot, you might ask for assurances it will hold up (e.g., the gold borders are famous for not holding up).

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu

          Dishwashers are fine for dinnerware with gold or platinum decoration and safer than slippery wet hands. To avoid problems with the the dinnerware...smudging etc. Do not touch them until they reach room temperature and do not use the heated drying cycle.

          1. re: Candy

            Hi, Candy:

            Well, that's what they *say*. I'd like to see an A-B comparison of a raised gold border piece that's been put through 500 DW cycles. I'd be amazed if it looks the same as new or hand-washed.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Well Kaleo, if the dishwasher is so damaging to metal trimmer china why would Wedgwood, Royal Doulton et al enclose samples of dishwasher detergent or coupons with their china? In the past, up until the '60s The glazing was different and I would not put something like my mother's or grandmother's china in the dishwasher, that is asking for trouble. I stand by what I said, just don't touch it until it is room temp. I've been in the table top and kitchen business for 40+ years.

              1. re: Candy

                Hi, Candy:

                I'm not being dismissive of your experience, or disputing what the makers say. And I'm conceptually OK with most modern china doing OK in the DW.

                I'm just skeptical that raised metal borders will fare very well, long-term, in the abrasive and caustic environment of modern DWs. The borders on my Lennox Lowell appear to my sight and touch not to be overglazed, but perhaps you know differently.

                "...why would Wedgwood, Royal Doulton et al enclose samples of dishwasher detergent or coupons with their china?"

                Um, to sell china to people with DWs, I presume. Do you know what detergent these manufacturers recommend? If it is one of the "kindler/gentler" (read: expensive yet less effective) brands, it doesn't exactly allay my concerns or run counter to my advice to hand wash this type of china.

                I'd still like to see A-B photos showing no ill effects from all that caustic and abrasive detergent after 500 cycles.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I use Royal Worcester Evesham every day. It has a gold rim. The only problem is that the dishes produced prior to the past 10 years has a fading problem. Gold rims are intact. The current production now has a glaze on top of the decal and it is no longer a problem. The big problem, to me, is that it is no longer available in the US unless one buys on e-Bay or Replacements etc. I also use a Royal Doulton pattern with a platinum rim and I've used it frequently and no problem with the rims etc.

                  I still contend that wet slippery hands in a sink is much more prone to breaking.

                  1. re: Candy

                    Hi, Candy:

                    Thanks. Not to argue, but Evesham is not a raised border like Lennox Lowell, is it?

                    Don't get me started about Replacements, Inc. Everything I've looked at there is extremely expensive. I need a few more Eurosecla footed cereal bowls (aka W-S Belvedere) in cream, and RI wants $43.99 apiece.

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Kaleo,
                      When I started purchasing pieces to replace my Wedgwood Wellesley, I bought a few from Replacements, Inc.
                      Once Ebay came into the picture, I completed my set, and more, at a much much better price than Replacements.
                      I see that your Eurosecla is pretty rare there, but it's worth checking now and then.

                      1. re: kitchengardengal

                        What I like about Replacements is that their condition ratings (and attendant discounts for less than perfection) are reliable. eBay is a crapshoot, unless you are familiar with the seller and the seller is consistent and reliable.

                        I've paid some pretty high prices on eBay ... just depends on whether anyone else is excited about the same stuff. Replacements does adjust to the market. If they have to discount because the inventory is sitting, that becomes the starting price next time. (At least that has been my observation.)

                        I find their prices to be generally reasonable, and I'm happy to pay them for things I can't find locally. In some cases, their prices beat what I can find locally from certain dealers.

                        1. re: foiegras

                          My problem with the Wedgwood Wellesley was that even though my ex and I were antique shop hounds, I rarely, very rarely found my Wedgwood at one. Maybe three pieces in ten years. I got a few discounted, slightly flawed items from Replacements, and dozens of plates, bowls, serving ware items from eBay. As I said up thread, I got all that stuff in the early days of eBay, and have been using it for years.
                          I looked last night, and if I wanted more of my pattern, that's where I'd get it. Apparently nobody else wants it, cause it's going for dirt cheap.
                          The original pieces I had were my mother's wedding China, and we used them for every day dishes. The set was in pretty bad shape when I got married, and Mother gave what was left of the Wedgwood to me. It's kind of nice to use the same dishes your whole entire life. I've lived in half a dozen states, more houses than I can count offhand, but always had my good old dishes.

                          1. re: foiegras

                            My experience with Replacements and Ebay is the same. I was looking to fill in some steak knives, (discontinued pattern) once. The ones I found on Ebay kept getting bid up for more than they were worth. I went to Replacements, got exactly what I wanted (including quality) for less money and no hassle.

                          2. re: kitchengardengal

                            Hi, kitchengardengal:

                            Replacements has a big presence on eBay, too. They run the same photos on their auctions as on their website. Pretty much the same prices, too.

                            I recently replaced my flatware with a threaded Continental pattern called Ricci Ascot. By watching Amazon (of all places), I amassed 10 new 5-piece place settings for less than ONE would have cost from Replacements.

                            I think Replacements' only value would be for finding obscure, discontinued pattern pieces.

                            I have daily searches programmed for both 'Eurosecla' and "Belvedere'

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              I have to use Replacements to replace my everyday pattern now. I did buy coffee mugs on ebay a number of years ago, but whenever I have looked recently, I haven't seen the pattern offered.

                              I also had a bad experience a few years ago with a seller, and I haven't been back to ebay since.

                          3. re: kaleokahu

                            No. Royal Worcester Evesham does not have a raised border. It has a gold rim and the pattern is different fruits and vegetables. The veggies with the fruit, ear of corn, green olives on a tooth pick etc, were more popular in the mid 60's and 70's.

                            I've no quarrel with Replacements, I used to sell them discontinued china patterns which were collecting dust in the store's basement. Their pricing was fair. They recently offered me a good sum for my Frank Smith Lion salt spoons. When Wallace acquired the pattern they discontinued some pieces and the salt spoons are rare. That said, I always check e-Bay first when looking for table top items. There are some good deals t be had.

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              I looked to see the Belvedere pattern on the Replacements site, it IS very pricey. It's absolutely undecorated. Would you say the quality is superior?

                              1. re: BangorDin

                                Hi, BD:

                                No, I don't think the quality is all that special. W-S featured this for awhile in many colors, and I believe it was made in Portugal by Eurosecla.

                                I just need a few more of the "cereal" bowls in cream because they match (and fit) my Homer Laughlin ovals so well.

                                The odd thing is: you can find the colored Belvedere cereal bowls all over for around $5-$10, but the ones I need seem always to be >$35.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  I use vintage Russel Wright Iroquois Casual 8" serving bowls as pasta bowls. The variation in value/pricing among the different colors is pretty stunning ... I buy the colors that are the more reasonable prices. Maybe one day I'll find a clueless dealer selling one of the rare colors ...

                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                Yes, Ebay. I've been selling vintage dinnerware on ebay for a fraction of replacements, inc.

                    2. re: kaleokahu

                      I think this is a good idea ... I would just say, leave your options open. Try buying the everyday first, entertain with it, see how you feel. Maybe it would feel festive to bring out another set of dishes for company.

                      I have way more than 4 patterns ... clearly I think variety is the spice of life ;)

                      Also recommend buying only what you really love. If you really love the 1/2 price pattern, great ... but it's worth full price to have what you really wanted.

                2. I used to have both everyday and formal dinnerware, plus Christmas china. About 6 years ago I needed something simpler, sort of in between, for a Thanksgiving dinner party with rustic decor. I scored a bunch of plain white porcelain from Pier 1. I liked it so much that I used it again at Christmas for a formal dinner, on cheap blue glass chargers from Target.

                  Long story short, I never put it away, and now it's the only thing I use, ever. It goes out to the lanai for poolside dining, and on our dining room table for formal dinners.

                  I've added to it with different serving pieces (hello, Costco and Target!) over time. I'm completely sold on it's versatility. Last holiday season I paired it with silver ribbons and ruby red glass ornaments (again, discount stores). I've got some whimsical fish platters in bright pool colors that work with it, too. I haven't found anything yet that's better.

                  My advice is simple. Choose a nice bright white porcelain (coupe styling is more modern, if you prefer) with a minimal or no design. Use it all the time. Porcelain can be pretty tough, you know. In 6 years, I've broken 1 salad plate. And it goes in the DW, every damn day, without showing the eventual crazing and scuff marks that stoneware gets.

                  1. I think the Crate & Barrel White Pearl bone china is beautiful. Why wouldn't you buy it? If you want to, you could use it for every day, or you could reserve it for more formal occasions. This would be entirely your choice.

                    I bought myself, after many years of wanting, a set of Wedgwood white bone china. I love it! I do save it for guests, but I love pulling it out and setting it on a figured or colorful tablecloth. It is dishwashable (important to me) and so lightweight.

                    With the newer pattern from C & B, I imagine the plates are the more fashionable, larger, size. And I note that you have the option of buying coffee mugs as well. To me the product looks very good, and if you like it, I'd buy it a bargain price.

                    If it isn't what you really want, then no, I wouldn't unless you feel you won't be able to get other bone china like that for a long, long time.

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo

                      I just took a look at both the C&B patterns. Sue is right, they're lovely. I'd echo what she said, that they'd work as well for everyday as for formal dinners.

                      Whatever you decide, you're certainly on the right track with all white. It's timeless, classic, and if you ever want another look, you don't need to replace it, but can add pieces of one or more additional patterns, or even flea market finds, to change it up.

                      1. re: sueatmo

                        I agree with Sue, too. That White Pearl is gorgeous! I've been using my mother's Wedgwood Wellesley creamware for everyday dishes lately, and if I didn't love those so much, that White Pearl would be in my kitchen tomorrow.

                        In the past year or two, there have been other posts about white dishes, and I've seen some that are pretty, some that are... meh... but I've been spoiled by the Wedgwood and never saw any other set that caught my eye like this White Pearl pattern.

                        Can I have your friend's number if you don't want them? :-P

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Just wondering in anyone has Wedgewood Night and Day and if you like it. I find it really appealing, but I wonder if very plain white china would remain more appealing over the years.

                          http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/pr...

                          1. re: soccermom13

                            I prefer plain white for several reasons. Nothing else moves as easily from casual to formal. Nothing else focuses attention on the food like unadorned white. Nothing else can fit so easily into every season and every occasion. A lot has already been written here about the ways we change up our white dinnerware to keep it fresh. I'll add that my own experience is that after 7 years of everyday and special occasion use, I still enjoy mine and would not swap it for another. I've not been able to say that of any other dinnerware I've owned.

                            That's why, for a lifetime set of everyday dishes, IMO plain white is the way I'd go. China or porcelain is a matter of choice, both are durable and retain their luster.

                            I like your Wedgewood. It's very appealing. Clean, crisp, this is my happy zone. Set imaginary tables with it and with plain white in your head. Or go to Macy's, grab a dinner plate of Day & Night along with a plain dinner plate. Go to the table linens (don't forget the colorful seasonal ones) and play around, imagining different table settings. Have fun. You'll figure out what you like best. :-)

                            ETA - Your Wedgewood should easily transition from casual to formal. That can be tough to pull off. :-)

                            1. re: soccermom13

                              Julia Child often used the Johnson Brother Willow Blue pattern on set. I have the same one, it is busy, but I am not tired of it yet. It's been 25 years.

                              1. re: soccermom13

                                If that's the pattern that speaks to you, I think you should get it.

                                I've had Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine bowls for probably more than 20 years. I probably don't notice the pattern much at this point, but I've certainly never gotten tired of it.

                                1. re: foiegras

                                  Foisgras, Ruthie, and Duffy--Thanks for your responses. Yesterday I think I might have found the pattern of my dreams---It's Villeroy Boch's Anmut:
                                  http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/pr...

                                  I would get only dinner plates, salad plates, mugs, and rice bowls. At some point I would probably cave in and also get the rimmed soup bowls and the small fruit/sauce dishes.

                                  My only concern is that the largish rims on the plates leave only a smallish un-rimmed area in the center of the plate for food. But I really want to serve smaller portions so this may not be a problem.

                                  Comments, anyone? This is a BIG decision...

                                  Thanks.

                                  1. re: soccermom13

                                    BEAUTIFUL! I think you'll love the versatility of all-white. They look a lot like my everyday dinnerware, Cafe Blanc by Dansk. Your V&B is bone china; mine is porcelain.

                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: soccermom13

                                      Hi soccermom13,

                                      First thing I noticed was how beautiful the shapes are. REALLY perfect, IMO. Then I noticed that they look a lot like my Pier One Luminous porcelain, but with more consistent curves in the shapes. Really, they're quite lovely. I coveted them the moment I saw them. How disloyal is that? Like falling for my Dude's twin brother.

                                      My dinner plates are large at 11", which leaves plenty of room for food. The larger size is not uncommon in modern dinner plates; yours may be the same.

                                      I love that B&V pattern, did I mention that? They're really pretty.

                                       
                                      1. re: soccermom13

                                        I like a nice rim, myself ... very helpful if you're eating spaghetti or other pasta on a plate instead of in a pasta bowl because hey, someone hasn't run the dishwasher.

                                        1. re: foiegras

                                          So true, foiegras. So true.

                                          After years of watching Seinfeld I no longer know how to make a small salad. The wide rim on my dinner plates helps me keep my Big Salad under control. Those things will overrun a plate if you don't watch them.

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            My husband's salad goes in one of the oval serving bowls to our everyday dishes, mine in a rimmed soup bowl, when the salad is a side dish.

                                            1. re: masha

                                              <when the salad is a side dish.>

                                              If you can fit a big salad (main dish, duh) into a soup plate, you're a better woman than I am.

                                        2. re: soccermom13

                                          Love it. The finish looks beautiful. We have a Villeroy and Boch store in the neighbourhood, I am always wandering in. I think the surface for food is fine, leaves room for second helpings. You could also get some rectangular white plates for sandwiches and soup which I see often in restaurants these days. I have wanted to get a white set for quite awhile and the finish and glaze is what I like on certain sets. I had looked into restaurant white dishes for awhile but would have had to get many more place settings than needed. You can never go wrong with white.

                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                            Everyone,
                                            Thanks for these very helpful responses. Now I just have to watch for sales and pull the trigger.
                                            Thanks again.

                                            1. re: soccermom13

                                              Hi, soccermom:

                                              I think you've made a wise choice. Despite being plain, this pattern is sophisticated and quite well-proportioned. It will dress up and down very subtly, and never be out of place.

                                              You might check prices at the V&B outlet: http://www.villeroy-boch.com/shop/cat...

                                              Aloha,
                                              Kaleo

                                            2. re: Ruthie789

                                              You could also supplement your nice dishes with some Steelite, restaurant quality for everyday use. I like the various types of serving plates,that they have.

                                            3. re: soccermom13

                                              I deliberately bought dishes that left a relatively small serving space. Eating alone, I only use the lunch plates any more, not the dinner ones.

                                              Those are beautiful and elegant. I like the two bowls.

                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                Thanks, Kaleo, for the tip on the VB outlet. I have it bookmarked.

                                                Ruthie---I had to look up Steelite! Are you referring to the white serving pieces that look classic and durable? I also learned that Bloomingdales carries their own brand (Hudson Park) and I may get some of their less expensive serving pieces which look very similar in color/finish to the Villeroy Boch Anmut.

                                                Lagatta--Thanks for the vote of confidence on the relatively small space for food (because of the larger rims). And I really like the Anmut bowls too, especially the rice bowl which I think will be very useful for the kinds of food I cook.

                                                1. re: soccermom13

                                                  Yes the Steelite is classic and durable as well they hold the heat very well. I had some soup bowls and gave them to my niece, I wish that I had kept them.

                                      2. I bought plain white Corelle years ago and am still using it. It is made from tempered glass. It does not break easily. You can drop it on a tile floor and most of the time, it will not break. Occasionally it hits just right (or just wrong) and shatters into a zillion pieces, like auto glass.

                                        I would not buy something that breaks if I can buy something that will not.

                                        1. Made a MAJOR find of Fiestaware at a yard sale about 2 years ago. WAY more than I would normally spend... $50. BUT came home with TWELVE place settings... dinner pplates, salad/sandwich plates, soup/cereal bowls and mugs... PLUS 6 extra bowls and a few serving pieces. Most was "jewel tone" stuff but a few pastels. NO chips and any wear of pastel pieces... ya have to REALLY look for.

                                          Haven't borken/cracked/chipped a piece yet!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: kseiverd

                                            Lucky you Fiestaware is beautiful!

                                          2. Thank you all! This is exactly the kind of hindsight wisdom I was looking for, and gives me some clarity! Kaleo, we are certainly not wealthy... and Duffy your setup from Pier 1 sounds so easy and flexible. So sounds like I am looking for a single set of nice white dishes that I could use every day but also dress up (I'll save a fun set of china for someday).

                                            In that case, it makes sense to pass on the White Pearl. It doesn't come with a cereal/rice bowl, and for every day that is essential for us! It seems hard to match bowls from another set, right? (my husband thinks the bowls it does come with look like upside down hats, and therefore isn't a fan). It is also harder to add to outside of the pattern because I'd have to match to other china, instead of a white porcelain which can more easily pair (that's just what I suppose to be true). So I guess I will start looking at porcelain options!

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: velvetdc1

                                              Hi velvetdc 1,

                                              BB&B has an excellent selection of porcelain, including designs by Dansk, Rostenthal, Oneida and Royal Doulton, among others. There are over 60 patterns and shapes, all white. It's a good place to start narrowing down your options. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...

                                              About the White Pearl, the color is important. Go to C&B and check it against a plain bright white porcelain, since that's the most common shade. If it works, you're golden. It looks like it's the brighter bone china, which might be perfect with porcelain. The Aspen and Maison bowls would be nice for cereal and rice. http://www.crateandbarrel.com/search?...

                                              Oh, I just found your white pearl bowl! http://www.crateandbarrel.com/white-p...

                                              1. re: velvetdc1

                                                Odd, I googled it and those look like classic soup plates (which also work for pasta, stews etc). Do cereal bowls really have to match the dinner set? I'd buy attractive Asian bowls for porridge or rice.

                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  Hi lagatta,

                                                  The bowl I linked is 7" in diameter, kind of small and deep for a classically shaped soup plate, I think.

                                                  There is another bowl, the Low Bowl, that's 9.5" diameter and very shallow, much more like the soup plates I'm familiar with. http://www.crateandbarrel.com/white-p...

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    Yes, that is the one I googled. I think I didn't notice that you had a link.

                                                    I've had Johnson Brothers Athena white Ironstone for many ... decades. I don't know whether it is still produced; it may not be, but it was very common here (in Canada) so it always turns up at flea markets, charity shops, yard sales...

                                                    I've never had room for two sets of dishes.
                                                    I know someone living in a small apartment for seniors - her apartment is very nice, but she has the formal set her late mother owns, and never uses it. Leaving little room for her own dishes. And she is almost 70!

                                                    I don't want to be like that!

                                                2. re: velvetdc1

                                                  You might be surprised at the beautiful china sets that you can find at Estate sales and usually they go for very good prices. Most times items have been kept in a china cabinet and hardly used.

                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                    I agree! I've seen nice sets in consignment stores too. Some of the most beautiful pieces I've ever seen were done by Noritake.

                                                    However, you can't generally put those pieces in the dishwasher. Being able to do that is important to me. If I had to hand wash them, I'd seldom use them.

                                                    But for those for whom this is no problem, I agree that beautiful dishes are out there second hand.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                      I unfortunately gave an entire 12 piece set of Noritake green dishes to my sister when we closed the house down. She does not use them at all and will not give them back. I washed and wrapped each dish and they actually put the boxes in their garage. I regret that one. I do like functional dishes that is why I said it is better to get a high end everyday set, you would get more use from it.

                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                        Why is she keeping them and not using them? Saving them for a daughter?

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          No they are not interested in them. Especially so because they cannot go in the dishwasher. I have asked for them back and should have taken them right back when thousands of dollars were headed to the garage floor. It have just about every piece imaginable for 12. Sad..

                                                      2. re: sueatmo

                                                        I was lucky enough to get Noritake for a song. I would have the Dude pick it up for me in Japan, Thailand or the Phillipines. I changed out my everyday dishes every 2-3 years for a while. But the dishwasher thing is true. A few of mine faded. I learned early on to avoid anything with metal paint.

                                                  2. If you would like a set of high end, platinum bordered china, my mom will be happy to give you hers. She's been trying to unload it for years. Neither my sister nor I have any use for it and she never uses it herself. I'm sure that there are people who still do that kind of fancy, sit-down entertaining, but it's much less common. Many people use their "everyday" china for entertaining and have a stack of holiday plates or pretty chargers to change things up. The china in the china hutch display has disappeared for the most part too. I would recommend investing in fine china only if you are sure it is something you would use (would the money be better off in your retirement account?). Fashions and tastes change and I certainly wouldn't dump money into fine china unless I wanted to use it right now and had the cash to spare.

                                                    White Corelle is a really viable option. It's cheap, sturdy, and light and can be dressed up with colored accessories like chargers. Plus, the plate sizes are not so damn big. I have been happy with the Hotel Collection bone china that I bought. I wanted open stock china so that I could buy ten of these and six of those and no stupid coffee cups. The Macy's label goes on sale every few days -- literally --, is sturdy and looks quite elegant. My only complaint is that I would have preferred smaller plates.

                                                    Now, if I could just get rid of the souvenir mug collection and replace them with six matching mugs, I would feel perfectly accessorized.... (Also, when my husband's family visits, it would be nice not to have to search for the dog rescue mugs so that I don't serve them from mugs that might offend their political views. Coffee before politics!)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: AbijahL

                                                      Exactly my experience with my mother's fine china. No one wants it anymore. Thousands of dollars of china and we couldn't sell it, not even to Replacements. It was in perfect condition, twelve-place settings and every serving piece. No one wants it. So unless you are actually going to use it a lot and enjoy using it (instead of fretting about it), don't buy fine china. My mother used hers maybe twice a year.

                                                      I bought a set of beautiful stoneware and I love using it. Unfortunately, it is really the wrong style for my current house and I'll probably replace it one of these days. Point is that it didn't cost a fortune, I don't have to molly coddle it, and I enjoyed using it because I didn't have to worry about it.

                                                      One hint - buy an extra four place settings, especially if it goes on sale. Then you really never have to worry.

                                                    2. I'm a fan of "real" China. I have both my grandmothers' sets though and that's it. Both grandmothers, years and states apart bought full entertaining sets (12 place settings plus coffee and tea service plus all serving pieces) that coordinate perfectly. And I use it all the time. For our children's first birthday parties, for Easter, for pizza night with champagne (for the grown ups not the kiddies, they get milk in sippies). I use it because I love it, because it's meaningful, and because it sets a good example to my mind about the important of honoring and paying homage to my roots. I've also got a set of decent Target dinnerware. It's useful but we've probably broken 6-8 pieces over the years. Never broken a piece of china yet :) All that aside, this is really only something you can decide. If you enjoy entertaining, and you say you do, you'll want to have a good number of settings. I don't know that I'd start off buying china if I didn't already own it but buying second hand or buying used or scouring garage sales can be wonderful fun and then you build your own tradition. Cheers!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: redgypsy

                                                        <buying second hand or buying used or scouring garage sales can be wonderful fun and then you build your own tradition.>

                                                        A good friend did just that. She chose a pattern she loved, took a photo of it, then haunted yard sales and thrift shops, looking for pieces that looked good with it. Pretty soon she had a custom set of many patterns that all worked together. She was chic long before shabby chic. I doubt she spent more than $50-75 for all of it. Then she started work on another "set", in different colors.

                                                      2. We use white Corelle for daily use around here. As slightly clumsy people, break resistant is a good thing. 9 years of marriage in, only 2 pieces gone. One in a lunch bag at work stealing, and one bowl vs concrete patio incident.

                                                        Our "good" dishes are from my late grandmother. A blue picture pattern, so I bought a bunch of glass and white pieces from Ikea to bump up the place settings. I do mix and match, cause I need service for 15, and the family size is only going to get larger.

                                                        If I were you and having to start from "scratch" I would get a basic white pattern, and then have fun finding vintage pieces to mix and match, so its coordinated mis-match.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: autumm

                                                          I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE my Corelle. Sure, I have Wedgewood Osborne from my wedding, and Spode for Christmas, and a multitude of Fiestaware, but my absolute favorite is my Dazzling White Corelle pattern. It's not the style you see available at local discount stores, it's a nice rimmed plate that looks as nice as fine china. I get no end of compliments on them. They are so thin I can stack two dozen or more in the sink for soaking after a party. They are non-porous and made in the USA.

                                                        2. After DuffyH's comment, I went back to C&B and looked for bowls that match the white pearl. The Bennet ones do, so I went ahead and took the offer! I really love it :) Both for everyday and entertaining. Now my main issue is that some of my serving dishes are the wrong white... but that's ok.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: velvetdc1

                                                            Hi velvetdc1,

                                                            Conga Rats! I'm happy for you on the big score. It's the kind of opportunity that seldom occurs.

                                                            <Now my main issue is that some of my serving dishes are the wrong white...>

                                                            Filling off-color dishes with food goes a long way towards diminishing the color difference. If that doesn't do it, I put them on a side table. Distance makes the color match. :-)

                                                            Duffy

                                                          2. My everyday dishes are all white porcelain, and I love the versatility of them. First of all, unless I'm cooking a meal with all white food (fish, cauliflower and potatoes), just about all food looks good on white. Next, it's easy to change the look by buying open stock pieces in various colors. I've bought salad plates, 8 at a time, in Pottery Barn in yellow, dark blue and dark red. Depending on my mood, the tablecloth or placemats I'm using, and the salad or appetizer I'm serving, I'll set the table with the colored plate on top of the white one. It's a whole other look for my table.

                                                            I have "good china" -- Lenox -- that I got when I was much younger. It's just not me, and it's not my entertaining style. It's up on a shelf in a high cabinet, and rarely gets used.

                                                            17 Replies
                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                              Hi CindyJ,

                                                              I also chose my fancy china when I was young (20) and it hasn't appealed to me in over 25 years. I'm pretty firmly of the opinion that very young brides should not be allowed to choose fine china. They should have a mandatory waiting period of some years.

                                                              Well, of course that ridiculous, but I see this frequently, women falling out of love with what sent them over the moon as young women. As we mature, so do our tastes, and often in a good way.

                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                It's been over 25 years since I picked my first set and I still use it every day. I love it. I wasn't a bride though, I bought it myself as a single woman who didn't want to wait for a proposal to get the dishes I wanted. Which means I didn't have to negotiate it with my husband LOL.

                                                                My cousin on the other hand chose the hideous Acapulco by Villeroy and Boch and I'm sure it's in a trash heap somewhere. She doesn't have it anymore LOL.

                                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                                  I've never seen Acapulco (the pattern, I've been to the city) and have to say it's colorful. There's a lot going on there, for sure. I can see why the love affair was short-lived. But hideous? Well, I hate to say that of anyone's china pattern. But she's your cousin, you can say it for me. ;-)

                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                    Oh my! Acapulco really is dreadful......

                                                                    1. re: soccermom13

                                                                      I know, right? A few pieces of that will go a long, long way.

                                                                      1. re: soccermom13

                                                                        LOL I wasn't joking. It was the 70's though.

                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                          V&B Acapulco = Marc Chagall gets all drunked up with Mr. Dos Equis.

                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                            .... and pukes all over the white dinnerware.

                                                                      2. re: rasputina

                                                                        Just took a look and ... wow. Hard to believe anyone ever thought Acapulco was a good idea.

                                                                        1. re: foiegras

                                                                          Some of it is really pretty. V&B should have stopped with this plate. Look how much it resembles a colorful Mexican blouse. Very nicely done.

                                                                          But no! Someone just had to blow up the design and spew it all over the plate. A few serving pieces would be cool done in the full pattern, maybe with a white rim. Plates, not so much. V&B jumped the shark.

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                      3. re: DuffyH

                                                                        Hi, Duffy: "I'm pretty firmly of the opinion that very young brides should not be allowed to choose fine china. They should have a mandatory waiting period of some years."

                                                                        Not that I'm disagreeing, but the same might be said in the matter of and timing in the choice of husbands. In both cases, *making* a choice is less important than the choice itself, but good luck conveying that to the young.

                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                          Hi K,

                                                                          Well, yes, I suppose it's true that love can be blind and stupid. No question young love can be really stupid. I'm just very happy that although I kicked my china to the curb, I kept the dude who bought it for me. ;-)

                                                                          Duffy

                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                            Then you have luck no ugly china could dim.

                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                              Hey K,

                                                                              Luck it is, no question. I also think it didn't hurt that in our first 20 years we only spent about half of them together, with his deployments and me having a few jobs that took me on the road. We didn't get bored and got to skip that whole 7-year itch thing.

                                                                              Duffy

                                                                          2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                            You make a great point, Kaleo. In hindsight, it's hard to think of *anything* I might have chosen at say, age 25, that would still have delighted me 20 years down the road. And when you consider 40+ years down the road... well, maybe I should be given some kind of award -- and so should my DH. If there's one thing we BOTH still love -- it's the Le Creuset pieces we received as wedding gifts. :-)

                                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                                              Perhaps the award is being able to celebrate those ruby, golden, etc. anniversaries ... if you get started later in life, you may be lucky to make it to aluminum and steel ;)

                                                                        2. re: CindyJ

                                                                          I found my china pattern online. It's Nortiake Casablanca, produced in Japan from 1967-1985 for the American military market (stationed in Japan). My Dude picked it up for me on his first cruise. It's pretty, but very delicate and so not me anymore. I still like the clean, unfussy shapes, as shown in the coffee cup.

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                        3. I personally wouldn't have two sets of solid white, but that's just me. I'm in love with Villeroy and Boch. I bought Amapola in my early 20's and since then have added Naif Christmas and a mix of Audun. I also keep a set of Corelle for the microwave. I use it all every day, except the Christmas.

                                                                          1. Along with all the great advice you've already gotten, consider a couple things when picking china: If the set comes with bowls, are they a useful size? Are the cups comfortable to use? These are things that can only be judged in person. One of the reasons Mom's dinnerware made it to the estate sale was the cups were not comfortable - a jutting corner on the handle, while stylish, made them a bother, rather than a treat.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                              I've rarely used the cups from my first set ( and I haven't bought the cups for my other china sets), but that certainly isn't a reason to ditch the set as a whole.

                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                My dinnerware came with mugs that had the handles on the corners of a squarish shaped body, like those you described. I knew when I bought the set that I'd never use those mugs. I bought other mugs that match perfectly at Pier1 and donated the 12 mugs from the set to Habitat for Humanity.

                                                                              2. Congratulations on a wonderful purchase. Now that you have the every day stuff, what are your plans for special occasion??

                                                                                We inherited, purchased, and used in rotation 4 primary patterns in the house. Royal Worcestire, Limoge, Villeroy and Boch, and Spode. Plus lots of sets specific to courses. Fruit, fish, salad, etc. And we had lots of breakage. So for your next set, I would recommend a pattern that you can easily fill in the holes. Check out ebay and Replacements, Ltd for availability.

                                                                                1. Years ago I was a china & table top buyer. I got bitten by the bug and have about 9 sets of different patterns. I change dinnerware with the seasons. I would not dream of selecting a pattern for you, I don't know your taste and it would be like my sending you a dress, doing so blindly. I do have 24 plain white dinner plates from Royal Doulton for parties. The only paper plates I use are for microwaving.

                                                                                  Do not buy a "set" of china, only buy open stock. The dinnerware that is sold in boxed sets rarely have pieces available if you happen to break a piece. You can buy in place settings, in more formal dinnerware you will get a dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate and a cup and saucer. In more casual dinnerware you might get a mug and a bowl instead of the c&s and b&b.

                                                                                  I have found over time you are going to find there are pieces you don't use or rarely use. Despite the coffee trend, I have cups and saucers that have never been used or only occasionally. It would be worth thinking about buying from open stock only the pieces you think you will use.

                                                                                  In one pattern, Sarabande from Royal Doulton (retired now) I have soup plates, they can be used with pasta too and what are called fruit bowls. They are a small bowl that can be used for desserts. I also have most of the serving pieces in that pattern. As I said above I change patterns seasonally. In the summer my every day pattern is Royal Worcester Evesham and I do have a bunch of extra pieces in their serving pieces such as souffle dishes and other baking things. It is not being sold in the US now but you can find plenty on e-Bay or at Replacements. It was very popular from the 60's until just a few years ago. At Christmas I use Spode Christmas Tree and have many extra pieces. In Wedgwood/Coalport I have Hunting Scene for fall dinners. In Royal Crown Derby I have Panel Green - very dressy and I did buy demitasse cups and saucers.

                                                                                  I have a few more but all I wanted to do is illustrate how your taste can change and the way you live can change. I would suggest you go to a store that does stock open pieces and play with different patterns. They should be glad to help you in making a decision.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                                    I had to check out Wedgwood Hunting Scene from your post, it's really cute (that sound strange, but it shows personality).
                                                                                    Many years ago, when I registered for our wedding, I selected Wedgwood Napoleon Ivy, it's earthenware, not china, but I've used it everyday. I've never broken any, either (knock on wood). I also inherited a bunch of Lenox Westwind (autumnal leaves) but have used it infrequently. I also have a set of plain white bone china, but that really hasn't seen a lot of use either.
                                                                                    I agree that preferences & circumstances change, I'm just happy that I still love my original choice.

                                                                                    1. re: thistle5

                                                                                      I had to buy it. It made me smile the first time I saw it. A friend asked me why wasn't a dead fox in the middle of the plate.

                                                                                    2. re: Candy

                                                                                      Hi Candy,
                                                                                      Royal Worcester Evesham is available online in the US direct from the manufacturer now. Take a look at http://www.royalworcester.com/collect... . Full disclosure I handle PR for manufacturer, Portmeirion Group.

                                                                                      1. re: KatiePR

                                                                                        Thanks. Glad to know it is back.

                                                                                      2. re: Candy

                                                                                        Candy, I find it interesting that you use your Evesham as your summer pattern as it always struck me as autumnal. Years ago my MIL gave me the soufflé dish in that pattern. I use it as a serving piece, especially in the fall -- e.g., holds the stuffing most years on our Thanksgiving table.

                                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                                          Yes, it is autumnal but I use my Hunting Scene from Coalport and Wedgwood for fall. The fruits and veggies on the Evesham make me think of summer. I guess it could go either way.

                                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                                            V&B Acapulco is very summery.

                                                                                            0:-)

                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                              You're evil LOL

                                                                                      3. I use white porcelain from Ikea - for every day and special events. I like the shapes and it is durable and sturdy, which is important as teen boys are frequent dishwasher loaders. For special occasions, I mix it up with fancy table linens and glasses but use the same old dishes.

                                                                                        I would think two sets of white is overkill.

                                                                                        1. I am going to add my 2 cents: I am one who does not believe in distinguishing "everyday" china from "special occasion" china. I want what I use everyday to be very beautiful to look at and strong enough to get through the day.

                                                                                          I am a real fan of Villeroy-Boch China for that very reason for it is strong enough to be used in restaurants and has many beautiful options to choose from.

                                                                                          As a china collector, I am not the one to give advice about one simple pattern, because I have 6 sets of beautiful china that each have 24+ place settings - not your average consumer. I have sets of discontinued Villeroy-Boch as well as a Royal Doulton, Spode and Mikasa.

                                                                                          ----My point, that I wanted to add to the discussion, is to pick something that you will absolutely love to use and look at every day - a shape of the cup that is so pleasing to the eye and feels good in the hand, etc. etc. These simple things of beauty can enrich your day.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: laraffinee

                                                                                            I totally agree. When I was married, about 40 years ago, I chose as everyday dinner ware Royal Doulton Tangier. I was stone ware and very durable. I still love the pattern. During a remodel on my kitchen I changed patterns and sent all of my Tangier to my niece. I got to missing it so much that I bought a lot of it on e-Bay. Now she has much of that too.

                                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                                              I find a need to change things up periodically. As my tastes change, so does my tableware (and many other things around the house). The dishes I loved and "had to have" when I was married 40+ years ago are long gone and not at all missed. My "good china" sits high in an upper cabinet. It's just no longer reflective of my lifestyle and taste.

                                                                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                I still have my original dishes (those that have survived), but although I still get compliments on them, I feel they are dated. I still like them, but they do represent an earlier era. I like the dishes I've acquired more recently better. My original dishes were new; more recent things are all vintage, which I think are much more timeless.

                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                  These last posts make me happy that I never could decide on a pattern to choose to register, back in the day. I have owned several sets, and I think I've posted about that, but I never considered the dishes my one and only, to be reserved for special occasions.

                                                                                                  I am keeping one set of Pfaltzgraff that I am unhappy with, and I am happily using the Wedgwood White china that I ordered earlier this year. If there is any excuse to use it, I am using it! I am even thinking of buying some plain white coffee mugs to add to the set, as those are preferred to the small white cups and saucers for casual dinners.

                                                                                                  I actually like the Pfaltzgraff, but it has not aged well. I truly love the weight of the Wegwood bone china, and how well they look after coming out of the dishwasher. If I had bought a nice set of Lenox or similar, I would not be able to use them in the dishwasher, I don't think. And the white looks great on a patterned tablecloth. And it looks great with my stainless or my silver. So versatile. So classic. But it took decades of life to understand that I really like simple white the best of all.

                                                                                          2. You must absolutely love your dish pattern and should not buy anything unless it is so. I have so many fine china dishes but I do not use them. Years ago I purchased a Johnson Brother everyday pattern in a place setting of 12 and bought every serving piece that I could afford. I use this set all the time.
                                                                                            My perspective on dishes has changed a lot over the years and now do not like anything unless it is functional. Fine china is a luxury but you would get more use from a good quality daily set. Of course fine china is very elegant on table, if you opt for it use it often!

                                                                                            1. Jump at the chance.

                                                                                              1. If you buy anything other than one of the been around for ever classics, like restaurant supply stuff or Pillivuyt, snag extras. I love Crate and Barrel's Marin in yellow. I went to get a few replacements and it is discontinued and out of stock.

                                                                                                1. Inspired by this thread I have purchased Coral Winter White dishes today. Only a few but I want more.