If our ceramics could talk, they would have called dinnerware protective services long ago to report rough treatment, neglect, and general abuse on our part. When I was a budding bride, I, in my naivety, chose our dinnerware from Anthropologie. At that time, I didn't realize 2 things: 1) How badly we would mistreat our dishes and 2) Anthropologie merchandise cannot be replaced 6 years down the road.
I gave up on nice glasses a long time ago. We break them so often that every few months when our collection is waning I just go buy more of the 99 cent glasses from Ikea (come to think of it, I think it's time for a trip there for more).
Our plates and bowls last at least a little bit longer. However, recently as I was looking at our sad little collection of cracked and chipped pieces- of which about 2/3 of the originals are even left- I realized that the time has come to perhaps find us a real live dinnerware set of matching plates, bowls, and maybe even serving dishes (did I mention that our dinner plates don't match our salad plates, and neither match our bowls?). My hope is to find some sort of set that shows that we are real, working grownups now. This isn't as easy as it sounds.
My criteria is specific, and the first and most important thing for me to remember is how much of what we buy will get ruined at some point ("Know thyself"...) In other words, we can never buy $50 a plate sets, because I think every time one broke I would sit on the floor and cry. Second, you all remember the whole "lead might be in my dinnerware incident" of a few months ago. This significantly lowers my options of brands to choose from, which in a way is a good thing because my choices are less overwhelming.
I've narrowed it down to a couple of very neutral sets that would hopefully stand the test of time, and my very fickle taste.
These two sets are about as neutral and inexpensive as you can get. They're both from Ikea (it's all lead free, can you believe it?), and not that bad if someone is looking for a cheap set. I'm not sure about Ikea's stock availability and if I would be able to replenish my collection years from now.
"Fiesta" doesn't usually describe my decorating style, but I have to hand it to Fiestaware. They have made themselves a classic name, and I know they'll be around until Armageddon. Most of the colors are entirely too bright and wouldn't work unless I made Mexican food for dinner every night, but I've always like this turquoise color. It's pretty well priced and durable, also.
Most of the Pfaltzgraff patterns I saw should not appear in the kitchens of anyone not registered in the AARP (or lovers of Peter Rabbit), but the company does make quality products. I love the variety of sizes they have for plates and bowls. This pattern is "cappuccino," and it's doable, but it's not....
Heath dinnerware. Which, of course, is my favorite and, of course, the most expensive by far. (Is anyone surprised at this?) If I wanted to justify myself I could say that it was a STEAL considering that each piece is hand thrown. I still worry, though, about our lack of care when handling breakables. If we invested in these and then broke them all, I think I would then just give up and go all Carrie Bradshaw and just buy random plates from thrift stores. Everyone wants to be her anyway, right??