I purchased my All-Clad Stainless Steel set 5 years ago. At the time I was working at a specialty kitchen store and recieved a generous discount on the set. Even with the discount, it was difficult to part with the money, especially since I wasn't that great of a cook.
Since that time, I've started cooking a lot more (maybe because I now have the proper pots and pans for the job!). I absolutely love All-Clad and looking back, I would have paid full-price for the set. I don't like cooking in other people's kitchens anymore because they don't have All-Clad. My mother has Calphalon and she wants my All-Clad.
The heat retention in the pots is wonderful. I can make a pot of soup and it will actually stay piping hot for hours... after it is removed from the stove. I originally was concerned with food sticking to the stainless surface, but the surface actually starts to repel food after a few uses, strange as it sounds. When I sautee onions or other sticky foods, I just add some oil, and I'm good to go. I still keep a set of relatively inexpensive Teflon frying pans for quick jobs like grilled cheese. I can't say enough about how well this cookware is made. The handles are attached so strongly that I doubt they'd ever move. You can scrub the pots and pans with almost anything and they still look new. You can put them in the oven, burn food on them, immerse them in water... they still clean up like new.
I love my All-Clad so much that we had a lighted pot rack installed above our kitchen island to store and display our cookware. The rack makes it even easier for me to grab my pots and pans and cook!
I'll always have All-Clad now. I will eventually add addtional pieces to my collection. If you decide to invest in this cookware, you'll have it for life.