There are lot of style rules that you hear over and over. You shouldn’t buy too many trendy pieces. You should buy clothes for your body type, as opposed to what is fashionable. You should splurge on quality items. There are some fashion rules you should follow (see: buying whatever the heck you like), but in my experience, it’s better not to follow the previous three, particularly the last one about not splurging on quality items.
A higher price tag doesn’t necessarily equal a better quality garment. You would think that spending more money would give you softer fabric, a better fit, and superior construction, but it’s not always true. Furthermore, the sad fact is that paying more for a garment doesn’t mean that it is made in better working conditions.
Less expensive clothes have a reputation for being “fast fashion” garments that you’re lucky to get one season out of them before they literally fall apart. That is true in some cases, just like it is true that when you compare a $5 bargain item compared to a $500 designer item, there are obviously some differences.
However, if you’re comparing items on the lower end of your budget to ones where you’re spending that $50 or even $100 extra, it isn’t always worth spending more. It’s all about savvy shopping. Take a look a makeup. All it takes is one great drugstore beauty buys to realize that cheaper products can rival the expensive things, and the same goes for clothes.
When we shop, we normally pick up a garment, check out the price tag, see if they have our size, and try it on if it fits. We don’t bother to really look at it beyond checking whether we like the color or silhouette.
I’ve made that mistake. A while ago I needed a new pair of skinny jeans. Normally, I spend less than $100 on pants, and I am always happy with my purchase. This time I decided to see if higher-end jeans were better. I thought I had found the perfect pair. They fit just like my old favorites, and they passed all of the squatting-and-bending-in-the-fitting-room tests. What I didn’t realize from the 5-10 minutes I spent in the change room wearing them was that when you’re actually out walking around wearing them, they just don’t feel right.
The nice crisp fabric is soft and visually appealing, but it doesn’t stretch in areas it should and does in other areas it shouldn’t. They now sit in the back of the closet, and I have since bought a pair of jeans for $40 that are infinitely better. I’ve also discovered that you cannot tell the difference between a cheap t-shirt and a higher-end one and that shoes last just as long whether their price has two numbers or three.
It’s difficult to be able to tell exactly what a garment will be like when you get home. You will never know for sure the colors won’t bleed or if you put it in the wash, if it will come out in a permanently wrinkled ball. However, instead of focusing on the price and the more superficial details of a garment (color, style, etc.), just take a look at the craftsmanship. Are the seams finished nicely? Is the neckline even? Is one sleeve longer than the other? Scrunch it up into a ball to see how it wrinkles.
Also, make sure to check the washing instructions. There’s no point in paying more for something that is Dry Clean Only if you never intend to actually get it dry cleaned. Don’t assume you can throw it in the machine, and it’ll be fine because you might as well throw your money in there too. That polyester blend is washable, suits your lifestyle, and is $30 less.
Next time you’re going shopping, take the time to really compare things rather than impulsive buys. If you end up wanting to spend a few extra dollars on an item you think it’s worth it, remember there are always the sales.