the men get it

Rob Shepperson for WSJ

The WSJ's Christine Brinkley points something here we've probably suspected all along: women are "shortchanged" in the clothing market -

"Sometimes, women have little choice. It has long been an irritating truth that men are offered better-quality clothes for lower prices. Many fashionable women's clothes—including plenty sold at luxury prices—are made relatively cheaply. "Women do get shortchanged in the market," says Patrick Gigliotti, a menswear salesman at the venerable Boyd's Philadelphia department store. Some women who value well-made clothing have even resorted to shopping in menswear departments."

The article definitely worth a read in full, but to sum up:
- Brands are no guarantee of quality.
- Good quality clothing should be made to be easily altered to suit you (ie wide seams in jackets etc).
- Know the country of origin, not just for manufacturing but also for fabrics. Not all "Made in Italy" is good, not all "Made in China" is bad.
- Comfort is paramount.
- Examine clothes inside out. I've returned lots of stuff to the rack after I had a look at the inside. It's so depressing that it kills my shopping impulses.

All this has always made online-shopping a bit of an anxiety-ridden experience for me, especially when return shipping costs can add up. Still with experience, perhaps it will become clearer which potential buys on the Internet are riskier than others.

And how cute is that illustration?

Picture from wsj


Alexandra said…
Interesting article, thanks for flagging it up. And love the illustration!
Fleurette said…
Thank you for sharing. It's really enlightening and I might post the whole article on my blog as a inspirational reminder.
Interesting article, cute picture. I agree that in general men: shop less, but buy more (in the short term). Less trendy, but more brand loyal.

Quality (and crap) can be found at all price points. My Kenneth Cole heels are my most comfortable (made in spain, italy, romania, china), where my Nine Wests (which I buy for "the look") are really hit or miss. I have a suit from Express that is still going strong after 6 years. I also invested in having the jacket tailored.

When something fits well, it's possible to skimp on quality, esp. in bottoms. I've taken zara and f21 pants to the tailor. I'm willing to shell out for jackets. A well made jacket can elevate a look, where an ill fitting/cheap looking jacket will make everything else look bad. Theory suits me, so I always keep an eye open for sales.
Ginta said…
Thank you for sharing! Very interesting and informative read :) My first reaction was - it's so unfair but in the same time we women are the ones who have supported and facilitated the growth of the fast, low quality goods' market.
miss sophie said…
ohhhh...i've suspected this for years!! and just posted about this very same issue:

thanks for sharing the article - glad this is getting some momentum as a style story. now if i can just get myself a bespoke Savile Row tailor to make all my clothes from now on...
lin said…
Alexandra: No problem, glad you enjoyed it.

Fleurette: I agree; I blogged about it because I wanted to be able to go back to it too.

Pret a Porter P: Nicely summed up. I agree about quality being found at all price points: I especially love Uniqlo knits (NO pilling or losing shape at all, even though I machine wash them all). I have some Zara trousers I depend on too. And some H&M things will surprise you. I always try not to be a snob about brands, but about the item itself. I do wish for the days when the brand name meant something, instead of just as excuse to charge more.

Ginta: I agree, so many of my friends think I spend too much on a single item of clothing - they'd rather buy fun things that they'll throw out after a year. It's all about achieving the right look than buying quality things. Which is why my male friends can buy a great shirt at H&M but I can't.

miss sophie: When I read it, I thought it was so amusing that I had just read the same sentiments on your camel coat post!

A custom-made suit from Savile Row...what a dream!

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