Does the Cost of Clothing Reflect the Quality?

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Does the cost of clothing reflect the quality

Does the Cost of Clothing Reflect the Quality?

The cost of clothing can depend on so many factors. Yet for ages we have heard that you get what you pay for. Could it be a falsehood and what is really involved? I researched this idea along with surveying my readers. Here’s the scoop below.

Quote of the day: We are not put on this earth to see through one another. We are put on this earth to see one another through.” Gloria Vanderbilt

Sharing what we know and the facts is exactly what we should be doing. Yet with the quote above it also behooves us to be open to another way of thinking. Personally, I used to think I knew it all. And that’s a hard position to retain. What I’ve learned is asking others (and then believing them) is a good thing all around.

So here’s the rundown as I asked my readers the question of “Do you think you get what you pay for in clothing?” What surprised me was the consensus was half and half. Half said yes while the other half said no.
The half that said no responded that the saying above stems from a time, decades ago when clothing with high end labels really were superior. Personally, I believe that paying more means better quality is not always the case now.

Granted none of us want to pay more than we have to for anything. Yet, with my research, I found some pointers for when you are shopping that you might want to keep in mind.

What Constitutes Quality?

Quality comes down to 3 basic points.
1-The fabric. The fabric is a huge factor when discussing the quality of an item. It’s the feel on our bodies and the components that make it up.

Insider tip: Remember, not all materials are equal. Just because your sweater says cashmere, does not make it a good quality cashmere. There are all levels of quality of materials. How do you know if it’s good material? Mostly by the feel.

2-The Details. This is where the extras can make a difference. The patterns lining up, neat (not messy) seams along with other characteristics.

3-Consistency. This is a bit more subjective, but brands obviously don’t sew their own items. SO finding brands that hold up and check all the boxes time over time is a big aspect of quality.

The REAL Cost of Clothing

Many of us realize that prices can be deceiving. Why is that? Because there is much more to the real cost of clothing than just quality. Maybe you’ve heard there is a high markup on clothing?
Sure, there needs to be a margin to pay the company who put the fabric together to create the item, pay the shipping and factory storage, and then there is the marketing budget for a company.
Add in return costs, the costs of an online presence along with employee wages, and you have a $3 shirt costing at least $20.

Insider tip: Yet it’s not always less expensive to make your own clothing. Companies can get the supplies at a much reduced fee because they are buying in bulk.


A quick tidbit about the “brands” that you consider quality. Many of these have changed over the years because of the higher costs associated with all aspects of the cost of clothing. Due to this, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in the brands you’ve been wearing for years. You might be surprised at some of the newer brands out there and finding quality at places you never thought about.

The other thing to remember is for one brand, not all pieces are the same quality. Every brand has their strength and weakness.

There is a cost of clothing that is very much dependent on you! And that is how you take care of your item.
My post about finding the right fit for denim was an eye opener to me about how we wash/dry it can affect it.

See the post Say Goodbye to Saggy Denim.

Insider tip: Remember the chemicals that get our clothing clean will obviously break down material fibers. That’s why it’s smart to wear an inexpensive tee under your higher priced items if you can.

What is NOT Quality

One of the biggest components of us buying a clothing item has NOTHING to do with quality. And that is fit.
Fit is all over the board when it comes to ready to wear clothing. Did you see the Facebook post showing 7 different pairs of jeans that were all size 12?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love finding something that fits me without having to do any alterations. But it’s not realistic to expect that 100% of the time. Even if a certain brand usually fits you well, that can change if they have to move to a different manufacturer.
And if you won’t buy a piece because it doesn’t fit perfect, you might be spending more with your time and patience looking for the right fit. Remember your time is money to a degree.

Insider tip: Find someone who does alterations and USE them. Or many alterations are relatively easy. I wrote a post on those and even included the YouTube videos I watch.
OR, I’ve also shown some no sew alterations for a tee and maxi skirt.
Remember many things can be “fixed.”

How to Get What You Pay For

The obvious answer is to NEVER buy anything full price. Except I will hear someone say from time to time, that spending more on classics is okay.

Insider tip: Don’t always think that spending more on classics is a good idea. Are you going to be the same size in 10 years? Will you still have the same lifestyle? What if the item gets stained or torn when wearing it? AND there are times that classic could be considered frumpy if you never update it.

Of course shopping the sales or secondhand stores are the easiest way to counteract the cost of clothing.
But sometimes it’s good to take a chance on a new brand or company. We did that recently with some swimsuits, and were pleasantly surprised at how nice they were.

Insider tip: I have two online ways to be notified when items I like go on sale.
1-On a Shopstyle widget that I use in my blog posts, you can click the heart and it will email you when the price is reduced.
2-On the phone, I use Shoptagr but I see it’s on the computer now too.

If you want tips on thrifting, check out my other posts here:
How to Shop on Poshmark
Tips for Online Thrifting
Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Pay More for these 2 Things

There are always exceptions to the rules. There are some items that you should pay more for to make life better.

1-Shoes. Our bodies are amazing machines, but the feet take the brunt of all of our weight and activity. Comfortable shoes not only feel good BUT can be stylish now.
While the above is true, let me add a shameless plug to check out Walking Cradles. As one of their ambassadors, I have not only been given free shoes but I have bought just as many pairs with my hard earned money. Use my link and code, JODIE15 on your first purchase to get 15% off. And if you are looking for other comfy shoes, I wrote a post about the 4 I have been wearing lately.

2-Something you absolutely love. There is a lot to be said for loving your clothing items. There is gobs of research to prove that the better you look, the better you feel. Along with studies showing that people respond better to you when you look nice.
So if you go gaga for something that isn’t on sale yet, buy it! Everything in moderation including moderation!

Your Words

I’d like to point out a couple of wonderful thoughts from the survey that gave me many ideas for this post.

“Quality is important BUT so is style.” (Which leads me to say you should check out my post about How Not to Look Frumpy)
“Posture and confidence also make an outfit look more expensive.”
“Everyone’s idea of quality is different.”

And let me include one great rationale that speaks to me from another reader: “If I’d paid $1000 for a handbag, it probably would have held together for a lot longer than my $39 one that has some ‘frayed’ edges on the handles. On the other hand, how many $39 handbags can I buy for that $1000? I kind of enjoy being able to change out handbags once a year and I’ll bet by the end of that year, carrying that $1000 handbag day in and day out, it would be showing signs of wear too.”

Cost of clothing. Low quality= low cost?

Photo credit: Lauren Fleischmann via Unsplash

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