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How to Buy Quality Footwear and Clothing
Some retailers have mastered the art of selling cheap clothing that look trendy and stylish. Often, however, while it feels good to save money in the short term on a new shirt or sweater, you might not be getting the deal that you think you are.
As many frustrated customers can attest, high prices don’t always mean high quality and you can occasionally find a great bargain in the value bin. But the fact remains that clothing that is made well from good fabrics is going to last. This, more than price tags or brand names, is a sign of quality. And buying high quality clothing and footwear will likely save you money in the long-term.
The Benefits of High Quality Attire
While it’s fun to shop and spend just a few dollars here or there on new things, high quality attire may prove more beneficial for you in the long run.
No Impulse Shopping. Something that looks stylish can make you stop and consider a purchase. That funny shirt or cute top is easy to buy when it costs less than your lunch, but it often becomes one more item hanging in your closet after the impulse has passed.
Shopping for high quality clothing items means you are looking for clothing that fits well, does the job you want it to do and that will last. Often this means your quality items cost too much to buy on impulse, but when you do buy them, they are special. You build a quality wardrobe only using quality pieces.
Long-Term Wardrobe Potential. The cheap shorts are cute, but how cute are they really after holes appear and the seams fray? Clothing that is made from higher quality fabrics and that are sewed with greater care last longer because they are better made.
A top notch wardrobe and shoe collection gathered and curated carefully over time will last until you are ready to change your style. Nice pieces last for years, possibly decades, although your current style may not last that long.
- Cultivated Style. Trendy items are quick to grab in a large store and easy to buy, until they start to fall apart in the washing machine. When you’re buying one shirt for what you used to pay for three or five cheap ones, you are going to carefully consider what that shirt looks like, how it fits and how it fits a look you’re developing.
Over time, you will have a careful collection of clothing items that fit well, are comfortable and that are well-made. These items will form the basis of your wardrobe and define your style in a way the cheaper stuff never could.
Shopping for High Quality Items
Price isn’t always an indication of high quality items, but it is can be a guide in many ways. Building a wardrobe of high quality pieces can take time. Not only will it take time to search out the perfect things for your new collection, but you may also need to spread the costs over time to make the new wardrobe more affordable. You can help cut down your costs on your new higher quality clothing and footwear collection in a few ways:
- Shop off-season. Buy items for next summer right after this year’s summer things go on sale. As long as you’re buying classic items, it won’t matter when they were purchased. They will be stylish for years.
- Buy used clothing and shoes. Resale shops and consignments may have a great selection of gently used high-end clothing for way less than you’d pay in the store. Just be sure the clothing is truly gently used.
- Look for coupons, sales and promotions. Everyone has a sale, even the most exclusive stores. Save your shopping for the best promotions of the year and save.
Tips for How to Buy Quality Clothing and Footwear
As you begin your search for a new, more carefully constructed wardrobe, consider a few more tips to improve the process.
Find Some Favorites
You should be shopping slowly for your new items. This means you should be trying on shoes and clothing and carefully considering each decision. Each item should fit well and be comfortable. You should truly love or appreciate everything you buy.
Once you find the right fit or aesthetic, follow that brand or designer to find more of what works for you. With a particular designer or brand in mind, you can look for more items easily online, in resale shops and in larger department stores. A brand you know and trust is often the core of a wardrobe.
Buy a Capsule Wardrobe
Unless you have a large discretionary clothing budget, you may be moving slowly as you acquire new clothing items. This means it’s important to find the pieces of a capsule wardrobe first. Your first high-quality items should be the ones you need and wear the most – dress pants, jeans, solid colored shirts and jackets.
After you have your core pieces, embellish your capsule wardrobe with trendier items and the accessories that can quickly and easily change your look from day to day. Add more quality pieces over time until you have all of the basics you need and can mix and match stylishly.
Know What Quality Looks Like
Don’t assume that a brand name or a high price tag automatically means something is well-made. There are plenty of complaints on Pissed Consumer that will tell you the exact opposite. Some clothing is highly priced for a brand name without actually being made well. Other items are made extremely well, but aren’t especially trendy so they sell at more reasonable prices.
You can skip the marketing and label hype by simply looking closely at the clothing itself. Examine the seams. Go so far as to pull gently on either side of a seam. If the fabric gaps and you can see daylight between stitches, skip the purchase – that item isn’t sewn well and will fall apart.
Other clues to well-constructed clothing are in the details. Are there gaps between buttons? Are there three buttons or four on a cuff? How well are the buttons sewn on? If you can see loose threads on the buttons and fasteners, assume the threads will unravel sooner rather than later. A well-made pant will have a larger hem for adjustment purposes. Well-made shirts will have careful attention to details.
4 Reasons You Should Choose to Spend More on Quality Clothing
Spend your money where you spend your time. A good mattress is worth the price. A good desk chair is worth the investment. You should be spending eight hours of your day in bed and perhaps another eight in that desk chair. But how many hours a day do you spend in your clothes? Certainly more than eight!
By this principle, you should be spending quite a bit of money on a collection of high quality clothing. It’s hard to break the consumer habit of grabbing the inexpensive, trendy items so many stores sell, but it’s worth it to opt for the more expensive things. Here’s why.
You Feel Good in Quality Clothing
Cheap clothing is designed, cut, and sewn as efficiently as possible to keep prices low. This means it’s often a generic mold and the fit may not be what you hoped for. Clothing that doesn’t fit or flatter makes us uncomfortable and that shows in your confidence and body language.
When you find items that are more carefully sewn that fit your particular body type, you feel good in them. And if you can’t find something that fits off the shelf, it’s worth it to have a well-made piece of clothing tailored to your specific measurements.
Your Clothing Sends a Message
In and out of the professional world, your clothing is sending a message. Sloppy attire with missing buttons, poorly sewn seams and oddly fitting pants don’t make you look sharp and professional. Carefully curated pieces project a professional style that can help your career and project your pride in your overall aesthetic.
You’ll Save Money over Time
In the short run cheap clothes are cheap – that’s why they are desirable. But too often cheap clothing falls apart after just a few washes or doesn’t fit well after wearing. The cheap clothing wears out and must be replaced. Over time, your cheap shirts wind up costing far more than a higher quality shirt that doesn’t shrink in the wash or get weirdly stretched out with every wearing.
Consider your cost per wear rather than your cost per shirt. The $50 shirt is good for 100 wears while the $5 one falls apart in 5. Which one gives you more value in the long run?
You Have Knowledge of Product Quality
When you avoid impulse buys, you have a chance to really research the items you’re buying. Reviews are everywhere for clothing and shoes. Grabbing a cute top because it’s cute and cheap may feel good, but reading reviews about how well a more expensive top fits and flatters and lasts can be far more satisfying.
Many retailers rely on impulse buys. Savvy consumers rely on reviews and research before investing in high quality, well-made pieces that will last. Customer reviews are often the first warning sign that a brand is cutting corners or trying to tack a big price tag on a cheap item. Skip the impulse and take advantage of shared first-hand experiences.
Three Signs of Quality Footwear
How much time do you spend on your feet? Not much if you are in uncomfortable shoes. For the sheer volume of time spent on our feet, we should be putting the largest amount of our budget into our shoes. A well-constructed shoe not only fits well and remains comfortable, but lasts for years as well with proper care.
Consider the Cobbler
In tales of old, the cobbler was the shoe maker (often visited by magical creatures of some kind) who made truly customized shoes for his customers. Today we don’t have a cobbler in every neighborhood to measure our feet and stitch leather accordingly, but we do have people making our shoes.
Just like clothing, shoes that are being mass produced as quickly as possible, as cheaply as possible, aren’t going to get much in the way of a cobbler’s care. Shoes that are made more slowly and with more attention to detail will likely cost more, but are more likely to be well-constructed.
Look at Materials
Cheap materials usually mean cheap shoes. Not every shoe needs to be made from full-grain leather, but if you are buying dress shoes or boots, you can expect the high-quality leather ones to last quite a bit longer than the “bonded” leather or synthetic materials.
Full grain leather will have some imperfections because it is the least treated of the shoe leathers. Leathers that have been chemically treated, sanded down or bonded with artificial materials might be smooth and pretty when purchased, but soon crack and peel like plastics. Real leather lasts.
A Quality Construction
Shoes are made of pieces and those pieces must be joined together. It is in these details that you can often spot problems. The toughest, most carefully created shoes will have soles that are stitched, not glued. Glued soles are also not very good at resisting water and can actually become “unstuck” if they are too exposed to the elements.
Leather soles will breathe better than the rubber or plastic varieties, but leather is not always practical for every type of shoe. Look for close stitching and well-fixed pieces. Loose stitches, unfinished laces and large amounts of plastic are signs of cheap construction.
Your clothing should not just be something you throw on every day. Your outfits and shoes are an outward sign of your personal style and grooming, and should be treated as such. Looking good and feeling good help drive your daily confidence levels and performance. High quality, well-tailored clothing is always an excellent investment.