Everything costs way more money now, for what I consider to be pretty basic items.
It’s not just me either.
This article sums it up — a plain white T for $7 or $70?
“A lot of retailers, they say they’re investing in price.
What they’re basically doing is they’re taking quality out of the product and then offering the product at a cheaper price.”
There is no MIDDLE ground for NORMAL quality at a decent price. I am not paying $70 for a damn t-shirt but I also don’t want to pay $1 or $5 for a cheap t-shirt either.
There’s another article talking about fashion inflation (excellent read):
“Indeed, in recent years, prices of luxury fashion products have grown at more than twice the rate of general inflation.
In 2003, Carrie Bradshaw’s famous Manolo Blahniks cost $485.
Exactly ten years later, the same style is $755, a 56 percent increase.
Gross margins for luxury companies typically hover around 65 percent.”
Then throw in the mix that fast fashion retailers like H&M are now considering a price increase on their clothing to pay a reasonable working wage to workers, and things are just getting more and more expensive while quality is being driven down.
Take for instance a pair of pants. I have been (casually) looking for high-rise skinny leggings (they are SO. COMFORTABLE.) in black to complete my wardrobe.
I already have a dark grey, khaki green and medium-rinse jean pair of skinny pants, and black would be perfect as the final neutral staple.
My go-to brand for skinny leggings has been Rag and Bone. They do some kind of magic with their fabric because it feels so good, but cost SO much ($200 a pair before taxes).
Getting frustrated with the slim pickings in consignment shops and on eBay (particularly if you live in Canada like I do and have to pay about 30% extra for duties and taxes), I went to Dynamite on a whim with absolutely NO INTENTION of buying anything.
Dynamite is a store like many of the other cheap mainstream retailers such as — Joe Fresh, Ann Taylor, H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Le Chateau, Smart Set, RW & Co that I avoid on a regular basis as it’s 90% all made in China, but of pretty bad quality to boot for the most part.
See, J. Crew, Club Monaco, Wilfred, Aritzia, and Banana Republic ALSO have items made in China (less so these days), but their quality is higher… relatively speaking.
Nevertheless, I tried on these high-rise skinny leggings at Dynamite which felt very comfortable and stretchy.
At first try, I really liked them.
They felt AS comfortable as the Rag & Bone leggings, and frankly, for about $45, they are 3X less expensive than Rag and Bone leggings.
What’s not to love?
Then on closer inspection I noticed 3 things:
- They stink. I mean they REALLY, fricking’ REEK of chemicals and made me nauseous (due to the dye?)
- They already show signs of wear (the threads are coming off, seams are pulling slightly apart)
- There’s an unflattering cut into the back of my flat butt because they’re so stretchy (polyester, spandex, etc) & it flattens my butt even more, while giving it a weird dimple rather than a nice round shape
I put them back on the shelf, and wondered:
Where the heck in the world can I find quality items for less than $200 these days?
Is that my minimum now?
$200 for a pair of pants?
$200 for a blazer?
I mean what I am asking for, is not a custom-made, designer item made out of silk spun by spider fairies during the witching hour.
I don’t even care who the brand is or what they call themselves. I have absolutely NO brand loyalty and couldn’t care less.
I just want something that:
- Does not stink of chemicals even after washing it because of the dyes used
- Fits reasonably well (even if I have to get them tailored)
- Uses natural or breathable man-made fibers (modal, wool, cotton, cashmere, tencel, seacell, lyocell, rayon, etc)
- Does not have: acrylic or polyester (both of which make me sweat like a pig)
- Is sewn well (no threads sticking out, nothing gaping at the seams)
- Not made in China (yes, specifically China)
Is that too much to ask for?
So is $200 the minimum price point of what I have to pay for more natural and/or breathable fabrics, a better fit and cut, and to NOT have my clothes stink of chemicals?
Even BF who is hunting down a scarf for winter, is balking at the prices of what we consider a “normal” piece of well-made clothing.
$115 seems to be the MINIMUM for a 100% wool or cashmere scarf not made in China.
Not even a super thick, cushy one, but a plain, THIN SCARF.
It just seems ridiculous to me. I can understand maybe $60 – $75, but not $115 or $180 for a bloody scarf!
The only way to find better made, quality items for a “reasonable” price
I suppose I have no other choice.
I have to resort to shopping secondhand, consignment, thrift and vintage.
There’s just no other way to find these items at a reasonable price point unless they’re used.
That, or learn how to sew.