Monday, March 10, 2014

Rant: Why Is It So Hard To Find Quality Clothing?

Nice design; too bad the it's falling off
This point of this blog is to review beauty products but every now and then, I focus on another topic and sometimes get a bit rant-y. This entry is one of those entries.

On Friday night, I decided to wear a new shirt out. This top was bought back in November, at a sample sale for only $20. Attached to it was a tag that said that the previous price was $60 so that’s what I though it retailed at. But then on Friday, while removing that tag, I discovered another tag that said that the price was originally $130.

If I had paid $130 for this top, I would be a very, very angry person right now.

The top in question is a basic, cotton black tank that’s decorated with tiny, clear plastic tubes. These tubes are sewn on with black thread that apparently had started to dissolve in my closet because within 15 minutes of me wearing this top, the tubes started to fall off. And not just in one spot but in three separate areas. WTF?

Because I’d only paid $20 for this top, and because I was wearing it to an event where an odd looking top would be okay, I was more annoyed than angry. Now yes, this was a sample sale shirt but it wasn’t from one of those crazy sales where clothes get tossed about and abused. And after I bought it, it went immediately into my closet were it lived a peaceful life until Friday. I strongly feel that the reason why this top fell apart is because it was poorly made.

The whole experience served as a reminder that higher priced clothes aren’t necessarily quality pieces. I’ve recently been considering investing in pricier clothes since I recently landed a job where I need to often dress up a bit more but so far, I haven’t been able to move beyond my usual shopping places (Winners, H&M and The Loft for office-appropriate pants). I’ve just had so many bad experiences with pricier items that I can’t convince myself that yes, it makes sense to spend money on clothing.

Now, when I say “pricier,” I don’t mean high-end, designer stuff. Instead, I’m talking about that category that exists between fast fashion and the really expensive pieces. Think Fidelity jeans, Soia and Kyo coats and Sorel boots, all items I’ve bought, at full price, in real stores, and all items that started falling apart before the one-year mark.

I know that there are a ton of issues with fast fashion and shopping at places like H&M and Joe Fresh and because of that, I would to minimize that purchases from those types of places. However, it’s hard not to buy that $30 pair of Old Navy jeans when I know that they look just as good, and last longer, than a $300 pair.

While I’m not willing to pay high-end designer prices for clothing, I will put out a good chunk of cash for the right item, assuming the quality is there. But this rarely happens because it’s so hard to find clothing that’s somewhat ethically made, that’s not stupid expensive and that will last (oh, and of course that looks good on me but that’s a whole other story).

I know that one solution is to shop local and do do that but I find that a lot of locally created clothes are on the quirky side, and aren’t always what I’m looking for. And unfortunately, Canadian-made doesn’t guarantee quality. My Soia and Kyo coat was made in Canada and I was sewing busted seams on it before it reached its first birthday.

If you happen to know of any reasonably priced clothing brands that offer high-quality, ethically made clothing that I can get in Toronto (I can’t buy clothes online; I need to try stuff on), please let me know.  While I’m particularly looking for pieces that could work for a business casual environment without being a boring, I’m also always on the hunt for jeans.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the top is made by a company called Something Else by Natalie Wood. According to one of the tags, this shirt was designed with pride in Australia and assembled with love in China. While that line sounds nice, I would have preferred a shirt that I could wear for longer than 15 minutes before it started falling apart.

I did try to fix the top so that the plastic tubes would stop falling off but I think I've failed as I heard a couple more hit the floor when I laid the shirt out for the above photo. But hey, at least I got one wear out of it. 

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