What makes quality in clothes?
Quality clothes are items that season to season measure up to expectations of wear. Made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool or silk, they have meticulous details in their design such as the stitching, the way the zippers lay- hidden or exposed, the fabric allowance, and that the fabric will retain its shape after wear, all of it made with attention to the finishing touches like the use of metal versus plastic zippers, extra buttons, and perfectly paired hook and eye closures.
These quality details are ones that I have observed and learned more about since I started here at Jophiel in August. The idea of buying higher quality clothes is one that I personally started to explore in my late 20’s when I prepared to move into my house a few years ago. I began packing, sorting through my closet, and saw the hefty pile of inexpensive clothes I had that were damaged after only a few wears. So after tossing that hefty pile, I became more selective with purchasing items for my closet. With my mindset already shifting towards value buying, I decided to dive head first into this concept once I joined the team at Jophiel.
When updating my wardrobe for my new workplace, the idea of buying higher quality items to update my closet as opposed to skimping on the quality and opting to buy more yet inexpensive items kept coming up. I read an article in a past issue of The Atlantic and, more recently, an article in the Washington Post, both articles exploring the retail trends and how quality is a factor. Marc Bain, the author of The Atlantic article “The Case For Expensive Clothes”
, challenged himself to only purchase items at a cost $150 or higher, but Bain’s idea of the minimum costs (one that I think has great value) could be adapted to meet anyone’s budget. He based this challenge on the research that making larger purchases causes more pain to the brain and causes one to shop for need and quality over cheap thrills. Researchers from Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon
found that the part of your brain that registers pain, the insula, actually has a role in your purchasing behavior. The insula weighs the pain of paying for the item vs the pleasure of owning the item. Bain’s article articulates that it hurts to shell out more for higher quality items because it asks you to evaluate need rather than want but that that decision forces you to become a more conscientious buyer. He also brings up the point of how cheap chain clothes are made, often in mass quantity, without any attention to quality or detail and overseas in factories with poorly paid employees. That prompted me to think about that saying you get what you pay for
. Think about this in terms of what you put in your body is just as important to what you put on it. I see more and more of this health focused mindset, of course with good reason. But while acknowledging, and valuing the benefit of organic food, why not honor the craft that is quality design and tailoring and adopt a similar mindset to what you put on the outside of your body and how clothes affect the way you feel. Spending more for higher quality fabrics as well as supporting companies who pay their employees fairly and treat them well all lends to a feeling of well being.
While the recession mindset is fading as the economy bounces back, consumer spending is up but not the same. Looking at what businesses are struggling and where money is being spent, it appears the focus has shifted towards more people spending on experiences as opposed to items, but wanting items to withstand time. The article by Sarah Halzack, “Why Are Sales Suffering At So Many Women’s Stores? They Made Bad Clothes
”, from the Washington Post about the struggle for mega-retailers, such as J. Crew and Ann Taylor, made me think about the culture of shopping and the changes we’ve seen. I know personally, I shop with a purpose as opposed to shopping as a social activity, with a career and family I have less time. When I shop it’s because I actually need something like a dress for a wedding, a new size in pants (that could be exciting or frustrating) or new shoes, but I always have a short window of time to find it. What’s more, if I’ve spent valuable time and my hard-earned money on cloths I want them to withstand countless wash and wear, maintaining their form and earning their worth in longevity. I have also become more selective of the places I shop and hold stores to higher expectations. This very well could be a habit of working in customer service for 10 years but none the less, bad customer service gets under my skin and often I will simply walk out and shop elsewhere. I want a store that will have a knowledgeable staff that will be happy to assist me and offer honest feedback. I don’t want to be in a fitting room realizing I need another size dress and have to get dressed and go hunt it down myself. It pays to have a knowledgeable person assist you, especially if I am purchasing a trendy item, I want to know that I am adapting that trend to my own personal style correctly and that I am wearing the garment instead of the garment wearing me.
We all want to enter the room feeling confident and looking our best, and being dressed in quality attire lends to these feelings. Utilizing an experienced clothing professional is an extremely helpful tool. We are all different, some styles are better for some and not others. This is where the experienced professional is invaluable, they can assist you with what looks right for you, so when you are paying for retail therapy to promote your confidence and sense of wellbeing, you actually get what you need. I see this first hand at work every day, and it makes me appreciate the eye of a stylist more. A Jophiel stylist actually gets excited when a style arrives that will work perfectly for someone’s unique silhouette. They know the wardrobe and style needs of their clients and are happy to complete the head to toe look. They are enthusiastic about demonstrating the variety of ways to accessorize and complete the look with the suitable jewelry and shoes. They also realize you are spending your hard earned money and if you are a happy satisfied customer you will return for your future needs. It’s satisfying for both the stylist and the customer to have a relationship built on trust and appreciation. This goes back to that phrase you get what you pay for, I am willing to pay a higher price for clothes if the experience of purchasing them is positive, not just the moment I purchase them but every time they help me get dressed in the morning. As I am now in my 30’s I also find that I am not seeking a trendy look from one designer or store. I have a stronger sense of my own style and don’t seek the store mannequin look. Making your own statement with quality pieces, both old and new, creating your look and style with pieces that will transition seasons as well as being versatile in different ways, that is true value.
Photo Getty Images
Kate works to creatively represent the unique Jophiel experience by learning all the ins and outs of personal styling. Working every day to see a fresh and new angle, captured with the generous, warmth, thoughtfulness and determination that she leads her life.
You can learn more from Kate here.