Does a higher price mean higher quality?
We often hear expressions such as “Quality over quantity”, “Invest in timeless garments” or “I’d rather pay more to get better quality”. But does higher price always equal higher quality? And what is a reasonable price to begin with?
Well, we could all agree that we’ve seen a decline in quality in most goods over the last decade. Things are no longer made to last. Think of cars, TVs, computers, phones… let alone fashion – they are constantly being updated and getting new features. Plus, marketing and brainwashing stimulate us to buy new items more often. Nowadays, the life cycle of a product is about 3 years.
Buying an item from a luxury brand used to mean quality that would last for decades… but now it’s very common to acquire a €1000 pair of shoes that end up coloring your feet or losing its decorations or prints after getting in contact with water. What are you paying for then? It’s simple: mostly the brand name and the sense of belonging that this brings.
Fortunately, the opposite trend is gradually growing, and more people think of sustainability and try to consume consciously.
The items you should not invest in:
- White garments. A higher price tag will not keep them white longer. Especially if you are like me: a bit clumsy and messy with food.
- Trends, unless you choose timeless ones.
- Style When you are obsessed with a new color, print or style you never know how long your obsession will last – a few months or the rest of your life? If the latter is the case, you can spend a bit more.
How do I know if I paid too much?
The word “expensive” has a different meaning for everyone, but if some of the following sounds familiar, you may have paid too much:
- If you feel like the garment is too expensive to wear on a regular basis and you keep it in the wardrobe waiting for the right occasion to flaunt it. This doesn’t apply to special occasion garments as cocktail dresses, but to regular clothes that you have decided to invest in such as jeans, coats or shoes. Many garments patiently wait in the wardrobe but never get their chance to be worn. Instead they become outdated or ill-fitting.
- If the garment is worn out, doesn’t fit or went out of fashion but you can’t get rid of it because of the price you paid. Memorabilia is an exception: I recommend to keep these garments away from your everyday clothes.
- If wearing a pricey garment or accessory “prevents you from living life.” If you avoid sitting, drinking or eating because you are afraid of staining it, you should consider getting rid of it. This can also be applied to a designer bag you never use because you constantly worry about it being scratched or stolen (unless you bought it for collecting purposes and didn’t plan to wear it). Style, amongst other things, is about making things easy and effortless.
I personally have these tendencies with more expensive apparel. That’s why I prefer to buy cheaper items so I don’t have to worry about stains or special occasions.
Working as a stylist and revising my clients’ wardrobes I’ve seen clothes from various brands in all price segments. And I can tell that there are many brands whose price doesn’t match quality at all. At the same time, one can find gems that will last forever for a very low price. I personally own a few garments that I bought about 10-15 years ago for about €3… and I still wear them!
On average, I would say that you can start expecting moderately good quality from €50 onward, but again: there are no guarantees.
On the other hand, often two cheaper garments will last longer because you alternate instead of wearing the same item over and over.
Lest not forget about cost-per-wear: Cost of item divided by the number of times it was worn. For example, if you bought an evening gown for 100€ and wore it only twice – the cost-per-wear is going to be 50€ (100/2=50). If you bought a pair of jeans for 100€ and wore them 100 times – the cost-per-wear will be 1€ (100/100=1).
For Earth’s sake, strive to wear all your clothes at least 30 times (search for #30 wears #30wearschallenge for more information on this topic)
What do you think? Do you prefer to pay more or less? Have you noticed the decline in quality? Have you ever bought an expensive item that turned out to be of bad quality? Share your thoughts below!