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24-02-2011
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Should Women Shop More Like Men?
do you think women get ripped off while buying clothes? are womens clothes of lesser quality?

To Dress Well, a Woman Should Shop Like a Man

  • By CHRISTINA BINKLEY
When it comes to shopping for fashion, women usually dominate, buying clothing for their men as well as themselves. But ladies, I have a gauntlet to throw down: Women have a lot to learn from the way men shop.

Focus on staples of men's tailored clothes such as fabric with a good "hand," or feel, cleanly stitched seams, room for alterations and substantial buttons

I first sensed this when menswear designer Thom Browne told me that he couldn't use a fabric unless it felt good "to the hand," because men won't buy uncomfortable clothing.
Come again? If comfort were the top criterion for selling womenswear, Jimmy Choo would be out of business. Unlike men, women frequently settle for garments that don't fit well and don't feel good.
Sometimes, women have little choice. It has long been an irritating truth that men are offered better-quality clothes for lower prices. Many fashionable women's clothes—including plenty sold at luxury prices—are made relatively cheaply. "Women do get shortchanged in the market," says Patrick Gigliotti, a menswear salesman at the venerable Boyd's Philadelphia department store. Some women who value well-made clothing have even resorted to shopping in menswear departments.
One reason for the quality difference is trendiness: Because womenswear is more faddish, there's a perception in the fashion industry that the clothes will be thrown away more quickly. Indeed, fast fashion has trained a generation to seek out throwaway styles.
Yet tailoring should matter. Women are always looking for clothes that will lift their bottoms and smooth their bulges. That's exactly the kind of magic that tailoring works. Luckily, with a little education about the way sophisticated men shop, it is possible to buy good-quality womenswear.
What Women Can Learn From Men About Shopping

What does it mean to think like a man? Consider the way Jay Kos bought himself a pair of pants in New York last Sunday. Mr. Kos, himself a clothier and the owner of the Jay Kos store on Park Avenue, found a pair of olive wool pants at Soho's Blue in Green shop. But the pants had to pass a few tests before he took them to the dressing room. First, he felt the wool with his hand to ascertain its weight and softness. He checked the seams for clean stitching—no loose threads. In the dressing room, he squatted to be sure they fit comfortably. Only then did he step out to take a careful look in the store's biggest mirror and ask the salesman if the pants fit well.

This isn't the way most women shop. But it can be.
A first step is to put less focus on the brand. Logos don't guarantee fine craftsmanship. Dozens of luxury womenswear brands make high-quality fashions—Dolce & Gabbana and Akris among them. But I've found excellently sewn clothes at Zara (though not universally so). Some brands, like Ralph Lauren, have varying quality levels among a dizzying array of sub-brands. Akris offers well-made but lower-quality clothes under the "Akris punto" label. Rather than being blinded by branding, use it only as a starting point.
When you like a garment, grab the fabric and crunch it up—ignoring any gasps you hear from the womenswear sales staff, who are not accustomed to these maneuvers. If the cloth stays wrinkled or feels scratchy, consider moving on.
Designers known for well-cut and well-manufactured clothes include, at the high end, Roland Mouret (pictured, a look for spring), and, for a lower price, Jil Sander for Uniqlo.

"You should start from the inside out," says Debi Greenberg, owner of Louis, a high-end store in Boston that caters to both men and women. Loose threads and ragged seams are signs of poor construction. Look for seams that have been carefully rolled and folded before being stitched down or have been "taped," or sewn over with a narrow strip of fabric.
In pants, the waistband is particularly important, as it provides structure and must hold up to sweat, pressure and twisting. In well-tailored pants, the waistband will have two layers of lining, with some structural seams in between. When it comes to pants, Ms. Greenberg recommends Proenza Schouler and Marni at the high end of the price range and Jil Sander for Uniqlo at the more affordable end.
A good jacket starts with a shoulder that permits comfortable movement and isn't so stuffed with foam padding that it looks awkward with the arm raised.
While you're peering inside the garment, check out the width of the fabric in the seams. Is there enough to allow the garment to be let out, if necessary? While good men's clothing is manufactured to be altered, women often have to buy a size larger and then cut the garment down—which can be more costly and difficult.
It's a good idea to ask where the garment—and sometimes the fabric—were manufactured. "Men love the story," says Mr. Kos. "If you're going to spend the money, then it should come from a place with a respect for quality."

The country of origin can be an indicator of quality, and it's certainly a fair indicator of price. Italy, France and Japan are famous for their high manufacturing standards, but their prices are higher than those of lower-labor-cost nations.
Still, "made in Italy" is no guarantee, and it's possible to buy well-made clothes from many parts of the world. The 3.1 Phillip Lim brand makes some high-quality clothing in China with taped inner seams and alterable waistbands. J. Crew buys many quality shirting fabrics and cashmere yarns from Italian factories and then cuts and sews the clothes in less expensive countries.
Mr. Kos believes that garments and accessories that use a logo as the dominant design feature are more likely to take short cuts with materials or manufacturing.
Only after a garment has passed all these tests is it time to try it on. Be sure you can raise your arm in a shirt or jacket and that you can squat (without making the knees baggy) in pants. See if you can breathe easily. There should be no stretch marks across the torso and no gaping buttons.
When in doubt, remember what Mr. Gigliotti of Boyd's says about men's priorities: "Comfort is paramount."



wsj.com

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Last edited by lucy92; 24-02-2011 at 03:55 PM.
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24-02-2011
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this is a very useful chart IMO. (wsj.com)

i think if i took the story's advice and crumpled a garment to see if it wrinkles easily, i'd get the stink eye from the sales person.
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24-02-2011
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Quote:
It has long been an irritating truth that men are offered better-quality clothes for lower prices.
This is a joke right? Menswear, especially in the lower priced categories is so much more expensive than womenswear in the same category. Most people shop in low to medium price classes and in those categories, the theory positioned here is bound to a vicious circle. There is less variety available in menswear than in womenswear. Finding something you find appealing is thus harder. Prices are generally higher, forcing you to buy something worth your money. Hence, you take a closer inspection at the overall quality. That's probably why most men can be labeled as investment shoppers: they find quality, thus buy less. So in the minds of men this has transformed into 'looking for quality', which is now also how the fashion industry thinks. And that's how menswear offerings are lower than that of womenswear. There you have your circle. It all bottles down to the fact that there is less variety available. Maybe men don't 'need' as much variety as women, but nobody will ever be sure: what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Anyway, if women start shopping the same way as men do, the fashion industry would collapse big time.

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24-02-2011
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Growing up (and still today) my Dad was the one who took me shopping and who had more of an interest in fashion. I remember getting annoyed at him when I was younger because he wouldn't let me buy things that didn't look "comfortable". Nowadays, I won't buy something unless I think it's good quality for the price, not that I'm an expert in any way. My problem is that I do most of my shopping online as there isn't a good selection of clothing in my city so I don't necessarily get to check things out.

I'm still not convinced that men are offered better quality at lower prices. The selection in the department stores where I live is more than dreadful so it's probably not a great comparison, but I've definitely seen the menswear at prices either matching or exceeding those in the women's department.

Women will ever shop like men. I think women have a different agenda when buying clothes than men do, or atleast men who aren't that into fashion. Women like to look and feel good, and that might be from knowing they're wearing clothing from a certain designer regardless of it's price and quality (to an extent) where as I find men want to feel comfortable and then look nice.

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25-02-2011
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woman are more selective, always will be!!

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25-02-2011
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This article is laughable. What minority are we talking in here?

Most men i know have a women behind them directing them what to choose. My hubby loves shopping, but for me, he says mens departments are the most depressing places on earth, and if you dress too well you end up looking like a playboy strolling in Monaco.
And I agree with Mr Dale, men's clothes cheaper for high quality, where?

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25-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr-Dale View Post
This is a joke right? Menswear, especially in the lower priced categories is so much more expensive than womenswear in the same category. Most people shop in low to medium price classes and in those categories, the theory positioned here is bound to a vicious circle. There is less variety available in menswear than in womenswear. Finding something you find appealing is thus harder. Prices are generally higher, forcing you to buy something worth your money. Hence, you take a closer inspection at the overall quality. That's probably why most men can be labeled as investment shoppers: they find quality, thus buy less. So in the minds of men this has transformed into 'looking for quality', which is now also how the fashion industry thinks. And that's how menswear offerings are lower than that of womenswear. There you have your circle. It all bottles down to the fact that there is less variety available. Maybe men don't 'need' as much variety as women, but nobody will ever be sure: what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Anyway, if women start shopping the same way as men do, the fashion industry would collapse big time.
so true

on my hunt for a cheap, light trenchcoat from a high street store, i saw pricetags for men of over 100. basically all of them.

while the coats in the women's section cost like 50-70. and from what i could see, they were basically the same in terms of quality.

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25-02-2011
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my personal thoughts on the difference between how women and men shop...

men are hunters...
*i need a blue shirt, i found a blue shirt, now i am done...rawr!

women are gatherers...
* i feel like i want something new, let's see what's out there, oh, that's nice-oh, that's cute-oh, what's that?...
i got 10 new things...but i'm still feel like i need something...hmmm...better go look again next week...


we cant' hep it...
it's in the DNA...
:p

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Last edited by softgrey; 25-02-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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25-02-2011
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i guess i'm very much "a man" when it comes to shopping. at this stage of my life, i really can't care less about being fashionable. rather i just want to look nice and feel comfortable in my own skin. i don't want my clothes to hinder me, but to enable me to be free, both in movements and spirits. therefore i value quality of clothes above anything when i go shopping.
i don't find men's departments depressing at all. i love peeking into men's section, cause 9 out of 10 times i can find more things i like there than when i'm in women's section. however i don't dress particularly masculinel, i see my style quite soft and feminine, just not frilly at all. men's clothes fits my clean, classic&simple style so well, thus i love buying men's clothes, especially basics, like shirt, sweater, and hat.
for example, h&m's men section is cheaper than its women's. and basics such as sweater is def better made, with better fabric and just more classic lookwise. i can hardly find a decent women's sweater in the same shop, so i always go to men's section for something nicer and more affordable.
maybe this is just me. but i find "lack of choice" rather liberating, just like i always feel so free when i travel, and have very few but very comfortable pieces with me.

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25-02-2011
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^ i absolutely agree with you, greengrassia. the H&M's men selection is better quality than womens.

men shop less often than women. therefore i think they are less likely to put up with hanging loose threads, an iffy fit etc. i agree that there is less of a selection for men however.

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25-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucy92 View Post
Sometimes, women have little choice. It has long been an irritating truth that men are offered better-quality clothes for lower prices.
I wonder what their definition of lower price is? I wish mens clothes had better quality fabric for a cheaper price. It could be done, but companies need their profits Only decent price and quality made goods is Jil Sander for Uniqlo. I truly love their dress shirts

As a man, it is hard for me to find something I like. For one years of fashion school made me aware of the different qualities of fabric and I forgot the second reason.


Last edited by ettebe; 25-02-2011 at 12:44 PM.
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25-02-2011
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It doesn't matter what planet you're from, menswear will ALWAYS be more expensive than womenswear.

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26-02-2011
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In general there is a lot less variety in menswear. Maybe that is why we concentrate on fabric quality, cut and classic styling.

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26-02-2011
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i also think that men expect and receive better service from department stores, boutiques etc.

time and time again i have asked if they can find me a particular item at both types of stores and i've got a handwave and a generic "what we have is out there" remark.

i dont think men would receive this type of service. maybe its ingrained sexism.

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26-02-2011
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definitely yes ! our opinion is independant of any other, most of time. women are more easy to convict, they trust "fashion spirit" of sellers (by example).

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