Quality versus Quantity

As I’m getting older my attention to detail is becoming more fine tuned and my tolerance of somethings is being questioned. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I love to shop but being in between jobs, with limited funds, has forced me to rethink my buying habits and consider whether what I buy is really worth the money I’m paying for it.

I have finally taken on board the principle that it is quality and not quantity i.e. the price (how cheap or expensive a thing is) that matters. This is something that I’ve heard many people including my wise mum say over the years but in the dash to grab that last Primark sweater the words got blown away in the wind and I’ve only just got it.

I remember once going to a store and buying four pairs of the same shoe in different colours. I thought I’d grabbed a bargain. Come with me two weeks later to the point when the sole of the shoe started to come apart on a rainy walk home and water leaked in. They were so cheaply made that the first one didn’t last more than two weeks! What a waste of money! I took the others back and decided that I would not buy anymore shoes from there. If I buy the cheap item but have to replace it 5 times in a year then what good is it? I might as well have gathered all of that money and spent it on one item that would last at least 5 years. It can happen the other way around too- there are many expensive items that are not of great quality but we lose our hard-earned cash all because we want to say we’re wearing a designer label. Think again.

This all stemmed from the fact that today  I returned yet another item to one of my favourite stores, ZARA because the lining had come apart after. I really, really wanted the bag (same one I mentioned in this post) but when it ripped I thought ‘This isn’t right‘, especially after spending all that money and especially as I had recently returned a coat there with the same problem.

There are so many times where we choose style over substance or want to keep up with fashion. I shopped at really cheap stores when I was younger because I could buy a lot for a little and it was an easy way to keep up with fashion trends but now I love for my clothes to last and don’t really follow trends too much so I shop at supposedly higher quality yet affordable stores but I have been oblivious to the fact that still in some of these stores I have been trading my money for poor quality. At some stores it’s very obvious that the goods are cheap and you get what you pay for but in places like ZARA where you believe that it is better quality you may just not be getting your money’s worth.

This series of unfortunate events compelled me to find out if I just unlucky enough to be getting all the ill-manufactured goods or if there was more to it. I went in search of other people who had maybe purchased low quality garments and found a deluge of people unsatisfied with the quality of ZARA clothing.

I also came across a NY Times article which talked about fast fashion and how the ZARA chain in particular, had changed the industry. I hadn’t considered it until now and there was a paragraph that summed up exactly what I thought perfectly:

… It has forced — or inspired, depending on how you look at it — people to spend their money in a different manner. In Zara, every purchase is an impulse buy; there’s no longer any saving up for that gorgeous leather jacket in the window. You are buying clothes not because you love them, but because, at $50, those hot pants are as cheap as Sunday brunch for two — and likely to be gone in a matter of days. It’s a way of consumption that has conditioned buyers to expect this up-to-the-minute trendiness and variety in higher-end labels as well.

Every purchase is an impulse buy!! That got me nodding aggressively. Zara’s design is great and every time I go into the store I want to pick up the whole store and take it home. I have always been worried that the items will disappear and that if I don’t buy it there and then I will lose out, so I make a purchase disregarding whether I can afford it or whether it’s worth it. Great design but poor quality isn’t worth it. You don’t deserve that.

To be honest this post really isn’t about ZARA or discouraging you to shop there because honestly, I’m sure that I will still make many more purchases there (I’ve re-ordered the bag so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was that one item otherwise my purchases will become very limited) but it’s about considering what you buy and looking at where your money is going. It’s about recognising quality, looking for it and no accepting anything less. This article gives some pointers in knowing what to look for.

My eyes have been opened. The principle when purchasing items should be that  you should pick the best quality you can afford because really and truly, don’t you deserve that? I actually think that it is a disrespect to myself to let someone take my money and in return give me something that wasn’t worth it. I worked for that money- that’s hours of my life I’m exchanging there! (Ok a bit melodramatic but in essence it is true, money = time).

Cheap clothing has its uses – if you just want to dip into a trend and you know you wont be wearing the items the next year or if you need something last-minute – but for the long term, clothes should be an investment and quality matters. So the next time you shop go in with eyes wide open.  If you’re buying something that has a great design but isn’t great quality, stop yourself and think, “Is this worth what I’m exchanging it for?“. Quality clothes at a low price? – now that’s a bargain!.

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