Quality clothing over quantity

Fast fashion brands, such as H&M and Forever 21, are like McDonald’s fries — only delicious in a fleeting moment.

In the long-term, they’re not worth it.

The consumer fashion industry tends to favour highly profitable trends over quality. As a result, commoditized style forces us to accept mediocre clothing.

Are those cheap, impulse purchase skinny jeans quitting on you? Chances are it’s not personal. Despite an era of low-cost fashion, your own closet is proof of the industry’s lack of attention to quality.

Although it may be easy to ignore flaws in your wardrobe, consider the role clothing plays in your life. In particular, recognize the importance of key elements of your wardrobe — your favourite bootcut jeans, the essential plain-white button down, those ankle booties that get you to class. You deserve to invest in a more conscious approach to those pieces.

While I’m not suggesting abandoning trends for extravagant purchases, I wholeheartedly believe in the notion of getting what you pay for. Inexpensive fad clothing certainly has its place as an expressive and consumable part of culture.

But industry-driven styles are best left separate from pieces you intend on putting to good use.

By carefully selecting what you choose to buy, you’re investing in your wardrobe. Though it may or may not be more expensive, clothing chosen through a quality-conscious lens is better in the long-run.

This epiphany came in the form of a $20 J. Crew barrette. Before you write me off as a hair tie snob, consider this: at a current price of $5.94 for a hairclip at DrugSmart, including my average tri-annual breakage replacement fee, this hair accessory would cost me $17.82. Meanwhile, my well-crafted J.Crew version has saved me $53.46 over three years.

While far from an Archimedes “Eureka!” moment, I’ve applied my hairclip theory to all of the key pieces of my wardrobe — jeans, trousers, little black dresses and winter boots. I still shamelessly indulge in trends, but only where it makes sense.

Despite downsizing my wardrobe substantially, I have a deeper appreciation for the fit, feel and durability of clothing I purchased with intention.

Looking to test the hairclip hypothesis yourself? Downtown Kingston’s Heel Boy, Felicity and Fritz, and Blueprint all offer a great selection of apparel and footwear committed to strong materials and quality fit.

More budget conscious? Do some market research in advance to find the material, brands and styles that work for you.

Take your newfound knowledge to any of Kingston’s second-hand stores and begin your hunt. Many of my best and longest-lasting clothing, like Gloverall duffel coats, have been the result of such adventures.

The extra time spent shopping will be handsomely rewarded with the satisfaction of a well-earned quality piece.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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