Author Topic: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?  (Read 4066 times)

Millennialworkerbee

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“Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« on: December 17, 2018, 11:20:14 AM »
I’m so tired of buying clothes that only last 1 or 2 seasons before they lose their shape and get worn. I like to have a limited wardrobe (10 shirts, 4 pairs of pants, a few dresses). Right now that means buying about half of that each season, as each item only lasts 2 seasons usually.

Women who buy higher end clothing- Madewell, J Crew, Ralph Lauren, etc - does this stuff last noticeably longer than the stuff you’d find at Target & Old Navy? My frugal side likes the price tag of cheap clothes, but I really don’t love to shop and hate getting rid of clothes so much. I would love to find clothes that last 4-5-6 years.

Which brands have you had luck with actual good quality?

historienne

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2018, 11:33:30 AM »
Madewell and J Crew, no.  J Crew quality went notoriously downhill about a decade ago, although they claim to be improving it.  Ralph Lauren, it depends - there are several sublabels, some are good, some less so.  RL Black Label is good, and occasionally I've found it on sale enough to make to worthwhile. 

That said, I think there are other brands at around the same price point that do last longer.  I wear a fair amount of Pendleton, Boden, Theory (on sale), and Brooks Brothers.  Talbots is also generally pretty good quality, although I don't find that they are cut to suit me.  None of these brands are perfect, but the average quality is way above Target or Old Navy.

SillyPutty

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2018, 12:14:44 PM »
I agree with historienne about Madewell and J. Crew. I have a few Madewell T-shirts, and they've all lost their shape and gotten holes within a handful of washings. Ridiculously bad.

I've had luck with Abercrombie and Fitch (they have big sales—40-50% off—pretty often, including right now), and I heard they've rebranded to appeal more to adults. L.L.Bean signature also has some nice stuff, though pricey. But you can return anything for any reason within a year, and there's lifetime warranty on any defects.

CNM

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2018, 12:21:10 PM »
I like the quality of Everlane and Theory.  The quality of the fabrics are way beyond what you can find at Old Navy.

StarBright

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 12:24:30 PM »
I get about the same use out of Ralph Lauren shirts and blouses as I do out of Old Navy if I am buying comparable items (I don't buy tissue thin anything from Old Navy because it will only get 5 wears). But with sweaters, jeans, and outwear I honestly get about the same mileage. I air dry everything though, and I think that helps. Have never purchased Madewell FWIW, and agree that JCrew went downhill ages ago (as did Banana Republic and Anne Taylor).

At the cheap price point, I've had really good luck with JC Penney brands. I have a couple of pairs of black pants that I'm several years into.

FireHiker

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2018, 03:39:45 PM »
I have found air drying definitely helps extend the life of my clothes: sweaters and nice tops all get the hand wash setting and hang/lie flat to dry. I've bought clothing from a variety of manufacturers over the years. Old Navy and Target are pretty crappy and never last. I have fared will with my Banana Republic items but they don't go in the dryer. I have a couple items from Everlane and American Giant but they're fairly new so I don't know about long-term quality. I did buy them after reading good reviews and doing a pretty major closet clean out. I also have some clothes from REI: Columbia, Patagonia, Toad & Co, Royal Robbins, Carve Designs. Those have all held up really well and get a lot of wear. Well, except the Patagonia underwear that I LOVE has really gone downhill lately, unfortunately. L.L. Bean and Lands End also seem to hold up really well for basic items and swimwear. I mean, all swimwear is effectively "disposable" but I've had much better luck with Lands End than anything else, and can almost always find a good coupon code online.

MayDay

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2018, 03:45:36 PM »
I find pants are ok lots of places. At the moment my slacks are from JCP and Loft based on fit. They are lasting fine.

Shirts I notice a bigger difference. WHBM lines their blouses- they look better and aren't shear. The more expensive brand the cut is better. I notice the biggest difference for knits- cheap knots don't age well.

For higher quality I like Talbot's (though fit/style runs matronly they have some brilliant things), Brooks Brothers (thrift store for me, it's pricey), WHBM, and that is all I can think of at the moment.  I haven't done much Ann Taylor lately but used to wear it almost exclusively. The styles haven't appealed lately but ten years ago it was high quality.

noplaceliketheroad

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2018, 04:41:16 PM »
Yes, better quality clothing lasts longer. I always wash clothing on cold/delicate cycle and hang dry. The only stuff I dry are workout clothes/pajamas/socks.

Clothes that are made in the US or Europe seem to last longer. Anything made in a sweat shop/3rd world country is going to fall apart. Not to mention the human rights abuses those items support...


Apple_Tango

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2018, 04:52:21 PM »
I have the thigh rub challenge- my work pants wear out on the inner thighs about every 6 months. Quality doesn’t seem to matter, I’ve spent $15 and I’ve spent $100. So now I just spend the least I can haha. I just go for Sinply Vera at kohls- comfy, stretchy, made for thick thighs, and 30% off with those coupons they mail me, plus sometimes they send me an additional $10 coupon.

The best work top I have found are those Calvin Klein tops from Marshalls. My oldest top is 5 years old, never wrinkles or looks faded. I think the price was $30.

For t-shirts, I go to goodwill ($2)  or I still wear my old college t-shirts which were free from various events back then.


rdaneel0

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2018, 05:22:33 PM »
I think it's less about the brand and more about the fabric type and construction, there is lots of variation even within brands. Overall though, the number one thing you can do to make your clothing last longer is to line dry everything. Dryers are hell on clothing. I even line dry in my apartment.

MayDay

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2018, 05:29:43 PM »
I have the thigh rub challenge- my work pants wear out on the inner thighs about every 6 months. Quality doesn’t seem to matter, I’ve spent $15 and I’ve spent $100. So now I just spend the least I can haha. I just go for Sinply Vera at kohls- comfy, stretchy, made for thick thighs, and 30% off with those coupons they mail me, plus sometimes they send me an additional $10 coupon.

The best work top I have found are those Calvin Klein tops from Marshalls. My oldest top is 5 years old, never wrinkles or looks faded. I think the price was $30.

For t-shirts, I go to goodwill ($2)  or I still wear my old college t-shirts which were free from various events back then.

I will ditto those Calvin Klein tops. They say dry clean but I wash and hang to dry.

You mentioned big thighs- is your waist proportional? I am curious if those Kohl's pants would fit me. I need "curvy" fit pants- room in the caboose, smaller waist.

ETBen

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2018, 06:13:22 PM »
I generally look for a thicker material. Like a Talbots dress or tee is usually more substantial. That’s all I can wear there though. I also buy a lot of WHBM sheath dresses (also more sturdy fabric and well seamed). Tees are a tough one. Jeans I like Levi’s and Gap, have several old pairs. For trousers, I actually buy NY&Co. Partly bc they always have tall in stock. But they’ve lasted me well. As for designer brands, you need to understand the different lines, how they are labeled. Bc they have  several lower end lines that don’t hold up.

letired

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2018, 07:03:51 PM »
I think another unavoidable factor is that with such a small wardrobe, you're wearing each item much more frequently than someone with a larger wardrobe, so you might be getting the same number of wears, but they take place in a much smaller span of time. I have the same problem with winter shoes. I get ~2-4 winters (ie ~4-6 months when my toes need to be covered) out of each pair. But my hiking sandals get a similar amount of summer wear and are going strong, so quality also matters of course.

I carry a much larger wardrobe, but I manage to get 5+ years out of most things, despite thrifting most of it.
* everything knit or that I care about goes in a mesh bag to be washed
* everything is washed with minimal detergent
* everything is washed on cold
* everything is hung to dry (a cheap box fan helps move things along)
* thicker fabrics >> thinner fabrics
* allowing things to 'rest' or air out between wears


galliver

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2018, 07:54:06 PM »
If you're willing to be patient/flexible, you can find many of these brands (JCrew, BR, Ann Taylor, Talbots) on ThredUp at Target prices. Some people manage this at regular thrift shops, but I haven't had enough luck (or patience) for that. Things aren't like, $1, but what I've received has been in good shape (per description), clean, etc. It can be expensive/barely worth it to return, so it works best if you know a brand typically fits you. E.g. I trawl for Ann Taylor button downs in petite sizes.

MayDay

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2018, 06:30:28 AM »
If you're willing to be patient/flexible, you can find many of these brands (JCrew, BR, Ann Taylor, Talbots) on ThredUp at Target prices. Some people manage this at regular thrift shops, but I haven't had enough luck (or patience) for that. Things aren't like, $1, but what I've received has been in good shape (per description), clean, etc. It can be expensive/barely worth it to return, so it works best if you know a brand typically fits you. E.g. I trawl for Ann Taylor button downs in petite sizes.

And I have a totally different opinion of ThredUp! I cannot bear to sort through pages of pictures of wrinkly clothes, lol.  I find thrift stores much better! But I will say thrift stores are very location dependent. When we lived elsewhere they were useless.

charis

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2018, 08:07:28 AM »
Excellent used condition or new high-end brand clothing (mostly Ann Taylor and Banana, mixed with a little Theory, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Gap) at consignment shops, thrift stores, or ebay.  I still wear great quality items that I bought years ago.  I wash work clothing infrequently and dry clean a few times a year, so it holds up well. 

TheCatWhisperer

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2018, 11:42:32 AM »
Like many have already said, the quality of J Crew and Banana Republic, etc, seemed to tank around the Great Recession. I haven't bought anything from Madewell, but I distrust companies that tell you what they supposedly are in their name.

Learn what high end clothing looks and feels like, paying attention to fabric and hems. Often, quality clothes can be found at Target and cheaper places, but you have to sort through a lot of crap to find it. Personally I prefer consignment or thrift stores because everything is unique and older clothes were made better anyways.

Like the OP, I do a "capsule wardrobe" and most everything I own is darker colors. I wear clothes multiple times before I wash it (sniff test first of course).

This is probably obvious, but learn how to do simple repairs yourself. I've found some amazing pieces at Goodwill that just needed a button sewn back on.

galliver

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2018, 05:45:48 PM »
If you're willing to be patient/flexible, you can find many of these brands (JCrew, BR, Ann Taylor, Talbots) on ThredUp at Target prices. Some people manage this at regular thrift shops, but I haven't had enough luck (or patience) for that. Things aren't like, $1, but what I've received has been in good shape (per description), clean, etc. It can be expensive/barely worth it to return, so it works best if you know a brand typically fits you. E.g. I trawl for Ann Taylor button downs in petite sizes.

And I have a totally different opinion of ThredUp! I cannot bear to sort through pages of pictures of wrinkly clothes, lol.  I find thrift stores much better! But I will say thrift stores are very location dependent. When we lived elsewhere they were useless.
I don't mind thrift stores, but I'd have to actually go there, and then there is still sorting through wrinkly clothes. And sometimes they smell funny. ThredUp I do on my bus commute, while watching TV, waiting for the pot to boil, etc. Filtering is critical..."wool sweater" or [Brand] gives you a lot less to sort through! And I can't do that at an actual shop :(

To each their own!

By the way, I can't actually comment on durability from experience, but I did/do find the materials and craftsmanship of AT and JC (for example) are better than, say, Target. Can't find a wool sweater at Target, and their cotton ones stretch out in one wear. But for something like Tshirts, I want thinner material and softness, and find Target quality perfectly acceptable. They last me 2-5 years if not physically damaged (snag on something, etc). Longer for dark colors (light ones=pit stains, ew).

Dee18

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2018, 08:19:27 PM »
I agree that to make clothes last longer:  wash them on the delicate cycle (usually on cold), then spin them on regular cycle, hang on a hanger, smooth out wrinkles, let dry. (I don’t lay flat because in my humid climate they would not dry.) For most of my clothes, I use about half the recommended detergent.  I put particularly delicate clothes in mesh bags before washing.  I have had excellent luck with Ralph Lauren clothes lasting a long time, especially dresses.  (I found a great one at our RL outlet store last week for $28; it was originally >$100.)

I have bought some Madewell clothes, but they have not held up at all. 

mountain mustache

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2018, 09:02:15 PM »
I like to buy used clothing on Ebay from brands like Patagonia, Prana, etc. I think Patagonia used to have amazing quality, and it is not quite as good now, but the older stuff is SO good. Thick fabrics, amazing stitching, everything I have that is 10+ years old still seems brand new, vs some of the newer things I own definitely are more worn. Same with Prana...I buy plenty of their newer clothing as their pants are perfect fit for me, but their older pants/sweaters are such better quality than the new stuff. So I do a lot of hunting on Ebay for very specific items. It doesn't take much time to search if I need a new sweater, or top, and after a couple of weeks I usually find what I'm looking for for 15-20 dollars, vs the 90-100 it would have been new!

herbgeek

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2018, 04:20:24 AM »
Another vote for buying items at a consignment store (not thrift store).  You get the opportunity to see how well that particular garment wears.   I find consignment stores have items that have been better taken care of (as folks want to get some money back out of these clothes) than clothes that would otherwise be thrown away.  And at least at the consignment store I go to,  they don't have to febreeze the hell out of the clothes.

historienne

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2018, 07:46:52 AM »

By the way, I can't actually comment on durability from experience, but I did/do find the materials and craftsmanship of AT and JC (for example) are better than, say, Target. Can't find a wool sweater at Target, and their cotton ones stretch out in one wear. But for something like Tshirts, I want thinner material and softness, and find Target quality perfectly acceptable. They last me 2-5 years if not physically damaged (snag on something, etc). Longer for dark colors (light ones=pit stains, ew).

On wool sweaters, they are exactly why I stopped buying J Crew clothes.  10 years ago, I lived in J Crew merino wool sweaters in the winter.  Then my new ones started falling apart - seams coming unstitched, fabric holes, buttons falling off - within a month or two of wear.  Mostly stuff I could fix myself, but super annoying to be dealing with on a newish sweater.  Meanwhile, my older ones kept going for years.  For wool, I transitioned to Ibex (RIP) and now mostly buy from Pendleton or Patagonia, although the latter have a much more limited selection of work-appropriate stuff.

hops

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2018, 07:54:17 AM »
The thrift stores closest to our house aren't great for women's clothing, so a few times a year we (both women) go to the ones closest to snobby, high-income areas. There's usually no shortage of L.L. Bean, Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor. We air-dry and the shirts seem to last a long time. Pants are trickier. Occasionally we'll snag something like a new-looking North Face winter coat. We're probably wearing the castoffs of my wife's bosses. She keeps waiting for the day one of them exclaims "I used to have that shirt!"

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2018, 11:30:59 AM »
Thanks everyone for the recommendations on specific brands to look for. I like to look good but I feel like I’m so behind the curve with what brands are even popular/have quality clothes.

One of the biggest barriers for me is lack of time. I have two very small children, so online shopping after they go to bed is the easiest route for me. Going to a physical store and looking through racks of clothes takes up precious weekend time for catching up on house stuff or playing with my kids. I haven’t really thought about the online consignment thing, so thanks for the readers who suggested that!

CNM

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2018, 12:15:01 PM »
Thanks everyone for the recommendations on specific brands to look for. I like to look good but I feel like I’m so behind the curve with what brands are even popular/have quality clothes.

One of the biggest barriers for me is lack of time. I have two very small children, so online shopping after they go to bed is the easiest route for me. Going to a physical store and looking through racks of clothes takes up precious weekend time for catching up on house stuff or playing with my kids. I haven’t really thought about the online consignment thing, so thanks for the readers who suggested that!

The nice thing about ThredUp, PoshMark, and other online thrift stores is that you can sort by brand.  So once you have an idea of which brands are pretty good and your size in those brands, it's pretty easy to refine your site search accordingly.  All of my Theory clothes have come from ThredUp.  I don't see Everlane much on the used market, unfortunately, but their website is good.

Goldielocks

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2018, 06:37:32 PM »
I generally look for a thicker material. Like a Talbots dress or tee is usually more substantial.


LOL,  I am wearing a Talbot's tee that I bought in around 2008.   Because it is thicker, I tend to hang dry / hang in closet and wear for "nice" activities.     Normally, I buy like new tees from the thrift each year to wear for summer, casual, cleaning, etc.

Nice quality clothes last a very long time.   Invest in a few items, (dresses, skirts, suit quality, best blouses) treat them well.  Your size may fluctuate or they eventually go out of style, is all.   

Also, go to the designer "rack" sections of places like Nordstrom or Macy's...   Try on a few items, to get close and learn about construction, so you know what fabric weights and construction to look for when you shop elsewhere.

use2betrix

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2018, 06:56:31 PM »
I’m not a woman but I buy very very high end non mainstream men’s clothes and they are all brands that probably 99.9% of people have never heard of. They also cost more than most any mainstream brands.

I have found that country of origin often has a huge impact and direct correlation to quality of materials and build quality. Almost all my good clothes and boots are made in the US, Canada, or Japan. I cannot recall the last time I bought anything outside those countries and this year I bought a lot and basically built a time capsule wardrobe. The quality of these items, even casual things like hoodies and sweat pants, are so much nicer than anything I’ve ever seen at any department store.

Again, this is for men’s, but I’d be surprised if women’s didn’t ring the same.

Spondulix

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2018, 11:36:34 PM »
I like to buy used clothing on Ebay from brands like Patagonia, Prana, etc. I think Patagonia used to have amazing quality, and it is not quite as good now, but the older stuff is SO good. Thick fabrics, amazing stitching, everything I have that is 10+ years old still seems brand new, vs some of the newer things I own definitely are more worn. Same with Prana...I buy plenty of their newer clothing as their pants are perfect fit for me, but their older pants/sweaters are such better quality than the new stuff. So I do a lot of hunting on Ebay for very specific items. It doesn't take much time to search if I need a new sweater, or top, and after a couple of weeks I usually find what I'm looking for for 15-20 dollars, vs the 90-100 it would have been new!
Totally agree! I also like Columbia and Kuhl... basically any brands you'd find at REI.

Rimu05

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2018, 10:39:15 AM »
I’m so tired of buying clothes that only last 1 or 2 seasons before they lose their shape and get worn. I like to have a limited wardrobe (10 shirts, 4 pairs of pants, a few dresses). Right now that means buying about half of that each season, as each item only lasts 2 seasons usually.

Women who buy higher end clothing- Madewell, J Crew, Ralph Lauren, etc - does this stuff last noticeably longer than the stuff you’d find at Target & Old Navy? My frugal side likes the price tag of cheap clothes, but I really don’t love to shop and hate getting rid of clothes so much. I would love to find clothes that last 4-5-6 years.

Which brands have you had luck with actual good quality?

I have been wondering the same thing. As someone with a minimal wardrobe, I find myself replacing shoes particularly very often. I do wear the same two pairs daily (flats when I go out, a smaller heel to work). I am wondering if I need to just up the number of pairs I have as I have worn shoes to the ground but it also means constant replacing...

I have had especially poor luck with cardigans and button down shirts. I did have two Ralph Lauren sweaters that I liked a great deal. They washed well and wore well but just stopped fitting my aesthetic so I donated.




letired

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2019, 04:06:42 PM »
somewhat off topic, but @use2betrix, where do you do your research or find out about these brands? I've done a little poking around, but most of the 'obscure' womens brands that I've found still seem to be made in China, etc.

use2betrix

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2019, 05:59:42 PM »
somewhat off topic, but @use2betrix, where do you do your research or find out about these brands? I've done a little poking around, but most of the 'obscure' womens brands that I've found still seem to be made in China, etc.

Honestly that’s a tough question. Unfortunately most the brands I’m aware of are men’s, but I’d assume there are similar women’s brands?

I’m from the US but the high quality clothing started for me on a SE Asia backpacking trip two years ago and a clothing store in Bangkok called “Pronto.” I went in and it was nothing like I had ever seen in the states. Most all the clothes were made in Japan. The most popular boots around the world for men seem to be Red Wings (the heritage line, made in the US, they also have beautiful women’s shoes in that line).

From that, it was all downhill lol. I started following a lot of Instagram pages with similar type and quality of clothes. I’ve found that they are nearly all made in US, Canada, and Japan, but some other European countries seem to have some similar quality. I’ve redone most my wardrobe last year and the quality difference is just astonishing. What’s even better, since it’s all such quality, they feel and look get so much better when they are broke in. The jeans start off feeling like cardboard and over time they soften into the softest denim with real natural fades from wear. Not the “fake fade” garbage with so many cheap jeans. The boots are the same.

E.T.

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2019, 08:21:15 AM »
Have you seen this topic: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/ladies-what-brands-are-in-your-capsule-wardrobe/msg2151219/#msg2151219

I think it's helpful for some suggestions of brands that last. I personally love modcloth since there's a fit shop near me and everything I've bought from them has been really well sewn with good materials. Yay for lined dresses with pockets!

CNM

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2019, 09:45:00 AM »
I have not purchased anything from her (although I want to once I've had my baby!), but Justine LeConte may be an option.  Her clothing is made entirely in Europe, including the fabrics, and from what I can see she takes quality and craftsmanship very seriously.  https://www.justineleconte.com/

Another brand that I like and I have purchased from that is good quality, a large size variety, and ethically produced in the USA is Tuesday Bassen.  https://www.shoptuesday.com/

But, yeah, I have the same problem with finding clothes that are ethically made and high quality- particularly when it comes to sweaters and knits.  Many items I get start to pill almost immediately!

letired

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2019, 04:26:53 PM »
thanks for holding my hand on this, everyone! These are some great starting places!

historienne

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2019, 12:19:01 PM »
But, yeah, I have the same problem with finding clothes that are ethically made and high quality- particularly when it comes to sweaters and knits.  Many items I get start to pill almost immediately!

I basically only buy things in merino wool, for this specific reason.  It pills much less easily.  Brands are usually Ibex (hopefully coming back to life someday soon), Patagonia, Pendleton (some of their stuff is made in the US).  Have not tried Everlane merino, but intend to when I see something that I like.  Just got a lovely merino sweater from Amour Vert, but have not had it long enough to know how it will hold up.  Marine Layer is another ethical brand with a lot of knits, although I haven't bought any of their sweaters myself.

For higher-end women's clothing made in the US or ethically, I also like Elizabeth Suzann (it's a very specific look, but one that works for me; wears like iron), Eileen Fisher, and Brass.  I wear the Brass "modern trouser" almost every day, with a rotating set of tops. 

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Re: “Quality” women’s clothing- does it actually last?
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2019, 12:46:35 PM »
But, yeah, I have the same problem with finding clothes that are ethically made and high quality- particularly when it comes to sweaters and knits.  Many items I get start to pill almost immediately!

I basically only buy things in merino wool, for this specific reason.  It pills much less easily.  Brands are usually Ibex (hopefully coming back to life someday soon), Patagonia, Pendleton (some of their stuff is made in the US).  Have not tried Everlane merino, but intend to when I see something that I like.  Just got a lovely merino sweater from Amour Vert, but have not had it long enough to know how it will hold up.  Marine Layer is another ethical brand with a lot of knits, although I haven't bought any of their sweaters myself.

RIP Ibex :((( that was a sad day for me, as I pretty much live in their woolies 1 tops. Never worn wool that was so un-itchy, Ibex is the best!