Monday, 23 November 2009

Thought for the week - quality v quantity part 1

Over the next few weeks I would like to debate this issue on the blog and today's post is just to kick the debate off.

There are two elements to the quality v quantity rationale. One is obviously it is deemed to be better to have a wardrobe of quality items that will last you years rather than lots and lots of cheaper disposable items. The quality angle is now perceived as more environmentally favourable adding weight to the debate of less is more.

However the other aspect of this debate is that of wealth and class - does the quality debate denote status/breeding(class)/intelligence versus the masses/lack of breeding/ignorance.

When you buy an item of quality do you feel superior style/fashion wise?


  1. Great post! It's only over the last couple of years that I've started to move towards the more quality items and that is mainly due to changes in my finances, but I'm not sure it makes me feel superior, just happy and proud that I've worked hard to buy something lovely. I still can't help myself looking in Primark and buying cheap and cheerful tees - but I think that's a good balance.

  2. The most expensive thing I've ever bought was an unusual 2 piece skirt from Toast which cost me £95. I wore it so often it proved to be very good value and would still be wearing it if I had not lost 10kg! I suppose it would stand some altering but not that much... Recently bought lots of very cheap gloves at Primark because I always mislay them.

  3. This is an interesting topic and one I haven't been able to square with myself yet. I completely see the advantages of quality over quantity, but if I'm being honest, I like having a full wardrobe of silly things. I shop mainly at charity shops, so I don't think the environmental thing applies so much, but still.

    I completely agree about the class thing, and I think there is also something about quality signifying grown-up-ness. To be able to buy quality for the long term you really have to know yourself and your style and be settled in it. I could probably just about afford to spend £300 on a dress, but I would never commit to actually doing it. Who knows, I may change my mind next month/season/year!

  4. I buy vintage all of the time, and for the most part the things that stand the test of time are quality. I cannot imagine people thirty years from now buying a wal-mart shirt and saying- how cool is this 2010 item?
    When it comes to things I want to use over and over again, like coats and purses, I do really want a quality item- but of course I like them best at tres reasonable prices.
    Happy Monday and great post!
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  5. I wouldn't say I feel superior when I buy expensive, quality items ... but I feel plenty of other things. Pressured to wear the item frequently, to care for it, to find a balance between showing it off and flouting it. I am much more comfortable buying decent quality mid-range than high quality high-end.

  6. well, what a good question! I think as long as you buy classics you should buy quality! if you buy something trendy or really very eye-catching (like you can wear it only one season or two or three times), I would rather buy something cheaper..
    but, does quantity always mean cheap?

  7. Good question and nice post!

    Hope U had a great weekend!


  8. Hi there-I'm definitely a Quality over Quantity gal and as you know I'll get it thrifted because it is there if you look hard enough. I even prefer basics that are quality like M&S or Gap, but I do enjoy the odd Primark accessory too!!

  9. Oooh delicious post! And to firstly quote Allegra 'does quantity always mean cheap', so true of my over stuffed wardrobe!!
    I really just feel robbed if I buy something cheap and bad quailty, lesson learned with a recent high street dress that looked ruined after just one wash. I always buy quality whether designer, vintage or high street. Zara is a new love for affordable high street with pretty good quality. Most of my designer items are well sought out 'cheap' sale / second hand / past season deals so I guess I do feel kinda superior (maybe thats the wrong word, more just a bit secretly chuffed for myself) wearing Chanel for the same price as most pay for high street. But hey thats my own hard work of trawling vintage stores etc. To be honest if I like it I buy it and thats that, but it is always quality. That said I really know my own style now so know I will still be wearing things in years to come, cheapies are great for experementing with, and also for the young girls who can't afford decent stuff yet. Ok I will stop talking, I do love a debate!

  10. Re: Broke Chanel!
    My local is Selfridges, Manchester, but I am sure any of them will send it off for you - be prepared to be made to feel guilty ha ha!

  11. Hmmmm...I suppose I'm of the school of 'quality in quantity' but that's because I only ever really wear vintage or second hand modern designer. So I'm buying super high quality at more like Topshop prices.

    Anything I get new is likely to be jeans or underwear and frankly I don't rate the designer versions of either and I think it's hard (or irrelevant) to tell the difference.

    Interesting post, thank you for making me think about it!!

  12. I was thinking along these exact same lines as I strolled through my local Kohl's this morning. I don't know if I would admit to feeling "superior" style or fashion wise but when I buy an item of quality - and it is perfect for me - I sigh with relief that there is something in my closet that is appropriate for at least one event in my life. Be it a party, church, a date or a school mums meeting and I can focus on the event rather than how good/bad I look/feel.

  13. Indeed food for thought, dear.

    Well, I must tell that I would prefer quality over quantity, but since I've a low budget I usually buy quality basics and mix them with some trends that don't require a great quality since they're going to fade.
    Maybe I could tell that I'm in some kind of balance.
    I feel good and fashion if I like the look even if some pieces were bought in Westrags (maybe the lest expensive I've found) or H&M.

    I'm sorry dear for me being away from comments....
    Hope all is fine with you.


  14. Oooh, deep question! I don't feel superior, but I do feel smart and elegant in a way that fast fashion never makes me feel. That's not to say that some fast basics never have a place. I think, when I'm so rich I can spend 100 bucks on a sustainably produced T, maybe then I'll feel superior :-)

    The feeling I get after buying something new and luxe is very similar to that I get when I find something beautifully made at a vintage shop. It's about the quality more than the cost for me. And, when I find a great deal on a beautiful item with pedigree, maybe I do feel a bit high on myself.

  15. Hmmm, I don't feel superior either, but exceedingly well put together in a way that elevates the rest of my look for that day. So, for instance, when I wear my beloved, now vintage Prada jacket, even if my hair is sloppy, it somehow looks good.

  16. I wouldn't say superior either, but definitely intelligent and well considered, as if I am a knowledgeable mind about garments and their quality fabrics and cuts. Nice blog :)

  17. I wouldn't say I felt superior when wearing quality items. But I think I'd feel quite uncomfortable to wear something from Primark etc. I don't understand how people can buy t-shirts for £1 and not question how they got to be so cheap.


    One Love,

  19. I have on occasion felt a smug self-satisfaction that is close to feeling superior but not quite. Spending wise on investment pieces that I know will last me for years seems smarter than buying throw away clothes that won't last 5 washings. Is smug always a bad thing?;-)

  20. I feel superior to my old self only—no one else—when I buy quality. I feel happy when I have good items, and overwhelmed when I have too many items, so the quality "argument" is the one I take. Not that it's an argument. I think people should buy whatever they want to.

  21. You know what's nice? Quality AND quantity! Woot! Especially if it's jewelry.

  22. I think there's a balance, and I think you have to be open minded...I've had maxmara jumpers that have fallen apart at the 1st wash and warehouse jumpers that have lasted for years - so I think you have to judge every item by itself....some places do always seem to be good quality and value (Jigsaw as an example)

    I think good value for money makes me feel happy, and I love a bargain!

  23. i think quality can be bought at all different price points, plus i also factor in practicality.

    There are certain things that i justify spending more on esp. suits, sunglasses, and handbags, and then things that im content to buy mid range like shoes because i dont want to trash a pair of $$$$ shoes at work, and then things i buy on the cheap like plain tees or casual clothes.

    regardless, i rarely pay full price for things i buy. so i try to find what i want at the best price.

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