Fashion-wise: Quality versus price

Kylie McDonald, sophomore political science major, and Sarah Hill, sophomore business administration major, model examples of clothes to splurge on and clothes to save a few pennies on. | Photo by Deanna Santangelo

By Sarah Jacobs

Keeping up with fashion while trying to stick to a tight budget can be difficult, especially if people do not know what to look for in price and quality.

Different opinions abound about shopping for a new outfit, a pair of shoes or a bag. The difference between shoppers is where they buy the styles of clothing they choose. Stores that have similar styles in clothing may differ in the quality. The difficult part for people with a tight budget is deciding when to buy quality clothing versus cheap clothing.

“If fashion and style are important to you, then you can find a way to be fashionable on a tight budget,” said Sarah Hill, sophomore business administration major. “But be sure the clothing doesn’t look cheap.”

Hill said students can look on magazine websites for fashion ideas and then go to stores such as Forever 21 or Target to look for those same styles in a cheaper form.

Deciding to buy cheaper clothing will allow shoppers to buy more, but the clothes might not last as long. If people are shopping for trendy clothes that are only in style for a season, this does not affect their decision. Other clothing like jeans, coats, pants and other items people buy to last a long time may be more expensive.

“It is important to find jeans and other pants to fit your own body,” Hill said. “Learn what flatters your body and find stores that carry pants that suit your body type.”

Debbie Swacker, owner of Mam’selle boutique in Jackson, said to “always invest in a good pair of dark wash jeans. You can dress them up if you need to, or throw on a t-shirt and call it a day.”

Shoppers should invest in a quality pair of white pants, light flair jeans, dark boot-cut jeans and jeggings, Swacker said. Also, buying an A-line skirt is a timeless investment and a comfortable fit.

The skirt or a pair of earth-colored dress pants, along with a white button-down shirt and jacket, are great for interviews.

Shoppers should invest in a good quality handbag that is leather or vegan and seasonless, so they do not have to constantly change bags, Swacker said.

Another smart investment is a pair of well-made, comfortable shoes, Swacker said. Also a pair of pearls can go with anything and will always be in style.

Finding jeans, pants or coats that fit a person’s body type usually leads to expensive stores. These are the type of purchases on which shoppers may consider spending more money. Stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s are known for quality clothing, among others.

“Gap has really good quality (clothing), as well as Banana Republic and J. Crew,” Hill said. “For more expensive tastes, Anthropologie has impeccable taste and incredible quality.”

Every person has his or her own style and opinion though, so ultimately each person decides on what items to spend his or her money.

“I shop where I can find unique pieces,” said Kylie McDonald, sophomore political science major. “People tell me I dress culturally, probably because I love clothing that looks foreign. Sometimes this means boutiques and thrift stores.”

McDonald said she does not have a favorite place to shop; she mainly looks for sales to benefit her budget.

“I know most fashionistas would tell you you get what you pay for, but honestly I have a hard time justifying spending a lot on what I wear,” McDonald said. “But if I know it’s a dress that I can wear frequently for debate, church, SGA functions and other stuff I’m involved in, I’m more likely to shell out a little more money.”

A shopper’s decision can also depend on the store. If the store does not carry in-style clothing or recently had a bad selection, shoppers will look for other stores.

“Sometimes stores go through rough patches, so be sure to check around to different stores throughout different seasons,” Hill said.

The decision of whether to shop for quality clothing that will last versus cheap and trendy clothing is based on the person. Each person shops for a different occasion, season or event and this gives them their own way of shopping.

“My rule of thumb is usually to only purchase an article of clothing I’m absolutely in love with,” McDonald said.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.