5 Steps to Assess the True Cost of Your Next Fashion Purchase.


Having a budget is the first step to achieving our fashion goals but sometimes what we pay and what the garment is worth are two different things. It could be that we buy something because it’s a bargain only to find we have to replace it very soon after. We can also pay too much and realise it was only worth half the cost. How do we know when we are paying the right price for a garment and whether it’s worth it?

Setting ourselves up for purchase success means we need to understand what we are really paying for. Each piece of clothing we buy has a scale of cost. It depends on the level of workmanship and design development that was involved to bring it to life. The quality of fabric also affects the price. On top of that there are supply chain and business costs that are associated. 

Take a T-shirt for example. A t-shirt is a fairly standard shape and doesn’t require much design development. Of course some are a little more fitted than others, meaning a bit more thought has gone into it but basically a t-shirt is relatively low cost to produce.  

If I bought a t-shirt from a fast fashion retailer ( a company that produces hundreds of thousands of units a month) it’s would  probably have been have been constructed in poor conditions. The workers are under the pump and the clothing is compromised because they need to be produced in large quantities within tight timeframes. The fabrics are low quality and the T-shirt will most likely wear out quickly. If it wears out quickly this means it needs to be replaced and we spend more money in the long run.

On the other hand if I bought a T-shirt from a designer brand, I would get better fabrics and quality construction. I would also be paying for the image and status of that brand as opposed to the real value of the garment. 

This can also be applied to other types of clothing. For example a jacket takes a lot more time to design and produce that a t-shirt. It also has a more details, pockets, seams and trims so we should be prepared to invest and pay more for it.

The 5 things you can use to asses whether your garment is worth the price are:

  1. The quality of fabric
  2. The amount of seams and details.
  3. Where it was made
  4. The brand you are buying from
  5. Whether it fits you properly

Next time you purchase a garment run through these five points and see how the item compares. Doing this will give you peace of mind knowing that your dollars are well spent. You will also be contributing to a much more sustainable fashion industry. Choosing a garment based on quality and longevity goes a long way towards creating a truly satisfying collection of clothing.

Lalita Lowe