When Quality No Longer Justifies the Price Tag

If you read Saturday’s Style post, you’d know that I am in the market to buy a new suit and to create a capsule wardrobe of quality items in order to simplify my life. Why? Well, #1 I don’t have a suit, #2 I’m tired of all the crap in my closet and want to de-clutter, #3 it’s time to revamp and get quality items in my closet, no more Made in China garbage that doesn’t seem to last and ixnay on too much trenday.

This weekend I cleaned out my closet again and removed all the items that were too small, too big or just too random (trendy/weird) to be in my closet. Last year I made some odd fashion purchases that I am now regretting but am happy to give to consignment to see if I can recover some money.

What Did I Nix from the Wardrobe?


  • Several (10) tank tops that had holes and were very old  TIP: I reused some tanks for pajama tops
  • One very odd Las Vegas T Shirt souvenir (don’t ask) from four years ago
  • One French Open Shirt that I have no idea what possessed me to buy it – oh, right I love tennis!
  • One Blazer from 2008 that did not smell so nice anymore — ewww!
  • Two pairs of falling apart shoes – they had done their duty!


  • One black blazer that was too big
  • One black skirt that did not fit
  • Consignment will not take these as they have too many I’m told.


  • One too short Tommy Hilfiger skirt – sadly I’m not getting younger…no need to scream cougar when it’s classy I’m after
  • Two sheath dresses – too small
  • Four blazers that were too small, too trendy and too long….boyfriend blazers do not look nice on me, either does velvet
  • Several blouses, a few belts that were too big, three pairs of shoes
  • One Ralph Lauren tennis dress that is wayyyyy too short

Looking at this list, I question my sanity along with what spur of the moment thinking I was involved in. Many of the items purchased were on sale, or bought individually with no rhyme or reason in most cases. This further solidifies the fact that my wardrobe needs to be small and when I go shopping, I need to buy whole outfits that will co-ordinate with what I currently have.

Smaller closet = smarter, simpler fast shopping trips! Less is more! More time, more sanity, more outfits, more space….

The Priority Wardrobe Piece

As I’m always open to new job opportunities and/or wanting to get the job I should have, it is a must to have a properly fitted suit and a little black dress but can you believe, with all that crap in the closet, I had neither. All I had were mismatching blazers and pants, none that were of very good quality – my current dress pants are from The Gap and looking shabby.

I’m happy to say after a morning at the mall yesterday, that I now have a charcoal grey suit, little black dress, white blazer, a few sweaters/blouses, proper belts and a couple accessories. AND…get this….I am proud to say that I can create 8-10 outfits with all these pieces plus what I kept from the closet purge. That is a big deal for me, as the biggest problem I’ve had with my closet was nothing went with anything, it created the struggle I was having each day. NO MORE!!!

**Watch for the outfit creations in this Saturday’s Style post.

Quality vs. Price

It was an expensive day, one I didn’t want to happen, but have realized it was necessary to get my career wardrobe in the place it should be. Which leads to the whole topic of this post, when does quality no longer constitute the price you’re paying?

While trying on a black dress at Holt’s, the sales consultant gave me a few suggestions for belts, one of which was a patent leather Tory Burch belt for $185.00!!!! Yes, you read correctly, $185.00 for a belt. We’re talking a simple black patent leather belt with a silver Tory Burch logo buckle. It was a beautiful belt but I could not justify paying $185.00 for a freaking belt, that is the picture of insanity. It appeared to be a quality item, probably made from Italian leather but consider this….I can get a pair of J.Crew pumps Made in Italy from beautiful leather for $200.  Shoes or belt? Hmmmm….or Italian wool pants. See where I’m going with this?

tory burch skinny logo belt

Would you pay $185.00?

In my quality versus quantity world, a sole leather belt that I would use day in day out does not justify a price tag of $185.00. This is where conscious spending is so important. If you are too caught up in purchasing quality items, and use no judgement, you could end up paying significantly more than what the item is truly worth based on materials, country of origin etc. I spent the entire day checking all the tags for materials, country of manufacture, the sewing quality, material quality and I took the time to question the sales consultants about the products they were selling.

Yet another interesting example:

424 Fifth Lord and Taylor Dobby Dress vs. Kate Spade Mariella Dress

Both beautiful, both blue stripes, both bit and flare type dresses. Both are similar in material composition and quality (I’ve handled and inspected both). Kate: 98% cotton 2% spandex L&T: 89% cotton 11% polyester. Unfortunately, both are Made in China.

Guess what? The price is dramatically different. L&T $99.00 Kate Spade $398.00 Can you say OUCH?

Sure, the Kate Spade may have more colour and is more vibrant but for a $300 difference?

Another example of how being a conscious shopper can save you a bundle. Before you spend your hard earned money on what you believe is quality, be sure to question whether the quality is really worth the extra money.

Have you found similar situations where you’re paying just for the designer instead of better quality?


  1. Never. I have zero interest in designer clothes, and will usually go as inexpensive as possible when buying things I need, save for buying something where kids in a sweat shop made it. But I’m as far from a fashionista as you could possibly get. The mall seems to be a spending trigger for you….have you ever thought about staying away to help curb spending?

    • Michelle says:

      You’re lucky! :) I usually stay away from the malls for the most part, it’s the online shopping that gets me. I see something online and that prompts me to go to the mall or buy from the site. Bit by bit I am getting better, now I question something I see online and take at least 24 hours to confirm if it’s an impulse (usually is) or something I truly need.

  2. I agree with you. I always evaluate the entire garment and then think about what I would pay for it, before checking the tag. $185 for a belt is insane.. you can find equally as nice belts for MUCH cheaper and are handmade on Etsy.

    • Michelle says:

      Agreed, it’s crazy how much some designers expect you to pay for their name and to top it all off, some of it is made in China!

  3. A lot of luxury brand that start out as high quality, like for example, Helmut Lang, get bought out by a big luxury brand corporation. At that point, the brand has the “value reputation” so people who love the style continue to buy it. But then the mega corporation, ever the profit seeker, wants to make even more money so they make the same clothes in a country not known for fair wages. The quality can start to suffer with the change from the 1st world factory to 2nd and 3rd world factory. But no one notices because all they care about is the label on the dress!

    This is why I prefer 2nd hand and consignment and if I buy new, I try to buy from companies that at least put an effort into fair wages for their factory workers, like Patagonia.


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