Brand name loyalty is alive and well in the department store and school campus. Are the name brand shoes and jeans better than the less expensive store brands? Teenagers would argue that the name brand is “so much better” and it is worth all the extra money to look just like their peers. And I think we all have our favorite brand of jeans or running shoes. But is there a quality difference? Or is the difference worth the extra money?
I think that there is a bigger difference in clothes brands than we see in food or personal care items. especially woman’s clothes have huge differences in cut and style, so most of us generally find a couple of brands that we just like better, mostly because that brands fit better. It does not save any money to buy clothes that don’t fit well and we never wear. So if we agree that the name brands are better, how can we save money?
When you finally determine the brands that you like, get on the mailing list for the store and figure out the sale cycle. My husband wears a suit, dress shirt and tie to work most days, so we have to find good buys on these pretty pricey items. Shirts and ties I can generally find at Ross or TJ Maxx, but suits… And he wears a size that is not overly common, so we have to shop at the “better” suit stores. We recently found that Jos A Banks has his size. While at first glance this store is VERY expensive, we have found that by shopping sales we get a good deal. 1-2 times a year they run a sale, buy 1 suit get 2 free. And Tim found some styles that include 2 pair of pants. So for the price of one suit ($400+) he was able to get 3 suit coats, 3 matching pants AND 3 coordinating pants. That is a great buy!!! And because they are better quality, they are holding up well with continued dry cleaning and wear.
Thrift stores are a great place to pick up name brand clothes. They tend to price all clothing types the same, so the savings on expensive brands is more. For example, at my Goodwill store all ladies’ jeans are $7.99, so the store brand jeans are about 1/2 price, but my favorite style of Eddie Bauer jeans are about 80% off. Also check discount retailers like Ross Dress for less, TJMaxx and Marshall’s. All these stores get retailer overstock and discount the prices. It is easier than thrift store shopping and in some cases not a lot more expensive, especially when they run sales and clearance.
But what if you can’t find your favorite brand at the thrift store or discount retailer? Save your money and buy it at the best price you can find. Having just a couple of pieces that really fit and you love is better than a closet full of clothes that don’t like and don’t fit! I have a pair of Eddie Bauer black dress pants that I paid 1/2 price for, but it was still a lot, $35. But, I wear them a lot! They fit great and look good. It was a good investment.
And what about shoes? They are just expensive! And good ones are even more expensive. But who likes to wear shoes that are uncomfortable? Not me. I will buy gently used shoes but tend to look for new ones. Again, the discount retailers are our first stop. DSW is a discount shoe retailer that we try to shop first when we need shoes. They have a large inventory and many items at various degrees of discount. They also have a frequent shopper program with points that eventually equal discounts on next purchase. My daughters have had good results purchasing shoes on-line. When buying the same manufacturer and style, this works well. I tried this summer, and ended up sending them back because they just did not fit well.
All that said, there are some items that store brand is just fine. Items that are for a special occation and will be worn just once or twice. Some socks and underwear is great to purchase at the big box retailer, epecially for young children who grow out of these items before they can wear out.
What do you think? What clothing items are you willing to splurge on? Skimp on? What are your favorite shopping places? How do you save money on shoes and clothes?