High Quality at a Low Price?
February 29, 2012 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Good quality clothes, but without the good quality price?

I'm getting very attached to high quality clothes - cashmere that doesn't pill, colors that don't fade, good quality construction. But, I'm not attached to the prices. Do you have clothing lines, websites, or designers that you like that don't break the bank?
posted by Leezie to Shopping (28 answers total) 123 users marked this as a favorite
Gilt.com comes to mind for high quality at reasonable prices, and I believe they have a number of spinoff sites.

Everlane.com is something that recently popped up on my radar, they stock higher quality basics like t-shirts, and are promising to expand their line to other types of clothing. I'm not sure if they are open to the public yet,l but here's an invite link if you need it: https://www.everlane.com/i/ffat1x

Jackthreads.com is another one that's good for guys.

I'm a big fan of Zara as well, although I'm not sure where you're located. I'm assuming you're primarily looking for online retailers.
posted by petah at 7:17 PM on February 29, 2012

Uniqlo. Gap basics and prices, but with Japanese materials and design. A bit hard to get in the US right now as all three stores are in Manhattan and there isn't an online option, but I was just thinking that I should call a store in NY to find out if I can place an order with them directly.
posted by peripathetic at 7:35 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

+1 on Uniqlo
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 7:41 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Goodwill, Salvation Army, thrift shops. It takes a lot of work, and shopping without a specific piece or event in mind. I just go in looking for quality clothing in my size.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:42 PM on February 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm loving Lands End Canvas lately. Every other month or so, they'll do a 25% off+free shipping code for the whole Land's End site (check RetailMeNot for codes). This extends to the Canvas portion as well. Definitely mind the reviews, but I've loved every piece I've ordered. The cuts are way less frumpy than typical Land's End, and if you have a Sears nearby, you can return the things that don't fit.
posted by almostmanda at 7:55 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you have one near you, check out a Nordstrom Rack - it's like a treasure hunt, but you can find great stuff there.
posted by dotgirl at 7:57 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

ebay. You have to know what you are looking for, and wait for the right item, but its the best place for $$$$ quality for just $$.
posted by milestogo at 8:09 PM on February 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've also heard great things about Top Shop girls, or Top Man for guys.
posted by petah at 8:15 PM on February 29, 2012

I usually shop at the other places mentioned in this thread and I recently placed a couple of orders with Land's End Canvas and I was completely shocked by how high quality the clothing was. If you wait for an end of season sale you can get the clothes for similar prices to H&M and similar.
posted by tinamonster at 8:40 PM on February 29, 2012

See if there are any outlet malls within a reasonable driving distance (or overnight trip if you want to make it a thing) of you. They're best used as an occasional expedition in search of clothes rather than looking for specific pieces, but you can do really well for pretty cheap if you don't mind digging. The one by me has everything from, say, basics like Levi's and Gap to more high-end stuff like Calvin Klein/Burberry/Brooks Brothers etc.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:02 PM on February 29, 2012

I have to put in a vote for Land's End Canvas. I ordered a swimsuit from there in January at $6/piece + free shipping and the quality is amazing. I also picked up a rather nice polo on sale for $4.

Thrift Stores are another great source. I routinely find pre-Jenna Lyon's J.Crew [from when the quality was great] in fantastic condition.

Modbe frequently runs great sales, and the quality of their shirts are amazing. As for jeans, I find that American Eagle has some surprisingly well cut jeans, up to par with Seven's and True Religion. I'm also a huge fan of White House Black Market, which has great sales and the quality is superb.
posted by oxfordcomma at 9:07 PM on February 29, 2012

Be careful with Gilt; they've been known to sell outlet quality stuff without disclosure.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:58 PM on February 29, 2012

If you like Uniqlo, there is a website called Suddenlee that will buy stuff from Uniqlo and ship it to you - I haven't used it myself, though, so I can't vouch for it!
posted by zennish at 10:21 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also consignment stores - there's one place I know of that consistently has Tiffany's jewelry for a fraction of the price, just because there's a lady who consistently buys new jewelry and gets 'rid' of her old stuff all the time.

The prices won't tend to be as low as thrift stores, but generally speaking you get higher-end items at a lower price. YMMV on whether or not these items will be worth what the store charges, but sometimes you end up with a gem of a find.
posted by zennish at 10:31 PM on February 29, 2012

I like Express and New York & Co, but I always head to the clearance section of the store first. Also do you have outlets around you? You can get the stuff that's "out of season" for pennies (comparatively).
posted by DoubleLune at 11:51 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

imo, Zara and Unigo both make low-quality clothing that isn't made to last.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:12 AM on March 1, 2012

Joseph Gurl: If you don't know the brand name (Unigo?), I assume you don't have a lot of experience with their products. Most of my 3-4 year old Uniqlo products are still in heavy rotation, and I am on hard on clothes. I love that in addition to being long-lasting, Uniqlo has classic colors and cuts that I can match with anything and wear whenever. (But I agree with you about Zara. That and they only seem to make clothes for tall, straight-bodied women.)
posted by whatzit at 3:16 AM on March 1, 2012

My wife loves Uniqlo and I'm going to buy more jeans from them as I'm loving the pair I bought a couple of months ago. Consider Muji for the same Japanese design sensibility.
posted by arcticseal at 6:35 AM on March 1, 2012

There's an online secondhand shop called Nancy's Gone Green where you can sometimes get really great vintage stuff for a deal.
posted by jabes at 7:06 AM on March 1, 2012

This one is largely for men, but Duluth Trading Co. sells very high quality constructed clothing for reasonable prices. Their demographic is tradespeople.
posted by kalessin at 7:16 AM on March 1, 2012

For the past few years, Uniqlo has sold a special collection designed by Jill Sander, under the +J labels. In short, designer clothes at Uniqlo prices. I managed to get hold of a few pieces in London a few months ago (jacket, cashmere/wool coat), and they're just fabulous - good material and finishing, and fantastic cut. And half price, since they were on sale! If you look around, you might be able find some items left in stores.

I just wish there was a Uniqlo in Amsterdam, but there's a good chance that they'll start shipping to mainland Europe, so hopefully I can get my Uniqlo fix more regularly.
posted by daveje at 7:40 AM on March 1, 2012

I am JUST like you in my desire for high-quality clothing at a good price. My grandmother always said if you only have one dress, it should fit you perfectly, be a fabric that lays naturally and be the type to go from season to season effortlessly.

That said, I came int to second Goodwill. A full 90 to 95 percent of my work wardrobe comes from Goodwill and includes pieces from Dana Buchman, Brooks Brothers, Anne Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Theory, J. Crew and Ann Taylor.

I'm going to strongly suggest that you stay away from stores like Express/H&M/New York and Company, et. al. With the exception of maybe the cashmere (which is still low quality but OK for one season) all of those pieces are made with cheap fabric and stitching and won't last for very long. For what you pay for that stuff, you can't pick up a ton of classics at the thrift store.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 8:14 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

"can't"= "can"
posted by nubianinthedesert at 8:15 AM on March 1, 2012

Gilt, Muji, Uniqlo, and sometimes I get weirdly lucky with H&M! I've had H&M collared shirts and cardigans for 5+ years. J. Crew on sale. I have not found Gap or Banana Republic clothes to be well-enough made for the price - even on sale.

I know this isn't what you asked but I have two related tips:

1. Launder sparingly (not every wear), and when you do, line-dry. Your clothes will last so much longer! I save all my undies from untimely deaths this way.

2. For cashmere (and other stuff): thrift stores, and especially consignment are the only place I buy it! A million times cheaper!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 11:15 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have used Suddenlee to ship Uniqlo and it worked perfectly. The only problem was that one of the items that I bought for my boyfriend was too big, and it costs a lot extra to return things via Suddenlee (if they do it at all, I don't remember). They did send us the receipt for everything that was bought though, so next time we are in New York we are thinking we'll exchange it.

I'm actually wearing a Uniqlo shirt right now. The Heattech line supposedly keeps you warmer with some patented protein technology, but even though I don't buy that, the material is strong and yet thin, and feels really great. I'm switching out all of my camisoles, t-shirts and such in other fabrics in favor of Uniqlo's heattech version. Their sweaters are fantastic as well, the cashmere obviously, but the merino sweaters are also extremely soft and don't pill.
posted by permiechickie at 12:19 PM on March 1, 2012


Sorry for the typo. I know the name well, and unigo.com comes up a lot in my work. Just a slip of the fingers. (And seriously, do you consider that a logical refutation of some kind? Really?)

I live in Asia and have for a decade. I'm very familiar with Uniqlo. The stuff is omnipresent, and it's sub-GAP quality (and style, let's be honest). Quality is actually somewhere between awful Old Navy and current GAP.

I've owned tons of their stuff, and yeah, 3-4 years is about where I'd put its durability. Which is bad. And weird you think that's good. I have well-made clothes that have lasted 20 years, and thrift stores are full of evidence that clothing can last decades.

Uniqlo is what it is: cheap, inoffensive, disposable.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:50 PM on March 1, 2012


This is Net-a-Porter's outlet site, and just about every Friday they have great additional discounts through the weekend on certain selections - right now it's 40% off "AM to PM chic". I just got a pair of Calvin Klein Collection pumps for $133 - 85% off retail.
posted by Dragonness at 9:55 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

You do need to be on their mailing list to be notified of the sales, it's not obvious from accessing the site.
posted by Dragonness at 9:57 AM on March 2, 2012

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