The Disparate Quality of Women's Clothing

Women’s clothing often seems to be cheaper in quality, both in feel and in the materials used. When shopping with my girlfriend, a lot of what I see (and feel) are cheaper and thinner materials, in tops and sweaters specifically. I find this to be true when shopping in thrift stores as well as in retail. Often, women’s clothes are made with blended materials as opposed to one pure material (ex: a wool blended with polyester, as opposed to 100% wool). Here I’ve used  J. Crew as an example.  You can see the discrepancies when searching for a wool coat for women versus men:

Search results for "wool coat" for women on J. Crew's website.


Search results for "wool coat" for men on J. Crew's website.
These examples merely scratch the surface. If you go through all the search results used above, you’ll see that the women’s results consist almost exclusively of wool blended options, while the opposite is true for the men’s search results.

Why is this?

I wonder how much of this is down to a misogynistic view of the women’s clothing industry, and how much is due to the role women’s clothing brands have been asked to play. A multitude of women’s clothing brands are seemingly made for visual appeal. While men's clothing almost exclusively prioritizes function over fashion. Is this based on the assumption that women shop more than men, so their pieces can be cheaply made, and made without as long of a lifespan as men’s clothes?

How can this be changed?

You should vote with your dollar. Buy things that are higher quality, and try to not settle for garments that are cheaply made. 

Try to avoid purchasing new items in order to follow trends. These things are mass produced as quickly as possible in order to capitalize on the money from these trends - they are not made to last! 

For example; wanting​​ to hop on the popular bow trend? Try using old ribbon or yarn you have around the house to make bows instead of supporting a fast fashion retailer.

And most importantly, try to shop secondhand. Much of my (encouraging) thoughts on shopping secondhand can be found here.

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1 comment

Being able to search for women’s clothing on a web-based basis was a unique advantage for me. I love being able to browse different styles and sizes from the comfort of my lounge chair.


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