You Usually Get What You Pay For

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I am all about searching for a bargain. I have found high quality items at big box retailers, discount stores, thrift stores and eBay. Thing is, nine times out of ten if you buy from a company that prides itself on low prices, you’ll often get quality comparative to that price.

F0703034 MT07 011Case in point, Newport News. I know, I have been burned by them before. However, I recently won a dark denim pencil skirt (see photo) from them via another blog. It arrived, the fabric seemed good, the seaming was sassy, and other than not coming in petite sizes and being a tad too long, it fit well.

Through the day, the skirt grew. Nothing shocking, all stretch denim seems to grow a size throughout a day of wearing. By the end of the day the skirt could be a tube dress, it had stretched out so much. I washed it on the gentle cycle on its own (the skirt bled like crazy – would have ruined anything else with it) and hung it to dry and it shrunk back to almost its original size. A quick sweep of the iron and the fabric looked brand new.

Almost… the skirt was now a good half size bigger than it was when I received it. Sort of unfortunate considering I am a 12/14, ordered a 12 and even brand new it seemed a bit big. I really hate the inconsistencies of sizing these days and it seems the cheaper the garment the greater the vanity sizing.

So today I decide to wear the skirt. I wear a fitted top with it to counteract the not-so-pencil shape the skirt now has. Thought it looked pretty good. Zipped up the back and headed to work. Got out of the car, and felt something metallic on my back under my shirt. Felt around while walking to the office and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Walked to my desk and felt it again. This time I realized my skirt was unzipped. I went to zip it up and surprise surprise, it won’t stay zipped. The zipper seemed to lose its grip, the pull didn’t lock flat and was acting like a 40-year old garment put against extreme strain, not a twice-worn skirt that is too large for its owner.

This skirt is cute, its $29.50 price tag is appealing. However like almost everything else from this company, it’s crap. Ladies, it is far better to wear the same black pencil skirt every week for five years, than to buy five skirts at the same price and end up tossing them in the trash or the donation bag after a season (or less) of wear.

Recently I found an adorable jade green sweater at Target. Scoop neck, puffed cap sleeves and a delightful bright color. Best thing, it was on sale for $10. I tried it on and it looked cute enough to purchase, even though I know garments of that synthetic knit have done me wrong in the past (getting runs, pills, not washing well). Heck, it was only $10, right?

After one day at work, the skinny seam around both armholes had given so that the hem separated from the top. No worries, I have a sewing kit at home and fixed it while watching America’s Next Top Model. Then the button fell off. No worries, I had an extra button that would work just fine. Then the hem gave way near the bottom of the top. Come to find out, that $10 bargain is costing me more time and stress than the most delicate and expensive dress in my closet.

Point is, just a reminder to really put thought and care into what you purchase. There is a chance that a $10 sweater could be a great addition to your wardrobe, but before you take the plunge, check the garment carefully and analyze how it will fit with the rest of your collection. Do you need it? Is it perfect for you? Would it better to use that $10 toward a more expensive sweater that will be more versatile and possibly last longer in your closet? Style comes from quality, not quantity.

Now I am off to hunt down a safety pin…

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. You are so right. I’m having to throw away lots of those “fashion on a dime” purchases I made while I am still loving things I bought that were expensive at first, but really a bargain if you calculate how many times I have worn them over the years, how they have lasted, and how they have remained in style as they were “fashion forward” when purchased. I’m planning a shopping trip. (With a few exceptions, it is also true of shoes I think.)

  2. Yeah, I’ve had the same problem with Newport News. Their stuff looks SO CUTE in their catalog, and then you get it delivered and it’s, like, totally not what you expected. And their sizing is very generous, which can make a size 12 sister feel good and all (hello, size 8!), but really doesn’t give the shopper a good idea of what to order. Buyer beware, I guess. Blargh… -the DCGF

  3. I haven’t been cursed in that dept, but every sweater I have bought for my *husband* from Target has had that same problem, especially the hems.

    Which is sad because I really do love me some Target.

  4. So true. I’ve been burned by “cheap chic” retailers and labels (although I’ve had some winners from Target). I’ve been trying to train myself to make do with less items in my closet. Spend $x for one or two quality items rather than buying six or seven pieces that won’t last. More often than not, it pays to really invest in staples. When I change size, my tailor will gladly work with the expensive pieces because they are better made.

  5. Oh no! I totally feel your pain 🙁 I’m also at the point where I see something cute at Target, Forever 21, H&M and I KNOW that the item will fall apart after 2 wearings or 1 washing, whichever comes first. I KNOW that it’s much better to wait for sales and buy from trusted brands. But… I still fall for the pretty cheapies again and again. Sometimes the cheapies are just too cute in the dressing room for me to say no, but they always let me down!

    P.S. I have discovered that buying anything thin cotton or knit from Target is suicide. The fabric always pill like crazy. Thicker fabrics are better though – like thick cotton hoodies and pajamas for lounging at home.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear that the skirt didn’t work out. Thanks for the information, though! If you haven’t done so already, please consider writing a review on Amazon. While I do pay close attention to reviews on Amazon and other sites, most items aren’t reviewed. I’ll be a lot more sceptical of Newport News now, though.

    I’ll also be a bit more careful about recommending Merona stuff. By all means, let me know if there are any other brands worth avoiding/buying.

  7. Oooh, I have SO been coveting that little Target sweater, and searching my own Targets with no success. Now, it seems like a blessing! I love it when you update on stuff like that – thank you. 🙂

    I just recently cleaned out my closet and sold all my ill-fitting items and am now working on restocking my closet with your list. THANK YOU.

  8. Was that sweater from Target Merona Brand?
    I have had maybe 3 sweaters from Target by that brand (all on clearance and in cute styles making me think it was a worthwhile purchase). However, the ones by this brand in particular always unravel at the seams and buttons immediately fall off. The last sweater I puchased from this brand was a four buck clearance item and it now sits in my closet after two wears, waiting to be fixed with a busted seam around the collar. You are right – quality items may cost more but they are worth it in the long run.

  9. Sorry about the skirt. It looked cute on you! You know how I feel about a pencil skirt. I actually don’t buy clothes at Target anymore for the same reason. They just seem to lose their shape or fit strange after the first wash. It’s good that you are reminding all of us that a bargain is often not a bargain.


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