One of the first things we do with new clients before a personal shopping trip is ask them to arrange the importance of fit, fabric, style, brand and price. The gentlemen over at The Art of Manliness covered this in recent post, distilling it down to just the first three options in a helpful visual pyramid.
Because we assist men and women at a variety of income levels, we shop H&M about as frequently as Loro Piana. Unfortunately this retail spectrum shows that the trifecta of fit, fabric and style is an elusive goal on a middle class income. For those on a tighter budget, I frequently explain that, at most entry level department stores, they can pick any two.
Stores such as Zara, and even some entry level designer brands like Versace Jeans, sacrifice quality of material to bring down the overall price of their trendy products. It creates a clean look, but often leaves the wearer uncomfortable in their own clothes. Most people err on the side of comfort, actually buying clothes one size too big, never considering that the fabric has as much to do with overall feel of the garment as the cut itself. In fact, fabric has the single highest traceable effect on pure production cost than any other element.
This is why I like to include brand and price in our analysis. People have brand attachments for a variety of reasons, perhaps it's 'durable' or 'feels good' or they 'just can't see paying more than that.' These are important points to consider about the client in order to understand their values and buying habits.
Our job as savvy shoppers is to remain dissatisfied with anything that does't meet all of our goals. I don't care if it's 'on sale' when it makes you look frumpy and 15 years older. Stay persistent and only buy the best.