Clothing Prices Go Up, But Quality Goes Down

loose buttonThey just don’t make things like they used to anymore.

That’s something you just might notice when you shop for new back-to-school clothes for the kids or purchase clothes for yourself in the near future.

So if you lose a button on your new shirt, or get a hole in an embarrassing spot on those new Capri pants…don’t be surprised.

Retailers are actually making cheaper clothes because they want to keep your business.

Stores are expected to raise prices on clothing merchandise by about 10% this fall to offset things like the high price of cotton and labor costs.

However, they also know that consumers like you don’t have a lot of extra money to spend, and they don’t want to scare you away. So to keep prices from getting too high, they’re just making cheaper clothes.

They do that by using less expensive fabric or just less fabric in general…sexy!

Then they will tell you that it’s “the new style”, that it is “already broken in” or has a “softer feel.”

don draper clothing quality

For that you can thank the work of sly copywriters who’ve watched a few too many episodes of Mad Men and are aspiring to be the next Don Draper.

If clothing retailers don’t chintz on the material, they’ll try to add a little value and jack up the price a lot.

For instance, an Associated Press story on clothing quality claims Land’s End is adding buttons and stitching to girl’s corduroy pants to justify raising the price $7.

These little extras may only cost a few extra cents, but the price will jump significantly to cover production and labor expenses. But you feel like you’re getting more for your money…so I guess it’s okay!

Abercrombie & Fitch is introducing new jeans for 2012 calling them “softer” with the “perfect amount of stretch.” But a retail analyst who took a look at the denim for the AP says the truth is they are actually “thinner” and of a “cheaper quality.”

It’s funny, because I’ve noticed something strange going on in my closet the past few years. For some reason, I still have dress shirts that I wore in college, and even some favorite t-shirts I wore in high school. But a lot of the clothes I’ve purchased recently are already completely worn out.

There are rips in the elbows of my shirts, and buttons have popped of khaki’s I got last Christmas. I suppose that could be attributed to my expanding gut…but I’m just saying…it’s an interesting coincidence.

Of course, we know that clothing retailers aren’t the only ones making deceiving moves like this. You’ll also find some nasty tricks in the grocery store where prices have gone up while size and weight have gone down. Read more about that in our post “Food Price Inflation – What You Haven’t Noticed.”

If you’re looking to save money on clothes but don’t want them to wear out – head over to Wise Bread and check out 16 Ways to Make Clothes Last Longer and 12 Ways to Save Cash on New Clothes.

+Kasey Steinbrinck honed his writing skills as a TV producer and newspaper reporter. He now blogs on personal finance and the economy for Check Advantage. Visit the site today to find cheap personal and business checks including Quicken Checks and Scenic Checks.


  1. Disgusting. I totally agree because of today, some factories are not vary on the quality of the clothes. They are up to the sales not the name of the company. But there are some also still remain conscious on there product, quality and assurance they provided.

  2. These companies do not bother with quality anymore, the mindset may be that, when consumers find their items cheaper and more affordable than other competitors, they still gain an upper hand on the volume of their sales. Stiff prices generally make us choose the lower price over the higher one which promises better quality. We are the victims as usual because of our tight budget.

    • It sure seems like we’re victims – doesn’t it Amy?!

      But I suppose it’s also just a sign of the times when it comes to business. The best thing we can do is stay wise to all of it.

  3. I agree that the prices go up and the quality go down! I bought a dress last day and it’s cost me a big money, that night I wear in my best friends party I’m shock the skirt ripped… Snap!

  4. Thanks for the link to hoop love! I was thinking I wanted to do either embroidery or applique and was looking for some inspiration :)

  5. I usually buy dresses at least once a week, but I have really observed prices goes up but I am not satisfied with the quality of the cloth it really makes me wonder why they raised their price and yet the cloth was not at good quality.

  6. business checks says:

    Hi there,

    Ya even in malls, I buy clothes after paying so high bucks but I don’t get good quality


  7. Yes the quality of clothing that comes from over seas is just terrible. We need to say no more. I shop at Pennys, Macy’s,Sears,Kohls. I walk out with nothing.
    We are fools for excepting this. Why can’t we make it in the USA.

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