I recently complained about the fact that quality is consistently inconsistent these days, but there are exceptions to this trend. Here is a list of brands that have proved their commitment to quality to me and my clients over the years. The bar is high. The quality has been evident after many wash-and-wear cycles. After all, it’s all about how a garment, pair of shoes or an accessory wears and handles the laundry over time that truly makes its quality exceptional.
The list includes designer and non-designer brands. The price points are varied, and so are the styles.
- Club Monaco
- Karen Millen
- L.K. Bennett
- Furla (handbags in particular)
- Kate Spade
- Soia & Kyo
- Elie Tahari (not Tahari)
- Paul Green
- 3.1 Philip Lim
- Chanel (handbags in particular)
- Helene Berman
- Peter Kaiser
- The North Face
- Zella (workout leggings in particular)
- Brooks Brothers
Apart from Pendleton, Ecco and Birkenstock, these brands are represented in my own wardrobe and I will continue to be loyal to them. I’d buy from Pendleton, Ecco and Birkenstock if I could achieve a good fit with the brands. Alas, I can’t do that until they extend their size range or change their fits.
I also have superb quality items in my wardrobe by brands that aren’t on this list. In fact, some of them are thought to have extremely inconsistent quality. All washed and worn till the cows come home. A short toffee puffer from Zara that looks better than the Ralph Lauren equivalent. A floral Topshop frock that is one of my most frequently worn dresses ever. A navy lace dress from Banana Republic that is lined, machine washable and does not crease. A J.Crew tweed jacket that is made as well as a pricey Chanel. Zara gingham pants that look as pristine as it gets, don’t stretch or crease, and are machine washable. An $11 peplum tee from the Gap that blows me away. And two eight-year-old J.Crew coats that still look good, although I’ve had the linings fixed a couple of times. This was back in the day when J.Crew manufactured their coats in Italy, and the quality was fabulous.
Price is not a good indicator of quality, and for the most part, neither is the brand. The best we can do is make discerning decisions about quality before purchase, launder with care, and hope for the best.
By all means add to my list in the comments section.