Women’s Apparel Industry is Asleep

By now you’ve noticed some big quality and price differences in men’s and women’s clothing. Especially for casual clothing, men’s clothing is typically less expensive for the quality level, better made in general and fits better. Men usually have a two-size option for their clothing which means a nicer fit and therefore it looks and wears better.

Women’s clothes, on the other hand, cost more, are not made very well and have minimal size options. Although women have more body dimensions, manufacturers usually make only one-size option for women’s apparel (misses sizes 4-18). On occasion sometimes pants or tops will come petite, average and tall, but not often.

So what to do? So far I’ve been pretty good about adhering to my challenge of buying no new clothes this year. So I’m not going to be looking for casual clothes anytime soon. But if you are, I strongly recommend resale clothing stores that carry men’s clothing.

In resale shops you will find that men’s used shirts come in a rainbow of colors to wear in place of a sweater. In fact, the colors in resale stores are likely to be the colors women prefer – pastels and brights. They are super soft for sleeping in. The 2-way size option (neck, sleeve length) means you can find a size that fits better – unless you have a larger bust. But even then, just leave the shirt casually unbuttoned with a bright tank top underneath.

Men’s khakis and jeans may actually fit you better because you have both the waist and length size options. Again the construction is usually excellent. Already washed and worn means the fabric is softer. The new “boyfriend jeans” look is made for hijacking men’s pants. At resale store prices you can afford more than one pair.

Finally, for new clothing, men’s sport socks (gray and white) and dress socks look nicer, shrink to fit women who wear shoe sizes 8-10 and cost less. Men’s sleep pants are a better option for the same reasons.

Like my post on the furniture industry, the women’s apparel industry is not only patriarchal but deeply asleep. But you don’t have to be!

You may also like Where Do Our Clothes Come From? and Non Profit Economy.