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Bargain Hunting May Backfire When Buying New Clothes

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Buying new clothes can make us feel good; add a bargain price tag and it can become an obsession. “The average American consumer buys 68 garments and seven pairs of shoes a year,” explained Elizabeth Cline, author of “The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.”

Cline spent years researching the clothing industry and discovered to get the most for their money, Americans need to change the way they think about clothing and that may mean passing on that really cute $30 dress. “You are essentially buying garbage and you’re throwing your money away,” she said.

According to Cline, you’ll save money in the long run if you spend more on fewer pieces that last. It’s a philosophy Boston designer Sara Campbell built her business on. “There’s just more construction,” Campbell said about her clothes in comparison to cheaper brands. “More construction makes it more durable.”

Learning to spot good construction is at the heart of Cline’s book. “It’s always good to flip it [garment] inside out to see what it is made out of,” she explained. She explained that linings, hems and other details can tell you a lot about the quality of a piece of clothing. She showed us a dress that was fully lined with a blind hem and beautiful pleats and details. “This is a dress to aspire to own,” she said.

To compare the difference in quality, she also showed us a ten dollar dress that had no details and no lining. “The waist on this dress is an elastic waistband and that’s just a way to cut costs, whereas this dress, they actually made an effort to cut into the pattern so it fits your waist,” Cline explained.

According to Cline, when you pay for quality you are more likely to take care of a garment and the longer you wear something, the better it is for your bottom line.

Campbell agrees. She said you are better off buying a great dress that will last and change up your shoes and accessories to give it a new look.

In the end, you’ll save money and look great.

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