How to choose a quality outfit?

We often talk about checking the quality of a garment before buying it, and estimating its quality/price ratio. However, this quality criterion is rather confusing, because several concepts are opposed. There are those for whom quality clothing is:
  • solid and functional,
  • Beautiful and well cut.
In this article, we look at the relationship between these two criteria.

Choosing a quality outfit

Many readers are discovering some brands even though they have had a purely functional approach to clothing for several years. By following this criterion, a garment would be chosen solely on the basis of its technical characteristics:
  • keeps you warm,
  • waterproof,
  • solid,
  • comfortable,
Indeed, it is the best way to think when you are preparing a hike on the GR20. A good product (based on these criteria) requires specific attention to the material and finish. For example, a t-shirt that is antiperspirant, non-irritating to the skin and that regulates heat well requires a technical material. In the same way, for a raincoat to be perfectly waterproof, there is a real research and development work to be done on the seams (for example, there are waterproof seams that are heat-sealed). This kind of clothing is very easy to find at Décathlon, and they are quite cheap. However, these clothes are generally not aesthetically pleasing. And that's normal: it's not part of the list of criteria for customers and designers.

How to dress well with style as a criterion

If we replace the "functional" criterion with the "aesthetic" criterion, the well-cut shirt replaces the t-shirt won at the cognac marathon. The jacket and coat replace the old parka that was too big. The waterproof seams are dropped in favour of a breath-taking style. So let's say we put all the functional criteria aside to focus on these aesthetic criteria:
  • style,
  • cut,
  • design,
  • Easy to match.
Brands that focus solely on these characteristics succeed in producing inexpensive and successfully designed clothing. This is the case with Zara or H&M. However, these garments are generally of very low quality in terms of the materials used, the finishes or their solidity. A "stylish" coat bought for less than 50 € in PAP has a good chance of not keeping you warm or protecting you from the rain. And after an intensive wearing season, it will have lost its shape and the pockets or lining may have torn.

All at once: solid and stylish? Airy and cut?

If you want it all at once, you'll have to pay the price (for a good cause, you'll see). But first, I need to clarify one thing. If you are looking for an item from the following list:
  • a pair of varnished toe sneakers that are snow-resistant and can be used to climb Everest without an oxygen bottle,
  • a thermo-regulating selvedge jeans in which you never get hot in summer,
  • a waterproof cashmere shed that goes underwater and lined with Gore-Tex,
  • A shirt in which you can play volleyball.
We'll stop you right there! Look no further, it doesn't exist. However, being a little less demanding, a quality garment has characteristics of both worlds. The piece becomes both aesthetic AND functional.
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