When it comes to shopping for fashion, women usually dominate
, buying clothing for their men as well as themselves. But ladies, I have a gauntlet to throw down: Women have a lot to learn from the way men shop.
I first sensed this when menswear designer
Thom Browne told me that he couldn't use a fabric
unless it felt good 'to the hand,' because men won't buy uncomfortable
Come again? If comfort were the top criterion for selling womenswear, Jimmy Choo would be out of business. Unlike men, women frequently settle for garment
s that don't fit well and don't feel good.
Sometimes, women have little choice. It has long been an irritating truth is that men are offered better-quality clothes for lower prices. Many fashionable
women's clothes -- including plenty sold at luxury
prices -- are made relatively
cheaply. 'Women do get shortchanged in the market,' says Patrick Gigliotti, a menswear salesman
at the venerable
Boyd's Philadelphia department store. Some women who value well-made clothing have even resorted to shopping in menswear departments.
One reason for the quality difference is trendiness: Because womenswear is more faddish, there's a perception
in the fashion industry that the clothes will be thrown away more quickly. Indeed, fast fashion has trained a generation
to seek out throwaway styles.
should matter. Women are always looking for clothes that will lift their bottoms and smooth their bulges. That's exactly the kind of magic that tailoring
works. Luckily, with a little education about the way sophisticated men shop, it is possible to buy good-quality womenswear.
What does it mean to think like a man? Consider the way Jay Kos bought himself a pair of pants in New York last Sunday. Mr. Kos, himself a clothier and the owner of the Jay Kos store on Park Avenue, found a pair of olive wool pants at Soho's Blue in Green shop. But the pants had to pass a few tests before he took them to the dressing room. First, he felt the wool with his hand to ascertain
its weight and softness
. He checked the seams for clean stitching -- no loose threads. In the dressing room, he squatted to be sure they fit comfortably
. Only then did he step out to take a careful look in the store's biggest mirror and ask the salesman
if the pants fit well.
像男士一样思考意味着什么呢？来看看杰伊•科斯的购物之道吧，上周日他在纽约给自己买了一条长裤。科斯本人就是一位面料商，在派克大街(Park Avenue)有一家以自己名字命名的店铺。他在索霍区的Blue in Green商店里看上了一条橄榄色的毛料裤子，不过他在试穿之前就会给这条裤子把几道关：首先，他用手抚摸面料，以感知其份量和柔软度，然后检查接缝处──确认没有松懈的线。试穿的时候，他做了下蹲的动作，确保裤子舒服合体。然后他才走出试衣间，在店里最大的那面镜子前一边仔细端量，一边问售货员裤子是否合身。
This isn't the way most women shop. But it can be.
A first step is to put less focus on the brand. Logos don't guarantee
fine craftsmanship. Dozens of luxury
womenswear brands make high-quality fashions -- Dolce & Gabbana and Akris among them. But I've found excellently sewn clothes at Zara (though not universally
so). Some brands, like Ralph Lauren, have varying quality levels among a dizzying array of sub-brands. Akris offers well-made but lower-quality clothes under the 'Akris punto' label. Rather than being blinded by branding, use it only as a starting point.
第一步，不要过于关注品牌。牌子响不一定保证做工就精良。有几十个豪华女装品牌出品优质时装──比如杜嘉班纳(Dolce & Gabbana)和艾克瑞斯(Akris)。不过我在Zara也发现了做工非常完美的单品（当然并不是全部了）。有些品牌，比如拉夫•劳伦(Ralph Lauren)，有着令人眼花缭乱的子品牌，其质量便是参差不齐的。艾克瑞斯的"Akris punto"系列做工依然精良，不过质地就会稍逊一筹。不要盲目相信品牌，仅仅作为参考就可以了。
When you like a garment
, grab the fabric
and crunch it up -- ignoring any gasps you hear from the womenswear sales staff, who are not accustomed to these maneuvers. If the cloth stays wrinkled or feels scratchy, considering
'You should start from the inside out,' says Debi Greenberg, owner of Louis, a high-end store in Boston that caters to both men and women. Loose threads and ragged
seams are signs of poor construction
. Look for seams that have been carefully rolled and folded before being stitched down or have been 'taped,' or sewn over with a narrow strip of fabric
In pants, the waistband is particularly important, as it provides structure
and must hold up to sweat, pressure
and twisting. In well-tailored pants, the waistband will have two layers of lining
, with some structural seams in between. When it comes to pants, Ms. Greenberg recommends Proenza Schouler and Marni at the high end of the price range and Jil Sander for Uniqlo at the more affordable end.
买裤子的时候，要特别留意裤腰部位，因为它是裤子是否有型的关键，而且必须要能经得起汗水、压迫力和扭曲力的考验。剪裁精良的长裤，其裤腰部位必须有两层衬里，衬里之间有一些结构性的缝合。格林伯格推荐的裤子品牌，高端的是Proenza Schouler和Marni，价格实惠的则是优衣库(Uniqlo)的吉尔•桑达(Jil Sander)系列。
A good jacket
starts with a shoulder that permits comfortable movement
and isn't so stuffed with foam padding that it looks awkward
with the arm raised.
While you're peering inside the garment
, check out the width of the fabric
in the seams. Is there enough to allow the garment
to be let out, if necessary? While good men's clothing is manufactured to be altered, women often have to buy a size larger and then cut the garment
down -- which can be more costly
It's a good idea to ask where the garment
-- and sometimes the fabric
-- were manufactured. 'Men love the story,' says Mr. Kos. 'If you're going to spend the money, then it should come from a place with a respect for quality.'
The country of origin
can be an indicator of quality, and it's certainly a fair indicator of price. Italy, France and Japan are famous for their high manufacturing standards, but their prices are higher than those of lower-labor-cost nations.
Still, 'made in Italy' is no guarantee
, and it's possible to buy well-made clothes from many parts of the world. The 3.1 Phillip Lim brand makes some high-quality clothing in China with taped inner seams and alterable waistbands. J. Crew buys many quality shirting fabric
s and cashmere yarns from Italian factories and then cuts and sews the clothes in less expensive
当然，"意大利制造"也不能保证百分百没错，而且在其他国家也可以买到做工精良的服装。菲利林3.1(3.1 Phillip Lim)有一些带内锁边和可调式裤腰的高品质服装是在中国生产的。J. Crew从意大利厂商手中购入优质衬衫面料和羊绒纱，然后在劳动力低廉的国家进行剪裁和缝制。
Mr. Kos believes that garment
s and accessories that use a logo as the dominant
design feature are more likely to take short cuts with materials or manufacturing.
Only after a garment
has passed all these tests is it time to try it on. Be sure you can raise your arm in a shirt or jacket
and that you can squat (without making the knees baggy) in pants. See if you can breathe easily. There should be no stretch marks across the torso and no gaping buttons.
When in doubt, remember what Mr. Gigliotti of Boyd's says about men's priorities: 'Comfort is paramount.'