[one_half]Overrated – Prem Naik
When one calls a man or woman well dressed, they often look for the style of clothes that they are wearing and the aura their style brings. People choose clothes that accurately match our personalities, body types and, most importantly, our budgets.
So, if one was to peel back the collar on a ‘nice outfit,’ often they may be surprised to find that it is not graced with the letters “CK” or the silhouette of a man playing Polo. Instead they may come across a lesser known Kohl’s or Target brand which, for all intents and purposes, produces the exact same clothes. With that, I can safely say name brand clothes are often overrated.
With fall in full swing, speaking from a male perspective, it is easy to identify essentials in a man’s closet: a plain white shirt, a flannel and a pair of jeans with boots. Varied with a puffer or denim jacket, and different colored pants, there are many options men can play around with to create their style. All of this does not require name brands, as all of these clothing items can be found in the aisles of a Macy’s as well as a Marshall’s. Name brands do not hold a monopoly on making clothes that can make you feel fresh and confident. These staples of fall fashion can be found at any clothing store, and the same can be said about pastel-colored summer shirts and shorts.
At the end of a day, a flannel, a polo or a pair of khakis from a name brand will look identical to the same things from a lesser known brand. In many cases, the only thing that separates a name brand piece of clothing is the logo printed on it. The same can be said for women’s fashion, as many of the designs from name brands eventually work their way into stores that are not as brutal on our paychecks. If simply a little effort is put into choosing clothes that match in terms of color and style, one can be well dressed without the need for expensive name brand clothing.
[one_half]Underrated – Zane Nogueras
College is host to a wide range of cultures, and each one has an equally large array of fashions. Fashion is our way of self-expression and our ability to display our personality and status in the world through the use of apparel.
The type of clothing people most commonly associate fashion with is the designer industry. Companies such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and more epitomize the highest form of fashion.
Most people would find the price tags of these brands to be too exorbitant, but the value of the clothing comes from how it is made and the materials inside. For example, genuine leather can be found in affordable fashion brands such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, but the term “genuine leather” is used for the lowest quality of real leather. Most high-end luxury brands use top-grain or full-grain leather, both of which keep more of the original grain and outer core of the hide intact, resulting in a significantly stronger material than genuine. Most products made from full-grain leather can last a lifetime, leading to the much higher price tag.
Another example of the value of quality products is Stance socks. A simple product like socks might seem trivial, but high-quality socks from Stance provide a noticeable increase in quality, with higher thread counts resulting in more comfort.
Luxury does not necessarily mean expensive. Unlike premium fashion brands, luxury brands are trying to make the best quality of clothing, regardless of cost. Premium brands tend to cost less because their goal is to make an affordable product, with quality being a secondary goal. Many people have a superstition that high fashion brands like to arbitrarily price their clothing. However, most items will cost more given the materials used inside, not because of name brand markup. While some brands might be marking up for the name, a vast majority of luxury brands only have profit margins of less than 20% of the cost of the item. In comparison, premium brands such as Nike have around 11% profit margins.
Fashion brings with it a plethora of styles, with people able to express themselves in a variety of forms. Designer brands provide a multitude of different brands that people can purchase to express both their style and status. While some brands are notorious for being expensive and uncomfortable, most luxury fashion brands provide a quality not found in an outlet store.