Why Would You Buy Fast-Cheap Fashion

It’s hard to understand that spending more money is actually cheaper…..but it is.  So many people believe that buying something at $3.80 can’t be expensive, no matter how many times you buy it.  But that’s exactly what the FCF (fast/cheap fashion) moguls hope you will believe.   Here’s a few examples.

OK – here’s the thing here…..this is a straight dress on this emaciated figure of a person (she eats 1 rice cake a week) and so we don’t see anything poking out (like hips, bust, stomach or fanny).  Soooo how can we possibly gauge how this would look on us, if we can’t see someone who has a regular shape in it.

If we do happen to think (it’s a stretch I  know) that a regular figure would look good in this, then get it home and put it on – it will be so far away from this look that it will look like the difference between a shot of tequila and a cup of herb tea!!!

How do we make that jump from thinking that it might even have a possibility that it might look OK on a regular figure?  Part of it comes from the feeling deep down  inside, that surely the retailer wouldn’t lie.  I mean after all -this is the US of A, and things like that just don’t happen.

Then there’s the feeling, that we really aren’t as misshapen as all that – OK we’re a little out of shape, but not so much that we couldn’t fit into a size of this albeit a large size.  Here’s the prolem with that (other than the part about knowing our real size), that we get a size that’s large enough to appropriately hide and/or provide ease, it’s like a sack.


It doesn’t matter if you are talking about size 0 or 62,
– it has no shape
– It has no darts
– it will not have more shape in larger sizes
– it will not have more darts in larger size

Why do they make it without any darts?  Because they think it will look like it fits more folks and it’s cheaper to make up (less darts/seams to sew, cheaper to make).

Now the style has a lot going for it.  If we were take this and make this into something that could work, first thing to do is add FBA, then it would be smashing to add maybe a little under bust/waist dart, and to keep the waist (or in this case the bodice skirt seam) a little higher than the waist, and have the skirt gently round out around the hips and either fall straight down or bell or taper in just slightly.  This type of dress would have style, shape and would look good on a number of different type of regularly-sized figures.

Again the same as above….no shape, no style, no  lines to show off any figure.

And this lack of shape, line, style does not get better with different or larger or smaller sizes.  The  garment is what it is.

It’s a box.

The box doesn’t change when you order it.

The box doesn’t change shape when you order it.

The box doesn’t change style in a larger/smaller size.

So you have two choices with this garment – buy a large size and look like a bag lady, or buy a small size and look like a tart (because every ripple on your bod will show as the knit is stretched over it).

Does either of those sound good?

It doesn’t to me.

OK – this is  a different problem…there’s more than one, but we’ll start with the big one first.

The girls!  Unless you are a tart walking  the street after midnight looking to earn some extra cash, you would want the girls to stay in place, and there’s nothing like a low-cut dress, top or tunic that shows a little of the girls and yet they are completely safe from popping out unexpectedly!

This dress does NOT fall in that category.  The armhole on the side is cut very low (this was a high fashion trend on the Oscar Red Carpet last spring and it’s great for the starlets but we do not need to be wearing everything they do – just cause they’re wearing it.)

Additionally (as if the side armhole wasn’t enough), the front low-cut line is a problem and particularly combined
together (with the extra ease – that you don’t need – on the side with the lo-cut front that means the fabric is very loose around the bust line).  This dress has a belt (I know it’s hard to see, but you can see it), but there’s some blouson between the belt and the bottom of the neckline, and that’s just an open invitation for disaster.  Do this – put on a low-cut top like this, with the arm hole cut that low (remember that means that there is no stability on either side of armhole from the bottom up – so that means it’s flapping loosely), and just see what happens when you bend over, or don’t stand/sit up straight ALL THE TIME.


You’ll wear this number once, and won’t want to wear it ever again, and you certainly won’t feel good in this garment.

Now this gal and her pose can give us a little heads up.

First, she’s thinner than  new sapling tree at the first of spring.  Second, her arms are probably as thin too (we can pretty much assume that)

Third, that means that this coat is probably going to hang on us about the way it does here – with it gaping open.

Do you really want a coat that is gaping open all the time?

Do you really think this is going to keep you warm on cold days with it flying open cause you can’t keep it closed?

Do you think that a larger size (with a longer hem) would look better?  Remember the sleeve head/shoulders would be off the shoulder.

If this is gaping on this thin girl – how could it be better on a regularly figured gal?

So why buy this?  Convenience?….order it in, and you have a coat for winter – so what if it doesn’t close;  so what if it doesn’t keep you warm – it looks okay so therefore it’s all you have.  Folks when you order it, it does not get better than what you see in the catalog or in the store.  If you have a few problems in the store, you’re only going to have more at home after you’ve purchased it.

This is what’s so hard for so many to accept.  What’s being presented as clothing is just a load of junk.  The only difference is that it isn’t off the back end of a junk truck – it’s in a fancy-lit store in the mall – on a model that we all wish we could look like and maybe if we buy those clothes we could come a little closer to looking like that model in the store.

In about a week of work, you could make yourself a coat that would last you for decade MINIMUM!  It would fit.  You would feel good wearing it (imagine walking by a mirror and each time you did, you’d say “Damn, I look really good!”).  You would feel comfortable in it.  It would close so it would function for you.  It’s in a classic color for YOUR taste, YOUR coloring, YOUR look and style and most of all YOUR size!

I know you get tired of me saying this, and I’m sure you think that I’m lying at worst, and at best think I’m just stretching the truth a little.  Things REALLY don’t last 10 years – oh yes they do – and they really last longer!

Things that you make aren’t really better than what you can buy in the store – – oh yes, they are – much better.

I’M NOT. MY CLOTHES LAST A MINIMUM 10 YEARS.  I make them that way.  They are trendy, fashionable (can you not tell how much I love fashion on this blog), at the same time I demand that the quality and workmanship is good enough to last a minimum of 10 years, and therefore that the clothes last – – most of the time longer, but I’m trying to be conservative here so as not to sound like an idiot to folks whose clothes only last a few months or at best a season.

The truth is that a lot of what I have, I’ve had for 15 years and have no intention of getting it out of my closet cause it still works for me.

OK – I know you’re tired of this – but one more….

This is another dress that really doesn’t work because of no darts and no shape.

The reason manufacturers do this, is when they take a design to the manufacturer to be made up, every seam costs $$$.  If they have two seams, it’s less than if they
have 4 (two side seams with two darts) which is less than 6 (two side seams, two darts in front and two darts in back).

So there’s this little fringe thingie on the bottom, that’s going to be like a stretch only you can see through it.  Now see-thru is hot now, but not like this. See-thru that looks like gaps is never chic.

So you get a larger size to fit you and that means the garment is longer.

When FCF industry grades sizes, they grade not only out (girth measurements), they add to the length too.  As you may have well figured out by now, that if we gain girth
inches, we do not necessarily gain in length/height. I’m at a loss as to why FCF does this, but alas they do.  So that means that even though you have not grown taller, your
garment when you get a larger size DOES GROW IN HEIGHT.  So that means that it hits either at an awkward length or at a length not what was originally designed.

I promise one more – it’s important.
One thing that seems to be missing (OK, there are a plethora of things, but this is one of those subtle things that you may not think about a lot), is being age-appropriate.

Cher is not 16 nor 26 anymore.  This isn’t a good look for her.

There’s not a faster nor bigger turn off to good taste and style than being  inappropriately dressed for your age.

At the same time there’s nothing more fun and stunning that watching someone who is appropriately dressed for her age.

  1. Thanks for this. I could never figure out why things looked so good on a store model but never on me. I find as the years go by that I sew more and more of my own clothes. I used to sew mine and my children’s clothing all the time years ago when money was tight. I got away from it as the children grew and my career took more hours each day. Now, I am happy to be back making my own clothing and I am able to purchase better qualiy material.

    • Ann – yeah, it’s really amazing how when you look at these dresses, how there is no way, even if you’re bone thin, you can look good in them. They have absolutely no shape and only come in two designs – boxy and sack! Neither of them are flattering. Why in heavens name would we think that that shape would change or look better when we get it home.

      I will say this that the FCF industry has done a fabulous job in propagandizing the public into believing that simply because it looks good on a mannequin, it has to look good at home. When it doesn’t, it has nothing to do with the garment and the blame all lies at the feet of the purchaser…..let the buyer beware (caveat emptor) indeed!!!

  2. regarding girth vs. hight grading – I saw a blog post somewhere that showed why length is also changed as girth did. They used 2 balls and a dress mockup….where was that post? Anyway, even though the manufacturers assume everyone is the same hight, as you get bigger around, it takes a bit more fabric to go over that increased dimension. Which has been *somewhat* a saving grace for me…being 5’10” sometimes the only way I can find RTW is to buy a size up simply for the wee bit of extra length. Which makes other fit issues, which is why I’m returning to learning to sew my own garments.

    I will say, that’s one thing I’m happy about those sky high heels that have been popular the last years…. I can now find RTW dress pants that I can wear (with flats or low heels) that are the right length.

  3. Amen. I so so agree with every word printed here. My first job after college was in a “sweatshop”, largest manufacturer of men’s clothing in the world to this day, and I learned a lot! One of the things I learned was that fashion decisions were mostly about money, dollars, margin, profit. They were not about a creative genius with a sketch pad doing brilliant designs. That was my fantasy. And this has now morphed to the point of us all looking horrible in this wear it once or twice and chuck it fashion world. We have been slowly brainwashed to accept garbage quality as the standard and have forgotten how fit and effort can be more flattering in so many ways. Yay for those who sew and get this. Keep passing it on, Claire. I will carry the flag behind you any day!

  4. You noted that FCF garments are mistakenly graded in girth and length by the FCF industry, and why is that done, given that although women may get larger around, they don’t get taller? Think of the human figure as a cylinder, that is a rectangle with a circle at the top and bottom. If the rectangular portion increases in circumference (human girth), then the diameter of the circles must necessarily increase, which in our analogy represents length or height increase for a human. If we measure one of those spindly models from high shoulder point, over the bust to the waistline, this will be much less than an average size woman ( bust 36), therefore the need to increase height/ length for each size increase.

    • Exactly John – you would think that the length wouldn’t be graded that much, but it’s graded about the same as the girth, when it’s the girth that causes folks to go to a larger size.

      Yes, you’re right about the bust making the length larger, but only in front, not in back and cerainly not on the sides, and certainly not through the shoulders, but some women can only be fit if the shoulders fall off to their biceps, the back and sides are longer than the front, and have gotten so used to looking like this that when I put their shoulder line back on their shoulder and add an FBA (which lengthens the front, and broadens the girth in front only but does not broaden the shoulder), they fit, and they look fabulous.

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