Originally Posted by GlassWolf
Wal-Mart, Levi's outlet stores, etc.. you can easily buy jeans in the US for about $20-40/pair. I can't imagine paying $100 for any pair of pants that isn't a part of a nice business suit. I have no idea how women can afford to dress themselves honestly, looking at what they pay for clothes. We guys have it easy. I wear Dockers, Levi's, etc.. and never paid three figures for a pair of any of them. Not even the Banana Republic stuff..
I guess it depends on a number of factors. This tangent reminds me a bit of a scene in the TV show Friday Night Lights, where two characters (Tim Riggins and Jason Street) fly up to NYC from rural Texas, and ask a guy where he bought his suit. The guy tells them "Paul Stuart," a decent upper-midrange men's haberdasher, maybe on average a half-step above Brooks Brothers or J. Press in quality. So they head down Madison to PS. They admire a suit there, but then run out when they see the price tag. Which was pretty reasonable, from what I remember.
Maybe I'm a snob, but I wouldn't buy anything from Banana except for boxers and socks. Banana used to have reasonably serviceable shirts - not something one would mistake for a Truzzi, Finamore, or Charvet, but decent enough if one's not doing anyone important that day. However, sometime last decade they stopped using proper shell buttons and moved to plastic. I don't wear petrochemicals. While I don't recall anything about their jeans - I have no experience with them - their trousers were never that good in materials or workmanship, though some of their cuts are serviceable. I prefer Incotex for trousers for the most part, either under their own brand, or made by them for Zegna, Luciano Barbera, or other "designers." (It's pretty easy to spot a pair of rebadged Incos.) There are plenty of other good makers, but Incotex seem to work well for me and their prices aren't out of line.
As for women, they can afford to dress the way they do because women's clothes don't need to be (and usually aren't) particularly high in quality of fabrics or tailoring due to turnover in trends. Durability in most women's clothes is really no virtue, because women don't keep things for long. So fashionable women's clothes are comparatively cheap, even when one factors in the marketing campaigns that make up most of their "production" costs.
Men's clothes, by contrast, can often last near forever if they're well made to start, though one does pay for quality. Look at Lapo Elkann, for instance. He's considered one of the most stylish men in the world. Yet most of his tailored clothing is stuff he inherited from his grandfather, Fiat magnate Gianni Agnelli! Probably the oldest cloth thing in my wardrobe is my raincoat. My grandfather bought it at Harrod's over a half-century ago
, and wore it for 30+ years when it rained. Now, would a new Burberry raincoat last as long? Maybe not, because they unfortunately transformed into a "fashion" brand sometime in the late 1990s, with the step-down in quality that comes inevitably comes with such a repositioning. But surely there's a current-day equivalent.
True, men today* aren't by-and-large trained to understand the difference between clothing well crafted, and clothing merely advertised in the Esquire Black Book or other such "authorities." So they settle for the likes of Armani or Prada (or, if they're rich, Kiton, who make great ties but whose tailored clothing is possibly the biggest rip-off in menswear) because they don't know how find something decent. Just as "audiophiles" don't generally know what music should sound like, so they settle for crappy loudspeakers (often very expensive, but still crappy) with midrange colorations due to basic geometrical flaws (e.g. a 7" mid-woofer mated to a 1" dome tweeter flushed into the baffle, or one of those stupid Raal toys with a large midwoofer.), rather than seeking out well-designed speakers to start with, regardless of price. And when they're unhappy, some con-man audio parts dealer convinces them that a new hunk of wire will make all the difference...
*Not just American men, mind. It's a global thing.