Overdressed Applies to Men's Fashion

Elizabeth Cline focuses much of her attention on women's fashion in Overdressed. Her observations and argument, though, applies to men’s fashion. Two examples from men’s fashion – Jos. A. Bank and Cole Haan – support Cline’s argument for declining quality coupled with flat to declining price points.

Jos. A. Bank runs daily promotions such as “Buy 1 suit at full price, get 2 free,” and are meant to create foot traffic to the store and/or website. Store employees receive a sheet with the deals for each day for a given month. The clothes are not that good though.

The weave of the cloth is so scant, light pours through it. Suit pants except for the top line lack a liner. The stitching on the sides is long and rushed. The store offers to cuff pants and add buttons for braces. That effort is also slipshod.

While Jos A Bank never claimed to offer the quality of a bespoke suit, it does not bother to offer a suit comparable in quality to what a man could purchase off the rack from a Macy’s or Penney in 1982. Jos. A Bank is only offering a suit in name and cut only.

Investors do not care. Over the last five years, Jos. A. Bank’s stock price climbed from $37.32 to $64.95, an increase of 74%.

As to Cole Haan, the brand has never been known for producing a quality shoe. In the early 1990s, shoes salesmen warned of buying the shoes because the quality was lacking for a shoe with a price point above $100. Twenty years later, the quality has not improved while the price point remains at the same level. To spend that much money on a pair shoes that will not last longer than a year seems pointless.

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Jerry Seinfeld rifts on Jos. A. Bank's deals