Here at Dobbin, we often talk about doing things the "old school" way when it comes to fit, quality, craftsmanship, and customer service. As the global garment industry has evolved toward cookie-cutter design and faster and faster production schedules, standards have been lowered, quality has been forgotten and, sadly, much of the magic of the fashion world has been lost. We're working every day to bring some of that magic back, and you can help. Here are 7 ways modern women can infuse some "old school" sensibility into their shopping habits, wardrobes, and personal style.
1. Invest in quality. Past generations knew that quality clothing was a worthy investment, so they spent more money on each piece, and bought fewer items overall. These days, we've become accustomed to buying many, many more garments of much lower quality. It's time we stop settling for cheap, shoddily made clothing. Nothing beats the feeling of saving up for an amazing, high quality garment you will wear for years to come.
2. Educate yourself about clothing. You don't have to get a degree in fashion design to be a more educated consumer. A simple way to start is just by noticing how different fabrics feel against your skin, how different seams flatter your body, how long certain pieces of clothing tend to last. Take a look at the construction of a well-made garment that you've owned for years, and compare it to a cheaper, low quality garment from a fast fashion store. Once you train yourself to spot these differences, you'll be able to quickly identify quality garments and make better choices whenever you go shopping!
3. Prioritize great fit. Have you noticed how many modern day trends include flowy, shapeless garments, often in flimsy fabrics? As comfortable as this type of clothing might be, it's not particularly flattering and it rarely lasts more than a month or two. If you want to add a dose of vintage polish to your look, treat yourself to clothing that actually fits. Look for pieces with thicker fabrics and more structure, clothes that are designed to fit and flatter a woman's body rather than swallow it whole.
4. Befriend your tailor. Speaking of fit, the best way to ensure a truly perfect fit is to have your clothing tailored. Tailoring and alterations used to be a given - clothing wasn't brought home directly from the store, it was taken straight to the tailor! - and the difference between an off-the-rack garment and a tailored garment is often worthy of a double take. Here at Dobbin, we design our clothes to fit beautifully right off the rack (or out of the box, to be more specific), but we also keep tailoring in mind when constructing our garments, making them easy to alter as desired.
5. Take good care of your clothes. Over the past decade or so, consumers have been trained to view clothing as a disposable resource. After all, when you pay $5 for a t-shirt, you don't really expect it to last, and you know you can always go out and buy a few more to replace it. But back in the day, clothing was valued and cared for with the respect it deserved. Keep this in mind as you launder your clothes, wear them, and store them. Treat them like beautiful investment pieces, because they are!
6. Repair instead of throwing away. Even when you take great care of your clothes, after awhile, wear and tear can take a toll. When a button falls off or a small rip appears, don't toss that dress in the garbage! Repair it yourself or take it to that aforementioned tailor of yours (this is why you befriended her, remember?) and have it fixed up. Getting in the habit of repairing clothing instead of tossing it is good for your wallet and good for the earth - textile waste is a growing problem in landfills. Turns out our grandmothers were right: a needle and thread can save the world.
7. Buy American-made. As little as 20 years ago, "made in USA" clothing tags far outnumbered "made in China" labels. The United States garment industry was once a thriving system that employed thousands of people and manufactured high quality clothing. Alas, thanks to changing trade agreements and the rise of fast fashion, now the vast majority of clothing on American store shelves is imported (and usually cheaply made). Companies like Dobbin are committed to manufacturing their clothing in the USA, and you can show your support by buying American-made garments whenever possible.
So there you have it. From looking fabulous to helping the environment and the economy, there are tons of reasons to do things the "old school" way, at least when it comes to clothing. We'll be keeping it old school here at Dobbin. Won't you join us?