I get criticized a lot for being brand-conscious and I've heard pretty much every name in the book from label whore to snob. But we all buy brands whether it's toothpaste or cars--and if you absolutely rebel against buying any name brand whatsoever, you end up with the store brand...
So I stick with my brands for 3 main reasons.
- It makes shopping easier - It takes a long time to find the perfect fit. Whether we are looking for shirts, pants or shoes, finding the ideal balance between cost and fit and feel takes time. If we can find a brand that consistently fits you every time, we should stick with it and buy every color they make! Brands save you time and money helping you avoid the endless hunt.
- It means quality - I am a huge fan of Allen Edmonds shoes and, if you've ever approached the subject with me, my 10 minute monologue left no doubt in your mind. I know that buying a pair of AE shoes means I am buying quality that will last me 20-50 years. And if something goes wrong with the shoe, I have no doubt that AE will fix it or give me a new one. I am buying their experience and their customer service as much as I am investing in their physical product. As Simon Sinek would say, I am 'buying the why.'
- Resale Value - This is probably a strange one for most people because you don't think about reselling your used clothes, but the label inside the garment does have additional attributed value in the marketplace. My $10 Target t-shirt probably doesn't have a lot of resell value, but the Burberry trench that I found for $150 marked down from $800 does. And that same trench still sells used on eBay for upward of $300. I make sure to buy most of my clothes on discount so that, when I get tired of them, I can still get the initial invest back and often much more.
To be sure, not all brands are worth their cost. I have something of a vendetta against Prada--it seems that every time I or one of my friends buys a pair of their jeans the 'A's fall off. So we end up with 'Pr_d_' jeans. But I do have a Prada wallet and a couple pairs of their shoes because the wallet was free and the shoes were about $60 each. While they have very little by way of quality, they have tremendous resell value and (while the 'A's are still attached) they look fantastic.
Don't buy an item just because of the brand. But once you've found a brand that fits these 3 criteria, its not a bad thing to be a little more label conscious.