Women Should Shop Like Men

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It's a well-worn, if not always accurate, stereotype: women love shopping and immerse themselves in the experience, while men, when they can't avoid shopping altogether, get in and out of stores as quickly as humanly possible.

That's why it's surprising to hear The Wall Street Journal's Christina Binkley instruct women that they can learn a lot from how men shop. What does she mean, exactly?

Consider the way Jay Kos bought himself a pair of pants in New York last Sunday. Mr. Kos, himself a clothier and the owner of the Jay Kos store on Park Avenue, found a pair of olive wool pants at Soho's Blue in Green shop. But the pants had to pass a few tests before he took them to the dressing room. First, he felt the wool with his hand to ascertain its weight and softness. He checked the seams for clean stitching--no loose threads. In the dressing room, he squatted to be sure they fit comfortably. Only then did he step out to take a careful look in the store's biggest mirror and ask the salesman if the pants fit well.

Binkley believes this quest for comfortable clothing--and instinct to purchase a garment based not on its label but on fit and feel--is common among the more discriminating of men. Women should follow suit.

If comfort were the top criterion for selling womenswear, Jimmy Choo would be out of business. Unlike men, women frequently settle for garments that don't fit well and don't feel good. ... One reason for the quality difference is trendiness: Because womenswear is more faddish, there's a perception in the fashion industry that the clothes will be thrown away more quickly. Indeed, fast fashion has trained a generation to seek out throwaway styles.

Yet tailoring should matter. Women are always looking for clothes that will lift their bottoms and smooth their bulges. That's exactly the kind of magic that tailoring works. Luckily, with a little education about the way sophisticated men shop, it is possible to buy good-quality womenswear.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.