The truth of the situation gradually dawned on me as I grew older, especially as I started buiding my adult wardrobe. I began to fully appreciate it when I started to have enough money that I could purchase more expensive items. I do like clothes, but I only like good clothes. When I go to the mall, though, the vast majority of the stuff available is not stuff I'd want to wear. I keep asking myself who makes this stuff, and why can't they make anything nice? I'd search fruitlessly for hours for something I could live with. Then I started going to pricier stores, and my hit rate for stuff I liked started to go up. Shopping could be less of a chore, but only if I were willing to pay much higher prices.
Some examples are in order. I have been looking for a pair of brown shoes to wear to work for some time now. I lost count of the number of shopping trips I made looking for a said pair of brown shoes. I wanted a pair that was casual enough to wear with trousers, but that would still look good with a skirt. The first pair that I came across that were almost exactly what I wanted were $500. I was even considering purchasing them, except that they were also too tight across the ball of my foot; at that price I wasn't going to buy anything that didn't fit perfectly. The second pair I liked well enough that I might have purchased them were $260. I was not willing to pay that much for an online shoe purchase... in theory I could have returned them if they didn't fit right or whatever, but in practice I would have had to get them to the post office, and I am not good about running that sort of errand. I finally got a pair of shoes on Friday for a reasonable price (i.e. less than a three digit one). The heels were considerably higher than I'd originally wanted, but given that I can comforatbly wear three inch heels its an OK compromise.
Another example is my quest for a new winter coat. My old wool winter coat is in sad shape. The lining is wearing out all over and is torn in a number of places, and the coat was always a shorter than I really would have liked. What I want is a new coat that is some variety of wool, in black, dark grey, camel or brown. It needs to be long... ankle length would be best. I'd like something with simple, classic lines. I've been looking for a couple of years now. I did see a fabulous coat two years ago, but it came with $5000 price tag. I have yet to see anything in my actual price range (and I am willing to spend a decent amount) that I really like well enough.
Why is the stuff I like so expensive, or rather, why isn't anyone making stuff in the style I prefer more cheaply? The $5000 coat was cashmere and had a big fluffy fur collar. I'd have been quite happy to buy a coat that was cut in the same way, but made of much cheaper wool and minus the fur collar. Sure, the drape would not have been quite the same, etc., but still. As for the shoes, the reasonably priced pair is made of the same materials as the insanely priced pair. I'm sure the workmanship was probably better on the pair with the insane price tag, but I can't discern any reason as to why I was unable to find an affordable shoe in the same basic style as the expensive one. I know it doesn't have to be like this. I can find some great clothes at affordable prices whenever I go shopping in England. I have a fabulous dress that I bought in Montreal several years ago for a quite reasonable price. What is wrong with this country that you have to pay outrageous amounts of money to aquire clothes in what are classic styles?