Price is probably the most important practical consideration for the average consumer. The consumer evaluates the total worth of all the fashion appeal aspects of the garment or accessory and their relationship to its retail price.
The try-on is a crucial step in the consumer's selection of a garment because sizing is not a guarantee to fit. Each company tries its sample garments on models who are typical of the company's customers. However, it is difficult to set size ranges and grading rules to fit every figure. The fitting room, try-on, further enables the customer to judge if fashion appeal elements are suitable to his or her figure type or general appearance.
It is important that a fashion item be suitable or acceptable for a specific occasion or for the needs of the consumer's life-style. For example, life in a large city requires more formality in clothing than life in the country. Impulse shoppers do not consider appropriateness and therefore purchase many items that do not fit into their wardrobe.
Brands are a manufacturer's means of product identification. Some consumers buy on the basis of a particular brand's reputation, often as a result of heavy advertising.
Fabric performance and care
The durability of a garment or accessory and the easy or difficulties of caring for it are often factors in selection. Most consumers prefer easy-care, wash and wear fabrics, although designer and contemporary customers may not mind paying for dry cleaning and more delicate fabrics they prefer. Easy care and durability are of special concern in children's wear and work clothes. Government regulations now require fibre-content and care-instruction to be sewen into apparel.
This term refers to the quality of construction, stitching and finishing. Quality standards have fallen due to rise in labour costs. Unfortunately, many consumers cannot and do not bother to evaluate workmanship. The junior customer cares little about quality. She is likely to throw away a garment before it wears out. The designer, contemporary or missy customer, on the other hand, generally considers clothing an investment and may not mind spending more for the lasting qualities of fine detailing and workmanship.
To meet consumers demand and changes in consumer life-styles, manufacturers and retailers have developed various size and price ranges as well as categories for styling and clothing type.
Each size range caters to a different figure type:
The junior customer, sizes 3 to 15, has a less developed figure and a shorter back-waist length than the missy figure.
The missy figure, sizes 6 to 16 is fully developed. In missy seperates, some blouses and sweaters are sized 30 to 36 or small, medium and large. Sizing 30 to 36 was originally inches, but sizes have grown over the years.
Petite sizes come in both junior and missy. Junior petite is meant for shorter junior figures, petite sizes in missy are for smaller proportioned missy figures.
Large or women's sizes, used for sports wear, are 36 to 52 for uppers (jackets and shirts) and 30 to 40 for lowers (pants and skirts)
Half-sizes (12 1/2 to 241/2 ) are used for large size dresses. They have a shorter back-waist length and a slightly larger waist than regular large sizes.
Men's suits range in size from 36 to 44, based on chest measurements. Lengths are designated after the size number. R for regular, S for short, and L for long.
Young men's sizes, equivalent to junior sizes for women, have a narrower fit in the jacket and hip, and a shorter rise in the trouser than regular men's sizes.
Children's wear is sized by age group. Infant sizes are based on age in months, usually 3, 6, 9, 12 and 18. However, since development varies so much from child to child, many manufacturers are now also identifying weight ranges on their labels.
Toddler clothes, for the child who has learned to walk, are sized 1 to 3, children's sizes are 3 to 6. At this point, sizes seperate for boys and girls. Girls wear comes in sizes 7 to 14, the developing adolescent wears subteen 6 to 14, and the young teen wears young junior 3 to 13. Boy's sizes are patterned after men's and include sizes 7 to 14.
A garment should give good value for its price. There are many price ranges, each with a different level of customer expectations. As the price goes up, the customer expects higher quality in fashion, fabric, fit and finish.
Designer garments are becoming so expensive that the group of people who can afford them is shrinking. Therefore, many designers are adding less expensive lines. Each garment manufacturer generally specializes in one price range. The designer and merchandiser must consider the cost of every fabric trim or construction detail that goes into a garment. Costs must fit into a specific price range.
Both women's dresses and women's sports wear currently come in style ranges as well as size ranges. Some of the terms overlap because style ranges grew out of age groups. However, many women today cross the boundaries, dressing to fit their figure and personality rather than their age.