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helen-louise
baratron
baratron
life as seen by Millward Brown
As some of you may know, I work for a market research company. I'm not amazingly convinced of the value of some of the surveys we conduct, but I do find interesting clumps of answers. I'd often like to tell people about them, but I'm worried about giving out information That Could Bias The Study. So I generally just discuss them with people at work.

But yesterday I was working on a one-off study about women's clothing. We were asking women and teenage girls what made them choose to buy the clothing they do. Everyone I spoke to mentioned the colour and fabric, and things like how well-made it was - but no one mentioned comfort at all. Now, I know I'm a geek and I have an engineer's approach to clothes - i.e. if my clothes keep me warm and dry and stop people shrieking at me in the street, then they have done their job - but I was very surprised by this. There are two possible conclusions that I can think of. Either:
a) all of the women I spoke to were the right shape and size that they could buy from any women's fashion store and have the clothes be comfortable
or
b) the women I spoke to have been buying clothes from women's fashion stores for so long that they've forgotten that clothes are supposed to be comfortable

I suspect the latter.

Current Mood: hungry hungry

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Comments
mhw From: mhw Date: 16th May 2002 06:20 (UTC) (Link)
Alternative hypothesis: women are conditioned to dress for others, not for themselves. Colour, fabric and visible tailoring are evident to other people; comfort is not.

I think that's even more pessimistic than your second possibility :(
slinkr From: slinkr Date: 16th May 2002 07:51 (UTC) (Link)
The comfortable clothes are in the men's department. I have anxiety attacks when I try to shop in women's clothing stores.
treacle_well From: treacle_well Date: 16th May 2002 08:34 (UTC) (Link)
It could be that "comfort" is more of a meta concept and people think you are asking for "details." Fabric and well-madeness can be aspects of physical comfort. If I perceive something is well-made I also think there's a higher chance that it will fit me less awkwardly and therefore be more comfortable. Some fabrics feel nice, and others are scratchy or don't move with you (and that "moving with you" is also an aspect of good tailoring).

But, I also suspect there is an aspect of either assuming that clothing will be comfortable, or not comfortable, as a given, and therefore not something one thinks to mention specifically when surveyed.
From: jinian Date: 16th May 2002 09:55 (UTC) (Link)
That's pretty much what I was thinking too.
From: redbird Date: 16th May 2002 14:21 (UTC) (Link)
I'm inclined to agree. Fabric, for me, is partly comfort--how does it feel against my skin, how does it feel when I sweat, does it keep me warm/cool?--and partly ease of care (or I'd own more silk than I already do).

I also suspect many people have dealt with comfort partly by deciding what kinds of clothes they like--this is why I don't buy turtlenecks, for example--and it's thus off in the corner as a solved problem. If I know I don't like turtlenecks, and my friend knows she doesn't like jeans, we just aren't even considering things in those categories; someone who is comfortable in turtlenecks will pick one based in part on color.
baratron From: baratron Date: 16th May 2002 16:19 (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Unfortunately, off the top of my head now I can't remember the exact answers that people gave to be able to apply your theory to them. But it's an interesting theory.

When I think of fabrics "moving with" me, though, I think of my sleeping bag, which is a mummy-shape one with a hood. Now, the idea is that you sleep with the bag pulled tightly around you in all directions. But I roll around so much in the night that it's inevitable that at some point I will wake up to find the hood over my face, and slowly choking me to death!
thekumquat From: thekumquat Date: 16th May 2002 12:48 (UTC) (Link)
I suspect people take comfort as read even if they find it difficult to find comfortable clothes, just because if a clothes isn't comfortable they don't buy it.

If you'd asked me and I answered with regard to my current outfit, I'd have said colour and durability - durability being a function of fitting right so the jeans don't rub. If you'd asked me about shoes, I'd have said comfort, though.

Thing about it though, half my work clothes are castoffs from David - goodness knows how you'd have coded that!
hiddenpaw From: hiddenpaw Date: 16th May 2002 13:46 (UTC) (Link)

or

It could just be that People give Fassionable answers. People with to appear fassionable and sensible. So Quality fabric and the right colour would fit that image they want to give out. Comfort's not fassionable right now.

This said you are speaking to a hiddenpaw and there for sombody who only feels comfortable when he's dressed in high quality cloaths of the right colour (red white and black).
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 21st May 2002 08:16 (UTC) (Link)
My answer would be "fabric, quality and fit" - I wouldn't mention comfort because, well, it all adds up to comfort and I look for those three traits to determine probable comfort levels before going to try it on.

But before I do that, I check the price.
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