Could Anything Justify $400 For A Sweatshirt?

February 14, 2015

Could Anything Justify $400 for a Sweatshirt?

In the years I’ve been working on Put This On, I’ve learned to take a gentler stance towards clothing prices. I still shop mostly for second-hand clothes, from thrift stores and online, and still haunt sales, but I also occasionally buy something relatively expensive. I know from manufacturing a genuinely handmade clothing product myself that doing something right comes with a price, and I like to support folks who do so – and also get exactly the thing I want – from time to time.

But the sweatshirt pictured above is three hundred ninety five dollars. $395. Seriously. That’s what it costs.

This sweatshirt comes from one of my favorite brands – Nigel Cabourn – one that I’ve advocated here and which I’ve dug deep in my own pocket to buy on more than one occasion. 

But $395?


This is machine-made clothing. Made in England, sure, and made from the finest Japanese materials, I’m certain… but it wasn’t made by a skilled tailor. There is no handwork here, performed by a hyper-skilled artisan. This sweatshirt was made by a machine in a factory, and seriously I just can’t figure out how it could possibly cost this much money.

A couple years ago I bought a very expensive (to me) gray sweatshirt, and it was a decision I agonized about. I was at a clothing show, and they were selling it for close to wholesale, but I still paid over a hundred bucks for it. It was (and is) made in Japan by another manufacturer with an impeccable pedigree (Real McCoy’s). It’s even woven in a tube, so there are no side seams. It is a really, really nice sweatshirt. I’m glad I bought it. 

At full retail, it’s $215.

That’s about five Gap sweatshirts less than $395.

Look: all of the Nigel Cabourn clothing I have is beautiful. I’m sure this sweatshirt is, too. It even has an interior pocket (?). 


Sometimes I think I should be in another line of work.