Ready to Wear is a %$# Rip Off

Exhibit A:

Last year I bought a new coat. A VERY expensive coat for me– well over $200. A definite splurge. I was diligent. Outershell must be natural fibers only. I must be able to breathe. Must be flattering. Must make me feel like I couldn’t make it. Must not pay retail. I got said coat and was happy with it. Until all the buttons popped off and it started coming apart at the seams.

First, the seams at the waist ripped. Both sides. And, all three buttons popped off at different times.

Then, this BS. The lining on *both*  sleeves are all ripped and shredded.

I AM SO MAD. Yes, I know I can make a new lining and will. But, I coulda made this for a fraction of the cost and it wouldn’t be ripping now. But, I didn’t think I was ready and able to make a coat!

You know, my parents bought me a coat in Budapest, Hungary in middle school that I wore ALL THE WAY THROUGH COLLEGE. If the Soviets could make a good coat, why can’t Anne Klein!?

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest! On a positive note, I’m done with my sweatshirt dress from LMB! I’m wearing it out tonight to a Christmas party and will post pictures tomorrow.

And, I want to thank you for all the kind comments on my pants! I’m overwhelmed. I’m really glad these helped me rally and I’m excited that we’re all excited about sewing.


  1. What a bummer!!!! You’d think a company that plasters their name all over their product would create a product that would make that name look good…

  2. Now you know why I’m in the midst of making myself a new coat – and with super-de-dooper nuclear-powered flannelized satin coat lining as well. I’m going to make the guess that that fancy ‘weave my name into it’ lining fabric is acetate (that stuff has a ‘planned shred date’ built into it, I swear). I hate that stuff, but when the waist seam is conking out as well? I totally agree with your estimate that RTW is a rip off – and I could go on for hours and hours about how the coat that has the fancy lining in it was probably made by the same factory in China that produces coats for Wal-Mart…and for Ralph Lauren. The only difference is the fancy buttons and the profit margin. Everyone expects the consumer to pay through the teeth – but they are not willing to provide value for the money. And that is why we sew – we build in value and even though we can’t get the ‘economies of scale’ deals on our inputs, we end up with clothing that a) fits, b) lasts, and c) is better made.

    • Yes, yes and yes. I remember you replacing a lining last year too. That’s part of the reason I feel like I can do it!

  3. I’d write them and complain, or take it back to the store. I’ve had good luck with that in the past. And yes, RTW is a #$%% rip off! 🙂

  4. I have a coat I bought about 4 million years ago (or at least 30 years), and I replaced the lining about 15 years ago. Used the heaviest lining I could find, and it’s holding up. I hate buying something and it turns out to be crap. I want to see the one you make, and you know you can! I was thinking of trying an Irish Walking cape, but…

  5. OMG, I hate that when that happens. Ann Taylor suit linings ALWAYS shred on me. It bugs the crap out of me. With all your sewing experience, I think you should not only fix this coat, but make yourself one. Heck, if I can make one, you could make a fabulous one!

  6. I bought an admittedly cheap coat this year, but was shocked that the lining in the pocket ended up with a hole in it like two weeks after I got it. I really need to stitch it up because I keep forgetting and I’ll toss my phone or keys in it and then end up having to dig all through the coat!

    • That is the WORST thing about RTW!!!! I’m glad I’m not the only one. Funny thing is I went shopping for a coat at lunch and I wish I had the time to make one right now.

  7. Well that sucks, especially considering I just bought an Anne Klein coat this fall! Admittedly I didn’t pay as much as you. Got it at TJ Maxx so the price wasn’t that bad. But still, I’d like to get more than 1 year out of it. I did notice the buttons looked like they could be sewn on a bit better, guess I better do it sooner rather than later.

    • Mine was from Burlington Coat Factory. So it was below retail — theoretically. SEW THOSE BUTTONS BACK. They just pop off when you’re not expecting it.

  8. I agree with you! You think because it is rtw and expensive it should be made well…..I found something very similar in a little black dress that I bought for fancy events (worn 3 times….). I started looking at the stitching and realize that it is done fast and cheap!

  9. I just about spit out my drink at your coat from Budapest comment. Yeah that sucks and I would also not hesitate one moment to complain.

  10. Well, that totally stinks, but you just need to shrug it off (pun intended) and realize that it’s a learning experience. RTW is priced based on what they think the market will bear. It often has no basis on the actual work done. I’ve had lots of experiences like that. Expensive things that fall apart and then inexpensive things that have seen me through thick and thin. I wish to heck there was a real quality standard.

  11. Now, be reasonable.. The first thing you should do with any bought coat is replace the buttons, so it looks $200 more expensive right off. And no machine-sewn buttons has ever stayed on. We’re only talking about 15mn here, not counting shopping which can actually be pleasant :-).

    But they’ll always chintz out on the lining, and the interfacing. And don’t be deluded, no real couture house is using the same quality lining these days anyway.

  12. $200 doesn’t get you what it used to, that’s for sure. I bought my dd a coat on sale that was originally more than that, and while the lining didn’t shred, the wool just looked worn after 2 or 3 years. On the other hand the coat I made myself about 4 years ago still looks great. I agree take it back.

  13. I know how you feel. I bought a trench coat last year-Anne Klein-by the way. All of my buttons have come off the d—thing. Actually lost two, this includes buttons on the pocket flap as well. Then the belt buckle thing got screwed up-that is either due to poor quality workman ship or a poor dry cleaner ( I no longer take my clothes there). When you pay good money you expect good quality. I am now searching for the right buttons to sew all over the coat as they are in two different sizes and unfortunately I have restricted button source available locally. I am not a fan of AK right now.

  14. I read something one time about rtw buttons being expected to fall off immediately, but it still stinks when they start popping off one by one and you lose a couple.

  15. I can’t repeat the words I use to describe RTW. I bought a long wool coat from Lands’ End a few years back and it got rips in pockets, lining and seams in just ONE winter. Are you freakin’ kidding me?!!! I think the only reason we all buy RTW is because of the convenience factor. If I could work half as much, I’d probably make all my clothing…and watch even more TLC and Style channel programs.

  16. Isn’t this frustrating? There are some ready-to-wear I will not alter. My fees are so high, why alter something that is either going to fall apart on the 2nd or 3rd wearing, or is going to require so much work that the alteration fee is more than what they paid for the garment. When you look at the inside (which you couldn’t do without taking the coat apart), it’s shocking, not only the quality of fabric that they use, but how skimpy the seams are and how shoddy the workmanship is. The funny thing is that I’ll bet anything this was not made in the USA. RTW made in the USA is really pretty well made. I think we’re going to find a reversal of trend where domestic RTW will be competitive prices with foreign and it will be much better made.

    If you’re willing to give yourself the time, you can make a coat – I’ve seen your work, and you do great work….just take your time (and you’ve got to have a place to keep it when you’re doing other stuff).

    Good luck

  17. I would take that back in a tinker tailor’s minute!! How dare that company make such shoddy products? Another reason I sew for myself….more and more…..

  18. Yes! I was just given an Ann Klein coat that someone wasn’t keeping, probably because they were so ticked off about the buttons and the lining. One of the buttons obviously popped off and then was resewed in the wrong spot so the coat gapes a bit at the waist. Another is CRACKED. The lining in both sleeves is ripped a bit.

    I bought new, nice buttons (with a shank rather than holes) and I guess I better figure out how to replace the lining. At least the coat was free to me.

  19. That Budapest coat was made better because who knew when one would get a new coat. it was made to be worn for a gazillion years. we live in a consumer cosiety and stuff is meant to wear out, look good for just a little bit. we pay far less in 2009 dollars for clothing than folks did 40 or 50 years ago—

  20. I replaced the lining on an RTW jacket of Annie’s last year. Used flannel-backed satin lining from Haberman’s and took extra care to reinforce the stress points. And the lining I painstakingly made still had seams that popped in a few places after a winter of wear. Go figure.

    I love that sweatshirt dress! Super-cute on you.

  21. I bought a coat at the start of our Aussie Winter this year. I spend Aus$200 ish on it and all the buttons fell off the first week I wore it. It was from Jacqui-E. Lining hasn’t ripped (yet). But I was so disappointed about the button! Even so, I still love my yummy cashmere coat.
    If I were in your situation Celie, I would have taken it back immediatly, gotten my $$ back and used it to buy fabric to make myself a sublime coat that wouldn’t fall apart.

  22. I agree with Nancy K, $200 just doesn’t buy you much anymore. Who knows how that came to pass. But what a great reason to sew.

  23. I feel your pain only less so…my sister gave me one of her old winter coats, nice label, etc, 1 year old. Nasty cheap buttons and don’t get me started about the lining.

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