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Spending in Style

Seventy dollars for a T-shirt. Seems outrageous? If the tag bears the name Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, or Joseph Abboud, would that make any difference? If the answer is no, you are probably one of those shoppers who think over-the-top prices are directly related to the name on the tag.

This isn't quite true. The price of designer clothing is influenced by the label, but it is ultimately decided in the manufacturing process. The clothing is sewn by higher-paid seamstresses, and the fabrics are picked by the designer. This gives the outfit an individual feel.

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The subtle things - the workmanship, the strength of the seams, and the quality of the materials - distinguish designer from mainstream.

Sometimes, however, it is hard to place a finger on what makes an item better. Take, for example, a pair of two-pleat trousers from Emporio Armani and Banana Republic. Though the lower-priced version from Banana Republic matches it detail to detail, the Armani touch still makes these pants a fabulous item for the price. The softness of the fabric, beauty of the drape, and careful detail work ensure that your $230 is well spent.

So, $70 for a T-shirt may not seem as pricey. And remember, it's rarer to pass someone wearing the same Armani outfit than one from The Gap. Limited production virtually ensures you will be well dressed.

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