Already Prettypoll: Brand Betrayals

In the past, I’ve declared myself to be brand-loyal, and it’s still true in some cases: Karen Kane denim and Frye boots forever, baby. But after years of being Fluevog-faithful, I’ve moved on. I’ve long since donated my Tsubo Acreas and am no longer enamored of all things Prairie Underground. But these shifts are because of me. I changed, my preferences shifted.

And although it’s never happened to me personally, I have many friends who have angrily abandoned brands because the brand changed. My former boss was none too pleased to see Eileen Fisher moving away from flowy-boxy and toward sleek-streamlined. I’ve read dozens of angry customer reviews on the Gap site from people who have bought a specific tee/jean for years and are incensed to find that it’s now smaller/longer/made from a different fiber. Even though they still make a few classic styles, my aunt has refused to buy Coach bags ever since they moved into Logo-overload land.

Have you ever stopped buying a brand due to a design or quality change? Did you give the company feedback, or just seek an alternative on your own?

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15 Responses to “Already Prettypoll: Brand Betrayals”

  1. Maria

    I can’t say I’ve ever experienced a ‘fall out’ with a brand’s quality/design… Maybe Benetton? They used to make good quality trousers for ‘important’ legs, but now they’re all skinnies.. But then again that’s true for most retailers nowadays?
    Anyway I’m really loyal to brands that make shoes/clothes that I particularly like, and I hope none of these lose quality any time soon, it took so much time to find the perfect tee/shoe/jeans that I don’t want to resume the search for the perfect item any time soon!

  2. Psals

    I fell out with Express jeans many years ago after they changed the cut of the majority of their jeans. I’m regularly a size 6 in jeans, and found myself repeatedly being unable to fit even in a size 10 at Express. Of course, this was several years ago and I haven’t gone back since to check whether the fit/cut has changed. But I’m the kind to be done with a brand completely once I’ve decided it isn’t for me. I probably should go back to check though.

  3. NMW_Elena

    Had that exact experience with Gap jeans a few years ago – the quality declined immensely. I emailed them to tell them I had been a loyal customer for a decade and that I was really disappointed and ask if they were planning on doing anything about their quality issues. I got a response saying “Wow! Thanks for your loyalty, we really appreciate it!” and not even addressing the quality issue. Thanks Gap. I haven’t bought a pair of jeans (or anything, really) from them since.

  4. Maegan McHugh

    My answer is a yes and no! I get a lot of my stuff at Old Navy because it is affordable and it’s the one charge card I carry. However, I refuse to buy any bottoms other than workout pants there. Their sizing for pants is so inconsistent. I have to try probably 3 different sizes in each style, and still nothing is right. So I just gave up.

  5. K Magill

    Hmm. The big ones for me have been J. Crew and L.L. Bean, neither of which I would consider defining brands for my personal style, but which nonetheless used to offer a variety of dependable basics that enhanced my wardrobe (I like a *smidge* of New England prep, apparently). Lately, though, I’ve been disappointed with almost everything I purchase from either one. J. Crew’s quality has gone way, way down, and L.L. Bean’s pieces seem to be cut for larger and larger women. Serious size creep/vanity sizing. I still buy flannel shirts from them, but only because they sometimes offer an XXS–and I’m normally a 4, so not super-tiny.

    I’ve also parted ways with all of my old favorite denim producers: Red Engine, Lucky, and Levi’s. The shift to heavily-distressed stretch fabrics is not my cup of tea, and it’s sad to see quality decline and jobs migrate overseas while prices keep going up.

  6. Courtney L.

    Lane Bryant. I always had trouble fitting in their tops because I’m short. However, I used to be really loyal to their jeans. They had jeans that fitme and were decent quality for less than $50 a pair. Then they changed their sizing to that crazy system with the colored shapes and weirdly limited sizing numbers. I tried to embrace it, but every salesperson I talked to explained it differently, and I couldn’t grasp it. Also, they put more lycra into the jeans and they got REALLY stretchy. The idea was that jeans that were too tight when you put them on were actually the right size for you, and they would stretch to the perfect skimming but not tight fit in a couple of hours. But that meant that jeans that fit when I walked out the door were uncomfortably loose by lunch. Nope, nope, nope! I want clothes that fit all day, thanks. Make more sizes and the jeans can be less stretchy.

    I also gave up on Dress Barn slacks, but I still buy their tops, dresses & sweaters. They used to carry petite length slacks that were perfect for work. Then they changed so that all plus sized slacks were “tummy control.” Again, all the nope in the world. I have shapewear if I want it. I don’t want it built in to every day slacks. My tummy does not need to be controlled. It needs pants that actually fit.

  7. Lainey Kay

    I haven’t completely sworn it off, but I find myself shopping much less frequently at J. Crew these days. Their quality has become so hit or miss, and it seems like the bright, preppy classics that I love have been gradually replaced with trendier items that just aren’t my style.

  8. Kaila Heard

    For me, it was Coach. I loved the old classic leather bags. I was so happy to hear they were reissuing the bags. But I was so disappointed when I got to touch the new iterations – it just didn’t feel worth the price.
    I didn’t swear off the brand. I just thrift and buy my Coach bags on ebay and the like.

    • KryptoBunny

      Totally agree! I got a few thrift store Coach bags that are probably 20 years old or so, and I’m fairly certain that one of them is (quite nice) fake, but the leather still feels better than the similar bags sold now.

  9. crtfly

    Whoa! A list too long to enumerate here! I’d say any brand that has been around long enough that it once was made in the USA have changed for the worse. All the companies that offshore have had a continual decline in craftsmanship and fabric. Yes, I have complained to many of them. I didn’t even get an acknowledgment. I have some sweaters and turtlenecks from LL Bean and Lands End from when they were still made here. They must be close to 20 years old. In spite of being washed many times over the years, they are heavier knit/fabric and better sewn than new similar garments from the same companies.


  10. janejetson

    I think stores like Forever 21, H&M and Zara have changed the market. People expect great looking clothes at a very low price. Of course quality is sacrificed which is part of “fast fashion.” These clothes are not meant to last past the season and are quickly discarded.

    Can anyone suggest brands or stores that offer quality? I am willing to pay more than fast fashion prices but a higher price is no guarantee of quality.

  11. Lizzyisi

    Nau. The first iteration was amazing–truly revolutionary. Stylish clothes in amazing fabrics designed for longevity and to be worn whilst active. Unfortunately, it nearly went out of business and after the company was resurrected, the fabrics are not as nice and the designs are much less functional. The jackets are still amazing and worth every penny, but I’ve been much less impressed with the clothing.

  12. Mary Christine

    Loft jeans have been amazing for me the last five years or so. Even though I’ve gained a bit of weight since the beginning and am now between sizes, I still buy a size up and get them altered to fit. I like the material’s feel and durability so much that I’d rather put the work in on these than shop around!

  13. Linda Dyndiuk

    I feel most betrayed by Lucky jeans. They fit me perfectly and I was so happy to find them several years ago! But now their jeans aren’t real jeans anymore – they’re very thin and stretchy and fall apart almost immediately. (Same price as their previous good jeans, though, which makes me even more annoyed.)

  14. Mindy Holahan

    Earth shoes are such a disappointment now. The footbed used to be a wonderful leather that would mold to fit my foot. Now it’s a squishy foam—not special at all. They’ve switched to an inferior leather for the uppers on all but one design. Also, it’s hard to find the “Earth” sole, with the toes higher than the heel. They solved a specific kind of foot pain I have.

    Le sigh.